Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan

Logo of the Asiatic Society of Japan, with Kanji characters in Seal script. Read top-to-bottom and right-to-left: 日本 / アジア / 協会 (the society's name, one word per column).

The Asiatic Society of Japan (日本アジア協会, Nihon Ajia Kyōkai, lit. "Japan Asia Society") is an organization of Japanology. Founded in 1872[1], the ASJ is Japan's oldest learned society. The Honorary Patron is Hisako, Princess Takamado. The President as of 2018 is Mr. Masa Matsushita.


The Asiatic Society of Japan (ASJ) was founded in 1872 in Yokohama with an objective "to promote and publish discoveries on subjects relating to Japan and other Asiatic Countries."[2] In the pursuit of this objective, The ASJ's members organize and promote the reporting of original discoveries at lecture meetings, as well as publish a journal (known as "The Transactions of The Asiatic Society of Japan") to that end.[3]

The ASJ's founders and earliest members were pillars of Japan's modernization and industrialization at the dawn of the Meiji Period, including: Rev. Edward W. Syle, Dr. Samuel Robbins Brown, William Elliot Griffis, Dr. James Curtis Hepburn, Sir Ernest Mason Satow, Basil Hall Chamberlain, Sir John Harington Gubbins, and William George Aston.[1] Physicians, engineers, barristers, missionaries, military officers, professors, and diplomats numbered among them.

For most of the ASJ's history, there has been no limit to the range of interests covered in the pursuit of the objective.[4] On the occasion of the 110th Anniversary of the ASJ, after having completed his historical account of the first one-hundred years of the ASJ, President Douglas Moore Kenrick remarked to Their Imperial Highnesses and members present: "The only requirement of authors, and this is the root of our policy, is that each is expected to tell us something in his or her field that has not been previously published. We ask for something new. The Transactions have covered an extraordinarily wide range of Japanese studies and the papers provide a fascinating conspectus of Western achievements in the field of Japanology over the decades, as well as useful examinations of many subjects that have not been treated elsewhere." [5]

The ASJ is still active today. Members meet monthly to hear a guest explain discoveries based on original research. The lectures last approximately fifty minutes and are followed by questions and discussion. Topics have come from the full spectrum of fields of knowledge as related to Japan, including culture, history, literature, science, business, politics, and economics.


"The Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan" is a journal that contains the full texts of selected papers presented at meetings, as well as other papers submitted for publication. The ASJ also publishes a monthly newsletter known as the "Bulletin", which contains a detailed summary of the previous month's lecture, lecturers' profiles, announcements of coming events, and news about the ASJ and its members.

Early Presidents[1][]

Notable members[5][]


  1. ^ a b c Kenrick, Douglas Moore (1978). A Century of Western Studies of Japan: The First Hundred Years of the Asiatic Society of Japan 1872-1972. Tokyo: The Asiatic Society of Japan. p. 38.
  2. ^ Constitution and By-Laws, List of Members, List of Exchanges, List of Thirty-Year subscribers, and Catalogue of Transactions. Yokohama: The Asiatic Society of Japan. 1911. p. 177.
  3. ^ The Transactions of The Asiatic Society of Japan, From 30th October, 1872 to 9th October, 1873. Yokohama: The Asiatic Society of Japan. 1874. pp. 2, 3, 4.
  4. ^ The Transactions of The Asiatic Society of Japan: Comprehensive Index. Tokyo: The Asiatic Society of Japan. 1958. pp. 62–80.
  5. ^ a b The Transactions of The Asiatic Society of Japan, Third Series, Volume 18. Tokyo: The Asiatic Society of Japan. 1983. p. 155.

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