Introduction & History

From the Director

The Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia was established in 1941 at the University of Tokyo for “comprehensive study of cultures of the East.” Today, our research focuses on regions where Asian languages are spoken, which cover the Arabic-language sphere including North Africa to the West and Japan to the East, and extend in the north to where Altaic languages are spoken including the Russian Federation and to Indonesia in the south. That is, our research covers a broad region centering on the Eurasian continent. Our fields of study are just as wide-ranging - politics, society, law, economics, religion, thought, culture, anthropology, history, archaeology, literature, art - but all share the common goal of deepening our understanding of Asia and the world and contributing to the creation of a better future through examinations of various dimensions of the past and present of Asia. The diversity in regional focus and specialty enables a broad perspective invigorating research of the Institute as a whole.

All faculty members of the Institute possess individual research networks in Japan and abroad. They use the networks to conduct on-site research, attend international conferences, and exchange with researchers overseas. The Institute also has developed collaborative relationships with organizations in and outside Japan by signing academic exchange and collaboration agreements. The Institute’s library hosts a rich collection of archival materials, among which the classic Chinese collection is one of the largest in the world. Researchers around the world visit the Institute for both short-term and long-term stays to use the archival materials as well as exchange with our faculty members. The Institute serves as a global base for Asian studies. The Institute publishes the International Journal of Asian Studies in English to globalize Asian Studies in Japan. The Institute is also undertaking a major project of publishing open-access Asian Studies research in partnership with first-rate English-language press. The project starts with the publication of an Asian Studies textbook in English, the first of its kind in Japan. The Institute is also home to the Research and Information Center for Asian Studies (RICAS), which catalogues various kinds of information concerning Asian studies and shares it with the wider world.

In addition, the Institute hosts many research fellows of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) as well as independent scholars and plays an active role in fostering young academics. The faculty at the Institute also offer courses of their specialties in the college and graduate schools of the University of Tokyo, with the goal of readying the students for their future responsibilities as global citizens. Furthermore, the Institute plays a central role in the development of four university-level projects: 1), Global Japan Studies (GJS), which promotes international education and research in Japanese studies; 2), Asian Research library, which realizes collaboration between Asian studies research and library functions; 3), East Asian Academy for New Liberal Arts (EAA) that aims to build East Asian studies as a Liberal Arts program; and 4), The University of Tokyo International Publishing Initiative (UT-IPI), a project of publishing in English humanities scholarship accumulated in Japanese at the University of Tokyo. The Institute makes significant contribution to education and research of the University of Tokyo and has become a center for leading research in Asian Studies.

In this era of rapid changes, the Institute aspires to further deepen disciplinary research on Asia and explore new fields of study and interdisciplinary research. We steadily pursue advancement of research and share with the wider world.

Akio Takahashi, Director
April 2021


Since its establishment in 1941, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia has grown into one of the most distinguished centers of Asian studies in Japan. During its first two decades, the Institute mainly focused on the politics, economy, history, and culture of East Asia, especially China. Since the early 1960s, it has expanded the domain of its research beyond China to include South (including Southeast) and West( including Central) Asia. Today, the Institute consists of four departments; the Departments of Pan Asian Studies, East Asian Studies, South Asian Studies, and West Asian Studies. The research staff is composed of thirty-one specialists in humanities,social sciences and engineering, including such disciplines as history, literature, religious studies, art, political science, law, economics, geography, anthropology, and architecture.

The Institute has continuously emphasized interdisciplinary research combinining analyses of documentary materials and field research. Since the 1950s, it has conducted various kinds of field research. The Iran-Iraq Archaeological Expeditions the Misssion for Indian History and Archaeology, and the photographic collection of Chinese paintings are representative example of such activities. Today, virtually all Institue members have day to day academic contacts with international academic institutions and conduct field research throughout Asia. By establishing academic exchange agreements, the Institute has increased academic contacts with various research institutions in Asia, including the Center of Asian Studies at the University of Hong Kong, Fudan University in Shanghai, the Department of Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore, and the Center for Japanese Studies, University of Indonesia.

