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In 1947 the University of Michigan announced its establishment of a Center for Japanese Studies  for the purposes of training specialists in this area of knowledge and, through re search, providing the United States with  exact information about a little known area of the world. Michigan's Center for  Japanese Studies was part of a national  project to encourage the specialized  study of parts of the world about which  scanty information is available. For example, there is a center for Russian studies, one on China, another on the  Near East, and another on Southeast Asia, all located at other leading universities.

The years that have gone by since the initial announcement of this project have  not been idle ones, either at the University or in the Far East. Need for exact  knowledge not only of Japan but also of the entire Far Eastern area has in creased rather than lessened with the outbreak of the Korean War, the sign ing of the Japanese peace treaty, and the many international tensions and conflicts  between East and West.

The Center for Japanese Studies has proceeded with its plans for the establishment of a field station in Japan  itself. This was opened in February,  1950, in the town of Okayama. During the first two years' operation, six faculty  members and eleven graduate students have carried on research in Japan.

All those who participate in the Center's program, both faculty and students,  take part in a group research project, and all their findings are immediately avail able to others in the project. The general subject for this cooperative research  is the impact of Western industrial civilization upon Japan's feudal culture.  Some particular aspects of this which members of the Center have explored  have been the influence of kinship on social structure, the elements which make  for a relatively high standard of living  in some regions of Japan, changes in  community living which result from the  growth of Japanese cities, and the structure and functions of village government.

World War II showed educators, government officials, and military leaders how very little was known about some areas and some nationalities. The  kind of information so obviously lack ing then is important in times of peace as well as war, University authorities believe. As many of the previously "backward" countries of the world seek recognition in today's turbulent world, knowledge of these areas become more  important than ever before.

The Center for Japanese Studies is necessarily a small unit — no more than  about 25 students are enrolled in its courses on campus and working at the  field station at any given time. Its importance is not measured by its size,  however, for it is by such specialized instruction and research as this that the  University of Michigan meets an urgent  need of the nation.

The Michigan Alumnus

November 24, 1951, Page 172

Overseas Research

Center for Japanese Studies