Greeting from the Director
Institute of International Relations and Area Studies was founded in 1989,
aimed to promote the fusion of International Studies and Area Studies. As for
today, I still think it is a pioneer work and challenging vision because both
two studies are similar but different in approaches.
Studies examine various problems and phenomena beyond boundaries, for example
environment problems, poverty, armed conflicts and refugees. Clearly these
problems could not be settled by an individual country but require international
cooperation. To solve these problems, students of International Studies think
about how to build global standards and how to promote international cooperation.
the other hand, students of Areas Studies are generally more interested in
‘reinventing’ uniqueness of a society they are observing, rather than thinking
about ‘global’ issues and cross-border universal values. Consequently, the
relationship between International Studies and Area Studies is, at best, not
harmonious and, at worst, in conflict.
mission of our Institute of International Relations and Area Studies is to get
the two studies engaged as an academic paradigm of the 21st century. All of our
previous directors have taken this mission in advance and respected the value
of fusing International Studies and Area Studies. As we face the deepening of globalization,
our mission is getting greater importance.
can feel this even in my own research field. For example, transnational crimes,
such as terrorism, human trafficking and drug trafficking, are becoming global
threats that need to get international cooperation for counter-measures.
International Studies may be good at discussing possible inter-governmental policy
cooperation but less helpful in understanding local dynamics of criminal
activities, which are the core of the problem. This is why we need Area Studies’
perspectives and their inputs toward policy-making circles.
this sense, Area Studies also needs to change. There is no doubt that finding local
uniqueness is the main mission of Area Studies, but it should be more
synchronized with the global agenda. Therefore, I believe, Area Studies needs
to have more dialogue with International Studies.
Institute of International Relations and Area Studies aims to provide such a
place for the dialogue. We are the first to find out its importance and get it
implemented in Japan. So our research activities should be very potential and
attractive. As Director of this Institute, my mission is to make our research
be more known in and outside university.
of Institute of International Relations and Area Studies