The presenters

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AKUTSU, Mariko. PhD student. The Japanese Ceramic; Images of Japan and the French Universal Exhibitions of the Second Half of 19th Century. Lyon 3 University, FRANCE.
BOHR, Marcus. PhD candidate.

Discourse on Japanese Photography: Binaries and Paradoxes in the Work of Sugimoto Hiroshi and Araki Nobuyoshi. University of Westminster, UNITED KINGDOM.
HAIJIMA, Agnese. Assoc. prof. The Image of Nature in Contemporary Urbanized Japanese Society with Focus on Eco-tourism As One of the Possible Spheres of Cross-cultural Exchange Between Japan and the Baltic States. Latvia University, LATVIA.
IKEDA, Yoshiko. PhD lecturer. A Self-portrait of Japan and the Japanese of the 1970s: Interpretations of Renzo and Sayoko Kinoshita’s Animated Films. Osaka University, JAPAN.
IKEGAMI, Yoshihiko. Prof. emeritus of University of Tokyo. Japanese as ‘the Devil’s Language’ – A Study in Linguistic Prejudice. Professor of Graduate School, Showa Women’s University, JAPAN.
KOMA, Kyoko. PhD research fellow. Stereotypes and Foreign Words: The Term “Kawaii” in Representative National French Newspapers. Vytautas Magnus University, Japanese Studies Centre, LITHUANIA.
KOORT, Katja. Lecturer. Japan As a Part of a New Chinese Urban Identity: Approaching through the Works of Guangzhou Artists. Tallinn University, ESTONIA
KUGISHIMA, Hiroko. Dual Images of “An Ideal Japanese Woman” In a Disastrous Age ― Through an analyze of “A Daughter of the Samurai”. Historical Society of English Studies, JAPAN.
LINHART, Sepp. Prof. The Visualization of Japan on Western Postcards. University of Viena, AUSTRIA.

LUGO, Viviana. PhD student. Manga and Anime: The New Japanese Diplomatic Tools and How They Have Conquered the Global Cultural Market. – An insight with the French case. Institut d’Asie Orientale Ecole Normale Superior de Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université de Lyon, FRANCE.

MICKŪNAS, Algis. Prof. Natural Shinto Images and Transcendental Zen Frame. Ohio University, USA.
NAKAO, Tomoyo. Assoc. prof. A Strange Legacy of the War: the Politics of Reconciliation: The Story of a Scottish Man of Lithuanian Jewish Descent and Senpo Chiune. Okayama University, JAPAN.
ONOHARA, Noriko. Assoc. prof. New Yet Classic Image of
Japan through Gothic Lolita Fashion. University of Hyogo, JAPAN/ Victoria and Albert Museum, UNITED KINGDOM.
SALUVEER, Sten-Kristian. MA student. “Imaginary Japanese Film”: A Creation of Western Techno-orientalism, Japanese Soft Nationalism and Narcissism. Department of East Asian Studies, Tallinn University, ESTONIA.
SHCHEPETUNINA, Marina. PhD student. Questioning Image of Japan as a Miko Country: Representation of Shamanism in Ancient Japanese Myths. Department of Language and Culture, Graduate School of Language and Culture, Osaka University, JAPAN.
SHIMIZU, Yasuo. Japanese Sports and Japanese Culture, Society from the Newspaper Articles Standpoint- Based on the articles of World Championships in Athletic. Japan Masters Athletics, JAPAN.
TOYOTA, Junichi. Dr., Senior research fellow. A Sense of Nothingness: A Cognitive Poetic Perspective. Lund University, SWEDEN.
YAMANASHI, Atsushi. PhD candidateRepresentations of Modern Japan in the Missions Catholiques. . Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, FRANCE.
ZYKAS, Aurelijus. PhD candidate. The Idea of Country’s Umbrella Image and the Case of Japanese Public Diplomacy. Vytautas Magnus University, Japanese Studies Centre, LITHUANIA.
ŽIUBRYS, Marius. M.A. student. Kawaii Culture: the Case of Hello Kitty. Department of Political Science and Diplomacy, Vytautas Magnus University, LITHUANIA.

