Goro Kimura, Ken Sasahara, Interests in Sorbs and Sorbian Studies in Japan.

Generally in Japan, informations on the Sorbs are rare. A limited number of Sorbian literature has already presented to Japanese readers, but the translations are from German or Polish, and there is still no direct translation from Sorbian into Japanese. Academic interests can be found especially in the fields of minority policy and (socio)linguistics. It is worth while noting that not only slavists get interested in the Sorbs but also researchers on German language and society. Recently there were some breakthroughs in Sorbian studies in Japan. A Sorbian-Japanese dictionary was published (Mitani 2003). A doctoral thesis in sociolinguistics followed, which focused on the contribution of the Catholic Church to maintain the Sorbian language (Kimura 2005). And in 2008 the first course on Sorbian language was held in a Japanese university, using a concise grammar sketch basing on authentic materials from the instructor’s fieldwork (Sasahara 2006). We hope that active, frequent Japanese-European cooperation in Sorbian studies will be held in the near future, exchanging various opinions from various viewpoints.