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2018 is the Year of Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Spain (1868-2018), honoring the signing of the Amity, Commerce and Navigation Treaty between the two nations on November 12th, 1868. To commemorate this anniversary, the Association of Japanese Studies in Spain will hold its 13th National and 4th International Conference titled: “Perspectives of the Bilateral Relations between Spain and Japan” from November 21st to 23rd, 2018. It will be a joint effort by the Centro de Estudios de Asia Oriental (Center for East Asian Studies: http://departamento.lllf.uam.es/ceao/) at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid together with the Spanish Association of Japanese Studies (AEJE: http://aeje.org/en/). This is the first time that an AEJE conference will be held at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Since opening to the world in the year 1868, Japan has been a transit point of discourses, ideas, trends, influences and interpretations. Its diplomatic strategies dramatically shifted from a national context to a universal one, establishing the soil in which the roots of the nation’s future political power would grow.

What were the main directions taken by Meiji Japan and how did they relate to the subsequent international policies leading up to today? Who were behind the decisions that shape the international image of Japan during the 20th century? Why did Japan change certain diplomatic alliances and who were they?

The commemoration of 150th anniversary of the signing of the treaty between Japan and Spain provides the perfect opportunity for a comparative examination of the history of both nations. The conference will focus on questions such as: What main challenges have both countries faced during these past 150 years? What were the highlights and the lowest moments within this friendship? What are the tasks our diplomatic corps need to address in order to strengthen our friendship? What are the main characteristics which can distinguish the diplomatic relations between Japan and Spain in comparison with Western nations that will also commemorate their respective celebration of mutual friendship in 2018?

Another important focus of the conference will be on stepping away from the traditional definition of diplomacy as the relation established between two states and consider the concept in terms of academic and intellectual spheres, thought and religion, the different organizations and associations in diverse fields, the economic, commercial and industrial sectors, and the people in general (grassroots diplomacy), in order to present the fascinating brocade of the 150 years of mutual conversations between Japan and Spain.

These different exchanges constitute what Joseph Nye defined as “soft power” that is “based on intangible or indirect influences such as culture, values, and ideology”. This “soft power” is the force that Japan has strategically used to increase its international credibility and gain access to different channels of communication to establish its international presence.

To facilitate debates about these questions, we are inviting specialists on Japanese studies to take part in the conference. The 13th National & 4th International Conference aims to become a meeting place between researchers and professionals from different countries, providing them with the opportunity to present their research. With the conference having a multidisciplinary approach, participants are encouraged to present works from different perspectives that include: anthropology, architecture, art, cinema and audiovisual communication, sciences, law, economy and commerce, education, philosophy, geography, history, linguistics, literature, policy and international relations, psychology, sociology, among others.

Keynote conferences are organized to frame the main expositions of the different thematic sessions that constitute the conference. There will be an opportunity for a selection of papers from the conference to be published in the academic journal MIRAI. Estudios Japoneses.

The conference is aimed towards professionals whose research is linked to Japan. It is also aimed at graduate students whose main work is related to the subject of diplomacy. This will provide an opportunity to both graduate and post-graduate students to engage in conversations with world specialists. For this reason, a seminar for graduate students open to different institutions is also included in the program. During the conference the Annual Assembly of the Association of Japanese Studies in Spain (AEJE) will also be hold.

The Association of Japanese Studies in Spain and the Center for East Asian Studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid have always been very active in promoting the research and dissemination of Japanese studies, and both have celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. In keeping with our objective to transmit Japanese culture, we invite those interested in taking part of the conference to send their abstracts, either in English or Spanish, before March 30th, 2018. Further information is provided in the fill-in form.

Important Dates

  • December 2017 – March 30th, 2018 – Call for papers.
  • April 30th, 2018 – Notification of acceptance or rejection.
  • July 31st, 2018 – Conference registration limit.


Contact: congreso2018@aeje.org

Open Form

«Perspectives of the Bilateral Relations between Spain and Japan»Venue: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Dates: November 21st to 23rd, 2018
Abstract submission deadline: March 30th, 2018

Conference Organizers:
Daniel Sastre (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) y Ana María Goy (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Scientific Committee:
Matilde Rosa Arias (Grupo de Investigación ASIA, GIA), Pilar Cabañas (UCM), Daniel Marías (UC3M), Salvador Rodríguez Artacho (AEMEJ), Daniel Sastre (UAM), Kayoko Takagi (UAM), Ana Trujillo (GIA), Javier Vives (AEJE), Álvaro Varela (UPM), Florentino Rodao (UCM, Grupo de Investigación GEINTEA), Ana María Goy (UAM), Antonio Santos (Universidad de Cantabria), Marcos Centeno (SOAS).

Javier Vives.

Technical advisor:
Aníbal Voyer.