AKUTSU, Mariko
Lyon 3 University, France
The Japanese Ceramic; Images of Japan and the French Universal Exhibitions of the Second Half of 19th Century

Japanese ceramics were exported into Europe since the seventeenth century, yet, only few privileged collectors could appreciate and own them. While the objects proved to intrigue European collectors; the connoisseurs had very little information about these objects or their country of origin.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, four universal exhibitions were held in Paris. In 1867, during a period of interest in Japanism in France, Japan participated for the first time and its numerous porcelains were exhibited. Westerners were greatly interested in Japanese culture and art and its porcelain, as its exotic characteristics were becoming reputable.

During the second exhibition in 1878, French amateurs and critics reestablished their interest in Japanese sandstone. In fact, the simplicity and the sobriety of Japanese sandstone were preferred to porcelain, as it was considered a reflection of Japanese ceramic culture. This aestheticism, more exotic and refined, strongly influenced the specialists of Japanese art in France.

In 1889, Japanese porcelain was severely criticized for its lack in originality and in its imitations of shapes and decors of European models. However, French ceramicists quickly drew inspiration from Japanese sandstone, as it was considered a pure representation of the Japanese ceramic art, much more than porcelain.

We aim to investigate the representation of Japanese ceramics for the French in the second half of 19th century. We are particularly interested in identifying how the French viewed and interpreted Japanese culture, art, motifs, colors and emblems, by understanding how these objects were used in France. We will examine these subjects primarily at the time of the universal exhibitions in Paris when the interest in Japanism was at its peak.

BOHR, Marcus
University of Westminster, UK
Discourse on Japanese Photography:

Binaries and Paradoxes in the work of Sugimoto Hiroshi and Araki Nobuyoshi
In this paper I wish to examine how western discourse on Japanese photography has been dominated by the use of binaries and paradoxes. Consider for example these remarks by Martin Parr on the photographer Sugimoto Hiroshi whose photographic books are described as following:

With work as austere, precise and elegant as a Zen garden, Sugimoto has a natural propensity for deluxe, limited-edition books, as precisely engineered as a machine.

While this particular example exhibits the familiar characteristics of a Levi-Straussian nature/culture opposition (‘garden’ and ‘machine’), it also juxtaposes perceived cultural specificities by reemphasizing later on that Sugimoto is ‘[c]ombining the Japanese tradition with Western conceptualism.’ It confronts the reader with a paradox: that perceived Eastern and Western values peacefully coexist in the work of Sugimoto.

In his acclaimed book The Idea of Japan: Western Images, Western Myths, Ian Littlewood makes a compelling case that the dominant use of binaries and paradoxes in regards to Japan relate to a desire to differentiate cultures but also to create boundaries in between them. He writes:

To call Japan a paradox is really to say that it threatens the existing boundaries and therefore our definitions of ourselves. It is for this reason that the language of paradox has always been counterbalanced by a language that reaffirms these boundaries as empathically as possible.

Instead of reaffirming often incorrectly perceived cultural boundaries and moving away from binaries and paradoxes, I propose in this paper that a new vocabulary is needed in order to analyze and disseminate Japanese photography. In addition to this critical discourse analysis however, I will also point out that not only the discussion of photographs, but that photographs themselves, are often utilized to exaggerate cultural differences. This paper will thus delve into the work of Sugimoto Hiroshi and Araki Nobuyoshi, and discuss why particularly these photographers have been embraced by the international art circuit.

Lastly, in order to articulate a new set vocabulary, I will present photographs by an emerging generation of Japanese photographers whose work differs considerably from Araki and Sugimoto. Produced by predominantly women artists during the so-called ‘Lost Decade’, recent Japanese photography not only puts into question the old East/West binarism, but also, takes issue with a rigid differentiation in regards to authorship, gender and national belonging. In conclusion, I will suggest that a fresh view is required in order to better appreciate the wide gamut of Japanese photography. Locating what Homi Bhabha has called ‘inbetween spaces’ in regards to Japanese photography will allow us to break away from the East/West didacticism and move towards an interpretative model that also recognizes commonalities and sometimes surprising parallels between other modes of cultural production.

Latvia University, Latvia
The Image of Nature in Contemporary Urbanized Japanese Society with Focus on Eco-tourism as One of the Possible Spheres of Cross-cultural Exchange Between Japan and the Baltic States

Japan as one of the leading countries in the world in terms of economic progress and high technology is paying certain cost for its development. More and more space is given to the expansion and modernization of the cities at the expense of nature. Now the country is close to nationwide urbanization. Some of the problems include: pollution, nature being replaced with its imitation, younger generation growing up with bigger and bigger gap from the nature, nostalgia for the natural environs in the older generation, insufficiency of home grown food, high food prices, wide usage of preservatives and unnatural components in food leading to the spread of cancer, allergy and other diseases, narrow living space, costly access to nature.

