July 2008: First KU Workshop
April 2008 saw the start of the Kansai University Program for EU-Japanology Education and Research (PEJER). Supported by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the program envisions reform of Kansi University's graduate school program.
Setting up a partnership with the EU universities, this program aims at generalising and innovating Japanese Studies in Japan, which -while reaching an advanced level- are relatively fractured. Recently, Japanese Studies in the EU have advanced into a new stage, not only because the EU expansion into 27 signatories encourages the more active economic and cultural exchange with Japan but also because humanities -including Japanese Studies- are being encouraged by the EU. This program promotes academic exchanges on the basis of the Kansai University Japan-EU Research Center at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, established on the 120th anniversary of Kansai University. More detailed information on the program may be found at the PEJER website.
As part of the program, workshops are organised twice yearly to offer young Japanese Studies researchers a forum to present their findings, benefit from critique and discussion, and network with their colleagues. The first of these was the KU Workshop (program pdf), held at Kansai University in July 2008. The second workshop takes place in Leuven, Belgium, from 12 to 14 September 2008.