40 episodes

For over two decades, the Europe-Japan Research Centre (EJRC) has brought distinguished guest speakers to Oxford to present on a broad range of topics in Japanese studies. From literature and film, to anthropology and religious studies, EJRC speakers showcase a range of perspectives on Japanese culture, revealing its complexity while making it accessible. The EJRC seminar series is supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Europe Japan Research Centre Podcasts Europe Japan Research Centre, Oxford Brookes University

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

For over two decades, the Europe-Japan Research Centre (EJRC) has brought distinguished guest speakers to Oxford to present on a broad range of topics in Japanese studies. From literature and film, to anthropology and religious studies, EJRC speakers showcase a range of perspectives on Japanese culture, revealing its complexity while making it accessible. The EJRC seminar series is supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

    And I Dance with Somebody: HIV/AIDS Activism, Queer Politics and Performance in 1990s Japan

    And I Dance with Somebody: HIV/AIDS Activism, Queer Politics and Performance in 1990s Japan

    [Recorded 9th December 2020] Recent years have seen an increased focus on global cultural histories of HIV/AIDS of the 1980s and 1990s. However these have tended to focus on the transnational circulation of cultural products, activist networks and people across the North Atlantic, and specifically in the Anglophone world. In this talk marking World AIDS Day, I make some preliminary claims for a greater significance of Japan in a global history of HIV/AIDS of the 1990s. I focus on the events surrounding the first World AIDS Conference held outside Europe and North America (in Yokohama in 1994) and the transnational movements of theatre productions, performance, visual arts and other cultural products in and out of Japan around this time period. Mark Pendleton is Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies in the School of East Asian Studies at University of Sheffield. He is an editor of the Routledge Companion to Gender and Japanese Culture and has published numerous chapters and articles in journals like Japan Forum and Japanese Studies.

    • 1 hr
    Ascetic Ressentiment: Historical Consciousness and Mountain Politics in Northeastern Japan

    Ascetic Ressentiment: Historical Consciousness and Mountain Politics in Northeastern Japan

    [Recorded 18th November 2020] In this talk, I will discuss competing streams of historical consciousness in Mount Haguro, a sacred mountain in northeastern Japan known for its mountain ascetic traditions. Applying the notion of ressentiment (historical alienation) to the longue dureé of religious history in Mount Haguro, I demonstrate how contemporary conflicts in the mountain ascetic community are rooted not only in a historic rift between Shintō and Buddhism in the early Meiji period, but in a greater dynamic at play in Japanese religious history between nativism and cosmopolitanism. Shayne A. P. Dahl received his PhD in Sociolinguistic Anthropology at the University of Toronto in 2019. His doctoral research considered recent innovations of Shugendo (mountain asceticism) in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. In 2017, he produced an ethnographic film, The Buddha Mummies of North Japan, which explored the modern worship and significance of mummified monks in a sacred mountain range called Dewa Sanzan. He has published about post-disaster pilgrimage Dewa Sanzan and is currently writing book manuscript based on his doctoral fieldwork that will explore themes of religion, historical consciousness, and ecology in a post-disaster context.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Still life: Scarecrow sociality, economic abandonment, and public curiosity in rural Japan

    Still life: Scarecrow sociality, economic abandonment, and public curiosity in rural Japan

    [Recorded 4th November 2020] In Nagoro, in the middle of Shikoku, close to two hundred scarecrows stand in the farm fields where nothing but weeds now grow; they wait at the bus stop past which busses no longer run; and they sit in an elementary school devoid of human children. Day by day increasing numbers of visitors from urban centers of affluent countries are making the trek to this small town and its inanimate inhabitants. Reflexively following that curiosity, for the past five years I have visited this town, made scarecrows, spent time with long-term inhabitants of the valley, and talked to the tourists and reporters who come to see a fading rural life set against a seemingly natural backdrop of stunning beauty. In this paper, I argue that the economic conditions that enable the hyper-mobility of urban public curiosity are precisely those that push small villages such as this one to the verge of disappearance. A gendered, spatial, and temporal organization of labor and leisure, curiosity and possibility — all global in scope — condense here into the scarecrow. This talk was originally presented on 4th November, 2020. Joseph Hankins is Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Anthropology and Interim Director of Critical Gender Studies at the University of California, San Diego. His research examines the interplay of flow and capture – of goods, people, and political possibility. His first book followed raw cowhide from his hometown in Texas to a tannery in Japan, examining the gendered labor required to reproduce political arguments that Japan is multicultural. His talk is from his second book project on deurbanization and rural imaginaries.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Producing People Who Have No One: Child Welfare and Well-Being in Japan

