Chen Lixing (Kwansei Gakuin University)

The 21st century is said to be the century of Asia. And as a big country in Asia, China, which experienced the complicated social structural transformation from semi-federal, semi-colonial social system to socialist society, is now facing new challenges to integrate itself into the globalized market-oriented economic system. Getting into the 21st century, accompanying the growing international attention to the rapid change in the country, China is undergoing deep magma activity and is on a possible paradigm shift of the society. But how and in what direction will its shift be? This has been not only a significant subject in social science studies in China, but also a deep academic concern on a global level. In this sense, Japan-China Sociological Society (JCSS) is at its new start in the history of research.

I came to Japan in 1983 as one of the first generation of foreign students from China to study sociology after China started its reform and opening policy. I grew together with and witnessed the establishment and the development of Japan-China Sociological Society. I still remember the three strategic objectives stressed in the opening remarks at the first conference of its establishment of JCSS by the first president, the late professor Fukutake Tadashi (1917-89): 1) to carry out cutting-edge field research on social changes occurring in China; 2) to cultivate young researchers in sociological studies; 3) to promote academic exchanges between Japan and China.

Today we can say more than 20 years practice has proved that every generation of JCSS leaders, researchers and scholars have been faithfully keeping the spirit of the first president, and now it is time to score the harvest of the JCSS. In 2009, 『Japan-China Sociological Studies Series』 (Total 7 Volumes )contributed by the members of JCSS and the JCSS related scholars was published by Akashi Shyoten ( Akashi Publication). We know for sure that there are still some disputable points in the publication, but we believe the publication is no doubt the best committed practice of our adherence to the three spirits and it will be the landmark of the new start of the JCSS development in the 21st century. Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend my sincere grateful thoughts to the late Professor Fukutake Tadashi, who established JCSS, the president of each generation, Professor Aoi Kazuo,Professor Miyagi Hiroshi, Professor Nebashi Shoichi, Professor Nakamura Norihiro,and all the devoted board directors, secretaries as well as all the members who actively participated and strongly supported the JCSS activities.

The research achievement in the more than two decades has brought JCSS a strong reputation for its commitment to the three spiritual objectives, and JCSS has established a promoting positive research network, through which many young researchers have got valuable chances to sharpen their edges in sociological research rooted in the field work and many sociologists have developed positive link of exchange and greater interactions in their academic researches between Japan and China. Today JCSS, we maybe can say, has grown up and got into its energetic twenties’ from its teenage in the transitional historical period when Japan has experienced the modernization in the 20th century and China is experiencing the new rise in the 21st century with various social phenomena for us to look into and I believe this will be a spur for the new development of JCSS. Tracing back to the history, social sciences have been being developed on the basis of the changing social phenomena. Many masters, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber in social sciences established themselves in the period when human society underwent radical changes initiated by the Industrial Revolution in Europe in the first half of the 19th century and the rise of new continent of America in the second half of 19th century. From now on, regarding the overall development of Asia, explaining why the social phenomena in the region are different from those in the European society should be directly related to the new development of social sciences in the 21st century.

Therefore I feel it an obligation as the president of JCSS to promote the research with originality in the unfolding contemporary world combined with persistence of the three core spiritual traditions of JCSS and I would call for joint endeavor of all members to further pursue interdisciplinary theoretical approach on studying both the exclusive and the inclusive aspects of the sociological changes in Japan, China and other countries within the Asian society. I am looking forward to the new contribution from JCSS to the new progress of social science in the 21st century.

As the first president of JCSS of Chinese origin, I strongly feel the historical responsibility and I will work with a devoted effort to accomplish our objectives with the support of all the members of JCSS.