Director's Message
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The world is undergoing a great transformation once in hundreds of years. In the spring of 2018, in a twinkling of an eye, East Asia also showed unprecedented changes. Under this background, hearing the call of mission from afar in the roar of the wheel of history, the Center for Japanese Studies of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, an important national base recognized by the Ministry of Education, was founded.

Nanyang Public School, the predecessor of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, was a national policy university established for pressing forward after the Sino-Japanese War. The school opened the East Literature Hall early in 1901 in purpose of recruiting young talents to train Japanese translators. Cai Yuanpei, the most famous educator of the 20th century, was the director of the Nanyang special class. He once lectured modern professional knowledge and trained talents of social change through Japanese books. In 1902, Zhang Yuanji, the most famous publisher of the 20th century, established translation institute and made a remarkable career in translating a large series of Japanese laws and regulations, the Complete Collection of Japanese Laws and Regulations, which contained 80 volumes ,4 million words and was divided into 25 categories. It covers almost all areas of knowledge of modern national systems and laws. In 1992, the Japanese Emperor visited China for the first time in history and made a special trip to the Xuhui campus of our school. Since 2010, Japan Business Federation has long supported corporate legal research and exchanges at Koguan School of Law. Such a long historical memory and brilliant knowledge tradition make Shanghai Jiao Tong University attach great importance to Japanese studies. We have both the willingness and conditions to set up a comprehensive high-end interdisciplinary research institution at the school level in order to deeply investigate the experiences and lessons of Japan's industrialization, modernization and internationalization. In particular, it focuses on legal and political research and exchanges on specific system design and policy initiatives, and is committed to exploring the possibility of the development of a mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries, and repositioning the appropriate role of Japan in the global strategy.


Directorof Center for Japanese Studies

The purpose and objective of the shanghai style study of Japan

Japan is a close neighbor of our country separated by a strip of water. However, we have to admit that the social and psychological distance between the two countries is sometimes very far away. During the long period of 2000 years, Japan was on the edge of Chinese civilization. Based on the sense of suffering, Japan constantly learned technology, system and culture from our country, and remained reserved and independent at the same time. During about one hundred years from the middle of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, Japan successfully joined the ranks of European and American powers through various measures to rapidly promote modernization. It once invaded China and other Asian countries under the banner of "Great East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere", leaving a profound historical trauma. After the end of World War II, Japan re-emerged economically, became a global investment and technological power, and once had the potential to become the dominant power in the Asia-Pacific region. China's reform and opening-up has brought a honeymoon period to the relations between the two countries, and there has even been a mutually beneficial and win-win situation with the joint efforts of insightful individuals. However, the revival of China after the mid-1990s has changed the existing pattern of Asia and the world, shattering some people's predictions about the global order dominated by a single empire in the 21st century. Since then, the relationship between the two countries has become increasingly complex, delicate, and sometimes even very complicated and confusing. Now the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship provides an important opportunity for both sides to review, reflect and repair relations, and also shows the prospect of economic integration and order reorganization in Northeast Asia.

During the process of changes, Japan carried out comprehensive, meticulous and profound observation and analysis on China. Some findings from field surveys (e.g. Taiwan investigation materials, South Manchuria Railway investigation materials, Northern China rural custom survey materials) remain valuable basis for writing proposals by sinologists and politicians. However, in contrast, China's study on Japan is relatively inadequate, inaccurate and unsystematic. Such information asymmetry is bound to hinder the effectiveness of China's diplomacy with Japan, its strategy in Asia and its participation in global governance. It also hinders China from having a clear understanding of itself and constantly promoting reform, innovation and transcendence. Today, if we want to properly understand and position Japan, we shall pay attention to the following three basic instrumental frameworks.

The first one is the framework that distinguishes marine Asia from land Asia. Marine Asia generally refers to those Asian coastal countries with free economy and democratic political system, which are open and reformative. Japan is regarded as the leader of marine Asia. Land Asia, represented by China for a long time, is closed, introverted and traditional. However, since the late 1970s, the rapid growth of China's export-oriented economy coincided with the erosion of the sovereignty over the islands and reefs in the South China Sea have finally awakened the nation's marine consciousness. At the level of the legal system, it is marked by the formulation of the Law on the Territorial Sea and the contiguous Zone in 1992, the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1996, the establishment of China Navigation Day in 2005 to commemorate the 600th anniversary of Zheng he's treasure voyages , the implementation of the planning of the Shanghai International Shipping Center in 2009, the entry into force of the Island Protection Law in 2010, the implementation of the strategic deployment of "managing the sea", "maritime power" and "Maritime Silk Road" after 2013, and so on. In short, China's reform and opening-up, especially a series of strategic arrangements towards the sea since the 1990s, are breaking this epistemological framework.

