-IR Office will be closed for Summer break -
Our office will be closed from August 11
to August 19, 2018 for Summer holidays.
We are sorry for the inconvenience we may cause.
*Summer Recess; From August 2nd to Sep 25th, Office Hours start from 1pm to 5pm.
Office will be closed in August 29th for staff training.
Thank you for your understandings.
College of International Relations Ritsumeikan University
Graduate School of International Relations Ritsumeikan University
The 1st “First Year Retreat” in the College of International Relations was held on June 23, 2018. The First Year Retreat (FYR) is a new initiative of the College of International Relations for the students who enrolled in AY2018 to plan for their four year study at Ritsumeikan University. Students talked about the selection of IR program & ZEMI, and other possibilities such as the study abroad with faculty members & graduates and thought about possible paths as the first step to maximize learning opportunities.
The event started with an overall guidance that many freshmen learned about the meaning of the Graduation Research which become one of IR Graduation Requirements and the importance of selecting a proper program and advanced seminar followed by the information sessions by Alumni who have been actively working in various areas.
In the first part of the event, two professors in the College of IR: Associate dean Dr. Ryoji Nakagawa and Dr. Sayaka Fukumi explained about what they will learn in each professional area and cluster as well as the importance of the Graduation Research as a capstone to the students in IR and GS major.
In the second part, students split up into small groups based on their interests and listened to the talk of 9 alumni who have been working at business companies or in the area of official affairs, Mass Communication, and international cooperation or studying in the graduate school of International Relations at RU about what they learned through the Core Program Courses, the selection of an advanced seminar and thesis theme, study abroad experiences, extracurricular activities such as clubs and self-directed seminars, and how these experiences lead to where they are now. The alumni was kindly answering to many questions which were given by students at the end of each session.
The event become a good opportunity to think of their four year study plans and careers as students were inspired by alumni’s talks and commented “My motivation for studying at RU has been lifted up”, “Guests provided me with new choices”, and so on. Since it is rare for the alumni to talk with university students, they also commented “I was very much inspired”, “Students are lucky as there was no such event when I was a RU student”.
In the afternoon, students departed for Soni Kogen in Nara prefecture and participated in a camp for networking, which was planned and organized by Oritors.
The College of IR has been providing freshmen with various supports in the area of the academic writing, advising, and so on to make sure that their study will be in a planned manner and go smoothly from the first year through their Graduation Research and selection of careers.
*The event was held in cooperation with the College of IR, Office of Student Affairs, and Career center.
IR major *Information sessions were held in Japanese
- International Order & Peace program ⇒ Japanese broadcasting company
- International Cooperation & Development program ⇒ International Tourism company
- International Cooperation & Development program ⇒ Japanese maker
- International Cultural Understanding program ⇒ Local public officer
- International Administration program ⇒ National public officer
- International Administration program ⇒ JICA JOCV & will study abroad for a graduate school
GS major * Information sessions were held in English
- GS major ⇒ European Consulting Firm
- GS major ⇒ Graduate school of International Relations at Ritsumeikan University
Messages from Alumni
- Welcome to Kyoto and Ritsumeikan University! As one of the alumni, I really wish you could enjoy your study here, but choose your class and academic direction wisely so that you could do the things that you are interested in in the future. You could try out a lot of the things offered here and know the university as well as the city. You can make this 4 years the most unforgettable years of your life and really make use of it.
- There is any chance out there if you look for, during your university life.
There are many chances to find platforms and scholarships to have various experiences. As being a student, adults can help you as much as they can. Please try to learn how to influence people. I suggest you to do what you really want to do, rather than compromising and feeling “I have to “. Time flies. Please enjoy your university time.
- Choose your interests、Don’t give up、Respect professors and try to make friends with them、Be nice to your friends and peers. Enjoy your college life.
- When you feel confused, read more.
On July 12th, College of International Relations hosted the special lecture of visiting professor Amitav Acharya in its 30th anniversary events.
At the beginning, Professor Adachi introduced Professor Amitav Acharya as a distinguished professor of International Relations, the UNECSO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance at the School of International Service of American University in Washington, DC and the Chair of the ASEAN Studies Initiative. He served as a President of the International Studies Association (ISA) in 2014-2015 and has been a visiting Professor at Ritsumeikan University for several years. Professor Adachi said that Professor Acharya’s ideas of global International Relations resonated with Ritsumeikan University so much that a joint degree program on global IR was launched with American University. Professor Adachi also mentioned that the title of today’s presentation is also a tentative title of Amitav Acharya’s upcoming book.
