“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

Since 2018, I have served as Founding Director of the multi-disciplinary “21st Century Japan Politics and Society Initiative” (21JPSI) at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.

21JPSI’s mission is to serve as a Midwestern hub for policy-relevant contemporary Japan studies and to expand teaching, research, and programming on contemporary Japanese politics, society, and foreign policy (esp. U.S.-Japan relations) at Indiana University. Through teaching, research, and public outreach, 21JPSI also aims to educate and raise awareness across the (oft-neglected) greater Midwest, and beyond, about the importance of U.S.-Japan relations and the various political, social, and foreign policy challenges that Japan faces in this extremely dynamic era.

Thanks in significant part to major grant from the Japan Foundation, 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 “Japan Politics and Society” speaker series; policy webinars and conferences on U.S.-Japan relations; manuscript workshops at which U.S.- and Japan-based experts on contemporary Japan have received critical/constructive feedback on a combined total of 44 academic works-in-progress; and nine faculty travel grants to support multi-week 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, in my capacity as founding director I have personally organized and hosted the following events:

Events During 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. Hilary Holbrow (Indiana University) on “(In)visible Inequalities: Gender and Ethnic Inequality in Japanese Firms”
    • Prof. Leif-Eric Easley (Ewha University) on “Stabilizing Japan-Korea Relations”
    • Prof. Wei-hsin Yu (University of California Los Angeles) on “Dating and Marriage in Contemporary Japan”
  • *Special Virtual Event* “Japan-China Relations after 50 Years (1972-2022)… Past, Present, & Future.” (9/2022) -co-sponsored by University of Tokyo Graduate School of Public Policy

Events During AY2021-2022:

Events During AY2020-2021:

Events During AY2019-2020:

  • “Japan Politics & Society” Speaker Series
    • Prof. enneth 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”
    • Mr. 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 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:

  • “Japan Politics & Society” Speaker Series
    • (Inaugural Speaker): 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)