Center for Japanese Studies
Japanese language and culture instruction at Berkeley began in 1901 with the full-time appointment of Yoshisaburo Kuno, one of the university's earliest graduates of Japanese descent. By the 1950s, shifting cultural and geo-political realities made clear the need for the study of Japan across the social sciences and humanities disciplines. This led to the birth of the Center for Japanese Studies (CJS) in 1958. CJS, which supports the teaching and research mission of the university in all areas of Japanese studies, boasts 30 faculty members who serve over 2,000 undergraduate and 100 graduate students, as well as a weekly lecture series, faculty and graduate student fellowships, and frequent conferences and colloquia. Every year, specialists from Japan and throughout the world come to UC Berkeley to examine topics as diverse as recent Japanese government reforms and the early history of Japanese cinema.
Berkeley's historical and on-going dedication to the study of Japan, combined with its encouragement of broadly interdisciplinary research, has made the Center for Japanese Studies an ideal place through which to study Japan's social, cultural, and economic impact on the global stage. Its central location in the San Francisco Bay Area and on the Pacific Rim has meant that it has always been able to benefit from considerable support from both Asian and Asian American communities.
In 2008, the university officially opened its new C.V. Starr East Asian Library, whose collection of almost 290,000 volumes written in Japanese is the largest of its kind to be found anywhere in the world outside of Japan. The humidity-controlled rare book vault is a precious storehouse of ancient manuscripts and maps, Buddhist calligraphy, and woodblock prints that draws researchers near and far. In keeping with Berkeley's position as a public university, the library has always been open to non-academics and local community members as well as scholars from around the world.
CJS is committed to creating a community of intellectuals and public figures, including journalists, artists, and business leaders; to examining the historic and present-day connections between Japan and Japanese American communities; to encouraging dialogue and collaboration through our visiting scholars program; and to continuing the promotion of research on Japan that spans the disciplines of Arts & Humanities, the Social Sciences, and many other departments across the campus.
The Center for Japanese Studies invites you to become part of CJS's many initiatives. Join us at our events and help us to further our efforts to promote the innovation and development of Japanese Studies in the United States and around the world!