Reviews of Peer-Reviewed Journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences

We give you the scuttlebutt on academic journals—aiding you in selecting the right journal for publication—in reviews that are sometimes snarky, sometimes lengthy, always helpful. Written by Princeton University graduate students and Wendy Laura Belcher.

The Journal of Japanese Studies

For those interested in publishing articles especially in pre-modern studies that contribute to the field of Japanese studies (in the humanities and social sciences) in perhaps the top journal in Japanese studies.

The Journal of Japanese Studie, published for the Society for Japanese Studies by the University of Washington Press, is “the most influential journal” dealing with research on Japan available in the English language. It certainly is the most comprehensive scholarly journal dedicated to studies of Japan.

Established in 1974, it has published the results of scholarly research on Japan in a wide variety of social science and humanities disciplines (from anthropology, education, society, art history, film, theater, business, trade, economics, foreign relations, security, history, literature, political science, to religion), as well as translations of Japanese articles, and substantive book reviews.  In the early 1970s, given the dynamic economic rise of Japan, its founders felt the vital need for an academic milieu for the rapidly expanding field of Japanese studies, especially for contemporary economic developments and the issues that they entailed.

A very useful article for understanding the journal, by one of the journal’s founders, is Kennth B. Pyle’s “The Journal of Japanese Studies at Forty” in The Journal of Japanese Studies. Vol.41:1. 2015.

Pyle says that during the first two decades of the Journal, articles tended to be “inclined toward analysis of Japan’s economic growth, its social reflection, and the political and trade problems that it created.” In the subsequent decades, however, the dominant themes have tended toward gender studies, popular culture, and groups in society hitherto neglected.  Theater, art history, and film have also emerged as important subjects.  Looking at articles from 2012-2017, there are surprisingly a number of articles on pre-modern (before 1854) Japanese history, literature, and society.  These inclusions seem to be quite a departure from the founders’ aim to address contemporary issues. This kind of inclusiveness may enhance the all-embracing nature of the Journal. It seems, however, The Journal is treading a fine line between a glorious all-encompassing nature and a random hodgepodge of collections.  For example, one issue (Vol 42:2, 2016) contains 3 articles; first on agricultural policy, the second on contemporary literature (on Murakami), and the third on the genealogies of the 17th century.

Useful for Submission

Word Count:  10,000 to 13,000 words

Issues per year:  Semi-annually (Winter & Summer)

Current volume number:  Vol.43 (2017)

Articles per year: 7-8

Citation style:  The Chicago Manual of Style

Abstract length (if required): 100 words

Upcoming special issues (if available): N/A

Relevant Editors:  Martha L. Walsh, Managing Editor, University of Washington

Janet Hunter, Co-editor, London School of Economics

James C. Dobbins, Co-editor, Oberlin College

About Wendy Belcher

Associate Professor, Princeton University, Department of Comparative Literature and the Center for African American Studies. Author of Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Instructor of Deep Reading Journals as Publishing Praxis.