During recent years government has done various efforts to preserve the environment and stimulate the environmental awareness of the citizens. As a result the new century is witnessing new attitudes and shift of values in the society. This is affecting various aspects of life.

My presentation will focus on ecotourism as one of the products of modern eco-sensitive society and the possibilities of eco-tourism in cross-cultural exchange between Japan and the Baltic states.

Ecotourism is “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people”. The concept of ecotourism appeared in late 1980ies and since then it has experienced the fastest growth of all sub-sectors in the tourism industry. The popularity represents a change in tourist perceptions, increased environmental awareness and desire to explore natural environs. It could reshape or enrich the existing way of traveling in the future. The Baltic states with their vast areas of untouched nature, organic grown food, unique and relatively little known culture could provide excellent chances for eco-tourism in the future and host visitors from urbanized nations like Japan.

IKEDA, Yoshiko
Osaka University, Japan
A Self-portrait of Japan and the Japanese of the 1970s: Interpretations of Renzo and Sayoko Kinoshita’s Animated Films
My research will offer interpretations of two animated films made by Renzo and Sayoko Kinoshita in “Meido in Japan” (Made in Japan, 1972)
and “Japonese” 1 (Japanese, 1977). The two directors fostered independent animators both abroad and at home, and each became the vice-president of the Association Internationale du Film d’Animation (ASIFIA). Made in Japan, which received the grand prize in the first animated film festival in New York, condenses the political, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of Japan in 1970s into only 9 minutes. The analysis of Made in Japan will focus on the unique symbols created in the film, such as “Economic Animals” and “Photochemical Smog” in order to examine the self-image of the Japanese during that particular period. Japonese depicts Japan and the Japanese from a historical viewpoint, including the opening of the country to the West, modernization, World War II, and post-war economic growth. The analysis of this film will focus on the plot’s cultural assumption in order to examine more basic aspects of the self-portrayal of the Japanese. Both films are analyzed in reference to the key symbol of the “American”. By closely analyzing both films, the research attempts to expose the negative aspects of Japanese society hidden behind the economic growth of the 1970s and the cultural inferiority complex of modern Japanese.

IKEGAMI, Yoshihiko

Showa Women’s University, Japan
Japanese as ‘the Devil’s Language’ – A Study in Linguistic Prejudice
The paper begins with a personal account of the author’s encounter, first, with a puzzling picture on Japan exhibited in the Basque Ethnological Museum in Bayonne, France in 1977 and second, with an article entitled ‘The Devil’s Tongue’ in the special issue on Japan of the magazine Time in 1982, followed by an account of the author’s own research into the origin of the strange idea of ‘Japanese as the Devil’s language’. (The idea was ‘strange’, because Japan traditionally had nothing to do with the Christian Archenemy.) The paper then presents the author’s findings and the first part of the paper is concluded by referring, above all, to an insidious political plot nicely cloaked in the whole idea of ‘the Devil’s language’. The second part of the paper discusses, from the point of view of cognitive linguistics, the latest development in language research, how we, as speakers of different human languages, can most reasonably come to terms with the diversity of human languages (allegedly the aftermath of the abortive attempt to construct the Tower of Babel) without going to the extremes of insisting exclusively either on universalism (as in transforma­tional-generative grammar) or on relativism (as in structural linguistics).

KASZA, Justyna
University of Leeds, United Kingdom
The Cognitive Functions of Distanciation: The Image of Japan in the Works of Endō Shūsaku

The proposed paper focuses on an approach to the selected works by Endō Shūsaku from the perspective of the hermeneutical category ‘distance-distanciation’ as set forth by Paul Ricoeur. The analysis of this category enables, in my opinion, the unveiling of the image of Japan as seen through the eyes of Endō as a writer whose interests spanned both the Western culture and his own cultural background.

My point of departure is a statement by Endō on the confrontation with Western literature: ‘when I read Catholic writers, the most significant thing(…) is the feeling of distance(…). I try to understand what this distance is through my writing.’ It is a frequently returning motive in his works, both in essays, critical texts and fiction, where it appears in literary transformations.

