From the secretariat

【From the secretariat】 The application period for the 2023 Program for the Program for Asia-Japan Research Development has begun.

Recently, Kyoto City has been filled with the hustle and bustle of the Gion Festival, and I am very happy that the city has regained its active atmosphere (though there is still some concern about the seventh wave of the COVID-19 in Japan). The Gion Festival has two parades: the former is the "Yamahoko Junko parade" when huge floats are pulled through the streets. As I don't like the heat and crowds much, I am looking forward to watching the latter parade which is the "Kanko-sai festival (還幸祭)", a Shinto ritual in which people carry a portable shrine for the god enshrined in the Yasaka Shrine through the city streets. The parade passes directly in front of Suzaku campus of Ritsumeikan University where I work, and I can enjoy the atmosphere of the festival from the window of my office, while avoiding the terrible heat outside. It feels as if I have a kind of a special box seat

A miniature of the Yamahoko float displayed in Daimaru department store, Kyoto

What is the Program for Asia-Japan Research Development?

In this program, researchers in Ritsumeikan can propose research projects that aim to resolve various issues in Asia under one of the three research areas: Symbiosis, Co-creation and Co-commitment.

An attractive feature of this program is that accepted proposals will receive six million yen annually for three years, and about 80% of this project budget will be used for personnel expenses to hire young researchers. This is because training young researchers is one of the main missions of the AJI.

A explanation of each research field and the issues accepted in the past can be checked here. 


Many people might have the general impression that the AJI promotes only the research themes of humanities and social sciences. However, as you can see, that is not the case at all. The AJI also promotes the research themes of the natural sciences and interdisciplinary researches. 

A Change of viewpoint from this year (international presence)

While the content of the application is generally the same as in previous years, but from this year we added the screening viewpoint of "whether the research project will contribute to enhancing the international presence of the AJI and Ritsumeikan University". The AJI has made this change in order to ensure that a particular research project is not only conducted in the field of Asia and Japan, but also that its research activities will contribute to global society and have an appeal both within and outside the university. 

From a small seed a mighty tree grows

Kozo Watanabe, the Vice President of the Ritsumeikan in 2015, who initiated the establishment of the Asian-Japan Research Organization and the AJI, often emphasized that "from small beginnings great things can grow". Indeed, as have witnessed first hand from the secretariat there has been a substantial increase in the activities, the quality and the quantity of results of the AJI in these past eight years, and the same certainly applies for the Program for Asia-Japan Research Development. Although the substantive budget for research itself may not be considered a large-scale grant after subtracting personnel costs, the results obtained through the three years of activities can lead to getting a much larger grant from outside the university which can grow further ambitious research themes.

We are looking forward to receiving many applications again this year.


Application guideline and form
*Deadline: 2022/9/20 (Tue.) Noon

Written by NaKa
Translated by NaKo