IEAS Hosts the 54th Japan-America Student Conference

August 1, 2002

The Institute of East Asian Studies was pleased to host the Japan-America Student Conference (JASC) during August 8-12, 2002, for a portion of its 54th conference. Former IEAS Director Robert Scalapino is a member of the JASC National Advisory Committee.

Celebrating its 68th year, the Japan-America Student Conference ( is the oldest university student exchange program between the U.S. and Japan. Founded in 1934, the JASC alternates countries each year. Throughout its history, the JASC has remained student designed and coordinated. Mutual Understanding, Empowerment and Progress were the visions for this year's conference.

The 54th delegation -- 36 American and 36 Japanese students representing 28 universities and 20 states in the U.S. and 12 universities in Japan -- engaged in academic roundtable discussions, cultural and social events, special topic sessions, panel discussions, field trips and individual and group reflection from July 24 - August 21. Those activities provided the foundation for personal interpretation of a variety of issues concerning Japan and the U.S. and promoted the formation of life-long friendships. Other sites in which the delegates met included Howard University in Washington, DC; Oberlin College in Ohio; and UC San Diego.

The 54th JASC delegation began their Berkeley proceedings on August 8. After roundtable meetings on August 9, the students were joined by distinguished professors for a discussion of social transformation in the U.S. and Japan. Professor Miryam Sas (JASC 1987 & 1988) and Professor Steve Vogel, both of Berkeley, and National Advisory Committee member Peter Duus of Stanford University, shared their research in the areas of historical, cultural and political transformation through the decades. A lively question and answer session was continued at a reception that followed at City Hall. Hosted by the Mayor of Berkeley, the Honorable Shirley Dean, the delegation appreciated learning about Berkeley's roles in environmental and energy conservation and the city's plans for total solar conversion. Remarks by Joan Kask, Assistant Director of the Institute of East Asian Studies, and David Shiver, JASC 1979, who organized the event, were followed by an overview of the JASC thus far by the AEC and JEC Chairs. The delegation shared ideas with alumni and supporters in attendance and enjoyed the beautiful views of Berkeley and the Bay Area.

On August 10, the delegation spanned the area in groups for a variety of activities, including visits to the San Francisco Mission Murals, China Town, Angel Island and the art museums, an organic farmers market and hiking in the Berkeley and Oakland Hills. An afternoon roundtable session brought the delegation back together for paper presentations. That evening, the delegation gathered for more student presentations. After a final roundtable session on August 11, the delegation was ready to begin their forum preparations and pack up for their move to San Diego the following day.