Looking at Endō’s writing from the point of view of Ricouerian hermeneutics enables us to classify the dimensions of distance that the writer uses (cultural, historical, geographical …).

Distance constitutes a specific and important medium on the way towards understanding. Adopting the cognitive perspective of ‘distance-distanciation’ makes it possible to distinguish other categories contained in the process of ‘reading-understanding- writing’; the problems of subjectivity, otherness, identity etc.

By applying them to Endō’s works, we are able to see how extremely complicated forms the principle of distance may assume. Endō’s writings were shaped by his keen interest in Western literature, especially by the works of F. Mauriac, G. Bernanos, J. Green, A. Gide. Based on their literature, he approached the issues significant for himself (the problem of evil), overcoming the distance to the Western culture. Concurrently, he entered into the sphere of distance towards his own culture. By setting the background of his novels in the Japanese reality, and through active participation in Japan’s intellectual life, he adopted an attitude of searching for answers to dilemmas he encountered in what resulted from experiencing distance.

Therefore, I will argue that the attractiveness of both his essays and his fiction lies in the fact that the writer recognized the positive and creative function of distance.

KOMA, Kyoko
Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania
Stereotypes and Foreign Words: The Term “Kawaii” in Representative National French Newspapers
In our paper, we will examine the use of the term “Kawaii” as foreign word. We will investigate its addition of a new value to images of Japan that are constructed in three representative national French newspapers: Le Figaro, Libération, and Le Monde, published from 1996 to 2009.

“Kawaii” is considered to be a key word that represents the Japanese popular culture. This term started to appear in French media in 1990s, when France and other foreign countries began to import Japanese popular culture.

Specifically, “kawaii” is a foreign word for “French media.” Foreign words are used in three stages: as xenisms, as peregrinisms, and as loan words. According to Dictionnaire de Linguistique (Dictionary of Linguistics), a xenism is a “foreign word mentioned with reference to a linguistic code of origin and to foreign realities.” A peregrinism “reflects encore foreign realities, but its meaning is understood by the interlocutor” without reference. A loan word is “versed to French vocabulary, and could for example enter in some process of derivation and of composition.”

In our corpus, the term “kawaii” is used not only as a xenism mentioned with reference, but also as a peregrinism, without reference. It is even used as a loan word to designate a non-Japanese object.

The further purpose of our paper is to progress towards understanding how Japanese words, as foreign words that are used in French newspapers, participate in constructing French society’s stereotypical image of Japan. We will analyze the issue from a semio-discursive point of view, determining whether the term kawaii is used as a stereotype. We will discover whether it contributes, expectedly or not, to explaining Japanese events reductively and as caricatures or not.

KOORT, Katja
Tallinn University, Estonia
Japan As a Part of a New Chinese Urban Identity: Approaching Through the Works of Guangzhou Artists
The main aim of Chinese foreign policy after the 1997 Asian financial crisis was to become a member of the international community. Events such as China’s admission to the WTO, the selection of Beijing for the 2008 Olympics and Shanghai for the World Fair Expo in 2010 have increased the pace of urbanization and globalization. During the recent years Chinese cities have undergone rapid transformation in their way of thinking, lifestyle, social and aesthetic consciousness. Although, the urbanization in China has followed Western models, the construction of global urban reality has rather been based on imaginary grounds than practical and scientific proof. As a result, big cities like Guangzhou have lost their traditional look and acquired a new hybrid identity, where the elements of different cultures are mixed together and assimilate each other. Today, Japanese cartoons and manga, Hollywood films and both Eastern and Western brands, construct the image of the city. The artists who are witnessing the creation of new urban space and society have no choice but to re-examine the cultural issues that accompany the process of urbanization. In the current paper I intend to single out and observe the Japanese elements in the works of Guangzhou artists who focus on the critical issues raised by urbanization in order to discuss the role of Japan in creating ideological and levelling icons of the Chinese metropolitan reality.

