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Meet the Expert: Anoma van der Veere

A (not so) Different World 

A researcher at the LeidenAsiaCentre (LAC), Japan correspondent at the Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS), MEXT scholar, and IAFOR Research Center Fellow at Osaka University: Anoma van der Veere is certainly busy making a name for himself around the world. With a great interest in the country, its culture, and its people, he aspires to use his positions to make the Netherlands and Europe more aware of the importance of Japan and its key position as a world power.

His academic career began in 2012, when Van der Veere decided to study Japanese Studies at Leiden University. His father had introduced him to Japanese movies and culture at a young age, and the curriculum captured his interest. Van der Veere attained his BA in 3 years and decided to continue with the research Master (ResMA) Asian Studies in Leiden. After having spent 3 months in Fukuoka during his BA, he went to Tokyo to live and study for a semester during his graduate programme. “It’s really a different world to live in”, he said. “However, we cannot try to fit all Japanese people in the same box, or the country in one stereotype. We kind of have a distorted view about Japan in Europe. We have to realize it is a country with an enormous population, and all of those people have their own ideas and perspectives.”

Van der Veere’s first encounter with the LAC was during his ResMA, when Prof. Remco Breuker gave him the opportunity to work on a project on North Korea. He enjoyed doing the research and was also given the chance to work on a separate project with Prof. Katarzyna Cwiertka in that same period. Working as an intern and research assistent at the LAC, van der Veere appreciated the stimulating setting and knowledgeable colleagues which led to him fulfilling a research position at the LAC when he graduated in 2017 He worked on several projects while at the office in Leiden. One that sticks out was the large-scale ‘Game Changer’ project, a collaboration between the NOC*NSF and several partners in Japan on accessibility for people with an impairment.

Fast forward to today, as Van der Veere finds himself living in Japan once again, this time in the city of Osaka. He was offered a MEXT scholarship to pursue his PhD at the University of Osaka where he is also a fellow at the IAFOR Research Center at the Osaka School of International Public Policy. Still working for the LAC, he was able to finish up both the Game Changer project and a publication on Covid-19 in Asia, among others, and is working on much more. As if he was not busy enough yet, van der Veere is now also the official Japan correspondent for the NOS. After having a part in covering the Olympics in Japan for the NOS this summer, he was recently offered the position as correspondent. The main message that runs throughout his work as a researcher and reporter? “Do not underestimate Japan. It has the third largest economy in the world and is a key strategic ally in Asia. We should be careful and look after of our relationship with this dynamic country.”

Interview by LeidenGlobal Intern Lisa
December 2021