29 April 2022

The Future of Japanese Studies

Does the rise of China mean that studying Japan is inexorably declining? Many students become interested in Japan because of popular culture, such manga and video games: is this a good or a bad thing? In an era of Google Translate and nifty smartphone apps, do people still need to spend years and years learning Japanese? What kind of problems do prevailing notions of methodological nationalism create for the study of Japan? And how can scholars of Japan best adapt to the rapidly-changing academic landscape?

In this wide-ranging conversation with NIAS Director Duncan McCargo, Aike P. Rots, an associate professor of Japan Studies at the University of Oslo, explains the thinking behind an engaging March 2022 keynote address he gave to a conference at Copenhagen Business School on the topic of ‘Japan and Japanese Studies in the Twenty-First Century’.

Aike Rots works on a variety of Asia-related issues, including religion, culture, biodiversity and the environment. He currently holds a European Research Council Starter Grant entitled ‘entitled Whales of Power: Aquatic Mammals, Devotional Practices, and Environmental Change in Maritime East Asia’ .

Read his short article on methodological nationalism in Japanese studies here.