SRC 60th anniversary commemorative publication ”Slavic Eurasian Studies, No. 32”

In 2016, the Slavic-Eurasian Research Center celebrated its 60th anniversary by hosting an international symposium on December 10-11, 2015 at which we examined the history of our Center, with special emphasis on the period of its birth. Now a volume has been published in English “SRC at 60: New Historical Materials and Perspectives,” including some of the important presentations at that symposium.  A short description and a table of contents is provided below.

A first section documents findings from the research carried out by David Wolff and Chida Tetsuro on the Center’s origins. Many new and very interesting details and perspectives have emerged, including the SRC’s transnational origins, visits by Rockefeller Foundation representative C. B. Fahs and then John D. Rockefeller, III to Sapporo, as well as visits of Hokkaido University professors to the United States. These exchanges culminated in a 22 September 1951 application by Hokkaido University to the Rockefeller Foundation asking for initial support for a “Slavic Institute”.

A second section includes essays by SRC emeriti Akizuki Takako, Hasegawa Tsuyoshi and Ito Takayuki. Akizuki and Ito addressed the centrality of library resources for the SRC’s role as a national center of Slavic-Eurasian area studies, as well as the path of “nationalization” by which the SRC acquired this role in 1990. Ito’s essay, as well as Hasegawa Tsuyoshi’s, also covers the parallel, if somewhat paradoxical, process of internationalization, both in the final phases of the Cold War and under Gorbachev’s perestroika. If section one focuses on research about the 1940s and 1950s, section two provides personal recollections from the 1960s to 1980s.  In the third section, a roundtable of scholars, senior and junior, foreign and Japanese, evaluated the changes that have come to the profession in recent years, especially after the hosting of the ICCEES conference at Makuhari Messe in August 2015. Here top collaborators from China, Korea and Russia spoke of the profession’s evolution in their home countries, as well as their personal and institutional intersections with Japanese area studies’ academia.

At the SRC itself, two of the major events in the 2000s included the start of the graduate school in 2000 and the renaming of our Center from Slavic Research Center to Slavic-Eurasian Research Center in 2014. These two reforms have meant that in the last 17 years, we have approved 21 doctoral dissertations and 73 master’s theses. Now, students who graduated from our program are working at universities and other research institutions, in media and private companies, in Japan and abroad. Given the realities of education in Japan today, the SRC is no longer growing, but its influence continues to grow as its alumni move out and up in the world.

(David Wolff and Shinichiro Tabata)