European Association for Japanese Studies

Nurturing the Next Generation of Japan Specialists: An Interview with Dr. Verena Blechinger-Talcott

In light of the fiftieth anniversary of the triennial conferences held by the European Association for Japanese Studies (EAJS) last August, immediate past president Verena Blechinger-Talcott spoke with Japan-Insights about the globalization of Japan Studies, and how support of early-career scholars has proven to be pivotal in fostering comparative perspectives and strengthening intra-Asian and transnational connections.

When the European Association for Japanese Studies (EAJS) was formally established at the University of Oxford fifty years ago, it was the first serious attempt to coordinate communication and facilitate academic exchange among European scholars of Japan. “It was about bringing together the various national schools with Japan Studies programs,” explains EAJS immediate past president Verena Blechinger-Talcott. “Before then the Brits would talk to other Brits and the Germans would talk to other Germans, but there was little interconnection.” Half a century later, the work of an emerging generation of Japan scholars now focuses increasingly on intra-Asian comparative perspectives, emphasizing interdisciplinary exchange and looking at practices and localities rather than …

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