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Interview with Lee Yeounsuk, Director of Hitotsubashi University’s Center for Korean Studies

Date 2017-10-12 Event period ~ Read 564
Interview with Lee Yeounsuk, Director of Hitotsubashi University’s Center for Korean Studies

Interview with Lee Yeounsuk, Director of Hitotsubashi University’s Center for Korean Studies

We recently paid a visit to Professor Lee Yeounsuk, director of the recently-opened Center for Korean Studies at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, Japan. Professor Lee shared his thoughts on the major initiatives of his Center as well as its vision for the future.

Would you give us a brief introduction to your Center?
The Center for Korean Studies at the Graduate School of Language and Society at Hitotsubashi University was founded on December 1, 2016, becoming the “new leader” of Korean Studies in Japan. The Center aims to pursue the links between Korean society and the Asian community through academic research, while seeking a new direction for Korean Studies and identifying future prospects for the region based on “experience, memories, and symbiosis.”

Please tell us about the major programs and activities of your Center.
During the first six months since its establishment, the Center has held 20 academic events and has engaged in wide-ranging research. In addition to international conferences, we also conduct regular programs under different research themes through the Korean Studies Forum, the Research Society for Pre-modern and Modern Figures, the International Exchange Seminar, the Society of Reading Colonial Experience and Memories, the Book Review Society, cultural lectures for symbiosis, and classes for citizens.

Are there any specific Korean Studies subjects that have been the focus of the Center’s research?
The Center’s long-term goal is reviewing the historical relations of the two countries from a future-oriented perspective, while disseminating the essence of Korean culture in Japanese society. With that in mind, we are planning a project entitled “My Life and Korean Studies Research,” which centers on an interview with a senior researcher who has devoted his life to Korean Studies in Japan. We are undertaking this initiative because we believe recording the history of Korean Studies will prove to be a valuable resource for our junior academics who will commit themselves to the research of this subject in the years to come.

What do you think is necessary to promote Korean Studies at Hitotsubashi and other universities in Japan in the coming years?
The pursuit of Korean Studies in Japan is a social mission of special significance. The two countries share multi-dimensional historical links, meaning it is necessary to look into mutual perceptions developed from such a background and to build the intellectual foundation from which a future relationship can be constructed. The Center is striving to become the leading institution for Korean Studies research and teaching in Japan, as well as a focal point for the local community by combining the academic tradition of Hitotsubashi with experts from the discipline.

How was the international conference on May 13? How do you envision cooperating with the KF?
The May conference, celebrating the founding of the Center, was a success. Under the theme of “Artistic Imagination of Korean Culture and Its Depths,” academic papers were presented on music, fine arts, dance, and textiles. Artists from Korea delivered a series of colorful performances, with participants offering high praise. We were able to hold the conference thanks to the support of the KF, and here I would like to once again express our sincere appreciation to the KF. My Center, together with the KF, will do our utmost to promote Korea in Japan through meaningful and stimulating programs.

KF Tokyo Office

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