The Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation (SJSF) was established by a donation in 1984 from the precursor to The Nippon Foundation, with the objective to enhance friendly relations and promote exchange between the people of the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Japan, via the provision of grants and scholarships for research, development, education and training mainly within medicine, the humanities, social and natural sciences and technology.
After identifying in several reports that university budget cutbacks and department reorganisations were having detrimental effects on the growth of contemporary Japanese Studies at Nordic universities, SJSF saw an urgent need to provide support to and foster a new generation of Japan-scholars in the region. A five-year project, the "Development of Study of Contemporary Japan in the Nordic Countries", was devised by SJSF and funded by The Nippon Foundation to promote contemporary Japanese Studies in all subjects in the five Nordic countries and to ensure the long-term sustainability and growth of the countries' national pool of expertise on Japan by creating new lectureship posts at selected universities in the Nordic countries, and providing research grants to PhD candidates in Japanese Studies enrolled at Nordic universities.
Kicked off in April 2018, the SJSF-TNF Japanese Studies Grant Program is the first program to award grants on a significant scale to Nordic institutions and universities for lectureships and PhD student research on contemporary Japanese Studies. The Japanese Studies Grant Program awarded Lectureship posts with support for five consecutive years to nine Nordic universities: Aarhus University (DK), Copenhagen Business School (DK), European Institute of Japanese Studies at the Stockholm School of Economics (SE), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NO), University of Bergen (NO), University of Copenhagen (DK), University of Helsinki (FI), University of Iceland (IS), and University of Turku (FI).
In parallel, the Japanese Studies Grant Program has awarded ten PhD Research Grants to PhD students from eight Nordic universities since 2018.
SJSF also organised an online Japanese Studies Networking Conference for the Grant Recipients (the newly appointed lecturers, university representatives, and PhD students) and other involved organisations on 19-20 August 2020. It is hoped that, in the coming year 2021, the situation with the pandemic will have improved such that a second networking conference can take place as planned, on Iceland, for the Grant Recipients and other networking organisations.
For further information on the Japanese Studies Grant Program