Greetings from the Director-General

TAKUBO Yukinori

FY 2022 is the first year of our fourth Mid-Term Plan. In preparation for the fourth term, we spent the first half of FY 2021 wrapping up what we achieved in the third term, whereas the second half was devoted to preparations for the fourth term.

In the fourth term, we will discontinue the five research divisions, and instead research activities will be conducted on a project-by-project basis under the directorship of the Director of Research Department. The overarching theme of the fourth term will be “Empirical and applied research on the Japanese Language through open language resources.” The aim is to conduct a variety of collaborative and empirical scientific research studies on the Japanese language using open data and its applications. Our goal is to establish open data science in the field of humanities. Data from linguistic fieldwork and experiments will also be made accessible as open data in accordance with the current trend in open data science. We are planning to not only expand the data hitherto created by NINJAL, but also to conduct research on how the data can be utilized by researchers, local communities, and industries in Japan and abroad. One of the goals of the fourth term includes fostering “citizen scientists” who will learn how to collect, record, and analyze data.

The two centers of NINJAL will also be reorganized. The Center for Corpus Development, as it was known in the third term, will be reorganized as the Center for Language Resource Development, taking over the research resources of its predecessor. It will conduct basic research on and development of language resources, as well as provide support for language-resource-related activities in joint research projects. The Center for Research Resources, as it was known in the third term, will be reorganized as the Center for the Promotion of Collaborative Research, and will take over the functions of its predecessor, adding functions related to the acceptance and dissemination of research resources. Both changes are in line with the goals of the fourth term and will serve to strengthen the functions of their predecessors.

International cooperation will also be further extended in the fourth term. In the third term, the publication of the 12-volume Handbook of Japanese Language and Linguistics was initiated under an MOU with De Gruyter Mouton in Berlin/Boston, of which eight volumes have thus far been published, with the remaining four volumes scheduled to be published in 2022–2023. We also signed a new MOU with De Gruyter Mouton to publish a new series, The Mouton-NINJAL Library of Linguistics.

We have also signed an MOU with Brill, and with the cooperation of the University of Hawaii are launching an online series called Endangered and Lesser-Studied Languages and Dialects. Brill’s new series will feature the publication of descriptive studies of endangered and under-described languages in Japan and other Asian areas. Descriptive studies of endangered and under-described minority languages are difficult to publish. This initiative, along with NINJAL subsidizing publication costs, will enable the publication of peer-reviewed, single-authored, or edited volumes dealing with such languages. The first book in each series will be published in FY 2022.

In the fourth term, we are joining the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI) to start a new Ph.D. program. We will begin accepting applications for enrollment into the program in 2022. The course is designed to nurture Japanese linguistics and language education researchers with a firm foundation in digital humanities using the resources of NINJAL. We request you to look forward to our new graduate course in Japanese language and linguistics that will take full advantage of the research conducted at NINJAL.

April 2022
TAKUBO Yukinori
Director-General of the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics

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