SOAS University of London

Japan Research Centre

The events draw a varied audience with an interest in the region. 

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise stated.

Registration is essential to guarantee a place.

For further information contact the Centres and Institutes Office.


Please note that every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained on the website is as accurate as possible. We cannot guarantee, however, that subsequent changes have not been made. Please be advised to check information relating to scheduled events by using the contact information provided.

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  • Animating Amusement: The Seriousness of Robot Play in Contemporary Japan
  • Daniel White (University of Cambridge) and Hirofumi Katsuno (Doshisha University)
  • This talk examines how play and amusement are leveraged to address deeply challenging philosophical questions posed by the increasing rise of machines with artificial intelligence in Japan’s social spaces.


  • Conceptualizing Robotic Agency: Social Robots in Elder Care in Contemporary Japan
  • Dr Anne Aronsson (Yale University)
  • In this presentation I explore human engagement with social robots in the care context, arguing that rapid technological advances in the twenty-first century will see robots achieve some level of agency, contributing to human society by carving out unique roles for themselves and by bonding with humans.


  • Walking the Sutra in Katsuragi, Japan: A Semiotic Theory of Pilgrimage
  • Dr Tatsuma Padoan (University College Cork)
  • This talk intends to map, from a semiotic perspective, the interconnections between ethnography, translation, and pilgrimage, by exploring the contemporary practice and revitalisation of a premodern ascetic pilgrimage in Katsuragi, linked to the twenty-eight sutra mounds of the Lotus Sutra (Katsuragi nijūhasshuku no kyōzuka).




  • Japanese Language Proficiency Test - July 2022
  • The JLPT is an internationally recognised qualification for non-native speakers, sponsored by the Japan Foundation. In the UK the test is administered by the SOAS Japan Research Centre on behalf of the Japan Foundation.


  • 31st Sir Peter Parker Awards for Spoken Business Japanese
  • The purpose of the Sir Peter Parker Awards for Spoken Business Japanese is to deepen the understanding of Japanese business culture by businessmen and women of the countries of the European Union through study of the Japanese language, and to contribute to goodwill and mutual understanding with the people of Japan through better communication.