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Statement adopted by AKSE and EAJS on racism in COVID19 Times



Election of the new EAJS Council

The EAJS is inviting nominations for the election of the EAJS Council for the years 2020-2023.



Call for bids for the site of the 17th EAJS International Conference in 2023




The European Association of Japanese Studies (EAJS) aims to provide its members and the larger Japanese Studies community with timely professional information on new developments in the Japanese Studies field in Europe. Its main source of communication is the EAJS Bulletin but the latest news on academic conferences, workshops or job advertisements is also displayed in the announcement section of the EAJS homepage.


16th EAJS International Conference 2021 in Ghent

Dear colleague,

Normally, we would meet in person now, at the opening of the 16th EAJS Conference 2020 in Ghent. Unfortunately, a virus threw a spanner in the works.

Nevertheless, we are writing to you with good news. We are happy to announce the new dates of the conference. We would like to welcome you personally from 25 to 28 August 2021.

Place of appointment remains the beautiful city of Ghent, a destination Lonely Planet praises as "one of the best places in Europe for culture".

Not only the host city is worth your visit, also the conference programme. Our keynote speaker is none other than Oguma Eiji, professor at Keio University. Your area of expertise is excellently covered.

Click here to follow the updates

From today until Saturday 29 August, the original dates of the congress, we will post interesting articles, videos and updates on the themes of the 16th EAJS Conference.

You will immediately notice: it really pays to save 25 to 28 August 2021 in your agenda. EAJS, City of Ghent, University of Ghent and VISITFLANDERS Convention Bureau are delighted to welcome you.

The Organizing Committee

Mick Deneckere
Marlies Holvoet
Andreas Niehaus

P.S. A typical gift from Flanders will be waiting for you upon arrival on 25 August 2021: the favorite souvenir of presidents and kings!


Concerned East Asian Studies Scholars on Racism in COVID19 Times

Statement adopted by the councils of AKSE (Association for Korean Studies in Europe) and EAJS (European Association for Japanese Studies)

Since the start of the COVID19 pandemic, Europe has witnessed a growing number of incidences of anti- Asian violence. East Asians are being physically assaulted on European streets, yelled at, subjected to verbal attacks and to a variety of discriminatory treatments including abrupt cancellation of rental contracts and denial of essential services, medical treatment included.

In Germany, the South Korean Embassy had to warn its citizens of the growing danger of anti-Korean racist violence and urge caution outside. Recently, a South Korean student couple in Berlin, having been assaulted, were told by the police that they should not ‘defame’ the perpetrators by referring to them as ‘racists.’ In Italy, there are reports of vandalized Chinese shops in the cities of Brescia and Varese. In Britain, in a high-profile incident, a Thai tax consultant was physically assaulted on a street in broad daylight by a gang of ruffians yelling ‘Corona!’ at him. Every new day brings fresh news about violent incidents, verbal assaults, and victims traumatized by the experience of violent racial exclusion. The victims come from a variety of national and ethnic backgrounds comprising most East, South-East, and South Asian societies.

Of course, the anti-Asian violence of the recent months did not emerge out of the blue. For most non- Europeans living in Europe, quotidian lives involve regular battles with an array of problems ranging from denigrating stereotypes and social exclusion to outright verbal or physical violence. It was against this backdrop that COVID19 pandemic and the responses of the European decision- and opinion-makers to it further exacerbated the situation, paving a way towards making Europe’s resident Asians into one more object of xenophobic baiting.

We know very well that the root causes of racism are complex, and the same applies to the anti-Asian racist wave which the current pandemic triggered. We are also aware that patterns of racist exclusion are at work in other continents as well, also in East Asia – the virus is always conceived of as the virus of other ethno- national groups, not of ours. Yet, there is an identifiable connection between the explicitly or implicitly xenophobic discourses produced and disseminated by the politicians and mass media, and the rise in violent xenophobia on the streets. While hardly any country in the world can escape blame for making mistakes while countering the COVID19 pandemic, singling out a particular East Asian country as                   supposedly ‘fully responsible’ for the current disaster is a recipe for social disasters. The racist bullies on the streets do not distinguish between the governments and the people whom they govern, nor do they distinguish between the migrants from different Asian societies. While media’s duty to critically analyse the COVID19 response by any government, domestic and foreign, is to be fully acknowledged, responsible journalists should be able to draw a line between legitimate critique and xenophobic agitation. Regrettably, in these critical hours, European media repeatedly fail in this crucial task. Referring to COVID19 as ‘Chinese virus’ serves as excitement to xenophobia. Routine references to the supposed ‘authoritarianism’ of Asian societies (despite the fact that a number of them, typically South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, are full-fledged parliamentary democracies) in European media mislead the public while holding alive the prejudices and paternalistic attitudes dating back to the age of imperialism and colonialism.

We, representatives of Europe-based experts in East Asian Studies, urge Europe’s decision- and opinion- makers, politicians, journalists and educators included, to be aware about their duty to ensure personal safety and equal treatment to all minorities, including the minorities of Asian origins, inhabiting the European continent, and refrain from any utterances or statements which may serve, explicitly or implicitly, as incitement to racial hatred and xenophobic violence. Furthermore, we urge them to spare no efforts in educating our European co-citizens about the importance of minorities’ rights and unprejudiced perceptions of diverse ethno-national groups, thus not conniving at but developing an antidote to the rampant racial exclusion and violence we are unfortunately witnessing now.


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