“Japan Politics & Society Initiative”

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

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

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). I am honored to serve as 21JPSI’s founding director.

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.

Thanks in significant part to a five-year seed grant from the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership, to date 21JPSI has supported a new tenure-track faculty line in contemporary Japanese politics and society; the launch of four new courses on contemporary Japanese society, politics, and international relations; a multidisciplinary speaker series on “Japanese Politics and Society”; policy webinars and 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)


Since 21JPSI’s establishment in 2018, I have organized the following events:

During Year 5 (AY2022-2023):

  • “Japan Politics & Society” Speaker Series
    • Prof. Gracia Liu-Farrer (Waseda University) on “Japan’s Immigration Policies & Practices”
    • The Honorable Hiroshi Tajima, Consul General of Japan on “U.S.-Japan Relations & Japan’s Midwest Connections”
    • Prof. Daniel Smith (Columbia University) on “Destruction from Above: Contemporary Social & Political Legacies of the Tokyo Air Raids”
    • Mr. Christopher Johnstone (Center for Strategic & International Studies; former National Security Director for East Asia, U.S. Natl Security Council) on “The U.S.-Japan Alliance and Security Challenges in East Asia”
    • Dr. Sheila Smith (Council on Foreign Relations) on “The Next Generation: Supporting American Educational Exchange with Japan”
    • Prof. Wendy Leutert (Indiana University) on “Reimagining China’s Reform-Era Economy Through Engagement with Japan”
  • *Special Virtual Event* “Japan-China Relations after 50 Years (1972-2022)… Past, Present, & Future.” (9/2022)

During Year 4 (AY2021-2022):

    • Panel Discussion 3: Domestic Policy Challenges & U.S.-Japan Relations
  • Academic Manuscript Workshop #4: “Gender, Ethnicity, and Immigration in Contemporary Japan” (9/2021); Details here. Paper presenters: 

  • Academic Manuscript Workshop #5: “Japan and the World” (12/2021); Details here. Paper presenters: 

  • Academic Manuscript Workshop #6: “Demographic Challenges in Contemporary Japan” (2/2022); Details here. Paper presenters: 

    • Prof. Angelina Chin (Pomona College) 
    • Prof. Gene Park (Loyola Marymount University) 
    • Prof. Kathryn Goldfarb (University of Colorado – Boulder)
    • Prof. Michael Sharpe (CUNY) 
    • Prof. Michael Strausz (Texas Christian University) 

During Year 3 (AY2020-2021):

Events During Year 2 (AY2019-2020):

  • “Japan Politics & Society” Speaker Series
    • 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”
    • 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”
  • Hamilton Lugar School’s Inaugural National Conference on U.S.-Japan Relations; Details here.
  • Academic Manuscript Workshop #1: “Japan and the World”(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):

  • “Japan Politics & Society” Speaker Series
    • Prof. Kiyoteru Tsutsui (University of Michigan) on human rights and minority activism in Japan (October 17, 2018)
    • Prof. Joseph Coleman (Indiana University) on the challenges of Japan’s rapidly aging population (November 5, 2018)
    • Prof. Megumi Naoi (University 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)
    • 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)