The second one is the framework of combing economic integration and military alert. Since the late 1970s, China has entered the era of reform and opening-up, which is welcomed by European countries, the United States and Japan. However, after accession to the WTO, China’s economy has further integrated into the global market system, and has gradually grown up. The action of driving into all countries in accordance with the rules of free trade has made European countries, the United States and Japan feel uneasy and even frightened. The security policy of the United States in Asia after the war was different from that in Europe. To be more precise, it did not establish a collective military mechanism like NATO, but determined defense arrangements through the alliance between the two countries, which provided an opportunity for China to manipulate. However, it also provides a grasp for the right-wing conservative forces of the United States and Japan to suppress China's economic development momentum with the help of military and political means. The concrete manifestation is the so-called "cold politics and hot economy" phenomenon. In such a special situation, how to dispel the misgivings of Asian neighbors and remove obstacles to further economic development through a new concept of security, or in turn, how to resolve political and military barriers and to avoid the outcome of an arms race caused by excessive defense mentality in Asian countries through close economic cooperation (such as China-Japan-South Korea Free Trade area, ASEAN 10+3 Free Trade area, etc.) is a key issue that China has been working hard to resolve with great wisdom.

The third one is the framework of not forgetting history and facing the future. On the extension line of the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Declaration, Japan is required to renounce war and the use of force, and then recognize the outcome of the Tokyo trial, which is the basic position of the world at the end of World War II. Japan's response is the promulgation of the post-war pacifist constitution, giving up the right to arm and war, and maintaining the effectiveness of the pacifist constitution through the US-Japan Security Treaty. This historical understanding and pacifist constitution are not only the cornerstone of the post-war Asian order, but also the prerequisite for China to give up war reparations and conclude the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship. However, since the Yasukuni Shrine honored Class A war criminals in 1978 and Nakasone Yasuhiro officially visited the Yasukuni Shrine in the name of prime minister on 15 August 1985, the attempt of some Japanese politicians to revise view of history in Japan has been gradually exposed, constantly causing tension in China-Japan relations. In particular, the fact that an important politician denied the Tokyo trial in March 2013 proves that the past is not the past, but is constantly reappearing as part of the present, and affects the motivation of China and other Asian countries to face the future. How to respond to such changes is not only an important issue of China's foreign policy toward Japan, but also affects China's layout in Asia.

Based on the analysis above, the Center for Japanese Studies of Shanghai Jiao Tong University will integrate all kinds of resources inside and outside the school, and strive to build a top domestically and internationally famous Japanese comprehensive research stronghold and policy think tank in the near future. The short-term goal of us is to carry forward the shanghai style study of Japan, adhering to the characteristics and inclusiveness of “accepting all rivers and endless circulation”, focusing on empirical analysis and exchanges in the five dimensions of high-end legal and political dialogue, in-depth economic cooperation, joint innovation in science and technology, new urban governance and marine development policies. With the benefit that the Center is recognized as the key national research bases of the Ministry of Education, we are going to establish two basic databases, namely, the database of China-Japan exchange talents and the database of China-Japan economic laws and regulations.  We also plan to publish a series of multi-perspective research books on modern Japan (including Japanese studies in the international context, Japanese economy and technology in the eyes of Chinese entrepreneurs, Japanese politicians' views on China and China, Japanese industrial policy, etc.), a set of translation books on the thought of the East Asian Community and the reconstruction of the rule of law, and a journal of Japanese studies. Besides, we plan to hold an annual China-Japan corporate legal forum (held alternately in Tokyo and Shanghai) and other occasional high-end conferences and seminars on the basis of the study and exchange outcomes with Japan, in purpose of promoting dialogue between elites from all walks of life and carrying out public diplomacy in important fields such as politics, law, market, enterprise, government, city, education, welfare, environment, and ocean. Through websites, Wechat official accounts and other methods, we hope to promote diversified communication. In addition, we rely on this research institution to recruit excellent Chinese students who master Japanese, as well as Japanese students who master Chinese, so as to train a group of outstanding talents as bridges and ties for communication, understanding and cooperation between China and Japan in the 21 century.

"as soon as the little tender lotus revealed the tightly wrapped tip of the leaf, a dragonfly stood on its head." I would like to take this opportunity to thank people from all walks of life in China and Japan and friends both inside and outside the school for their sincere concern and support for the establishment and activities of the center. We hope that you will not hesitate to teach us in the long run and make concerted efforts to make our own contributions to peace and prosperity in Asia and the world.