Historical Society of English Studies in Japan, Japan
Dual Images of “An ideal Japanese Woman” In a Disastrous Age ― Through an Analyze of “A daughter of the Samurai”

Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto (1872-1950) was in a schoolbook in the U.S. under the name of Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto---World Citizenship. She was one of 12 people, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford est. in “Pioneers in Self-Government- informal studies in the natural philosophy” (1931). According to her obituary in the New York Times, “A Daughter of the Samurai” was the most continuously successful book of non-fiction on the Doubleday, Doran list. The subtitle of the book was “How a daughter of feudal Japan, living hundreds of years in one generation, became a modern American.” It was translated in to French (1930), Swedish (1934), German (1935), Danish (1937), Finnish (1937), Polish (1937) Rumanian (1939) and Japanese (1949) and later it became a girls comics in Japan after World War II. In 2009, a famous Japanese journalist, Yoshiko Sakurai, wrote a book in which “A Daughter of the Samurai” is recommended. Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto and her first book has influenced to the world for a long time.

Japanese articles revealed that an American friend, Florence M. Wilson, lived with Etsu all her life and secretly helped with her writing.

From the differences of two autobiographies, I have been researching her real life in two countries.

With the background of Tokyo Earthquake in 1923 and the Japanese Immigration issue, the original “A Daughter of the Samurai”, was written by a Japanese woman and an American woman in a form of a serial story using many photographs in the monthly magazine “Asia” for a year. Both Western and Japanese cultures were arranged in harmony represented with the heroine, Etsu-bo Sama.

In this presentation, I will show the original Japanese culture at the time described in the book and how this culture changed in a western background.


University of Vienna, Austria
The Visualization of Japan On Western Postcards
Postcards from around 1900 until the 1950s used to be the most important visual mass media among the common people. Cheap and omnipresent, postcards after their first appearance became at once a part of everyday life everywhere in the world. To collect postcards was a widespread hobby, and many people decorated their homes with postcards. Postcards were published about almost every aspect of life, and many postcards were issued about Japan. The most popular theme was the 'geisha', i. e. pictures of Japanese women in a traditional dress. As I have shown in my book Yellow Peril or 'Dainty Japanese'. War Postcards on Japan 1900 - 1945 (2005), there were also numerous cards issued about Japan in its 20th century wars. Using a collection of more than 2000 postcards on Japan, I would like to make an analysis of the themes of these cards as well as an investigation of the kind of representation of Japan on these cards. My hypothesis is that the visualization of Japan on postcards created a strong image of Japan that was transmitted to the present time, and therefore should be carefully researched.

LUGO, Viviana
University of Lyon, France
Manga and Anime: The New Japanese Diplomatic Tools and How They Have Conquered the Global Cultural Market. – An Insight With the French Case”

In June 2002, Foreign Policy magazine publishes Douglas McGray’s article « Japan’s Gross National Cool ». Its title alone tags Japan’s new phenomenon in the global cultural market, going from pop music, architecture, cuisine to anime and of course to Manga. This article was a wake up call for many researchers to focus on Japan’s new weapon of power: Culture.

If it is true that the archipelago has seduced the world with Dragon Ball Z, Akira and Hayao Miyazaki’s imagination in the last three decades, this new cultural influence raises some questions regarding its impact with other countries. Some scholars refer to this new “cool Japan” experience as a mean for “Soft Power”2, the ability to persuade others by using non coercive procedures

This Japanese Soft Power idea could be the case for some countries, such as South Korea and Taiwan, where Manga and Anime make part of daily media. Yet this can be debatable due to the harsh relations between these countries with Japan in the past, and furthermore this discussion deserves an article apart. However, the case in European countries is different. In France for instance, it can not be said that Japan executes a “Soft Power” to persuade the country with just this particular cultural industry, nonetheless they have a cultural marriage that dates from the 19th century.

The Gallic nation is a country with a long tradition of Bande Dessine, and up till now it has a solid market, where the American Comics and the Manga have been introduced to compete with the local production. Moreover according to recent studies, Manga and Anime has been the trigger to many to pursue serious studies about Japan or even Japanese language. This study aims to analyze what makes Manga and Anime attractive to foreigners and to show how this cultural industry may be considered a diplomatic tool with arguable limitations.

Ohio University, USA
Natural Shinto Images and Transcendental Zen Frame
This discussion will center on the images of Shinto, the meaning of Kami, and how they are to be interpreted within the context of Zen simplicity. What must be shown is the ways that Shinto and Zen connect at a deeper – transcendental – level of “silent” and “no-self” awareness whose presence is manifest in Shinto rituals and Zen practice. While there is a popular and pervasive assumption of the relationship between Heidegger and Japan, the claim of this essay is that there is a more fundamental awareness that belongs to the Shinto images and Zen best accessed through the transcendental domain of “non-being.” At this level, the images of Shinto and the presence of Zen might be accessible to the West without the usual claim that Japan is too enigmatic to be understood.

