Greeting from the President
TSUJI Hideto, President, JAA
I wish to extend my greetings on this occasion as I assume the role of President, having been selected by the Association’s Board of Directors.
As you are well aware, in the 2020 fiscal year all of Japanese society is facing a severe crisis due to the novel coronavirus contagion, such that changes are demanded in our social activities. Giving highest priority to assuring the safety of our members, the Japanese Archaeological Association has sadly decided to skip both our Spring General Meeting and our Autumn Meeting. And while the situation is severe we will carry out our activities as fully as possible, and will proceed with preparations for holding our General and Autumn Meetings next year. We ask all of our members for their support.
The Japanese Archaeological Association (JAA) was founded in 1948 for the advancement of archaeology and to execute our professional responsibilities to society, and has carried out its activities for over 70 years in the midst of great social change. Together with all of our members, it is my hope to carry on this splendid tradition established by our forebears, without flinching despite the trying circumstances.
One pillar of the JAA’s activities has been the development and deepening of archaeological research. Before our very eyes are the great mass of data that previously accumulated in excavations accompanying large-scale development, and the daily increasing mass of new data and information. Archaeology is challenged with how and what it should read and from these masses of data, to clarify the relations between man and nature, and the dynamics of a richly varied history. To do so it is necessary to refine the methodology of archaeology, and constantly improve upon it. For the JAA, while our regular meetings have unfortunately been suspended for the moment, I believe it is necessary to devise new formats for holding them to share research results, and to pit our views against each other at symposia and the like. Along with making research even more active in the future, I hope to put great effort into conveying the results of research broadly to Japanese society and the world, and into activities that deepen our understanding of history.
Another of our pillars has been activities that fulfill our responsibilities to society as archaeological researchers. I wish to promote very positively measures for the appropriate preservation of valuable buried cultural properties, for the conservation of cultural properties damaged in natural disasters, for their restoration and safekeeping, as well as participation in the “Round table regarding the form of future research involving Ainu skeletal and burial remains,” and so forth. Many cultural properties were damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the JAA participated in the rescue efforts for these materials. Subsequently there have been many other natural disasters such as the Kumamoto earthquakes, and on each occasion cultural properties are damaged. In particular, in recent years changes in the weather have become more severe, and large-scale flooding of rivers now occurs repeatedly. In conjunction with such events, losses of cultural properties that are washed away, or damaged from submersion, are happening frequently. I believe that it is necessary for the JAA to conduct examinations and offer opinions regarding the safekeeping of cultural properties and facilities for their storage, from the standpoint of archaeology.
Also, it is possible through archaeology to learn about the traces of natural disasters that lie buried in the ground. I feel one of the roles for archaeology is to make such information, heretofore not fully utilized, known to society and raise warnings thereby about natural disasters.
The JAA also has problems of its own. The valuable collection of books received in donations has fortunately been accepted by the library of Nara University, and shelved in open access. It is now possible for JAA members to use these materials by going through the proper procedures. I would like to make that process for utilization more generally known. Also, we are currently in a downward trend in membership. It is necessary to recruit broadly new members who are supportive of the JAA’s goals. We also hear about problems occurring of in the environment for research, as the organizations to which members belong are decreasing in terms of their staff, and so forth. With help from our members the JAA wishes to deal with each and every problem of this nature.
With over 4,000 members, the JAA is the largest archaeological society in Japan. It is necessary to carry out our social obligations by making archaeological research more active, and giving the results back to society. It is not easy to rouse a large academic society, but it is my hope to run the JAA to the utmost together will all of the members.
Asking members once again for your ever greater support and cooperation, I offer my greetings on assuming the office of President.