Greetings to our respected readers and contributors,

Thank you so much for being so supportive over the years in making the WILAYAH : International Journal of East Asian Studies (WILAYAH/WIJEAS) an interdisciplinary space for East Asian focused research. We are celebrating 10 years of its inception this year. The original idea of establishing the WILAYAH is reflected in the long tradition and development of the Department of East Asian Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya (UM). The department is one of its kind in Malaysia that offers a multidisciplinary programme relating to Japan, Korea, and China, and research related to the East Asian region.

The journal has undergone several significant changes in the last decade. From a humble beginning, managed by a small team, the WILAYAH began as a department-based journal in 2011. In the past, hard copies were printed and disseminated to colleagues within and outside of Malaysia. Being part of a research university and adhering to the ever-demanding and competitive research ecosystem at the University of Malaya, by 2016, the university directed all in-house journals to migrate into the official university online platform, which is the Open Journal System (OJS). With the help of the UM OJS team, we have completed the migration process. Previous hardcopy publications have been incorporated into the online archive of the journal. This was done to ensure the university's open-access policy in providing the public access to previous volumes. Hence, we no longer print hard copies of the IJEAS.

We believe the OJS platform with its worldwide online access has created multiple opportunities for us to engage with prospective global authors, readers, and reviewers. Pre-eminently, with more systematic online documentation, the peer-review and publication process of the journal has become more efficient. While moving into the online platform, we discovered that too many journals were similarly named as the IJEAS. For this reason, IJEAS will be renamed as WILAYAH: The International Journal of East Asian Studies for the forthcoming issue. Therefore, we would like to stress that WILAYAH is a continuation of previous volumes of IJEAS. The word ‘WILAYAH’ is a Malay translation of region. We chose ‘WILAYAH’ to denote our Malaysian identity and relate our research concentration on East Asia as a dynamic region. To this end, we have done the needful in obtaining an additional e-ISSN from the National Library of Malaysia to institutionalize the rebranding of our journal.

Other technical changes have also been incorporated, starting with the 2021 Special Issue on COVID 19 in East Asia. You will notice that the journal website has been redesigned to be more accessible and informative. Each article has been assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to be easily tracked on the web. All authors are now required to use the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual citation style. On top of that, our editorial board consists of additional international members with eminent reputations for academic research. It is expected that constructive feedback from them and the Managing Editors will decide which manuscripts should be considered for future publication.

Given the rapid pace and dynamic research environment, we have decided to publish our journal every March instead of December. This decision was made to accommodate a faster peer-review process and copyediting work within the OJS. Though WILAYAH will still be published only once a year, we occasionally plan to publish special issues based on requests. The latest volume published in March 2021 is a special issue requested and funded by the Japan Foundation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We were delighted as it allowed us to collaborate with prospective sponsors, contributors, and associations like the Malaysian Japan Association Studies (MAJAS). Consequently, the special issue in March resulted in interesting articles COVID 19 management and impact on East Asia, written by local scholars, giving a particularly Malaysian perspective on the ongoing pandemic.

We remain grateful and inspired by the support we have received thus far. On behalf of the Department of East Asian Studies, the esteemed members of the Editorial Board respected peer reviewers and the much valued technical team that manages the journal website; we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who have assisted our day one. We welcome feedback and article contributions from any part of the world, as long as they adhere to the scope and theme of the journal. With that, we hope you will appreciate the newer features of WILAYAH.

 

Thank you.

Dr. Geetha Govindasamy

Dr. Asmadi Hassan