●1972 The International Conference on Japanese Studies
1972 November The International Conference on Japanese Studies "which Taught the World about Japan" is held in Tokyo and Kyoto. 620 people attend from 39 countries
The International Conference on Japanese Studies began on November 18, 1972 at the Hotel Okura in Akasaka, Tokyo, hosted by the Japan P.E.N. Club and supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The opening ceremony at the Kyoto International Conference Center
At the opening of the conference the fifth president of the Japan P.E.N. Club, Kojiro Serizawa, made the welcoming speech. "People say that the Japanese language is a difficult language for other people around the world and it is true that you will not be able to master Japanese and study the Japanese culture, which is also said to be inscrutable, if you are not a true friend of Japan. In this country we say that "there is no joy greater than a friend making a rare visit from far away" and I am truly thrilled to see so many of the true friends of Japan gathered here today from all around the world, so I would like to begin by thanking our guests who have travelled so far to be here today."
At a time when "the Government of Japan and the business world had both been extremely unenthusiastic about cultural exchanges, including inviting foreign researchers to Japan to directly show them about Japanese culture" (Yomiuri Shimbun), the greatest value of this conference was that the Japan P.E.N. Club took the initiative to realize such exchanges.
The audience enjoying a classical performing art of Japan at the conference center.