The first issue of the Religion in Modern Asia Newsletter was published in 1992 as a product of an IJCC project called "Exchanges of Academic Information on Asian Religions." The chief purpose of the project was to promote the exchange of information on religious phenomena in various Asian countries and regions as well as information on recent publications and projects among scholars who have deep interests in Asian modern religion. Although the number of the original members was only twenty-six, it gradually grew and reached more than one hundred in 1997. In the Newsletter we introduced profiles of our members, recent religious topics by country, members' publications, essays by members, and other articles of interest.
In 1996 an IJCC project was begun to promote more comprehensive exchange of academic information by using the Internet. The idea to publish the Newsletter on the Internet was conceived as part of this project. Preparation got underway in 1997. It has taken much more time than originally supposed to realize online publication, mainly due to a long delay in the construction of the LAN at Kokugakuin University. At long last, however, the Newsletter became available on the Internet in February 1999.
We hope the new format will encourage more frequent exchange of information and discussion among members. We also hope those scholars who have shown interest in this project by accessing to our homepage will become Newsletter members. In our modern world, the so-called information age, even religious phenomena change so rapidly that it is sometimes difficult to collect data and analyze it properly by using traditional methods. A global network of scholars is required in such an age. Our project aims at making a contribution to this network, small though it might be.
We welcome scholars from all countries, who have an interest in Asian religions, to become members. We will be very happy if our Newsletter can be of some positive benefit to you in your research and networking with other scholars around the world.
INOUE Nobutaka (chief)