The Asiatic Society of Japan Welcomes You!

Who We Are

The Asiatic Society of Japan (often referred to as "ASJ" or simply "The Society") is a learned organization that strives to serve a general audience of well-read non-specialists who share intellectual interests in "things Japanese."

The Asiatic Society of Japan is Japan's oldest learned society. Meeting regularly since its establishment in 1872, The Society prides itself on having been the first academic organization in Japan to promote research and disseminate knowledge about Japan around the world. Among The Society pioneers are such famous Japanologists as Dr. James Hepburn, Sir Ernest Satow, Basil Hall Chamberlain, and William Aston. The historic inaugural meeting of the Society was held in the Yokohama foreign enclave in 1872, shortly after the Meiji Restoration.

What We Do

The continuing, living tradition of the Society is an inheritance from its founders and continues to serve as an inspiration to members in their scholarly pursuits today. At each monthly meeting a specialist delivers a lecture based on original research. The lectures generally last about fifty minutes and are followed by questions and discussion. Many lectures examine and explore Japanese culture, history, literature, politics, and economics. Some go beyond Japan in intellectual pursuit of other fields of Asian culture. Recent topics have included:

  • Japanese Netsuke: Treasured Miniatures
  • Japanese Government, San Francisco Treaty, & Disposition of Okinawa
  • On the Life of the Meiji Emperor
  • Sumo: Samurai to Cyberspace: How sumo is adapting to the changing times
  • Edwin O. Reischauer
  • The Rediscovery of the Japanese Sword
  • The Role of Women in Kyogen
  • The Tokugawa Art Collection
  • The Brush of Asia and the Forms of Europe
On certain occasions, the lectures are followed by social gatherings or receptions featuring light refreshments. The Society occasionally holds events beyond the lecture series.

Eligible members received a copy of the Society's annual journal, the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, containing full texts of selected papers presented at meetings of the Society and other articles submitted to the Society's Council, including book reviews.

The Society also publishes a monthly newsletter, the Bulletin, containing a detailed summary of the previous month's lecture, lecturer profiles, announcements of coming events, and news of The Society and its members.

Members can also participate in visits to special exhibitions at museums and art galleries, and other events arranged for members.

Outstanding Lecturers

The Society draws the best lecturers from academia, government, business, and many other fields. Outstanding lecturers have included:

  • HIH The Crown Prince
  • HIH Prince Mikasa
  • HIH Prince Takamado
  • Dr. Donald Keene
  • Dr. Jacqueline Wasilewski
  • Mr. Yoshinobu Tokugawa
  • Mr. Kenji MIshina
  • Professor Brian Falconbridge
  • Dr. Hisaaki Yamanouchi
  • Dr. Maria Pia Casarini
  • Mr. Masumi Muramatsu
  • Dr. Jane Compton
  • Sir Hugh Cortazzi, GCMG
  • The Rev. Dr. Neal Henry Lawrence, OSB.
  • HE Ambassador George Sioris (ret)

An Invitation

We invite you to experience a Society meeting as our guest. Meetings are held monthly (except during the July-August recess) at 18:30, usually on the third Monday of each month. The venue varies, so please call The Society's office or check the ASJ homepage for the latest details. We look forward to you joining us!