Professor Acharya thanked Professor Adachi for his kind introduction and everyone for their warm welcome. He started his presentation by explaining his views on the evolution of International Relations as a discipline. From a global perspective, this evolution can be divided into four main stages. The first may be called “creationism” and starts in the inter-war period. It is characterized by a normative concern about the world war and preventing it from happening again. The second stage is “Americanization” of IR taking place from 1945 to 1989. American dominance in the discipline was so prevailing at that time that Stanley Hoffman even calls IR “American social science” (1977). The period from 1989 (the end of Cold War) to 2008 (global financial crisis) is characterized by pluralization of theoretical approaches. Finally, current period is called “globalization” and is characterized by liberal hegemony and “third founding of the discipline”: while IR is still dominated by American and other Western ideas, there is a growing dissatisfaction and attempts to create a more globalized narrative.
Professor Achariya then proceeded to describe the four stages in detail starting with the so-called “creationism” stage (1919-1939). The term itself is derived from theology and philosophy where it related to the debate between creationists who believe in the creation of the world by God out of nothing and evolutionists who think that the world evolved from multiple factors interacting with each other. Another alternative to creationism: Aristotle’s doctrine of the “Eternity of the World” that was preserved and propagated thanks to Muslim philosopher Ibn Rushd who wrote commentaries to the Greek classical philosopher’s work. The doctrine of the “Eternity of the World” is opposed to the “big bang” or one-moment creation. Similarly, IR as a discipline is thought to have derived from multiple sources including Alfred Zimmern’s idealism, E.H. Carr’s realism and resulting “first debate” between the idealists and the realists but also IR thinking and practices from outside Europe such as anti-imperialism from Asia and Africa, Asian regionalism, Pan-Arabism from the Middle East, Pan-Americanism from Latin America etc. Thus, Professor Achariya challenges the traditional “myth of creation” of IR as a discipline at University of Wales-Aberystwyth in 1919 with the creation of Woodrow Wilson Chair in International Politics. One of the reasons why we cannot accept this narrative is that it largely neglects imperialism and racism, issues of major concern to the majority of the world population that was under colonial or semi-colonial rule at that time.
According to Achariya, the second stage of IR development covers the period from 1945 to 1989. After World War II, IR theories have to respond to new important phenomena such as the Cold War, nuclear weapons, European integration, and later energy crisis. Realists point out that the newly founded UN is paralysed by constant disagreement between the US and Soviet Union while liberalists suggest regional integration and interdependency theory as a solution. The second debate between liberalism and realism occurs, this time of more epistemological rather than ideological nature. Arguing over the use of methodology: classical (historical, interpretation) vs. scientific (behaviourist) methods, they eventually reach consensus on anarchy. This central concept for realism is finally accepted by neoliberalism, with the proviso that anarchy can be mitigated by institutions and their monitoring mechanisms. Another consensus between neoliberalism and neorealism is reached upon the concept of rational choice; as a result, IR field starts following the logic of economics rather than philosophy and becomes narrower. This “neo-neo” synthesis is challenged by emerging critical theories (poststructuralism and feminism) and theories from the periphery (dependency theory and postcolonialism).
The third stage of pluralization of IR (1989-2008) occurs in the context of the end of the Cold War and shift of the global power balance as well as ethnic conflicts and emerging powers (China and India). The idea of containment of communism as no longer relevant gives way to the spread of democracy as the latter is assumed to be better for the world peace. This leads to creation of liberal peace theory (Doyle; Russett), offensive realism vs. defensive realism debate, and rise of other theories, among which constructivism concerned with norms and identity becomes the preferred approach for many IR researchers. Other theories include postmodern tradition focusing on language and deconstruction of existing narratives, neo-Marxist and Gramscian approaches discussing issues of hegemony and production, English school concerned with expansion of European rules and institutions, feminism criticising conventional IR for being a largely masculine project, and postcolonialism investigating issues of race, gender and marginality of postcolonial agency.