NAKAO, Tomoyo
Okayama University, Japan
A Strange Legacy of the War: the Politics of Reconciliation:

The Story of a Scottish Man of Lithuanian Jewish Descent and Senpo Chiune

During World War II, Lithuania and Japan developed a unique relationship through the activities of the Japanese vice consul Sugihara.

The story of Chiune Sugihara is well known among the Japanese community, of how he risked his own life and career in order to help save the lives of several thousand Lithuanian Jewish refugees by signing their transit visas to Far East. After some 60 years, Senpo (Chiune) Sugihara's story functioned in another unique way. It was retold via a Japanese journalist, this time to an old Scottish war veteran, Jack Caplan, whose own family had been Lithuanian migrants to Britain before WWII.

Jack Caplan, who was brought up in the Lithuanian community in the Gorbals district of Glasgow in Scotland, was a volunteer soldier and later became a Prisoner of War taken by the Japanese Army, working on the infamous Thai-Burma Railway, where tens of thousands of people were victimized as forced labor. Jack Caplan survived, and later founded a POW Association to ask for compensation. He became an icon of resistance against the Japanese / government, because in 1998, on the occasion of the State visit of the Japanese Emperor and Empress, he protested against Japan by publicly burning the Japanese National flag in London.

He was then approached by the Japanese journalist who wished to better the Anglo-Japan mutual understandings, told him of the heroic deeds of Senpo Sugihara, and Jack, as a Jewish Lithuanian himself, was very touched by this diplomat's actions.

The Japanese journalist and Christian reconciliation activists often wrote of how Jack Caplan became softened by this story and thus he was turned into another icon -- an icon of reconciliation. The story goes that Jack was touched by the brave deeds of Senpo Sugihara, began to see Japan in a different light, and therefore gave up his demand for compensation and apology from Japan.

However, interestingly, Jack remained a true Scottish/Jewish/Lithuanian in the sense that he still demanded both of them as a 'reciprocal reward' when he embraced Japan. Why did Jack wish to have more?  Was it pure interest seeking or was it something else? This is an interesting case study of the gap between the sense of moral value and a reward system, and sheds light on the politics/mechanism of more fundamental issues for mutual understanding now and in the future.

University of Hyogo, Japan/ Victoria and Albert Museum, UK
New Yet Classic Image of Japan Through Gothic Lolita Fashion

This paper will discuss the images of Japan through a current Japanese fashion called Gothic Lolita. It will be distinguished from a more general and seemingly similar, though quite different, fashion trend called cosplay which presents one of the newest images of Japan. Gosurori (Gothic Lolita for short) fashion seems to be a chaotic style, with dark Gothic clothing, accessories, and makeup mixed together with the cute looks of a young girl, Lolita. Gosurori girls are also fond of classic European styles of expansive swinging skirts with frilly lace and undergarments, but there are no bright colors in their clothing, just black and white.

Despite expressing Western images, Gosurori is totally a new Japanese fashion that was born on the street and has been led by the wearers, and it is now becoming a globally well-known. Interestingly, street fashion normally features a dressed-down, casual style, but Gosurori girls dress up excessively and formally. Yet, they usually dislike having their pictures taken and believe they are finding and expressing their 'real self' through their 'floating' clothing rather than just pretending to be someone else for a few hours.

Possible interpretations of the causes and meanings behind this current Japanese fashion are given at the end, which give rise to basic questions about what fashion is.

SALUVEER, Sten-Kristian
Tallinn University, Estonia

Imaginary Japanese Film”: A Creation of Western Techno-orientalism, Japanese Soft Nationalism and Narcissism

For the last decade, Japanese popular culture, especially animation and film is enjoying an increasing popularity in the Western world, marked by both successes at the box office, as well as the level of professional reception in the form of awards from Oscars or leading film festivals such as Cannes. The same period has also marked the evolution of a new form and discourse of perceiving and discussing moving images from Japan by Western audiences – a phenomenon of imaginary Japanese film arising from a desire for the techno-orientalist exotic as discussed by Morley and Robins, as well as strategies of film distributors to create economically successful Asian cult film products.

