Funding: Harvard-Yenching Library Travel Grant


The Harvard-Yenching Library is pleased to announce its Travel Grant Program for the 2019-2020 academic year. The purpose of the grant is to assist scholars from outside the Boston metropolitan area in their use of the Harvard-Yenching Library’s collections for research. There will be nineteen grants of $600 each (seven in Chinese studies, seven in Japanese studies, and five in Korean studies) to be awarded on a merit basis to faculty members and to graduate students engaged in dissertation research. Independent scholars are also welcome to the program. Priority consideration will be given to those at institutions where there are no or few library resources in the East Asian languages and no major East Asian library collections are available nearby. Please note that the awards must be used by September 30, 2020.

Applications for the travel grant, including a letter with your mailing address, a brief description of the research topic, and an estimated budget should be addressed to the following. You can send in your application either in paper form or as an email attachment.

James K. M. Cheng
Harvard-Yenching Library
Harvard University
2 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138


The deadline for receiving applications is December 23, 2019. 

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Book Announcement: The Origins of the Modern Japanese Bureaucracy

The Origins of the Modern Japanese Bureaucracy
By: Yuichiro Shimizu
Translator: Amin Ghadimi

What is a bureaucracy, from where does it come, and how does it develop? Japanese have long described their nation as a “kingdom of bureaucrats”, but until now, no historian has fully explained the historical origins of the mammoth Japanese executive state. In this ground-breaking study, translated into English for the first time, Yuichiro Shimizu traces the rise of the modern Japanese bureaucracy from the Meiji Restoration through the early 20th century. He reveals how the making of the bureaucracy was none other than the making of Japanese modernity itself. Through careful political analysis and vivid human narratives, he tells the dynamic story of how personal ambition, new educational institutions, and state bureaucratic structures interacted to make a modern political system premised on recruiting talent, not status or lineage.

Bringing cutting-edge Japanese scholarship to a global audience, The Origins of the Modern Japanese Bureaucracy is not only a reconceptualization of modern Japanese political history but an account of how the ideal of “pursuing one’s own calling” became the foundational principle of the modern nation-state.

For more information:

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Call for Papers: Asian Studies Graduate Student Conference at CU Boulder

Dear all,

The CU Boulder Asian Studies Graduate Association (CUBASGA) invites submissions for its annual graduate student conference, to be held at the University of Colorado, Boulder on Friday, February 14th, and Saturday, February 15th, 2020. Current graduate students from across the US and around the world are encouraged to submit proposals on any aspect of Asian culture. We invite a broad range of research interests on the region that may include but are not limited to the following fields: Anthropology, Art and Art History, Literatures, Economics, Ethnic Studies, Ethnomusicology, Geography, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Sociology, Theater and Dance, Urban and Regional Planning, and Women’s Studies.

The conference will include keynote addresses from Professor David C. Schaberg (UCLA) and Professor David L. Howell (Harvard University). Keynote speakers and University of Colorado faculty will be on hand to provide feedback to presenters throughout the conference.

To apply, submit a 300-word paper proposal and a résumé to by November 25th, 2019. Successful applicants will be notified of acceptance by mid-January. For inquiries, please email You are also welcome to visit our website at (to be updated).

We look forward to your submissions!

CU Boulder Asian Studies Graduate Association (CUBASGA)

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Job Opening: Assistant Correspondent, The Mainichi Newspapers NY Bureau

The Mainichi Newspapers Career Opportunity
Location: New York
Position: Assistant Correspondent – Full-Time (Part-Time Negotiable)

We are currently looking for an Assistant Correspondent in our New York Bureau to support our correspondents with research into topics involving American society and international relations. In order to identify the most pertinent issues to our readers in Asia, our work in overseas bureaus involves keeping a close eye on local events and providing analysis into region-specific issues. Hence, we require the employees in our New York Bureau to have the ability to dissect complex issues in international politics and current affairs.

You will assist the bureau chief (and other correspondents) in:

    • Attending and summarising press briefings
    • Background research on news topics (expert viewpoints from academics and thinktanks, finding and organizing statistics, and fact checking information with legislations and other relevant sources)
    • Monitoring latest news related to American society at large and events happening in the nearby region
    • Setting up appointments for interviews
    • Making transcripts of speeches and interviews
    • Miscellaneous tasks pertaining to office management
    • Conducting interviews on the ground (occasionally)

Candidates should be ready to:

  • Develop an understanding of latest issues in American society and international relations
  • Produce thoughtful and meticulous research
  • Engage in forging good media relations with relevant individuals and agencies when required


  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a related field
  • Keen interest in international politics and current affairs
  • Strong analytical skills and resourcefulness
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities, deadlines and tasks efficiently under heavy pressure
  • Excellent time management skills and sense of urgency when dealing with time-sensitive tasks
  • Fluency in Japanese preferred

