Our Association has met this year in Philadelphia, a city of historic memories, an appropriate place in which to contemplate anniversaries. There are several which come to mind.
First, the Association for Asian Studies is itself twenty years old this spring, a fact in which we can all take pride; for we have grown as a professional society from a mere handful of scholars in 1948 to an organization of over 4000 members today.
Next there is Japan, which in its modern incarnation is one hundred years old this year—a memorable national and even international event.
And finally, I am put in mind by our presence in Philadelphia, that by a bit of stretching we can think of the United States as being roughly 200 years old. (In fact it was just 200 years ago that the citizens of this city banded together to prevent imports from Britain. And in 8 more years we shall be able to celebrate the bicentennial of the moment when Philadelphia's Liberty Bell rang out the news of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.)