Finally, the current stage defined by Professor Achariya as ongoing from 2008 is characterized by globalization and major move from the Eurocentric to Global IR. While some scholars develop the theory of liberal hegemony, end of the paradigms and thus the end of theory, others are concerned with the absence of non-Western IR theory. Hypothesis why non-Western IR is absent include: 1) hegemony and continuing dominance of American IR which may marginalize other approaches, 2) lack of visibility, 3) lack of resources for non-Western scholars to develop and publish their work. Possible solutions for bringing non-Western world into IR may involve creative use of non-Western classical ideas, possibly blended with Western knowledge, developing nationalist thinking, Global South scholarship and regional dynamics. According to Achariya, the key trends in the global IR currently include: 1) pluralistic universalism embracing diversity and at the same time seeking common ground, 2) grounding in global history, 3) theoretical and methodological pluralism making global IR distinctly different from post-colonialism that draws only from their local context, 4) combining IR and area studies: insights from the area and knowledge of a particular country, 5) highlighting regional and global dynamics and 6) recognition of multiple forms of non-Western agency. Professor Achariya emphasized that agency is not material nor limited to action; agency can mean creating a context for action locally and exporting it globally. He stressed that many parts of the world that are poor materially are rich ideationally, and ideas can come from everywhere.
The presentation was followed by a Q&A session during which participants asked questions about Buddhist nationalism and its place in the narrative of the global IR, clashes between international and local perspective in the case of ethnic conflicts in Rakhine State in Myanmar, ways to escape binary or categorization explanations in IR, differences between Asian and African IR traditions in their ways to relate and reflect theoretically on their historical slavery.
First, Professor Acharya explained that while Buddhist thinking is a part of the global IR and has an advantage of bringing the common in people very peacefully, we should bear in mind that Buddhist nationalism is a politicization of religion rather than Buddhist thinking per se.
Regarding the contestation between international and local, Professor Achariya stressed that it is a matter of domestic politics that prevents the mutual understanding between the local and the international side. Global IR approach can be helpful here as it seeks understanding social phenomena before attempting to explain them like rational IR theory and attempts to do so in a broader range of reality than a particular geographical or historical context. Seeing a broader reality can also be a solution to avoid a binary approach in IR.
While slavery existed in most societies in different forms and for different purposed and certain forms exist until today, it is also true that African slavery was most brutal, massive and had tremendous impact on the rise of the West, underdevelopment of the African continent and ongoing racial discrimination. Therefore, it is not surprising that Pan-African thinkers – not limited to Africa but also including the US, the Caribbean and other regions – place so much emphasis on slavery and race.
Professor Acharya provided the listeners with further readings on the topic and his social media handles to continue the discussion and reflection on the global IR. The audience thanked the speaker with a warm applause.
On July 3rd, 2018, the Award Certificate Presentation Ceremony was held for the recipients of Saionji Memorial Scholarship (Academically Outstanding Students Category) for AY 2018 Spring Semester, and +R Challenge Scholarship for the AY 2018. Professor Akihiko Kimijima, Dean at the College of International Relations delivered a speech hoping for all of the recipients’ success in the future and their fulfilling responsibilities as a representative of the College. The recipients were presented the certificate of scholarship by either Dean Kimijima or Professor Nakagawa, Assistant Dean at the College of International Relations.
Yi SHI (Global Studies Major) on behalf of Saionji Memorial Scholarship recipients and Yuusaku YONEDA (International Relations Major) on behalf of +R Challenge Scholarship recipients gave a speech at the ceremony. These two students expressed their determinations like; She will study more diligently to keep herself deserve honor. He will develop research activities on the Middle East which he has been involved, and would like to deepen his knowledge in his field of expertise as well.
The IR faculty members of Senmon Ensyu / Advanced Seminar classes joined the award ceremony and the after party in order to have an opportunity to interact with the recipients. The recipients shared the details of their activities and motivation for their further success.
In accordance with the objectives of the “Ritsumeikan Model of Learning”, this scholarship aims to reward students who, through hard work, have excelled academically in their curricular studies, and encourage such students to serve as role models for study and further growth among their peers.
It aims to support the study progress of students who have obtained good grades in curricular subjects, who possess problem awareness gained through specialized undergraduate study and who develop this awareness with the aim of pursuing specific topics of study. In this way, the scholarship aims to encourage such students to serve as models for learning and growth among their peers.
Information on these
scholarships (Japanese Version Only):
Whither the Japanese “Circles of Compensation” in the era of globalization? Kent Calder, one of the most influential Japan specialists, talked for College of IR
On June 7, College of International Relations and the International Studies Association at Ritsumeikan University invited Dr. Kent E. Calder as the first guest speaker for its 30th anniversary special lecture series. Dean Akihiko Kimijima of College of IR introduced Dr. Calder as one of the most important Japan and Asia specialists, and emphasized his unique career as a researcher, as an educator at prominent schools, and as a practitioner. Dr. Calder has served as Special Advisor to the US Ambassador to Japan (1997-2001) and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (1989-1993 and 1996). He is currently Professor and Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., and will assume the Vice Dean at SAIS on July 1, 2018.
