Japan's activities at home and abroad have significantly influenced the course of historical events in the West and East alike. In the postwar period, these activities have evolved into an enduring security alliance with the United States and numerous international political and economic ties, both of which have facilitated and have been affected by the economic success of Japan's private sector. As the eco to develop, Japanese technology, investment, and foreign aid will be critical to the future of the Asia-Pacific Region.
Japan's international influence is not limited to issues of political economy or security. Insightful, creative western minds have long found beauty in and been inspired by the literature, arts, and social customs of Japan. To take but one example, woodblock prints of the Edo period had a profound effect on the French Impressionists, Frank Lloyd Wright and James Michener, among others. Both "traditional" Japanese art and customs and the work of modern Japanese writers, architects and designers have a significant influence on present-day thinking and aesthetics.
The extent of Japan's international influence in socio-cultural, political economic and security matters indicates an important need for individuals who can place Japanese activities and achievements in their proper context and accurately convey their meaning and significance to others.
To cultivate the knowledge and skills required for these tasks, Stanford and its partner universities opened the Stanford Japan Center in Kyoto, Japan in 1989. The Stanford Japan Center endeavors to promote a better understanding of Japan by offering study abroad programs and supporting original research involving Japan.
For these purposes the Center is organized into two sections, an education department and a research department. The education department operates two overseas studies programs: KCJS - a two semester program for students from a number of leading U.S. universities; and SCTI - a five month study/internship program for Stanford students. The Stanford Japan Center-Research assists Stanford faculty with Japan-related research and initiates interdisciplinary research projects involving Japan and U.S. researchers.