    Producing People Who Have No One: Child Welfare and Well-Being in Japan

    [Recorded 21st October 2020] Child welfare and well-being are fragile kin to each other. Such is the case in Japan, where the ethnographic data for this paper originate, but also across the world, as policy makers, caregivers, and people with experience in state care endeavor to imagine—and implement—child welfare systems that truly support well-being. Despite these efforts, social welfare systems too often “produce people who have no one,” in the words of one of my interlocutors. Child welfare policy and practice institutionalize particular visions of kinship relationships, with lasting effects on the people touched by these systems. Some of these systems cultivate the possibility for lasting relationships, and some do not. Relationships can injure and harm, but they can also transform. What are the conditions for a welfare system that nurtures well-being, that produces people who have people? This paper explores how cultural norms surrounding kinship, many deeply connected to national ideologies of Japanese identity, play out when kinship realities diverge from normative expectations surrounding nurturance and care. Originally presented on 21st October, 2020. Kathryn E. Goldfarb is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the Univeristy of Colorado Boulder. Kathryn earned her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2012 and has published widely on kinship, adoption and child welfare in Japan in journals such as Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Japanese Studies and Social Science and Medicine. She is currently preparing a book manuscript titled "Fragile Kinships: Child Welfare and Well Being in Japan"

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Transnational Kinship in the Margins of Citizenship: The Case of Nikkei Brazilians in Japan

    Transnational Kinship in the Margins of Citizenship: The Case of Nikkei Brazilians in Japan

    [Recorded 14th October 2020] Kinship is a restrictive and yet mutable logic by which many nation-states in East Asia nationalize transnational mobility today. This talk elucidates the seemingly paradoxical but deeply systemic stratification of citizenship intensified by kinship-based migrations, by examining the case of Brazilians in contemporary Japan. At first glance, the kin-based incorporation connotes acceptance: “they” are “us.” Yet the partial inclusion grounded on the idiom of blood ironically preserves perpetual exclusion of those migrants who must seek belonging in a corporeal idiom of family. [NOTE: original presentation contained an 8min video in Porteugeuse with English Subtitles. This part has been edited from the audio pending permission from those involved in the video] Suma Ikeuchi is Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. Her first book, "Jesus Loves Japan: Return Migration and Global Pentecostalism in the Brazilian Diaspora", was published by Stanford University Press in 2019.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Interaction between Ezra Pound and Japanese artists: mainly Yone Noguchi, a poet

    Interaction between Ezra Pound and Japanese artists: mainly Yone Noguchi, a poet

    [Recorded 4 December 2019] Ezra Pound had meaningful interactions with his contemporary Japanese artists. This paper argues that his rivalry with Yone Noguchi, a poet who wrote hokku (Japanese traditional short poems) in English, was significant in his creation of an aesthetic based on hokku. Toru Nakamura is Professor of English and American Literature and Culture at Chuo University in Tokyo, Japan. He is currently a Visiting Scholar in Oxford’s Faculty of English, working on the interaction between early 20th century American (and English) writers and artists who belonged to Non-Western cultures. His main books include: Terminal Beginning: American Stories and the Power of Words [Terminal Beginning: Amerika no Monogatari to Kotoba no Chikara] (Editing and writing, Tokyo: Ronso sha, 2014); and Ernest Hemingway: Author’s Horizon from the 21st Century Perspective [Ernest Hemingway: Nijuisseiki kara Yomu Sakka no Chihei] (co-authored, Tokyo: Rinsen Book Co. 2011). His main translations include Henry Miller’s Book of Friends (co-translated, Suiseisha, 2014).

    • 1 hr 5 min

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