“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

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). 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.

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.

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)

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 in Year 4 (AY2021-2022), see the official 21JPSI website here: https://jpsi.indiana.edu/

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”
  • Abe Global 2020 (Social Science Research Council): “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”
  • Academic Manuscript Workshop #2: “Japan and the World” (12/2020); Details here. Paper Presenters:
  • Webinar Miniseries on “U.S.-Japan Relations: Policy Challenges for the Biden Administration (Co-organized with Brookings Institution Center for East Asia Policy Studies) 1/2021:
    • Panel 1 of 2: National Security and Domestic Politics
      • Andrew Erickson (US Naval War College)
      • Yuka Koshino (International Institute for Strategic Studies)
      • Toshihiro Nakayama (Keio University/JIIA)
      • Sheila Smith (Council on Foreign Relations)
      • Moderator: Adam P. Liff (Indiana University)
    • Panel 2 of 2: Trade, COVID-19, Climate, and Infrastructure/Connectivity
      • Wendy Cutler (Asia Society Policy Institute)
      • Saori Katada (University of Southern California)
      • Jane Nakano (CSIS)
      • Yves Tiberghien (University of British Columbia)
      • Moderator: Mireya Solis (Brookings Institution)
  • Academic Manuscript Workshop #3: “Race & Multiculturalism in Contemporary Japan” (1/2021); Details here. Paper presenters:
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  • 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”
  • Prof. Michael J. Green (Georgetown University/Center for Strategic & International Studies) on “Line of Advantage: Japan’s Strategy in Asia”

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”
  • Hamilton Lugar School’s Inaugural National Conference on U.S.-Japan Relations (11/2019); Details here.
    • Welcome/Introductory Remarks (1:00-1:10pm)
    • Policy Keynote (1:10-1:30pm)
      • Ms. Andrea Richter, Vice President for International Engagement at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation on Indiana-Japan economic relations (representing the Honorable Jim Schellinger, Secretary of Commerce (Indiana)
    • Panel Discussion 1: Foreign Policy Challenges & U.S.-Japan Relations (1:35-2:45pm)
    • Academic Keynote (“U.S.-Japan Relations: The Roads Ahead”) (3-3:50pm)
    • Panel Discussion 2: Domestic Challenges & U.S.-Japan Relations (3:55-5:05pm)
    • Closing Remarks (5:05-5:25pm)
  • 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”
  • 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):

  • 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)