This paper puts Japanese academic research on tourism and hospitality management in perspective and discusses its current standing, as well as possible strategies to rectify current issues that will improve synchronicity with academic research in the rest of the world.
Ten years have passed since the Japanese government declared a strategic initiative of a “tourism nation,” or a nation which will depend on tourism as an industry. As home to a substantial population of 126 million with relatively high income per capita and a nearly perfect implementation of a national educational system across the nation, Japan appeared poised to become one of the important contributors to the advancement of global tourism knowledge creation by capitalizing on its vast tourism resources. Yet the reality as of the latest available data shows that Japan is ranked 26th in the world in terms of the number of publications in the tourism, leisure and hospitality management category, trailing not only English-speaking nations, such as the USA (1st), UK (2nd), Australia (3rd), Canada (4th) and New Zealand (5th), but also nations and regions in East Asia, such as Hong Kong (6th), China (8th), Taiwan (9th), South Korea (11th) and Singapore (22nd). A lagging ranking in this segment shows an interesting contrast with the overall international ranking of all research papers, which puts Japan in fifth place worldwide.
Though the official national policy of self-imposed seclusion ended around the Meiji Evolution in 1868, similar tacit policy appears to have been in effect in the academic field of tourism, leisure and hospitality management. This paper discusses attributable domestic issues as strategies for making Japan a relevant contributor to the generation of knowledge in the global hospitality and tourism research community.