Study Groups

The Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies sponsors ongoing study groups to support the research of Harvard faculty and graduate students. These study groups bring together members of the Harvard scholarly community, including faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, visiting scholars, and, in many cases, leading scholars from area institutions, to explore specific research themes that relate in some way to Japan. RIJS currently sponsors two study groups:


Established in 2012 and organized by Prof. Alexander Zahlten (EALC), CinEncounters is a forum for critical engagement with lesser-known masterpieces of Japanese cinema from the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond. From the Japanese “New Wave” to Pink, from Anime to Documentary, screenings will foster a collective exploration with the unexpected, the uncharted and the unusual currents of Japanese film.

Monthly showings will offer an opportunity to gather, discuss and enjoy new encounters with films, filmmakers and the histories and stories behind them. Moreover, screenings will invite critics, filmmakers and others related to the films to join our discussions over Skype, when possible. All films are shown with English subtitles and no prior knowledge of Japanese is required.

Contemporary Japanese Politics

The Contemporary Japanese Politics Study Group was established in 1999 with the goals of better understanding key trends in politics and foreign policy in Japan and focusing a scholarly eye on key issues. This group enables advanced Ph.D. students to circulate their works-in-progress (conference papers, draft dissertation chapters, etc.) and receive feedback, as well as faculty and postdoctoral fellows to present their research.

Chaired by Susan Pharr and Daniel Smith of the Department of Government and co-sponsored by the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations (USJRP) at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the group includes over fifty faculty, graduate students, and others, both at Harvard and across the greater Boston and New England region.

For more information, please contact Shinju Fujihira, Executive Director of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations. For details about study group events, visit their website here.

Previous talks include:

Benjamin Bartlett (USJRP Postdoctoral Fellow)
"Cyber Security Capacity-Building in Comparative Perspective"

Rieko Kage (USJRP Associate, University of Tokyo)
"Positive and Negative Attitudes toward Immigrants: Evidence from Survey Experiments in Japan"

Kiichiro Arai (RIJS Visiting Scholar, Tokyo Metropolitan University)
"Voters Punish Local Governments for Natural Disasters: Evidence from the 2015 Kinu River Flood in Japan."

Yusaku Horiuchi (Dartmouth College)
"Source Cues or Policy Considerations: What Influences Foreign Public Opinion?"