The Italian School of East Asian Studies (ISEAS) supports Italian researchers in Japan across all fields of humanities and social sciences.

Currently, it receives generous support from the Italian Embassy in Tokyo and a consortium of Italian universities and research institutions (University of Naples “L’Orientale”, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, University of Turin, University of Naples “Federico II”, University of Milan “La Statale”, University of Milan – Bicocca, ISMEO — International Association for Studies on the Mediterranean and the East) in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture in Tokyo.

The School has an official collaboration agreement with the École Française d’Extrême-Orient, with which it shares the same location, and with the Institute for Research in Humanities at Kyoto University. It was part of the European Consortium for Asian Field Study – a network of 23 centers connected to major European institutions for research on Asia – and it represents the Italian contribution to European research centers in Japan.

The ISEAS is open to researchers of all nationalities, subject to the submission of a detailed project, with a preference for individuals affiliated with the supporting institutions.

History and Mission

Since 1984, the Italian School of East Asian Studies has been organizing academic events, coordinating research activities, providing services to researchers and graduate students, and overseeing various series of scientific publications.

Originally established within the Kyoto section of the Italian Institute of Culture, from 2001 to 2008, it operated based on a biennial agreement protocol between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Italian Institute for Africa and the Orient (Is.I.A.O.), and the then Oriental University Institute of Naples (now University of Naples “L’Orientale”). Since 2009, the protocol has been renewed on a triennial basis, involving a series of Italian universities and research institutions, along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation through the Italian Embassy in Tokyo and the Italian Institute of Culture.

Over the years, contacts with all European research institutions in Japan have been strengthened to promote academic cooperation with East Asian countries and Japan in particular. Additionally, the School aims to represent the Italian contribution to building an integrated system of European research in the field. Similarly, the School has developed close ties with a significant number of Japanese scholars. A formal relationship is established, in particular, with Kyoto University, but also, in more flexible forms, with major public and private universities, as well as with the five main institutes for research in the humanities.

The choice of Kyoto as a privileged vantage point for the study of East Asia comes from recognizing the city’s role as a meeting place for specialists and its high concentration of academic and cultural institutions. This characteristic was also acknowledged by the Japanese government, which relocated the Agency for Cultural Affairs there in 2023.

Supporting Institutions

Universities and Research Institutions

La Scuola

University of Naples "L'Orientale"

Formerly the Oriental University Institute, it is the oldest school of Sinology and Oriental studies in Europe, with a consolidated tradition of studies in the languages, cultures, and societies of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Since its origins, it has positioned itself as a study and research center that aims to highlight the differences and contact points between cultures. It is the home of research groups operating in the areas of "Antiquity, Philological-Literary, and Historical-Artistic Sciences," "Historical, Philosophical, Pedagogical, and Psychological Sciences," "Legal Sciences," "Economic and Statistical Sciences," and "Political and Social Sciences."

La Scuola

"Ca' Foscari" University of Venice

"Ca' Foscari" University of Venice originated as a higher education institution for economics, commerce, and linguistics. Today, it stands out for its expertise in teaching modern languages. The university comprises eight departments, many of which are housed in buildings of significant historical and artistic value. The Bachelor's program in Languages, Cultures and Societies of Asia and the Mediterranean Africa offers a diverse curriculum, covering subjects from historical-artistic disciplines such as archaeology and visual arts, to socio-political fields such as institutional history, economics, and international relations. The university actively participates in numerous research projects across the Near, Middle, and Far East.

La Scuola

University of Turin

The University of Turin, with a legacy dating back 700 years, serves as the primary state university in the Piedmont region. It offers 69 undergraduate and 70 graduate programs and boasts an extensive museum collection managed in collaboration with the region. The Bachelor's program in 'Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa' provides an excellent mix of commercial interpreting and the study of humanities and classics. In 2018, the University established the Institute of Asian Studies, an interdepartmental research center supporting researchers across various fields related to Asian studies.

La Scuola

University of Naples "Federico II"

The University of Naples "Federico II," founded in 1224, is the third oldest university in Italy. Since its inception, it has been a stronghold of scientific research and the study of civil law in the country. Today, with ten faculties, two University Hospitals, and approximately 100,000 students — more than half of whom are distributed among Medicine, Law, and scientific faculties — it stands as the largest university center in Southern Italy. In addition to its extensive history, the university boasts a remarkable architectural heritage, including a botanical garden, two scientific museums, and numerous historical buildings in the center of Naples.

