Institute Activities


Over the past two decades, the Institute has played a prominent role in building Harvard’s intellectual infrastructure for the study of Japan through creating professorships in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS).

In addition to supporting Harvard faculty, the Institute also provides for a visiting professorship, named for Edwin O. Reischauer, which offers appointment to a leading scholar in Japanese Studies. During their time at Harvard, typically one year, visiting professors divide their time between research and teaching.

Also among the Institute’s recent initiatives is a program to support Harvard faculty who develop new courses relating to Japan or modify existing courses to include a focus on Japan.


The Reischauer Institute provides grants to both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral fellowships to leading doctoral graduates in Japanese studies. Additionally, the Institute welcomes visiting scholars, who collaborate with faculty and students on their research endeavors and make their own contributions within the Harvard research community.

The Institute also provides support for collaborative research projects and study groups in the humanities and social sciences. These projects bring together faculty and students, both at Harvard and around the greater New England area, who share similar research interests. Other Institute activities include organizing conferences, workshops, symposia, and seminars.

Library Resources

The Reischauer Institute Fund for Support of the Harvard-Yenching Library was established in 1978. With this assistance and through the exemplary efforts of the Harvard-Yenching Institute, the Harvard-Yenching Library houses one of the largest collections of Japanese books outside Japan.

In 1988, the Reischauer Institute established the Documentation Center on Contemporary Japan (DCJ) an important resource for scholars and students of contemporary Japan in the social sciences. DCJ holdings include over 3,500 catalogued volumes, 200 journal and newspaper titles, and access to a variety of electronic resources.

In 2017, DCJ became the Japan Digital Resources Center (JDRC) to reflect the recent shift toward online media and expand its electronic resources on Japan. This new center seeks to build new digital collections; develop services in support of research, teaching, and learning; and initiate various digital projects related to Japanese studies, in collaboration with faculty and  library staff across the University.

Public Events and Lectures

Established in 1974 in response to growing interest in Japanese studies at Harvard, the Japan Forum lecture series provides scholars with an opportunity to share their research with a diverse audience that includes faculty, students, Reischauer Institute affiliates, and the general public. These lectures usually take place each Friday afternoon throughout the academic year. To date, the Institute has sponsored over 750 Japan Forum talks.

In addition to the Japan Forum, the Institute supports a wide variety of Japan-related artistic and cultural endeavors for the Harvard community and general public. Information about upcoming events can be found here.


The Reischauer Institute supports publications on Japan in the Harvard East Asian Monograph (HEAM) Series issued through the Publications Office of the Harvard University Asia Center. Other works on Japan, particularly in the humanities, are published in the Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series (HYIMS), which is funded by the Harvard-Yenching Institute.

Local Partnerships

The Reischauer Institute maintains close relations with a number of institutions throughout the greater Boston and New England area. These institutions include the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston, Japan Society of Boston, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and Peabody Essex Museum.

International Programs

The Reischauer Institute actively promotes study abroad programs at the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies and the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama. The Institute also provides support for the summer internship program with the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.