Scholars and students take part in a recent Yanai Initiative event.
A new grant from the Japan Foundation will expand activities of the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities, a collaborative project of the UCLA Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.
The $264,000 grant over a period of three years will largely focus resources on bringing Southeast Asian scholars to campus to explore topics in Japanese literature and culture as part of the ongoing Yanai Initiative, created in 2014.
This cross-cultural approach draws on the unique strengths of UCLA’s Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, which has top scholars in East Asia as well as South and Southeast Asia, said professor Michael Emmerich, who teaches Japanese literature in the department.
“This grant will make it possible for us to approach issues from a fresh perspective, opening the door to new kinds of research,” Emmerich said. “UCLA as a university is committed to diversity, bringing people from different backgrounds and experiences together. We’re excited to see the positive effects of bringing scholars of Japan from different backgrounds together here on campus.”
The Japan Foundation’s mission is to support comprehensive international cultural exchange programs throughout the world.
UCLA‘s Department of Asian Languages and Cultures will immediately begin soliciting applicants from Southeast Asia for short-term and quarter-long visits in the 2016-2017 academic year.
The centerpiece of the Yanai Initiative’s many activities is a major international symposium held on campus each year. The symposium planned for March 2017 will focus on issues relating to the Japanese empire, Emmerich said. “I know we’re going to learn a lot from our colleagues from Southeast Asia.”