Introducing the Japanese Association for Religious Studies

The Japanese Association for Religious Studies (JARS) brings together groups and individuals engaged in the academic study of religion with the aim of advancing and disseminating research in the field. Founded over eighty years ago, in 1930, the JARS numbers some 2,100 members and is the most comprehensive association for religious studies in Japan. The JARS is affiliated with the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR).

Annual conferences
A three-day conference is held annually, the venue alternating between the Tokyo metropolitan area and other parts of Japan. The conferences open with a symposium of special lecture, followed by two days of panels and presentations. Typically more than 300 papers are presented, each followed by lively discussion.
>>81st Annual Conference

Academic journals
Religious Studies (Shukyo kenkyu ), the official academic journals of the JARS, has been published since 1916. As of March 2012, over 12,000 entries have appeared in 371 issues. In its ninety six years of existence the journal has reflected the cutting edge of religious studies, both in the timeliness of its contents and in opening new areas for research. In 2012, the JARS released an online English journal, Religious Studies in Japan, in order to make its members’ research results more accessible worldwide.

The General Meeting of the members, held during the annual conference, is the most important decision-making body of the JARS. The association is overseen by a President, a board of 70 directors (20 of whom serve as executive regents), 170 councilors, and 2 auditors. The term of office is 3 years, renewable. The President, however, may not hold office for consecutive terms and cumulatively for no more than two terms. Executive regents are elected from among the board of regents and councilors are selected from among the membership at large. Auditors are chosen by election among the councilors.
A number of committees exist to assist the present in matter such as general administration, international relations, informatics and database management, the editing of the journal, and so forth.

Membership includes ordinary members, supporting members, honorary members, and associate members. Applicants for membership are required to secure the recommendation of two existing members. Approval is decided at the meeting of the board of directors.
In addition to individual membership, groups may join as associate members or as sponsoring members.