Institute for Japanese Studies (IJS) at Seoul National University started as a research base for Japanese studies in November 2004, and since then we have consolidated the basis to develop as a comprehensive Japan research institution, making continuous efforts in constructing the academic infrastructure. In November 2008, IJS was selected as the Institute of Overseas Research for Humanities Korea (HK) by National Research Foundation of Korea (former Korea Research Foundation), which brought us a groundbreaking opportunity to further develop our research aspirations with the agenda . As a result, when HK Projects were finished in 2018, IJS was selected as the Best Research Center, and it was able to be chosen as the Research Institute of Overseas Research for Humanities Korea+ (HK+) Type 2 Projects, which are the follow-up of the previous HK Projects.
Our agenda for the HK+ Projects is “Japanese Life-World in the Era of Post-Area Studies: Maturity and Change, Crisis, and Solidarity.” Based on the robust foundation of research (personnel, regulations, and space) that we acquired through the success of HK Projects, we will initiate two-way research exchanges with outstanding foreign research centers and personnels to produce global research results. Also, with such results under the new paradigm of ‘post-area studies,’ we will take on the role of leading Japanese studies not only in Korea, but also in the world.
Specifically, we will focus on Japanese ‘Life-World’ again as the topic of research, and develop studies on life-world with the perspective of post-area studies to succeed the fruition of HK Projects. We expect Japanese society of the 2020s, which will initiate with Tokyo Olympics, to experience more fundamental changes in various areas such as politics, economy, society, culture, etc. than ever before in its postwar era in response to cumulated social crises and the task of mature socialization. The importance of empirically and comprehensively studying the life of Japanese when it is undergoing the most diverse and dynamic change in Japan’s postwar period cannot be emphasized too much.
The center strives to 1) spread the understanding of Japan to the public by utilizing the characteristic of IJS, which has organic connections with Japanese regions, and 2) seek methods to diagnose and resolve the social problems of Korea and Japan in this era along with the local citizens. The ultimate purpose of such activities is to 3) form a new symbiotic relationship between Korea and Japan from the crisis the two countries face in order to create the value of virtuous cycle and order in the Life-World of the Korean Peninsula and East Asia.Local Humanities Center will develop and operate citizen-participating and citizen-led programs to allow the understanding of Japan to function as a practical solution of the social problems in Korean society. Through this effort, the center will drive Korean citizens to autonomously join the progress of generating collective intelligence and act as an entity of social management, making the center a ‘civilian society research plant.