To Our Colleagues,

The Japan Society of Island Studies

To Our Colleagues,

A society for the study of islands in Japan and around the world has long been desired. Although islands are generally small in geographic area, they have historically played important roles in many different areas. Today, it is more important than ever to study islands and to explore how they can sustain themselves in a changing world. To do this an inter-disciplinary approach is essential.

Inter-disciplinary approaches are particularly well suited to the nature of islands, which are by definition separate and discrete entities, but which also inter-act with the outside world.

The common interests of islands have been reflected in recent years in the formation of societies and associations specially dedicated to their concerns. In 1994, the first conference of the International Association of Small Island Studies was held in Okinawa. The Association is a non-profit organization founded to provide a forum for the wide-ranging discussions of the “insularity, smallness, remoteness, dependence, resource management and environment, and actual life of islands.” Other examples include UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) program and INSULA (the International Scientific Council for Island Development), which link together international organizations, national administrations, scholars, and private citizens that share an interest in issues concerning islands.

Within this international context, islands scholars in Japan feel the subject should be treated as a synthetic science based on an inter-disciplinary, inter-professional, global approach.Acting upon that conviction, we have formed the Japan Society of Island Studies. We hope that its work will contribute to the progress of island studies.

The Founders.

June 1998