Michigan Talks Japan is a new podcast from the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan. In it, Prof. Allison Alexy talks with leading scholars doing research on Japan about their work, their backgrounds, and their recommendations in the field. Crossing academic disciplines and time periods, the podcast highlights new and exciting scholarship in Japanese Studies.
More at: https://ii.umich.edu/cjs/podcast/
In this episode, Allison Alexy talks with Prof. Claire Maree, an Associate Professor and Reader at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne. Dr. Maree is a linguist examining the reproduction, negotiation, and contestation of identities in language, particularly in media, as well as the interconnection of gender and sexuality in everyday language practices. Our conversation today centers on her newest book, "Queerqueen: Linguistic Excess in Japanese Media," which examines popular celebrities who speak as gay or queer people. Topics of discussion include: onê kotoba, Miwa Akihiro, Matsuko Deluxe, vulgarity and self-censorship, the term "queer" in Japan, women's language as spoken and written, Osugi and Peeco, text on screen in TV shows, makeover shows, the koseki system and discrimination, LGBT booms in Japan, legal rights for same-sex partnerships, linguistic research methods, text on screen outside of Japan, and the incredible work librarians do.
This episode includes and discusses language – both in English and Japanese – that some listeners might find explicit or offensive.
In this episode, Allison Alexy talks with Prof. Vyjayanthi Selinger, a scholar of Japanese literature and culture. Her research examines literary representations of conflict in medieval Japan, using conflict as the key node to examine war memory, legal and ritual constraints on war, Buddhist mythmaking, and women in war. Our conversation centers on two articles she has published recently. First we discuss “War Without Blood? The Literary Uses of a Taboo Fluid in the Heike monogatari,” published in Monumenta Nipponica in 2019, and “The Rāmāyana and the Rhizome: Textual Networks in the Work of Minakata Kumagusu” published in Verge: Studies in Global Asias in 2021. Topics of discussion include: blood as symbol and taboo, The Tale of the Heike (Heike monogatari), Buddhism and bodily pollution, research methods and surprises, literary representations of law, Hachinoki (a Noh play), the Rāmāyan in Japan, translation, homology and adaptation, Chinese translations of Latin, requirements for language and theory, and Lady Triệu in Watchmen (TV show).
In this episode, Allison Alexy talks with Prof. Gabriella Lukács, an anthropologist whose research focuses on analog and digital media, which she theorizes as a continuum. The conversation centers on her new book "Invisibility by Design: Women and Labor in Japan's Digital Economy." Topics of discussion include: digital labor, online entrepreneurship, labor in the academy, net idols, bloggers, influencers, careers on YouTube, "expert" advice online, Japan's gendered labor market, what is recognized as labor, extracting profit from workers who aren't being paid, the gaps and overlaps between online and IRL, and doing research with celebrities.
Jolyon Baraka Thomas
In this episode, Allison Alexy talks with Prof. Jolyon Baraka Thomas, whose research focuses on religion as it intersects with media, freedom, education, and capitalism. The conversation centers on his book "Faking Liberties: Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan." Topics of discussion include: State Shintō, religious freedom, the Meiji Constitution, the Allied Occupation of Japan, tools of American empire, rhetoric and practices of freedom, development studies, anti-Black racism in Japan and in Asian Studies, education, inequities, DEI rhetoric and practices.
In this episode, Allison Alexy talks with Prof. Suma Ikeuchi, whose research focuses on migration, ethnic studies, religion, and science & technology studies. Our conversation centers on her book, Jesus Loves Japan: Return Migration and Global Pentecostalism in a Brazilian Diaspora, published in 2019 by Stanford University Press. After we recorded this, the book was awarded the 2020 Francis L. K. Hsu Book Prize by the Society for East Asian Anthropology.
In this episode, Allison Alexy talks with Prof. Charlotte Eubanks, whose research focuses on material culture, performance studies, and ethics, with a focus on Japanese and Buddhist literature from the medieval period to the present. The conversation centers on their new book "The Art of Persistence: Akamatsu Toshiko and the Visual Cultures of Transwar Japan." Topics of discussion include: settler families in Hokkaido, art, sketching, life histories, art and books for children, war guilt and responsibility, and research methods for art historians.
Such a great series
I’ve enjoyed every. single. episode. that I’ve listened so far!! Professor Alexy is such a great host, and I learn a lot while having fun through listening. This podcast is absolutely for everyone and I cannot be more grateful for all your hard work.
Accessible for all!
Regardless of your background knowledge on Japan, this is a really accessible and enjoyable podcast that highlights fascinating, modern works in Japanese Studies. Allison asks really great and directed questions that keep the conversation flowing naturally, and as a result you definitely walk away with more knowledge than when you started!