Leiden University Office Tokyo
Leiden University (1575) is the oldest university in the Netherlands and one of the oldest in Europe. It is a founding member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU). The university has a long history of involvement with Japan, dating back to the seventeenth century, when quite a few Leiden alumni worked in, and published about Japan in the service of the Dutch East India Company. The university prides itself on having the oldest department of Japanese studies in the world, established in 1855 when Johann Joseph Hoffman, a disciple of the famous Philipp Franz von Siebold, was appointed professor in the Japanese language. The department still flourishes. Also the first Japanese to study abroad at the end of the Edo period, such as Nishi Amane and Tsuda Mamichi, went to study at Leiden University, which until today welcomes many Japanese students and researchers.
From 1975 through 2011, Leiden University conducted its academic exchange programs with Japan for students and researchers from all disciplines mainly through the Japan-Netherlands Institute (Nichi-Ran Gakkai), which also played an essential role in the study of the historical relations between Japan and the Netherlands.
After the closure of the institute, Leiden University obtained in March 2012 the understanding of Chuo City in central Tokyo and the support of the Corts Foundation, a Dutch foundation which focuses on the research, preservation, and opening up of historical sources concerning the Dutch presence in Asia, to set up a new representative office, the Leiden University Office Tokyo (LUOT), in order to maintain its relations with Japan and its many Japanese sister-universities, to continue several existing research programs, and to support the field of Asian Studies which are a priority at Leiden University. In November 2012, the office was officially opened with an international symposium.
- War History Series Translation Project of the Corts Foundation
- Support of research on Asia in general and Dutch-Japanese relations in particular
- Support of students and researchers going to Japan or the Netherlands
- Organization of symposia and lectures, promotion of the Dutch and Japanese language