A major change from when I was in the Master’s Program is that students in the Doctoral Program are expected to be even more active in presenting their research outside the university through oral reports and submission of academic papers. To fulfill these responsibilities, it is necessary to conduct investigations and rework the structure of the material being conveyed. Additionally, researchers must interact with other researchers both domestically and internationally, and must repeatedly engage in thorough consideration through discussion. Sociology is an academic discipline concerned with society. Therefore, in order to hold discussions from a broad and multifaceted perspective, researchers must always be on the lookout for background social factors, even while grounding themselves in their specific research field and theme. A great assistance in this work are the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) which are available to research fellows of JSPS.
This academic year, I gave presentations at the Japan Council on Family Relations Convention on May 19, 2018 (Waseda University), the Kantoh Sociological Society Convention on June 10, 2018 (Musashi University), the Japan Society of Theoretical Sociology Convention on September 1, 2018 (Ehime University), and the Japan Society of Family Sociology Convention on September 9, 2018 (Chuo University). Also, I am scheduled to give presentations at the 2nd Regular Meeting (2018) of the Kantoh Sociological Society on March 17, 2019 (Toyo University) and the Nordic Network Disability Research for one day between May 8 to 10, 2019 (UCC Campus Carlsberg, Copenhagen, Denmark).
Furthermore, I was able to participate in two international conferences and engage in exchanges with researchers from throughout the world (the Lancaster Disability Studies Conference from September 11 to 13, 2018 (Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK) and the Global Social Economy Forum from October 1 to 3, 2018 (Bilbao, Spain)).
As part of my domestic and international fieldwork, I first conducted short-term surveys in Osaka (day labor, poverty, discriminated communities, issues related to foreigners living in Japan) and Okinawa (U.S. military bases, war, gender, issues related to disabled individuals and minorities). Afterwards, I made another visit to Sweden and Denmark, where I actively entered a variety of fields; for example, surveys on pioneering practices for independent lifestyles by individuals with intellectual disabilities. The majority of my activities were supported by KAKENHI (the Chuo University Graduate School supported a portion of my research presentations).
Fellows at JSPS are expected to give top priority to research. Except for special exceptions, second jobs are not allowed. Without a doubt, this creates numerous concerns. For example, some researchers worry that it will not be possible to continue the survey style of observing the research target while obtaining monetary compensation on-site. Even so, while studying in the Doctoral Program, there are also a huge number of opportunities which can be obtained through research as a fellow of JSPS. Undeniably, it is no easy task to discover research themes to which you can devote yourself, create research plans, and apply to become a fellow. However, if possible, I strongly recommend embracing the challenge of becoming a research fellow (DC) at JSPS.
In closing, I would like to express my gratitude towards the environment which allowed me to focus on my research during my short time in the Doctoral Program. Moving forward, I will give my best effort to produce outstanding research results through my doctoral thesis.