Linguistic and cultural competence is essential to the establishment and maintenance of contact across borders. English may still be the main common vehicle of communication between Norwegians and Japanese, but during the last 20 years, the number of Norwegians who have chosen to learn Japanese has increased immensely. As a consequence, a large group of Japanese proficient Norwegians has emerged. These language learning processes are time-consuming, and also involve a great amount of cultural learning of great value.
In Norway, Japanese language and culture is taught at four separate institutions of higher education: University of Oslo, University of Bergen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Norwegian School of Economics. The academic staffs are involved in a wide range of Japan-related research, mainly in the humanities and social sciences. Among the research areas we find:
- Japanese linguistics, language teaching and intercultural communication
- Japanese politics, history and religion
- Japanese literature, film and popular culture
While Norwegian is a rather minor language globally speaking, increased student mobility has contributed to a growth in the number of Japanese who embark on learning Norwegian. In Japan, the Nordic Department at Tokai University offers Norwegian language and culture as a specialization. Several other institutions have academic staff with Norwegian society as their main area of expertise, and various kinds of research collaborations exist.
The 9th conference of the Nordic Association of Japanese and Korean Studies (NAJAKS) will be held in Bergen, Norway, on August 21-23, 2013.
In November, 2012, the Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, accompanied by a commercial delegation, paid an official visit to Japan. To mark this event, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, in cooperation with Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Seafood Council, invited representatives from governments, industries and institutions to attend a series of seminars aimed at promoting business,(…)