About the Institute of Eurasian Studies
- About the Institute of Eurasian Studies
Background of Establishment
The Institute of Eurasian Studies was established in January 1989, in the midst of perestroika in the Soviet Union, by the then Japan-Soviet Society (now the Eurasian Society of Japan) as the Institute of Soviet Studies with the aim of “promoting comprehensive research on Soviet people’s life, culture, art, economy, society and politics, and to disseminate accurate knowledge about the Soviet Union”.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union (December 1991), the institute was renamed the Institute of Eurasian Studies in 1994 and has remained the same.
Philosophies and Character
Russia has long attracted many people with its fascinating literature, music, and other spheres of culture. At the same time, Russia and the Soviet Union have been full of major events such as revolution, socialism, war, reform and dismantling in the world history, and therefore have been the focus of much attention from the interests of each. Needless to say, Russia is also one of the Japan’s neighbors with various points of contact, including territorial disputes, and so there is a special need to maintain good relations as a neighbor.
The Institute of Eurasian Studies is therefore guided by the philosophies of “connecting scientists’ activities with citizens” and “sharing a balanced understanding” of Russia and other Eurasian regions. “Connecting scientists’ activities with citizens” means not only communicating the research results of scientists to citizens, but also that people who do not engage in research as a profession are also involved in the Institute’s various projects. “Sharing a balanced understanding” means to expand the multifaceted knowledges in Japanese society to enable dispassionate discussion about the region beyond differences in interests and evaluations.
The Institute of Eurasian Studies is not a research institute in the sense of having full-time researchers and its own research facilities, but rather a network of people that share the above philosophies, supporting the Institute by membership fees and volunteer activities. In terms of a network of people, it is similar to an academic society, but differs from that composed mainly of specialists in its emphasis on ” connecting scientists’ activities with citizens ” and in the diversity of its projects.
As is shown by background of its establishment, the Institute of Eurasian Studies has been primarily concerned with the countries of the former Soviet Union. Today, however, various changes have arisen, that force us to question the validity of considering the countries of the former Soviet Union as an integral region as “Eurasian”. In addition, the region does not exist in isolation from other regions, but is a part of the world in flux, including neighboring regions, and thus the geographic scope of interest of the Institute are more or less spread out. For this reason, we believe that “what is Eurasia” itself is one of the “questions” that can be answered in various ways. As described above, the Institute of Eurasian Studies is developing the following projects as a “platform connecting scientists’ activities with citizens to learn and study about Eurasia together”.
The main activities of the Institute of Eurasian Studies are publishing and events.
As publishing activities, the Institute publishes “Eurasian Studies” (once a year) as a general journal for a wide range of readers dealing with various topics on the Eurasian region, and “Russian and Eurasian Society” (quarterly) as a specialized journal covering topics on “society” in the broadest sense, including politics, economy, education, society and so on. We are in charge of planning and editing the “Eurasia Library” published by Gunzosha. In addition, in cooperation with Mitsubishi UFG Research & Consulting, we publish the “Eurasia Research Institute Reports.
As for events, the Institute holds the “Eurasia Seminar” (about six times a year) and the “General Symposium” (once a year) and other symposia.