Director’s Welcome

Prof. Takahiro NAKAJIMA

The University of Tokyo Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia was founded in November the 26th, 1941 as a “comprehensive research center for the study of Asia broadly defined.” The Institute’s remit stretches across the Eurasian continent – from the Arabic-speaking world including North Africa in the west to Japan in the east, and from the Altaic-speaking world including the Russian Federation in the north to Indonesia in the south. In recent years our researchers have widened their scope to investigate global relationships to Asia outside of the Eurasian continent.

Academic fields of study include politics, society, law, economics, religion, thought, culture, anthropology, history, archaeology, literature, and art. This diversity enables our researchers to embrace broad perspectives within a shared interest in exploring new contributions to the universality by placing ideas rooted in the societies and cultures of the various regions of Asia into their broader context, while remaining close to the indigenous ideas of those regions. Our aim is to free Asian studies from the framework of assigning the East and the West into the particular and the universal, which has been the assumption of modern scholarship, and to practice both the Asianization and the universalization of Asian studies.

The Institute’s members maintain extensive research networks of their own, both domestically and internationally, conducting field research, participating in international scientific conferences, and collaborating with foreign researchers. Supported by such individual activities, the Institute has established academic exchange and cooperative agreements both at home and abroad. Researchers from around the world regularly visit the Institute as the “visiting fellows” for long or short periods of time to make use of our world-class library and archives, and to exchange ideas with Institute staff and other researchers. For these reasons, we think it is safe to say that the Institute is one of the world’s centers for Asian studies.

The Institute is also actively involved in human resource development and education. Specifically, the Institute accepts a large number of research fellows of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) as well as researchers from private universities. Our staff members are also engaged in educational activities at the graduate and undergraduate schools of the University of Tokyo according to their respective areas of expertise, thereby contributing to the development of the next generation of global leaders.

In FY 2022, the Institute launched its own “Global Asian Studies” (GAS) project with the aim of furthering our mission to simultaneously Asianize and universalize Asian Studies. GAS builds upon our existing “Global Japan Studies” to open new horizons for Asian Studies. In addition, we continue to publish the International Journal of Asian Studies in collaboration with Cambridge University Press, and are working in partnership with leading English language publishers to promote Open Access (OA) publication of the best research in Asian studies. In addition, the Research and Information Center for Asian Studies (RICAS), an affiliated facility for organizing and disseminating information on Asian studies to the world.

In addition, The Institute also plays a central role in university-wide projects such as the Asian Research Library, which embodies the collaboration between Asian studies and library functions at the University of Tokyo, the University of Tokyo International Publishing Initiative (UT-IPI), which publishes the University of Tokyo’s humanities knowledge accumulated mainly in Japanese as English books for the world to enjoy, the East Asian Academy for New Liberal Arts (EAA), which is supported by external funds and aims to build East Asian studies as a liberal arts discipline, and its interlinked Ushioda Initiative of Arts (UIA), etc., thereby contributing to the development of education and research at the University of Tokyo.

The Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, in response to its mission as a world’s center for Asian studies, is committed to providing a wide range of responsibilities to the world in this time of great global change. We hope to contribute to the world by practicing the Asianization and universalization of Asian studies based on the diversified researches of our institute members and our global research network.


Takahiro Nakajima, Director

April 2023

Past Directors of the IASA

1941.11 – 1943.03 KUWATA Yoshizo (桑田芳蔵)
1943.04 – 1946.10 UNO Enku (宇野圓空)
1946.10 – 1947.09 TODA Teizo (戸田貞三)
1947.10 – 1954.03 TSUJI Naoshiro (辻直四郎)
1954.04 – 1958.07 NIIDA Noboru (仁井田陞)
1958.07 – 1960.07, 1964.07 – 1965.02 IIZUKA Koji (飯塚浩二)
1960.07 – 1962.07 YUKI Reimon (結城令聞)
1962.07 – 1964.07 EGAMI Namio (江上波夫)
1965.03 – 1966.03, 1968.04 – 1970.03 OGUCHI Iichi (小口偉一)
1966.04 – 1968.03, 1970.11 – 12 KAWANO Shigeto (川野重任)
1970.04 – 11 IZUMI Seiichi (泉靖一)
1970.12 – 1972.03 SUZUKI Kei (鈴木敬)
1972.04 – 1973.03 ARA Matsuo (荒松雄)
1973.04 – 1974.03 KUBO Noritada (窪徳忠)
1974.03 – 1976.03 SAEKI Yuichi (佐伯有一)
1976.04 – 1978.03, 1982.04 – 1984.03 ONO Morio (大野盛雄)
1978.04 – 1980.03 FUKAI Shinji (深井晋司)
1980.04 – 1982.03 NAKANE Chie (中根千枝)
1984.04 – 1988.03 ONOE Kanehide (尾上兼英)
1986.04 – 1988.03 YAMAZAKI Toshio (山崎利男)
1988.04 – 1990.03 SHIBA Yoshinobu (斯波義信)
1990.04 – 1992.03 IKEDA On (池田温)
1992.04 – 1994.03 MATSUTANI Toshio (松谷敏雄)
1994.04 – 1996.03 GOTO Akira (後藤明)
1996.04 – 1998.03 HAMASHITA Takeshi (濱下武志)
1998.04 – 2002.03 HARA Yonosuke (原洋之介)
2002.04 – 2006.03 TANAKA Akihiko (田中明彦)
2006.04 – 2009.03 SEKIMOTO Teruo (関本 照夫)
2009.04 – 2012.03 HANEDA Masashi (羽田正)
2012.04 – 2014.07 OKI Yasushi (大木康)
2014.09 – 2017.3 TAKAMIZAWA Osamu (髙見澤磨)
2017.04 – 2020.03 MASUYA Tomoko (桝屋友子)
2020.04 – 2023.03 TAKAHASHI Akio (髙橋昭雄)
2023.04 – present NAKAJIMA Takahiro (中島隆博)