It is a great honor for me to greet you as incoming Secretary General of JAWS. Let me begin by once again thanking the outgoing SG, Brigitte Steger for her wonderful work over a long and productive period. I certainly hope that I can learn from Brigitte, in the confidence that following in your wise steps will be to my benefit. As announced in December 2021, Giulia De Togni is our new Treasurer and Membership Secretary. We would like to thank Ruth Martin, the outgoing treasurer, for her dedicated service. Giulia and I are delighted to be joining forces with Sonja Ganseforth, our incoming internal auditor. Thank you, Fabio Gygi, for your committed work in the role.
When Brigitte wrote the last go-aisatsu in April 2020, she noted that “all of us have been forced into lockdown and have become hikikomori due to a microscopic virus that challenges the world.” She, like all of us, could hardly have imagined just how far and for how long this tiny virus would challenge our lives. In our case, as Japan anthropologists, the challenge that the pandemic has inserted into our professional life has been direct, given that Japan’s physical borders have remained closed for most people since early 2020. I deeply empathize with all of you, students and scholars alike, who have been impacted by the pandemic. While it is almost trite now to use the phrase “life should go back to normal,” let us still hope that we can all have the opportunity to visit Japan and conduct fieldwork as anthropologists very soon. On a happier note, we can ground this hope in concrete fact; according to the MOFA website (https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html), which has been recently updated, it seems that based on the New Border measures, entry of foreign nationals into Japan “under the supervision of receiving organizations” is now permitted.
Finally, I am eagerly waiting to meet again, in “real” face-to-face contact, as many of you as is possible at our upcoming JAWS meeting, which will take place from July 6-9, 2022 at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Sant Cugat del Vallès. The conference has been organized by Blai Guarné. We are very grateful to him for his marvelous work. Blai informs me of a significant turnover of abstracts. I cannot wait to listen to papers on the main theme of the conference, Research on Japan in the (Post-)COVID-19 Era, as well as on other themes related to Japan.
For any queries related to the conference, you can write Blai and the organizing team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to me at email@example.com). In the meantime, I hope you all enjoy the just recently uploaded 2020 JAWS Newsletter https://japananthropologyworkshop.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/JAWS_Newsletter_52_2020.pdf . Thank you to the editors for their wonderful work.
Looking forward to meeting you all soon.
Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni, Secretary General of JAWS, April 2022