Start date: Dec 1 (Negotiable)

To apply, please send your resume to Toshiyuki Sumi,

More about The Mainichi Newspapers

The Mainichi Newspapers (毎日新聞), founded in 1872, is Japan’s oldest national daily newspaper. We are currently recognized in Japan as one of the leading newspapers, and have garnered a reputation as a provider of unbiased reporting and poignant editorials. Our commitment to excellence in journalism has earned us numerous prestigious awards, including a Pulitzer Prize and more than 20 awards from the Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association, making The Mainichi Newspapers Japan’s most awarded newspaper and the only Japanese news organization to have won a Pulitzer Prize. Mainichi has a nationwide circulation of 2.5 million copies. We are headquartered in Japan and have 24 overseas bureaus, including three in the United States.

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Fun Link Friday: Is Japanese the most difficult language?

The Language Nerds blog recently posted an article summarizing reports from The Foreign Service Institute of the US Department of State, categorizing world languages and their difficulty (namely, the amount of time officials have to spend learning them).

The categories were divided into:

Category I Languages: 24-30 weeks (600-750 class hours)
Category II Languages: Approximately 36 weeks (900 class hours)
Category III Languages: Approximately 44 weeks (1100 class hours)
Category IV Languages: 88 weeks (2200 class hours)

Under the Category IV Languages? Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Mandarin), Korean, and Japanese! These five are listed as 「“Super-hard languages” – Languages which are exceptionally difficult for native English speakers.」

Do you agree? The Language Nerds marked Japanese as “usually more difficult than the languages in the same category,” though I didn’t see any indication of this on the FSI website. Is Japanese the most difficult language out there? We may never know, but it’s fun to think about! 🙂

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OUR Shurijo Shuri Castle Digital Reconstruction

As many know by now, Shuri Castle in Okinawa, an important piece of Ryukyu cultural heritage, suffered a devastating fire on October 31st 2019. As ongoing dialogues continue about how and when the reconstruction will take place, over two dozen volunteer researchers, students, and engineers are now pioneering a digital reconstruction project, the OUR Shurijo Shuri Castle Digital Reconstruction みんなの首里城デジタル復元プロジェクト , to preserve the Shuri Castle that was.

The group hopes to use Computer Vision (CV), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and Virtual Reality (VR) based on composites from user-submitted digital media to tackle this problem. Do you have photos or other media of Shuri Castle? If so, visit their website (which is available in English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai) to contribute to the project!

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Job Opening: KCJS Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies is searching for a KCJS Postdoctoral Fellow for the academic year 2020-21, with the possibility of extension. Based at Doshisha University in Kyoto, KCJS is an undergraduate study abroad program governed by a consortium of thirteen American universities and administered by the Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement at Columbia University.

The KCJS Fellow is expected to engage in their own research and teach one course each semester in Kyoto. Designed in consultation with the resident director and taught entirely in English, the courses can focus on the fellow’s area of specialization, yet should be accessible enough to appeal to undergraduates with a broad range of interests. Course plans should take full advantage of KCJS’s location, preferably encompassing local excursions, hands-on demonstrations, and/or observations. Preference will be given to candidates with the capacity to execute such courses and those who can demonstrate a commitment to delivering engaging, immersive learning experiences that are both rigorous and accessible.

Additional responsibilities include: assisting the resident director with academic planning and semester orientations; mentoring students on academic matters, career planning, and life in Japan; assisting the resident director in reviewing independent study proposals and summer research proposals; supervising independent studies; presenting their research regularly; and contributing to the intellectual and cultural life of the program by occasionally attending curricular and extra-curricular events. These responsibilities and other professional development opportunities provide the Fellow with strong teaching experience and a broad overview into undergraduate global education. The Fellow is also expected to engage in the academic life of Kyoto through involvement in research study groups at Doshisha and other local institutions.

Candidates should hold a Ph.D. in a Japan-related field by the start of the fellowship. It is preferred that the candidate has relevant undergraduate teaching experience, previous experience living or studying in Japan, and Japanese language and cultural fluency.

The term of appointment is from August 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021, with the possibility of an extension to May 2022, pending mutual agreement and the approval of the relevant committee. Benefits include: a ten-month salary of $50,000 or the equivalent; round-trip transportation from the home country to Japan for the Fellow and immediate family members, which may include a spouse/partner and one child under 18 years of age;  reimbursement for research costs up to $5,000; a private office equipped with a desktop computer and printer located on the Doshisha campus alongside the KCJS team; and access to Doshisha’s libraries, archives, and museums.

For more information about the KCJS program, please visit

Deadline: December 20,2019

For more information:

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