Imaginary Japanese film can be characterized by combining and enforcing stereotypical notions about Japan and its culture combined with techno-orientalist features such as violence and dehumanization. At the same time it can be argued that as a result of the need in Western markets, Japanese film industry increasingly engages in the production of imaginary Japanese films motivated by the longing for the recognition of cultural-economic superpower as discussed by Iwabuchi (2002), which again enforces the dominant cultural prejudices against Japanese culture and society.
The aim of the paper is to define and discuss the phenomenon as the joint creation of Western techno-orientalism and Japanese narcissistic desire for cultural recognition on the basis of the theories of imaginary narratives and constructions based on Anderson and Appadurai, techno-orientalism of Morley and Robins and soft narcissistic nationalist power of Iwabuchi drawing from the examples of imaginary Japanese films such as “Imprint” (2006, Miike Takashi) and “Kataude mashin gâru” (2008, Iguchi Noboru), as well as publicity materials of film distributors such as Tartan and Optimum Releasing among others.

Osaka University, Japan
Questioning Image of Japan as a Miko Country: Representation of Shamanism in Ancient Japanese Myths

Japanese Shamanism, as it was pointed out by Mircea Eliade in his prominent work, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, differs from classical shamanism of North-Asian or Siberian type. It is, first of all, a technique of being possessed by spirits, practiced by women, miko. Along with this traditional perception of Japanese shamanism, Japanese myth shows features of classical shamanism as well.

The object of this study is myths of the first book of The Records of Ancient Matters (The Kojiki)(712) which recount of the world of deities up to the birth of the first emperor and texts of The Chronicles of Japan (The Nihon Shoki)(720) which correspond to them.

This study is conducted in the analytical frame, addressed to the features of male and female deities in Japanese mythology. A structuralist approach to the texts is adopted. In the process of analysis the range of episodes with repetition of elements which can be interpreted as shamanistic has been revealed. There are episodes where deities perform the role of shaman, depicted as shamans. This role is performed by female deities, which corresponds to the Japanese tradition of female shamanism, tradition if miko. Apart from these images of female shamans, miko, features, attributed to shaman of classical type among some male deities, have been discovered. Such deities prevail in Izumo legends rather than in Yamato ones, where we find female deities with miko features. In the text of Japanese myths we observe male shaman images as well as female ones, and this leads us to trace two different systems of shamanism – the first one being the classical type with the core element of traveling to another world, the world of spirits, and the second one with the core element of possession by spirits, which is recognized as traditional in Japanese culture.

Japan Masters Athletics, Japan
Japanese Sports and Japanese Culture, Society from the Newspaper Articles Standpoint- Based on the Articles of World Championships In Athletics

It is said that the sports is a social reduced drawing. We understand the society of the country through the sports, In this presentation the presenter takes up the IAAF World Championships in Athletics(1991 Tokyo meeting and 2007 Osaka meeting )and wants to think about what happened to Japanese society and sports culture through it.

At First the presenter gathered the articles of Tokyo meeting and Osaka meeting of newspapers And the presenter considered how they are taken up based on linguistics technique

The result is as follows. As for the newspaper article at the time of the Tokyo meeting, the article of the result of the competition and the article of Soviet Union collapse hold a little over 90%.

In addition, The article of the competition has many articles of the superstar such as Carl Lewis or Bubka.

On the other hand, the articles of the volunteer, the local interchange and environmental problems are taken up besides the article of the result of the competition at the time of the Osaka meeting and hold a little over 30%. The introduction of the Japanese player assigns a focus to Asahara Nobuharu of the Osaka duty and emphasizes that World Championships in Athletics is performed in Osaka

As for those differences, the change of the Japanese society and the change of the view of sports by the change of social conditions in the West or the world are thought.

TOYOTA, Junichi

Lund University, Sweden
A Sense of Nothingness: A Cognitive Poetic Perspective
Comparing the Western and Eastern tradition in the domain of literature and art, one feature is really striking, namely, a sense of nothingness, or in other words, how the concept of void is appreciated. For instance, a basic principle of flower arrangement and gardening shows a clear difference, i.e. the western culture tries to fill a designated space, but the eastern one leaves an empty space on purpose. This is not restricted to the domain of horticulture, but this difference can be considered as a principle that lies between these two cultures. This can be reflected on literature and art, e.g. realism promoted by writers such as Balzac describes everything in details and leaves very little for readers’ imagination. On the other hand, Japanese literature normally let readers interpret details themselves, and those who created the realism movement in Japan (such as Tsubouchi) were all familiar with the western literature and they simply copied the style.

