The Japan Studies Association of Canada (JSAC) is the only academic organization in Canada dedicated solely to the study of Japan. JSAC is an academic organization of approximately 70 members in good standing, composed of social science and humanities scholars whose major field of research is Japan spreading across 25 universities in Canada and elsewhere. JSAC holds annual conferences all across Canada.

The 2016 Annual Conference at the University of British Columbia (UBC)

This year, the annual conference will be hosted by the Centre of Japanese Research (CJR), housed within the Institute of Asian Research (IAR) at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
The 2016 conference to be held at UBC will bring together Japan Studies researchers from diverse disciplinary fields from throughout Canada and the world. This will include scholars in geography, fine arts, anthropology and ethnology, business, literature and cultural studies, history, linguistics, psychology, sociology, economics, law and political science.


UBC, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, is an ideal location to host this year’s annual conference. It has a long history of relations with Japan and the strong influence of Japan in the city. This can be seen in the fervent interest students have in Japanese popular culture, especially manga and animation, and the vast number of students interested in studying Japanese (UBC currently has 700 first-year Japanese students and boasts the largest language program in continental North America).


Japan-related events held on and off campus regularly convene large audiences of interested citizens. Culinary interest in Japan outstrips perhaps any other culture, with a sushi restaurant seemingly on every block (and more than 500 across the city). Japanese technologies continue to inspire interest, and the adoption of Japanese automobiles is apparent. Japan’s participation in the TPP brought further attention to the country and its relationship to Canada, particularly in business and political circles. Parallels have similarly been drawn in terms of the baby boomer generation (now moving into retirement) and the challenges for health care and pension systems in both Japan and Canada. Although Japan’s influence is global, there are myriad aspects of its relationship to Canada that make its influence here unique, whether in terms of culture, technology, or business. Japan still faces various hurdles in its global relationships and cultural and social implications deserve greater study. The conference will capitalize on the strong local interest in Japan to spur greater understanding about Japan’s place in the world.