Modern East Asia Research Centre

The Modern East Asia Research Centre (MEARC) represents the institutionalisation of a cluster of disciplinary research trajectories in the various regional fields of Modern East Asian Studies. Its explicit purpose is to support, showcase and stimulate genuinely disciplinary research (MEARC focuses on Politics, International Relations, Philosophy Economy, Development and History) on East Asia – meaning Greater China, Japan and Korea- in the so-called modern period (from the nineteenth century until the present day). It will achieve this purpose through support of lectures, workshops, conferences, and by the provision of research grants.

Building on the Netherlands’ uniquely long and intimate relations with East Asia, Leiden University is one of the oldest and most established centres of East Asian Studies in the Western world. In 1855, Leiden University was the first and only university to appoint a professor in Chinese and Japanese language. In 1947, Professor Vos added Korean language and culture to the academic curriculum. Until the present day, Leiden university remains the international nucleus of classical, literary and linguistic East Asian Studies, and it prides itself on having the largest and most comprehensive research library in East Asian Studies in Europe. During the last two decades, Leiden University has invested heavily in creating a strong profile in modern East Asian Studies that rests on this solid and renowned foundation. One of the results of these efforts is the establishment of the Modern East Asia Research Centre (MEARC) in 2006, following the award of the Netherlands’ Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) in 2003. MEARC is part of the Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS).