The origins of the France-Japan University House
University houses were developed through a national government initiative: the ministries of National Education and Foreign Affairs wanted to implement structures promoting France’s privileged international partners in the provinces. Strasbourg’s and Alsace’s links with Japan go back a long way: in 1878, Japanese academics visited the Reichsuniversität, and the first cooperation agreements were signed by the University Louis Pasteur and the University Marc Bloch in the 1980s. Alsace and Japan also forged links from the 19th
century on through the textile industry; in 1992, the Consulate-General of Japan opened in Strasbourg. Therefore, the city seemed to be the ideal location to host a place dedicated to Franco-Japanese cooperation. Since 2007, the France-Japan University House is managed by Marie-Claire Lett and Caroline Blatz.
Mission and activities
The France-Japan University House aims at promoting and encouraging teacher, student, researcher and staff exchanges. There are 26 agreements between Unistra and Japanese higher education institutions, as well as 13 positions of visiting professors in each country. Marie-Claire Lett and Yoichi Nakatani, who are in charge of these exchanges, invite visiting professors to give lectures on their research subjects -whatever the discipline- to a non-specialist public. The MUFJ also provides information to academics from across France about mobility in Japan .
The office of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) is the France-Japan University House’s first partner; they share facilities since 2001. The JSPS plays a pivotal role in the administration of a wide spectrum of Japan's scientific and academic programmes and has four offices in Europe (London, Bonn, Stockholm and Strasbourg). The two structures work together on joint academic programmes from doctorate level on: summer schools, grants, symposiums…
Thanks to JSPS director Hiroyuki Miyamoto’s large network, the University House had the opportunity to invite Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, president of the European Research Council and Japan connoisseur, to its 15th
anniversary conference on 1st
The MUFJ also has a good working relationship with the Consulate General of Japan in Strasbourg and Unistra’s department of Japanese studies.
2016: the year of Japan at Unistra
2016 is a year of Franco-Japanese celebrations at the University of Strasbourg: 15th
anniversary of the France-Japan University House and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science's office, 30th
anniversary of the Department of Japanese Studies, 20th
anniversary of Japan’s observer status with the Council of Europe…
A range of cultural events
are scheduled to take place throughout the year. In September 2015, Unistra already hosted a Japanese delegation to celebrate 30 years of cooperation with Toyo University, and a two-week festival of Japanese culture was organised in late February, including exhibitions, concerts, conferences and workshops.