I began my term of office as Secretary General of JAWS at our last conference, which was held – as is the case every three years – concurrently with Section 5 of the EAJS conference in Ljubljana in late August 2014.
I would like to thank our outgoing Secretary General, John Traphagan, for his valuable work over the past years. His expertise will not be lost. He is now a member of our Advisory board and continues to manage our mailing list.
We had a fantastic conference, which was very well organised by the Department of East Asian Studies in the charming Slovenian capital. The location showed itself at its best with beautiful weather, street festivals and culinary highlights. I heard many insightful and profound papers and particularly enjoyed the discussions on happiness and on rubbish, among others. Most importantly, the atmosphere at the JAWS sessions and events was how I have always loved our association – inspiring, uplifting and supportive. We celebrated our 30th birthday with a fabulous dinner, organised by our local member, Nataša Visočnik (many thanks, Nataša!) and preceded by a very constructive and engaging General Meeting.
At the GM, we decided on a radical change: JAWS Membership fees no longer have to be paid annually. Instead, we introduced life membership. For a very modest one-time payment of £25, €30, $40 or ¥4000, everyone who identifies with the aims and objectives of the Japan Anthropology Workshop is welcome to join (see the ‘membership’ link on our website for details).
Membership brings a number of benefits: the right to attend JAWS conferences, the right to purchase hardcover books from the JAWS Routledge series at a 70 (!) percent discount, membership on the mailing list and JAWS newsletters. Most of all, JAWS provides the benefit of belonging to a community of active and very supportive academics interested in Japanese society. We especially welcome younger colleagues who are still working on their degrees and we will attempt to find financial support for graduate students and unaffiliated recent postdocs to attend our conferences.
Andrea de Antoni, Emma Cook and Blai Guarné – supported by a group of new members – are now not only in charge of editing the JAWS newsletter, but are also editors of the website, for which they have many ideas. Our aim is to improve information exchange and social support networks. I hope that this will encourage all of you to make regular active use of the website and the discussion groups.
Joy Hendry continues to be Senior Editor of the very successful JAWS series at Routledge, and we now have an impressive selection of books to offer. JAWS members can submit a proposal and they will find their manuscripts in the hands of professional and supportive editors who will make sure that the book will be scrutinised by strict but helpful reviewers before being published as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Last but not least, members greeted Selcuk Esenbel’s offer to host the next JAWS conference in Istanbul at Boğaziçi University in early September 2015 with enthusiasm. I look very much forward to seeing you on the shores of the Bosporus next year!
With warm wishes,
30 September 2014