Opportunities to promote concrete research and studies on the topic of civil society in Japan have been increasing as general interest in civil society (i.e., NGOs, NPOs, and philanthropic organizations) has been growing in recent years. University courses on NPOs/NGOs are also increasing. At the same time, these research projects and lectures have yet to take a systematic form, and the supporting framework for these activities is far from sufficient for achieving this goal.

Several universities in the United States at the forefront of research and instruction on civil society are actively engaged in reevaluations of whether they are effectively responding to society’s needs and students’ interests and of the issues that should be covered in university instruction. This research project will involve a survey of these evaluations, as well as site surveys of selected university research centers in the United States with particularly strong records of success in this field, with the aim of exploring appropriate methods for carrying out research and lectures on civil society in Japan. 

In May and June 2003, a preliminary survey of these US university research centers was conducted, which was followed by a research planning workshop in Tokyo on January 22, 2004. At the workshop, scholars, practitioners, and other related individuals from the university sphere and the civil society sector discussed issues and questions to be addressed in the research.


TAKAYOSHI AMENOMORI, Associate Professor, Nihon Fukushi University

TAKAKO AMEMIYA, Professor, Shoin University

MICHIO ITO, Professor, Rikkyo University; Director, Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC)

NAOTO YAMAUCHI, Professor, Osaka University

MASAHIDE SHIBUSAWA, President, Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation

MASATO KIMURA, Director of Research, RYUMONSHA (Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation)

TADASHI YAMAMOTO, President, Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE/Japan)

HIDEKO KATSUMATA, Managing Director and Executive Secretary, JCIE/Japan

TOSHIHIRO MENJU, Chief Program Officer, JCIE/Japan