Announcing Japan Past & Present

It gives me enormous pleasure to announce that, after more than three years of planning and preparation, Japan Past & Present is now up and running. I hope colleagues across the world will find it as thrilling as I do to see this project come to life. As far as I know, it has no precedent in terms of its scale and the breadth of its vision—and this is just the beginning.

Japan Past & Present—JPP for short—is a global information hub and repository that promotes research and teaching in the Japanese humanities across disciplinary, temporal, and geographic borders. Born from a happy confluence of overlapping visions, it is meant to serve as the platform for a collective effort to reimagine the Japanese humanities as a truly global area of study. JPP is a project of the Yanai Initiative at UCLA and Waseda University, and the core of its infrastructure is centered on these two institutions, but it exists, and it will continue to grow, through collaborations among scholars at every stage in their career, all around the world.

JPP aims to foster greater equity among scholars on a global scale by making it easier to see who is doing what sort of research where, and by providing opportunities for scholars whose interests align to pool their talents and abilities in realizing new open-access projects. JPP also makes the results of such team efforts—digital editions, databases, pedagogical tools—available in one place, and ensures that they remain easily accessible by assuming responsibility for their long-term maintenance.

We hope JPP will become a resource that scholars in the Japanese humanities all around the world turn to on an almost daily basis, and that by serving as a hub it will help all of us cultivate a clearer awareness of the global diversity of the field, and of how much we all stand to gain from forging an equitable community that embraces that diversity to the fullest.

I won’t go into detail about what is up on the website now. I hope you will explore it yourself, bearing in mind that there is much, much more to come. If you like what you see, please take a few moments to create a profile for yourself in Japan Scholar Search, and sign up to receive updates. We will be sending out important announcements soon, including a call for proposals for our first round of JPP-funded projects.

JPP’s website is its face. But JPP is more than just a website: it is a vehicle for the creation of an equitable, global community of scholars. I want to express my deep gratitude to all the people, all around the world, who worked so hard over the past three years to prepare JPP to fulfill that role. Too many people were involved for me to name even a select few here, so I will mention just one: Paula R. Curtis, who, as Operations Leader, has been the engine tirelessly keeping everything moving in the right direction, into the future.

Michael Emmerich
Director, Japan Past & Present
Director, The Yanai Initiative

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