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Divisions of various types have long been, and continue to be, present in society. Borders are a part of our world.
Some are man-made, some arise naturally; some are newly drawn, some have existed for ages, and some are on the verge of disappearing.
Even as borders divide, so too, they connect. In today’s world, however, it seems as though attention is given only to divisiveness, while connection and dialogue are undervalued.
In East Asia, political tensions between regions have long-run high, and disparities and discrimination between social classes in those regions are on the rise.
In the world of literary studies, as well, divisions have long been in place. Scholars studying literature written in Japanese live in many countries and regions and produce their scholarship in a variety of languages. Despite this fact, to date, there has never been a platform for these various scholars to share their research.
That is why we launched Border Crossings: The Journal of Japanese-Language Literature Studies, an international journal dedicated to the study of literature written in Japanese.
The journal is based in East Asia, a region that is dominated by the tensions of division even as it sees the ever-increasing movement of individuals across its borders. While the English title of the journal may be “Border Crossings,” the original title is rendered using the characters 跨境, meaning to “straddle” (跨) a border (境).
Like the English verb “straddle,” the Japanese verb “matagu (跨ぐ)” does not simply refer to the crossing over of something; it also means ending up with part of oneself on either side. Straddling a borderline with one foot on either side, for example. One does not simply cross from one to the other space; one joins the two by remaining in both. Cognizant of the importance of each locality and position, an individual remains partially planted on one side of a “border,” while extending his or her other foot across it.
Established in June 2014, Border Crossings: The Journal of Japanese-Language Literature Studies is a refereed interdisciplinary journal that approaches literature written in Japanese from all perspectives. Until June 2016, the journal was published once annually; however, starting with its fourth volume, the journal began publishing twice a year, in June and December, in order to expand its scope and actively address research achievements relevant to the field.
The journal grew from a group of researchers who participated in the “Forum on East Asia and Contemporary Japanese-Language Literature.” The forum, established in October 2013, hosts annual research gatherings across Korea, China, Taiwan, and Japan (and after next year, Indonesia and Australia), and researchers in modern Japanese literature are invited to attend. With forum members at its core, the journal has begun expanding its scope with regard to the diversity of its editorial committee members, participants who submit material, and regions where it is distributed.
It aims to publish a wide range of original articles that are interdisciplinary by linking studies related to crossing borders among nations, regions, ethnicities, genders, genres, and time periods. Although there are no limitations on the subject or field of analysis, the journal welcomes pioneering works that reflect a variety of ideas, ideologies, and histories relevant to border crossings and Japanese-language literature. The types of manuscripts reviewed are limited to academic papers, essays on border crossings, and introductions to research materials that have not been previously published or presented elsewhere. Manuscripts should be written in either Japanese or English. Although manuscript submissions can be made online at any time, submission deadlines are January 15 and July 15 of each year.