38th Meeting Kawasaki, 1995

Introduction

The 38th Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference was held at the Mitsubishi Trust Bank Training Center in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, from the seventh to the twelfth of August, 1995.

52 specialists and their dependents attented from fourteen countries: fourteen from Japan, ten each from U.S.A. and Russia (including two Kalmyks and a Tuvinian), five from Germany, four from Hungary, two from China (an Uyghur and a Mongol), and one each from Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Italy, Republic of Korea, Mongolia and the Netherlands. 41 papers were read in eleven sessions. There was an excursion by bus to the mountain resort of Hakone at the foot of Mount Fuji, followed by a Chinese banquet in the Yokohama Chinatown. The year’s Indiana University Award for Altaic Studies went to Jean Richard.

The first-ever PIAC Meeting in Japan had been conceived by President Hidehiro Okada as early as 1986, when he attended the conference in Tashkent, then the Uzbek SSR in the Soviet Union. Circumstances prevented him from actually hosting one for the next decade. He retired as Professor at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in the Spring of 1993. Now an Emeritus, he was able to concentrate fully on organizing a PIAC Meeting.

Okada was greatly helped by the late Mr. Shunzo Arai, a retired banker and very dear friend of his. Mr. Arai, an ex-director of the Mitsubishi Trust Bank, successfully persuaded his old bank to let Okada use the brand-new, hundred-million-dollar Training Center in Kawasaki, a city next door to Tokyo, as the venue of the conference. Mr. Arai passed away at the age of 80 on Oct. 18, 1994, without himself seeing the conference which he had so entusiastically supported. Still the staffs of the bank, the Center and the Apple Planning Company, the bank’s subsidiary managing training programs at the center, all offered unstinting practical assistance to President Okada, who nevertheless had to resort to his own private means as far as cash outlays were concerned.

Okada’s thanks go to all those friends who helped him to bring a PIAC Meeting to reality on the Japanese soil, but above all to his wife, Dr. Junko Miyawaki, without whose versatility and expertise in organizing things the conference in Kawasaki would not have been possible at all.

On account of the shortage of necessary manpower as well as funds, Okada had at first not envisaged a volume of Proceedings, in which papers read at the conference would be printed. Then Professor Giovanni Stary, one of his best friends, very kindly offered to take troubles in editing and publishing one. The present volume is the most valuable fruit of his efforts. He very rightly deserves Okada’s heartfelt gratitude. Thank you.

Hidehiro Okada

January 1996