Many students from College and Graduate School of International Relations, include its Global Studies Major and American University Ritsumeikan University Joint Degree Program joined the lecture to learn from the well-known Japan specialist.
Dr. Calder’s talk was mainly about his latest book, Circles of Compensation: Economic Growth and the Globalization of Japan, published by Stanford University Press. This book can be understood as an updated and combined version of his earlier masterpieces, Crisis and Compensation: Public Policy and Political Stability in Japan, 1949-1986 and Strategic Capitalism: Private Business and Public Purpose in Japanese Industrial Finance, published in 1988 and in 1993 respectively by Princeton University Press.
What Dr. Calder tries to explain through the concept of “Circles-of-Compensation (CoC)” is how CoC in the Japanese society have internalized the benefits they can produce and how costs have been externalized to players who remain outside CoC. For instance, Kansai International Airport’s landing fee is much higher than other major international airports in the region such as Incheon International Airport. However, in the context of CoC, high price has not been regarded as a negative thing. Instead, higher price has been transferred to benefits that CoC can share together whereas external players should pay the higher cost. The question he wants to raise is whether CoC can be sustainable and continuously successful in the era of globalization when the rest of the world is competing by lowering price and rapidly changing.
Dr. Sumiyo Nishizaki, who is currently Assistant Professor of College of IR at Ritsumeikan University and served as the commentator of Dr. Calder’s talk, emphasized that CoC mechanism used to function very well as the stabilizer of the society in the era of Cold War when the Japanese economy was dramatically changing and when ideological conflict was serious enough to cause a domestic political crisis.
Dr. Calder does not disagree with Dr. Nishizaki’s view; he also admits historical contribution of CoC. Nonetheless, he continues that CoC are unlikely to work as effectively as before because CoC can keep making it difficult to reform the Japanese society and to adopt innovative changes the rest of the world would make. Abenomics’ third arrow, structural reform, remains as the most challenging task because of CoC, according to Dr. Calder.
His prescription, however, is neither collapse nor dismantling of CoC because it can be counter-productive. Rather, he suggests the following two: first, CoC can broaden the scope and be more inclusive to other domestic players; and second, CoC can also broaden the scope with cross-bordering players, internationally. His concluding remark was inspirational to Ritsumeikan Community who have been pursuing cosmopolitanism and innovation.
On March 20nd, the Ritsumeikan University Undergraduate and Graduate School Graduation Ceremony was held. There, 281 students from the College of International Relations and 15 students from the Graduate School of International Relations were awarded Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
Many family members and friends of graduates, faculty and staff members were there to celebrate. Graduates will soon start their new careers here in Japan and around the world.
Graduates, congratulations and good luck on your future!
In April 2018, the College of International Relations will start a Joint Degree Program with School of International Service, American University.
The new English website is now live and provides details about the program - including its 4 year study plan, as well as the latest scholarship information. Please check it out!
Many international students from various countries like the U.S.A, Canada, U.K, Korea, India, China, Indonesia are learning in the College and Graduate School of International Relations. The Career Center and University Consortium Kyoto held a career guidance session for students who are seeking job in Japan after their graduation.
The Career Center held the program “Working in Japan” by inviting young alumni of the Global Studies major, who are working in Japanese companies now. They encouraged current students to expand their opportunities after introducing their job hunting process and efforts they made such as undertaking Japanese language training, CV writing practice and information gathering.
In the Kyotomorrow Academy guidance, students had an introduction of activities of the program like Japanese training, cultural experiences and internships in Japanese company. Current Academy members explained their experiences too.
By hosting such guidance sessions, the College of IR will support international students who seek job opportunities in Japan.
All Ritsumeikan participants were keen to learn new things and appeared to have a really meaningful time. After the main event, some of us had dinner together at the canteen. During that time, we shared cultures and future plans. We also had the opportunity to talk with many people.
It was really valuable for all the participants to talk with diplomats and government employees. Through such events, we can forge good relationships beyond borders. This connection motivates students on our international activities.
RIRIE is going to plan this kind of international exchange programs henceforth. The next event will be one with high school students from South Korea in February, 2018. We look forward to getting many applicants.
(Adapted from RIRIE’s report.)