The origin of the Association can be traced back to September 27, 1947, when a small but enthusiastic group of about twenty-five specialists on America gathered in Tokyo to start an Amerika Gakkai [America Institute]. A journal was published, but had to be suspended after a few years due to financial difficulties. In January 1966, these pioneers and a new generation of specialists on America reestablished Amerika Gakkai, now referred to in English as the Japanese Association for American Studies (JAAS). The number of original members was about 200. As it has enjoyed a steadily growing popularity, the Association boasts 1,146 members as of April 2000.