Kyoto International Consortium for Asian Studies京都亞洲研究國際聯盟

The 8th Next-Generation Global Workshop has been held at August 1 to 3. 2015

The 8th Next-Generation Global Workshop from August 1 to 3.

Last August 1-3, 2015, the 8th Next-Generation Global Workshop was held in Kyoto University with the theme “Demographic Challenges in the Era of Global Ageing and Migration”. The workshop organized by the Kyoto University Asian Studies Unit (KUASU), succeeded from the former project of the Global Center of Excellence (GCOE) for “Reconstruction of the Intimate and Public Spheres in 21st Century Asia”.

The workshop started with keynote lectures of professors from Kyoto University and its partner universities, followed by paper presentations of individually selected twenty-four graduate students from sixteen countries: South Korea, China, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar, Turkey, France, Germany, and Japan. The scheduled sessions were arranged according to various topics such as demography, elderly care, social inclusion and many other unexplored issues. Eleven professors renowned in the field of expertise of this year’s theme acted as commentators to provide appropriate feedback and guidance to each presenter. The early career scholars expressed their impressions of the whole program of the three-day workshop as follows: “The comments given after the presentation should improve my future studies”, “A lot of questions and comments on my presentation should help me polish my paper”. “Comments from different areas were very helpful to enrich my view.”, “Aside from the formal paper presentation and Q & A time, I got a lot of inspiration from casual conversations with fellow participants” “Each country has a unique care system, which in itself is embedded in the country’s own social system. Realizing this point has incredibly widened my worldview.” “I became more optimistic by the fact that despite coming from different cultural backgrounds, we were able to understand each other to resolve the problems discussed.” 

On the 3rd of August, to further understand the super-aged society of Japan, we held a fieldtrip to explore the dimensions of labor market participation and care for the elderly. We visited four institutions, namely: 1. “Bāba Service, Pinocchio” in the Nijōjō Office of Kyoto City Silver Human Resources Center, which serves as a day care center for children, 2. North Office Kyoto City Silver Human Resources Center, 3. a community-based general care center, “Kita-ōji”, and 4. “Murasakino”, an elderly welfare center.

At Bāba Service Pinocchio, a day care center for children run by the Nijōjō Office of the Kyoto City Silver Human Resources, we were able to observe some retired nursery teachers taking care of children. We observed that they make an effort to cater to various needs of the users by flexibly organizing operation hours and allocating staffs. At the North Office of the Kyoto City Silver Human Resources Center, we were also able to have an invaluable session listening to the real-life stories of the registered elderly members who work as housekeeping supporters, gardeners and tourist guides. The active participation of retired elderly impressed foreign participants and various questions about it were raised. We were also warmly welcomed in the elderly care centers of “Kita-ōji” and “Murasakino”. A specific staff of each respective center was assigned to give us lectures on the institutions and to the daily operation of providing care for the elderly while at the same time touring the center’s facilities. We believe that the visit to these centers has given a meaningful exposure and new insights for further study because its aspect is peculiar to the Japanese welfare system. Simultaneously, we received comments from the staff members of the centers that they would reflect on their daily work objectively as an outcome of the interaction with the workshop participants who, based on their different social and cultural backgrounds, have diverse understanding of care work.

To maintain the networks that were established during the 3-day workshop, we have encouraged the participants to continue their exchanges through the recently established online platform of the Kyoto International Consortium for Asian Studies (KICAS). We also promised further development of international coordination through the credit transfer program and the exchange programs for students, researchers and professors.

This program is part of the “Re-Inventing Japan Project” and “The Top Global University Project” which will be continued in 2016.