The basic difference lies in how the concept of nothingness is perceived. This is in essence how we view the world and find focus in it. In various approaches based on human cognition, such as cognitive linguistics or cognitive poetics, terms such as figure and ground or trajectory and landmark are used to refer to this worldview, e.g. we human beings tend to conceptualize a certain scene as a background in a situation and see a certain object in relation to this background. It seems that different culture has different style of this setting by default, and this is what is shown in the cultural differences in the West and the East. The essential difference, therefore, can be claims that in the East, emptiness or nothingness can serve as a background, but it is not likely the case in the West.

Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, France
Representations of Modern Japan in the Missions Catholiques
My presentation examines the images of Japan of Roman Catholic missionary contained in the French missionary journal Missions Catholiques (Catholic Missions). This is an official publication of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, founded by Pauline-Marie Jaricot in Lyon in 1822 to support the missionary work.

The Society had published the reports and letters from the missionary overseas with pictures in the Missions Catholiques between 1868 and 1964. The magazine is aimed at the general readership of priests and the faithful in order to promote foreign missions’ fund raising. For long years, many future missionaries in France had their missionary awareness through this during their youth.

The missionaries of the Paris Foreign Mission Society (Société des Missions Etrangères de Paris) have arrived in Japan at the latest period of Edo era. After the persecution of the prayers at the beginning of Meiji era, they began the missionary work in various parts of the country. The Missions Catholiques published numerous articles on various subjects in Japan. Their writings enabled the French catholic readers to imagine Japan through theirs representations of the country.

The Missions Catholiques is recognized as the important source for the researchers into the history of catholic missions. Concerning the study of the history of Christianity in Japan, this journal isn’t the object of systematic analyses yet. Our study is mainly focusing on the representation of modern Japan (Meiji, Taisho, and Showa before the World War Two). For the purpose of this study, all the articles dealing either entirely or in part with Japan are examined. The examination of French Catholic point of view on the society, culture and oriental’s religions enables us to know the construction of one particular image of European viewpoint.

ZYKAS, Aurelijus
Vytautas Magnus University
The Idea of Country’s Umbrella Image and the Case of Japanese Public Diplomacy
The idea of country’s umbrella image is a very important notion in the present country image communication, discussed recently by the country branding and public diplomacy specialists. It emphasizes the ideological, symbolical and institutional unification of country’s image communication. This paper researches the case of Japan, looking from the aspect of implementation of this umbrella image idea, and is based on the newest empirical research (expert interviews with the persons, dealing with Japan’s public diplomacy), conducted on 2009.

Presently, four institutions, i.e. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Japan Foundation, the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Intelectual Property Policy Headquarters are the main actors in Japan’s public diplomacy practices. The research shows their mutual inter-connections, differences and functional places in the overall whole. Moreover, the recent Government’s efforts to implement the umbrella image are introduced, and the success of these efforts is discussed.

Vytautas Magnus University
Kawaii Culture: The Case of Hello Kitty

In Japan, kawaii or cute objects can be found almost everywhere – from greeting cards to pornography. Kawaisa or cuteness is part of the contemporary Japanese culture which extends to various levels, including different generations. Hello Kitty which this year is celebrating its 35th anniversary does not loose its popularity already for more than 3 decades; and it stands as an excellent example on how business exploits the widespread Japanese compassion for kawaii objects, actions, etc. The paper‘s primary objective is to analyze Hello Kitty as a phenomena and the representative of kawaii culture through its consumption in Japan.

Categorization of what is cute is hard because the concept of cuteness can be found almost everywhere. However, Hello Kitty, which was created to appeal just young girls, now is deemed to include wider range of cuteness, e.g., from infantile curtness to eroticism, from young girls to young women, etc. Copyrights of the character belong to Sanrio Company Ltd. Hello Kitty is the best know product of the company bringing enormous profits. It is partly done by the charter’s ability to cross generational lines through well thought and adjusted marketing strategies.

The paper leaves questions for considerations if Hello Kitty or similar products could possibly be successful on a similar scale in Europe as in Japan or other East Asian countries.

1 “Japonese” is a word created by Kinoshita by combining English and French.

2 Term developed by Joseph Nye in his book “ Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power” 

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