Aurelijus Zykas

I was born in Kaunas, the most Japanese town of Lithuania, and more than a half of my life was directly related to Japan and Japanese studies. In 1997 I started learning Japanese language, and later used opportunities of studies and fellowships in Japan, including those in Kanazawa University (1999), Waseda University (2003) and Japan Foundation (2009, 2014). 

As I wanted to contribute my knowledge and abilities back in my country, for last 10 years I have been managing the Centre for Asian Studies in my Alma  Mater, Vytautas Magnus University (VMU). Together with our small team we were able to turn it to an important hub of Japanese studies in Eastern Europe. During this period I was coordinating more than 20 different international projects that resulted as joint research publications, academic events, or helped to improve infrastructure. During 10 years our Center not only launched two very successful studies programs, created new important resources, and established close ties with dozens of Japanese universities, but also has become an important and very visible part of city's (and even country's) life.

Development of VMU Library funds in Asian studies is one of my achievements I am proud about. It was one of the objectives I raised from the first days of my work at VMU, and the collection was developed from almost zero to almost ten thousand items (the biggest part of it consists of Japan-related resources). This was achieved only with minimal expenditures by the University. Of course, it is not very big collection if compared to the cases of Western universities, however, this achievement looks differently in the context of East European countries that started Asian studies from nothing only some decades ago and still have very limited access to the international networks and resources.

I believe that in the 21st Century even more emphasis should be put on the electronic resources. Thus, the issues related to digitalization, global access, and wide range of e-publication, should be actively discussed and solved. By developing this attitude, our team in Kaunas launched some successful projects, such as (database of Asian Studies resources in Lithuania), (Japanese language textbook for Lithuanians) and (Japanese-Lithuanian dictionary), showing positive examples of electronic resources.

Although I am still new member of EAJRS, and I am not directly a specialist on Japanese resources, in my activities I have been dealing with Japanese resources from various perspectives: as researcher, creator and manager. Therefore, I feel I have some understanding about the successful management of resources, and also I could contribute my insights from the perspective of smaller countries of Europe with less developed possibilities. I do understand, that my personal possibilities are very limited. However, if possible, I would like to contribute to the development of EAJRS as much as I can.

I will be glad if you kindly consider my application.
Introduction of Asian studies in Kaunas (including 11 minutes video of 2015):