The Institute has one of the best and the largest libraries for Asian studies in Japan. Its collection of Chinese books is especially well-known internationally. In addtion to the Library, in order to facilitate the use of documentation research materials for Asian studies, the Institute established the Documentation Center for Asian Studies in 1966, which was in 1999 expanded and renamedthe Research and Information center for Asian Studies(RICAS).The new center is aimed at collecting, and facilitating the use of, various forms of research materials in addition to text-based materials.


KUWATA Yoshizo (桑田 芳蔵)1941.11-1943.03
UNO Enku (宇野 圓空)1943.04-1946.10
TODA Teizo (戸田 貞三)1946.10-1947.09
TSUJI Naoshiro (辻 直四郎)1947.10-1954.03
NIIDA Noboru (仁井田 陞)1954.04-1958.07
IIZUKA Koji (飯塚 浩二)1958.07-1960.07, 1964.07-1965.02
YUKI Reimon (結城 令聞)1960.07-1962.07
EGAMI Namio (江上 波夫)1962.07-1964.07
OGUCHI Iichi (小口 偉一)1965.03-1966.03, 1968.04-1970.03
KAWANO Shigeto (川野 重任)1966.04-1968.03, 1970.11-12
IZUMI Seiichi (泉  靖一)1970.04-11
SUZUKI Kei (鈴木  敬)1970.12-1972.03
ARA Matsuo (荒  松雄)1972.04-1973.03
KUBO Noritada (窪  徳忠)1973.04-1974.03
SAEKI Yuichi (佐伯 有一)1974.03-1976.03
ONO Morio (大野 盛雄)1976.04-1978.03, 1982.04-1984.03
FUKAI Shinji (深井 晋司)1978.04-1980.03
NAKANE Chie (中根 千枝)1980.04-1982.03
ONOE Kanehide (尾上 兼英)1984.04-1988.03
YAMAZAKI Toshio (山崎 利男)1986.04-1988.03
SHIBA Yoshinobu (斯波 義信)1988.04-1990.03
IKEDA On (池田  温)1990.04-1992.03
MATSUTANI Toshio (松谷 敏雄)1992.04-1994.03
GOTO Akira (後藤  明)1994.04-1996.03
HAMASHITA Takeshi (濱下 武志)1996.04-1998.03
HARA Yonosuke (原 洋之介)1998.04-2002.03
TANAKA Akihiko (田中 明彦)2002.04-2006.03
SEKIMOTO Teruo (関本 照夫)2006.04-2009.03
HANEDA Masashi (羽田 正)2009.04-2012.03
OKI Yasushi (大木 康)2012.04-2014.07
TAKAMIZAWA Osamu (髙見澤 磨)2014.09-2017.3
MASUYA Tomoko(桝屋 友子)2017.04-2020.03
TAKAHASHI Akio(髙橋 昭雄)2020.04-present

Prizes and Honors

Order of Culture(conferred by the Government of Japan)
EGAMI Namio (江上 波夫)1991
YAMAMOTO Tatsuro (山本 達郎)1998
NAKANE Chie (中根 千枝)2001
Medal with Purple Ribbon (conferred by the Government of Japan)
TANAKA Akihiko (田中 明彦) 2012
Persons of Cultural Merit(conferred by the Government of Japan)
TSUJI Naoshiro (辻 直四郎)1978
EGAMI Namio (江上 波夫)1983
YAMAMOTO Tatsuro(山本 達郎)1986
KAWANO Shigeto (川野 重任)1993
NAKANE Chie (中根 千枝)1993
ITAGAKI Yuzo (板垣 雄三)2003
SHIBA Yoshinobu (斯波 義信)2006
Japan Academy Prize
NIIDA Noboru (仁井田 陞)1934
UNO Enku (宇野 圓空)1942
YAMAMOTO Tatsuro (山本 達郎)1952
SUDO Yoshiyuki (周藤 吉之)1956
FUKUSHIMA Masao (福島 正夫)1963
KAMATA Shigeo (鎌田 茂雄)1976
ARA Matsuo (荒  松雄)1978
IKEDA On (池田  温)1983
SUZUKI Kei (鈴木  敬)1985
TANAKA Issei (田仲 一成)1993