Who we are
The Japan Society for Afrasian Studies (JSAS) is a multi-disciplinary research platform of African studies in Japan/Asia and, potentially, of Japanese/Asian studies in Africa, and its focus is the creation of inter-cultural and inter-generational links to facilitate dialogue among participants on issues affecting Africa and Asia.
We live in a rapidly shrinking world, with migration, massive trade and advanced IT tools, expanding the interface between Africa and Asia at an unprecedented rate and on numerous fronts: business, culture, politics and scholarship. There is a growing number of African students and scholars in Japan in all academic disciplines; in social and natural sciences as well as the humanities. Some government-sponsored and privately-sponsored students from Africa are studying hard to obtain graduate degrees; others are conducting field-oriented research work. Some African scholars have also secured full-time faculty positions in Japanese universities. And yet there have been very few places for African scholars as well as Japanese Africanists to present their research findings, exchange ideas and motivate each other in English (or Swahili, French, Arabic, Portuguese and other languages that are spoken in Africa). Indeed, a Pan-Afrasian academic network is badly needed.
Similarly, there is an increasing number of Japanese scholars and students of African societies who wish to communicate with Africans in Japan as well as in Africa on a regular basis and present their research outcomes in English or in other languages in front of an international audience. They have come to realize that they should do more than just conduct fieldwork in Africa and then write papers back home in Japanese. Africans and Africanists in Japan will get enormous inspiration from one another from having face-to-face dialogue. Our broader goal is to promote greater social justice, more widely distributed economic welfare and reduced violence.
As a forum for academic, research and policy dialogue, our specific missions include:
providing a platform that uses mainly English as a medium of discourse on issues affecting both Asia and Africa,
bringing together three important and interrelated groups of scholars: African scholars living and working in Asia (particularly in Japan); African students in Asia (particularly in Japan), and Japanese and other Asian scholars as well as graduate students; and
contributing towards the effort to sharpen our historical sensibilities about Africa and Asia.
On the basis of the principle of African ownership and Afrasian solidarity, JSAS welcomes participation in our conferences, workshops and related activities.