La Scuola

University of Milan "La Statale"

The University of Milan "La Statale" is the main university in Lombardy. It has eight faculties and two research schools, ranking among the top Italian universities in investments in infrastructure and human capital. With extensive research programs and publications covering every area of humanities and social, natural, and physical sciences, the university hosts numerous scholars in the field of linguistic and cultural studies of Asia. Through the Department of Linguistic Mediation and Intercultural Studies, it provides the opportunity to pursue an interdisciplinary learning path focused on the study of Eastern cultures.

La Scuola

University of Milan-Bicocca

The University of Milano-Bicocca, founded in 1998, is a young and dynamic institution that has rapidly established itself as a leading academic and research center in Italy and worldwide. With a wide range of academic and research programs, the University of Milano-Bicocca excels in several key areas, including life sciences and biotechnology, cognitive sciences and neuroscience, economics and finance, as well as physics and materials science. Moreover, it is a multidisciplinary university that educates professionals in various fields, including economic-statistical, legal, scientific, medical, sociological, psychological, and educational sciences. The university actively collaborates with the local productive system and society as a whole, committed to providing a stimulating and cutting-edge academic environment for students and researchers.

La Scuola

ISMEO - International Association for Mediterranean and Oriental Studies

ISMEO is dedicated to training and research programs related to the cultures and languages of Asian and African countries, and their interactions with the Mediterranean region. In order to achieve this, the association actively collaborates with national and international institutions from the aforementioned countries, fostering cultural, scientific, and cooperative initiatives. In particular, ISMEO develops study programs, promotes the exchange of knowledge among scholars, hosts conferences, conducts archaeological campaigns, engages in editorial activities, and implements projects to support the conservation and promotion of the cultural and environmental heritage of countries in the Near, Middle, and Far East.

La Scuola

Italian Cultural Institute

The Italian Cultural Institute of Tokyo, an official agency of the Italian State, aims to promote relations between Japan and Italy. It serves as a meeting and dialogue venue for intellectuals, artists, and other cultural figures, as well as for ordinary citizens, both Italian and foreign, who wish to establish or maintain a relationship with our country. The Italian Cultural Institute is not only a showcase for Italy and a source of updated information on the national socio-economic system, but also a driving force for cultural cooperation initiatives and activities. It is an essential point of reference for Italian communities abroad and for the growing demand for Italian culture around the world.

Collaboration Agreements

La Scuola

École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO)

Founded in 1901, the École Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) coordinates over twenty institutes in Asia to promote research on Asian cultures and societies. Alongside the center in Tokyo, the Kyoto one has been working for over 50 years to strengthen ties between French and Japanese scholars in the field of Chinese and Japanese studies. It is located in the same building as the School, not far from Kyoto University campuses. In 2001, ISEAS and EFEO signed an ongoing collaboration agreement and jointly represented the European Consortium for Asian Field Studies (ECAF) in Japan.

La Scuola

Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University

The Institute for Research in Humanities at Kyoto University is one of Japan's major research centers, with a tradition of textual studies and fieldwork in China, Japan, and Korea. The Center for Informatics in East Asian Studies and the Research Center for Modern and Contemporary China are its main components, with the mission of developing research tools for the study of ancient civilizations and modern societies in East Asia. The Institute has a collaboration agreement with both ISEAS and EFEO. Within this collaborative framework, the heads and researchers of both institutions are affiliated with it in the context of specific research projects.

Scientific Board

Silvana De Maio

Italian Institute of Culture in Tokyo

Giorgio Amitrano

University of Naples “L’Orientale”

Paolo Calvetti

Ca' Foscari University of Venice

Gianluca Coci

University of Turin

Davide Marocco

University of Naples “Federico II”

Antonella Baldi

University of Milan “La Statale”

Stefania Bandini

University of Milan-Bicocca

Roberto Ciarla

ISMEO - Associazione Internazionale di Studi sul Mediterraneo e l'Oriente



Silvana De Maio

Professor of Japanese Language and Culture at the University of Naples "L'Orientale." Since May 2022, she has been directing the Italian Institute of Culture in Tokyo, of which the Italian School of East Asian Studies is a functional component.

Research Coordinator

Andrea De Antoni

Research Coordinator since 2024. He is a socio-cultural anthropologist specializing in religions, particularly Japanese religions and Catholicism in Italy. Currently, he is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies at Kyoto University. He has held research and teaching positions at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Kyoto University, the University of Vienna, and Ritsumeikan University and Doshisha University in Kyoto.

Administrative Staff

Makimi Yamamoto

With expertise and dedication, she manages the school's administration and provides assistance to researchers for all their logistical needs.