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A Toyata Grant was awarded to a graduate student of our program


Ms. Hoko Horii (D1) was awarded the grant for research by the Toyota Foundation. The result was announced in March, 2016. Ms. Horii will conduct a research on " 'Invisible' Function of International Human Rights Laws: Reconstructing moral and social norms." She will focus on the child marriage in Indonesia. Currently, she works at the Van Vollenhoven Institute/KITLV, Leiden University as a Ph.D. candidate.

Abstract of the project is on the website below:
http://toyotafound.force.com/psearch/JoseiDetail?name=D15-R-0169

A report from Ms. Horii is as follows:

I am currently a PhD candidate in Leiden University. This is a combined PhD position, from the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance, and Development (VVI) and the Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde / Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) . My PhD research tries to understand the reasons behind the persisting gap between international human rights standards and social practice regarding child marriage in Indonesia, focusing on the co-existence of conflicting norms within the Indonesian legal system. While both institutes have a number of scholars specializing Indonesia, VVI especially helps my research with socio-legal methodologies, as well as KITLV which provides interdisciplinary opportunities with history, anthropology, and the study of politics and language.

Image by Hoko Horii


Leiden is a small city full of students, scholars and academic knowledges (as well as canals, ducks and small windmills). My day starts with cycling 30 minutes to bring my daughter to her daycare near my office. On the way, we take a little detour to come say hello to ducks and horses. One month at daycare, my daughter started to speak some Dutch and English words, which she mixes with Japanese and French at home. There you see kids with all different nationalities and languages (but we are the only Japanese at the moment!). Likewise, my work environment is very diverse. One evening we had dinner with my colleagues from VVI, and we realized we were all from different countries: Japanese, Dutch, Indonesian, Portuguese, Australian, French, Libyan. I find this diversity extremely enriching, not only for my work but also for the development of my daughter.

What is outstanding at my office is how people here value efficiency and cherish their personal life. Most of the people (including PhDs) at my office have kids, yet regardless of whether they have kids or not, the colleagues come to office at 10am and leave office at 5pm. This makes it easier for me to balance my life with work, at the same time forces me to work efficiently during the working hours. My contract is officially 38 hours per week, but I try to work more than that, as I feel I still have a lot to learn. Then my Dutch colleague asks me “Why do you work more than 38 hours?”. My supervisor says “Take day-off on some Fridays”. They say important thing is the outcome, which is a PhD thesis. As long as I produce a good PhD thesis at the end of this PhD, the hours spent does not matter: some people need 80 hours/week, some need less than 38 hours/week for that.

On my research topic, I have been working with a Dutch colleague, who is an anthropologist. I have been working with her for 1.5 years, since I was given an opportunity to conduct internship at VVI, thanks to my supervisor here and the leading program in Nagoya. We are going to present our joint-paper (which we will have to work on in the coming 3 month) in a conference on Law and Development research in Belgium. ( https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/rg/law-and-development/news-and-events/law-development-research-conference/ )>

With a colleague


Conducting joint-research and writing a joint-paper is not easy, I know this from my experience in the leading program in Nagoya. In the joint-research project we were assigned to work together with students from different nationalities(Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Bangladesh, Uzbek) and disciplines(law, political science). My current joint-research project will not be an easy one neither, but I know what to expect, thanks to my previous experience.

A part of the research project will be funded by Toyota Foundation ( https://www.toyotafound.or.jp/english/program/research.html ) . The project includes two workshops(one with scholars, government officials and activists in the field of child marriage, the other with judges in my research area), research with Indonesian community in the Netherlands, and fieldwork in Indonesia. I am glad that my project was accepted to receive grant from Toyota Foundation not only because the funding contributes to the realization of the project, but particularly because the acceptance means my research is recognized of its value. I am very happy to be able to do the kind of research I want to do in Leiden, at the same time, I am extremely grateful for the leading program in Nagoya for having provided opportunities for my research, which lead me to be here. For the PhD trajectory of 4 years here, I am going to make every effort for the research to be worth of the trust of all those who made this possible.

2016.04.05. Spring has just come in the Netherlands.

Image by Hoko Horii


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