The Asiatic Society 
of Japan

 150th Anniversary Year

Next lecture: JST 2023.3.27 18:00
Special Lecture by H. E. Mr. Pawel Milewski
the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Japan
“The origins and impact of the Polish minority in East Asia and Japan”   


JST 2023.3.27
H. E. Mr. Pawel Milewski the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Japan 
“The origins and impact of the Polish minority in East Asia and Japan” 

Poland has a long and rich history and its unique diaspora, spread around the world, constitutes an important part of it. There are roughly 20,000,000 people of Polish ancestry living outside Poland, which is equal to about half of its current population, making the Polish diaspora one of the largest in the world and one of the most widely dispersed. The reasons for the displacement were very much connected with the turbulent events affecting Poland in the last three centuries, including border shifts, forced expulsions, resettlement and forced exile, as well as political or economic emigration. 
Poland defended its freedom and sovereignty from foreign invaders on numerous occasions. Due to Poland’s geopolitical location between the East and the West, in the very heart of Europe, Polish history is marked with many wars and invasions. Having once been the largest country in Europe, Poland suffered tremendously due to being partitioned by neighbouring empires and disappearing from the world map for more than a hundred years. Although no independent Polish state existed between 1795 and 1918, the idea of Polish independence was kept alive throughout the 19th century until Poland regained its sovereignty in 1918. Japan was one of the first countries in the world which recognized free and sovereign Poland. 

Russian and Soviet authorities exiled thousands of Poles to Siberia, starting from the XVIIIth century. Some of them would then travel further to East Asia, including Japan. Among the exiled were many highly educated people who contributed to local communities, their history, traditions, culture and language. One of the most accomplished and well-known Poles in Japan was ethnologist Bronisław Piłsudski, who, after being sent to faraway Sakhalin, conducted invaluable ethnographic studies on the Ainu people, and also on Hokkaido. 

Brief Biography: 
Ambassador Paweł Milewski was born in 1975. He is a sinologist and a graduate of the Faculty of Modern Languages at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Ambassador Milewski studied at Beijing Capital Normal University (1996-1997) and Xiamen University (1997-1998). In 2002-2003, he completed Postgraduate Studies in Foreign Trade at the Warsaw School of Economics.  
In the years 2000-2009, Ambassador Milewski was engaged in Asia-Pacific affairs and held several posts at Polish MOFA. In 2009, he was appointed Head of the East Asia and Pacific Division. In 2011, he became its Deputy Director. In the years 2013 – 2017, he served as Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to the Commonwealth of Australia with additional accreditation to the Independent State of Papua New Guinea. From 2017-2019, Ambassador Milewski was Director of the Asia-Pacific Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has been serving as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland in Japan since October 2019.  

Ambassador Paweł Milewski is fluent in Chinese and English. He also speaks French on a communicative level. He is married, with three sons.

Online Lecture Programme for 2023  

JST 2023.3.27
Annual General Meeting & Special Lecture by the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Japan, H. E. Mr. Pawel Milewski
“The origins and impact of the Polish minority in East Asia and Japan”

JST 2023.4.17
Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka,
President of the Nippon Communications Foundation (Nippon.Com),
former UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information
“Is the UN doing a good job?” 

JST 2023.5.15
Prof. Laura Moretti,
Pembroke College, Cambridge University
“Playful Reading in Early Modern Japan” 

JST 2023.6.19
Prof. Junko Kitanaka,
Department of Human Sciences, Faculty of Letters, Keio University
“Against New Healthism: The Rise of the Tojisha Movement and the Debates Around the Prevention of Dementia in Japan” 


Call for Papers

The Asiatic Society of Japan (ASJ) is Japan's oldest learned society, with its inaugural meeting in Yokohama in 1872. Inspired by the Royal Asiatic Societies of their day, ASJ's founders coordinated activities "to collect and publish information on subjects relating to Japan and other Asiatic Countries." Yet they intentionally differentiated ASJ from these affiliated societies at the outset by having established a "Society for scholarly gentlemen" rather than a society of scholars. The founders and earliest members were pillars of Japan's modernization and industrialization at the dawn of the Meiji Period. Physicians, engineers, barristers, missionaries, military officers, professors, and diplomats numbered among them, including Dr. James Hepburn, Sir Ernest Satow, Basil Hall Chamberlain, and William Aston. Today, the Society serves members of a general audience that have shared interests in Japan and the country’s of myriad connections with the world.

The Young Scholars’ Programme was initiated by the Society in 2006 at the suggestion of the Honorary Patron, HIH Princess Takamado, to give researchers at doctoral level the opportunity to present their research on Japan and/or Asia and answer questions on it in English. This year’s event will be held on Monday, 16 October. It will be held either entirely online or hybrid, so young scholars from around the world are encouraged to apply.

The closing date for nominations this year is midnight on Monday, 14 August. All nominated candidates (to be first selected by a university professor or other nominator) should submit the following:

a) A provisional title for their presentation
b) Details of their field of research
c) A CV or brief biography
d) A formal letter of recommendation on headed notepaper from his/her academic
supervisor supporting the application*

* Candidates may submit their materials directly to the Asiatic Society of Japan, via e-mail, to However, the letter of recommendation should be submitted to by the academic supervisor (not the candidate).

☆ Certificate of Recognition from the ASJ Board and HIH Princess Takamado, the Honorary Patron of the Asiatic Society of Japan
☆ Research award of 50,000 yen, courtesy of the Hugh E. Wilkinson Foundation
☆ Article to be submitted to the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, the Society’s
annual journal

A maximum of four young scholars (up to age 35, although consideration will be given to those up to age 40) will be selected to give a presentation for 20 minutes each. Candidates will be notified of the selection results at the beginning of September.

  * For further details, please e-mail the ASJ Office at, and title your e-mail ‘2023 Young Scholars’ Programme’

© 1999 - 2023 The Asiatic Society of Japan - All Rights Reserved