“Japan Politics & Society Initiative”

The “21st Century Japan Politics & Society Initiative” (21JPSI)   

Invigorating Indiana University’s teaching, research, and programming on contemporary Japanese politics, society, and foreign policy

JPSI banner PNG

In 2018, Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies established the new “21st Century Japan Politics and Society Initiative” (21JPSI; link to official website ). 21JPSI represents a significant commitment by HLS and its East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC) Department to invigorate contemporary Japan studies and to expand its teaching, research, and programming on contemporary Japanese politics, society, and international relations. Through teaching, research, and public outreach, the initiative is designed to educate and raise awareness in Indiana, across the wider Midwest, and beyond, about the various political, social, and foreign policy challenges that Japan faces in this extremely dynamic era, and the importance of U.S-Japan relations.

From international trade and security to demographic and other domestic political and social issues, the United States and Japan have a shared interest in brainstorming ways to tackle these challenges together. 21JPSI intends to educate and bring those policy debates to Indiana University, within and beyond the classroom and greater community.

I am honored to serve as 21JPSI’s founding director. Thanks in significant part to a five-year seed grant from the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership, 21JPSI provide seed funding for a new tenure-track faculty line in contemporary Japanese politics and society; new courses on contemporary Japan; a speaker series on Japanese Politics and Society; biennial conferences on U.S.-Japan relations; manuscript workshops for Japan scholars to present and receive constructive feedback on works-in-progress; and student fellowships and faculty travel grants to support field research in Japan. For more information, please see the official 21JPSI website.

Please sign up for the 21JPSI mailing list for details, updates and other event announcements.


Flyer for 21JPSI's inaugural national conference on U.S.-Japan relations

Poster for 21JPSI’s inaugural national conference on U.S.-Japan relations (Nov. 2019)

21JPSI’s new annual speaker series and biennial U.S.-Japan relations conferences are the public face of 21JPSI. They offer students and faculty and members of the wider community various opportunities to engage with leading scholars and policymakers on major domestic and foreign policy challenges facing Japan and the United States. In both cases, visiting speakers offer public lectures or serve on panels on topics of contemporary policy relevance. They also meet with HLS students to discuss their current research and teaching, as well as to share their professional experiences and career advice. Often, in addition to a public talk 21JPSI will also host a workshop for visiting scholars to receive feedback on a work-in-progress from IU faculty and students.

21JPSI facilitates an important conversation in America’s heartland about the importance of Japan and U.S.-Japan relations for the United States…and the world. The speaker series and conferences engage members of the IU Bloomington and wider Indiana community in an ongoing, spirited discussion about how to understand Japan’s political and social challenges, U.S. and Japan’s relations with each other and the world, and the difficult choices that policymakers face in rapidly changing domestic political and regional contexts, and the impact these decisions have on regional and global peace and prosperity, the United States, and Indiana.

For details and an up-to-date list of upcoming events, see the official 21JPSI website here: https://jpsi.indiana.edu/index.html

Events During Year 3 (AY2020-2021) (check official website for details):

  • Prof. Ezra Vogel (Harvard University) on “Understanding China-Japan Relations, 1945-2020”
  • Mr. Tobias Harris (Teneo) on “Shinzo Abe and the New Japan”
  • Dr. Setsuya Fukuda (National Institute of Population and Social Security Research), Dr. Machiko Osawa (Japan Women’s University), and Ms. Brigid Schulte (New America) for Abe Global 2020 on “Work-Life Balance in the COVID Age: Can the US and Japan Meet the Challenges?”
  • Prof. Saori Katada (University of Southern California) on “Japan’s Geoeconomic Strategy in the Asia-Pacific”
  • Prof. Jennifer Lind (Dartmouth) on “Historical Reconciliation in East Asia’s Changing Security Environment”
  • Prof. Hilary Holbrow (Indiana University) on “‘Training’ Foreign Workers, Cultivating Bias: Japan’s Guest Worker System”
  • Prof. Hiroshi Ono (Hitotsubashi University) on “How COVID-19 has Transformed Japan’s Culture of (Over-)Work”
  • More events are currently being scheduled.

Events During Year 2 (AY2019-2020) (check official website for details):

  • Prof. Kenneth Mori McElwain (University of Tokyo) on “What Do the Japanese People Want From Their Constitution?”
  • Prof. Takako Hikotani (Columbia University) on “Japan’s ‘Value Diplomacy’ and the Rise of China”
  • Inaugural National Conference on U.S.-Japan Relations (11/2019); Details here.
  • Prof. John Yasuda (Indiana University) on “Revenge of the Developmental State: The Rise and Fall of the Tokyo Stock Exchange”
  • Prof. Noriyuki Shikata (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan) on “The Rise of China and the U.S.-Japan Alliance”
  • Inaugural “Japan and the World” Academic Manuscript Workshop (2/2020); Details here. Paper presenters:
    • Prof. Mary Alice Haddad (Wesleyan University) on “Japan’s Urban Diplomacy: 21st Century Foreign Policy”
    • Prof. Kristin Vekasi (University of Maine) on “Political Cooperation and Conflict in Japan’s Trade Agreements”
    • Prof. Kathryn Ibata-Arens (Depaul University) on “Japan’s Inclusive Innovation Diplomacy: New Drug Discoveries”
    • Prof. Hiroki Takeuchi (Southern Methodist University) on Lessons from Japan’s and China’s Foreign Direct Investment Experiences in the USA

      21JPSI Japan & the World Manuscript Workshop Flyer

      Flyer for 21JPSI’s February 2020 inaugural academic manuscript workshop

  • Prof. Satoru Mori (Hosei University) on “U.S.-China Strategic Competition: The View from Japan”; event postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak

Events During Year 1 (AY2018-2019)

After a “soft” launch with a talk on the storied JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) program by the IU Media School’s own Prof. Emily Metzgar, the 21JPSI “Japan Politics and Society” Speaker Series hosted multiple events in its first full (2018-2019) academic year (please check the official website for details):

  • Prof. Kiyoteru Tsutsui (Univ of Michigan) on human rights and minority activism in Japan (October 17, 2018)
  • Prof. Joseph Coleman (Indiana Univ.) on the challenges of Japan’s rapidly aging population (November 5, 2018)
  • Prof. Megumi Naoi (Univ of California, San Diego) on U.S.-Japan trade frictions in ‘the Trump Era’ (November 28, 2018)
  • Prof. Phillip Lipscy (Stanford University)  on Japan’s role in sustaining the “liberal international order” (February 7, 2019 @ 4pm; GA 1122)
  • Ms. Emma Chanlett-Avery (U.S. Congressional Research Service) on the U.S., Japan, and the Alliance System in Asia (February 26, 2019)
  • Prof. Jolyon Thomas (University Of Pennsylvania) on religious freedom in U.S.-occupied Japan and its contemporary legacies (April 11, 2019)