A Brief History

The University of Cambridge was one of the first UK universities to offer Japanese language teaching in 1947. Since then the language, culture, ancient and modern history and international relations of the country have become core to the University’s teaching and research on East Asia.

patrons_01In the 1980s, Japanese Studies entered a new phase alongside Japan’s economic takeoff. At this time, the Keidanren Chair was established, supported by the British Ambassador to Japan, Sir Hugh Cortazzi, and Dr. Carmen Blacker.† Under the leadership of Professor Richard Bowring, the first holder of the Keidanren Chair, the program expanded rapidly.

Thanks to the work of those before us, Japanese Studies at Cambridge is presently home to six full-time academic faculty and three language teachers.

The Japanese studies subject group honours Dr Blacker with the Carmen Blacker Prize, which is awarded annually by the Examiners for Part II (fourth year) of the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Tripos for distinction in Japanese in that examination. Any residue is spent on acquisitions for the Faculty Library and all books purchased have her name printed inside the cover. The Carmen Blacker Research Fellowship, made possible by the generous bequest of Dr. Blacker, is tenable at the Cambridge college Peterhouse and open to graduates and researchers in the UK and EU.