u:japan lectures

Season 2 | Spring 2021 | University of Vienna - Department of East Asian Studies - Japanese Studies


From Glass to Plastics: The Packaging Revolution of Postwar Japan

22.04.2021 18:30 - 20:00

A virtual u:japan lecture by Katarzyna J. Cwiertka (Leiden University).

| Abstract |

In May 2020 the Abe government launched an ambitious strategy of reducing Japan’s disposable plastic waste by 25 percent within the next decade. Although it remains to be seen how far the government will succeed in this mission, a much more interesting question is why the country has turned into the world’s second-highest user per capita of plastic packaging. Plastic has infiltrated the Japanese packaging market at a phenomenal speed. In terms of quantity (expressed in weight), its share more than doubled during the last three decades of the twentieth century, from around 9% in the 1970s to around 19% in the early 2000s. Since plastic is relatively light compared to other packaging materials, its success becomes even more apparent from the perspective of value. Comprising just 4.6% of the total value of Japanese packaging industry in 1958, by 2005 it skyrocketed to 30%. This paper will explore the forces behind the packaging revolution that took place in Japan during the 1950s and 1960, and the impact of these early decades on the rise of the culture of wrapping as we know it today.

| Bio |

Katarzyna J. Cwiertka is Chair of Modern Japan Studies at Leiden University. She is an expert on food history of modern Japan and Korea, both as a domain of culture and as a window into historical inquiry that extends beyond the realm of cuisine and nutrition. Cwiertka is the author of Modern Japanese Cuisine: Food, Power and National Identity (Reaktion Books 2006), Cuisine, Colonialism and Cold War: Food in Twentieth Century Korea (Reaktion Books 2012), Himerareta washokushi (Shinsensha 2016), and Branding Japanese Food: From Meibutsu to Washoku (University of Hawaii Press 2020). She has also edited several volumes with a larger geographical focus, including Asian Food: The Global and the Local (University of Hawai‘i Press 2002), Critical Readings on Food in East Asia (Brill 2012), Food and War in Mid-Twentieth-Century East Asia (Ashgate 2013), and Consuming Life Post-Bubble Japan: A Trans-disciplinary Perspective (Amsterdam University Press 2018). Currently, Cwiertka is working on a book manuscript on the history of food packaging in Japan.
   Recent Podcasts also feature Katarzyna J. Cwiertka and her work on Branding Japan’s Food (https://newbooksnetwork.com/katarzyna-j-cwiertka-branding-japans-food-from-meibutsu-to-washoku-u-hawaii-press-2020/) and washoku (https://www.japankyo.com/2021/04/about-unesco-washoku-japanese-cuisine/).

| Date & Time |

u:japan lecture | s02e06
Thursday 2021-04-22, 18:30~20:00 - iCal
max. 300 participants

| Plattform & Link |

| Further Questions? |

Please contact ujapanlectures.ostasien@univie.ac.at.

Organiser:

Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften - Japanologie

Local Governance in Okinawa: A Case Study from Oku

15.04.2021 18:30 - 20:00

A virtual u:japan lecture by Gabriele Vogt (LMU Munich).

| Abstract |

Oku, a hamlet of less than 200 inhabitants in Okinawa’s Yanbaru region, is known as a place of alternative economy, rich social capital and vivid local self-governance. The basis to this is the hamlet’s local shop, the so-called kyōdōten (共同店). Founded in the early 20th century as a private initiative, to ensure the distribution of Oku’s rich forest resources, and later of agricultural products such as tea and citrus fruits, the kyōdōten as a cooperatively run shop has taken over a central economic position in the hamlet. It has served as a meeting point for the hamlet’s inhabitants and various local organizations, thereby providing a space for community-building. Its organizational structure, which is based on principles of direct democracy has expanded beyond the shop administration and shaped the model of governance within the hamlet itself. The Oku kyōdōten model has spread in Okinawa and occasionally beyond, and today, while several shops already had to close their shutters amidst population aging, outmigration and the wider distribution of chain supermarkets, several dozen cooperatively run shops still persist.  

In this case study, I apply the concept of place-making to address the historic and contemporary relevance of the Oku kyōdōten. I argue that the cooperatively run shop over the course of the past century has insured Oku’s economic wealth, tight social networks and its relative administrative autonomy from outside governance on a municipal level. Today, however, against the backdrop of demographic change and developmental initiatives in Yanbaru, the store’s future is anything but certain. By analyzing the kyōdōten model, I assess the potential and the limitations of economic vitality, social support and political autonomy in the marginalized regions of Japan.

| Bio |

Gabriele Vogt holds the Chair of Japanese Studies / Social Sciences at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. She has been studying local politics and civic engagement in Okinawa for more than twenty years, and has also extensively researched population aging, eldercare and international migration to Japan. Among her recent publications is a co-authored piece with Ken V. L. Hijino, "Identity politics in Okinawan elections: The emergence of regional populism" (Japan Forum, 33:1, 2021), and a monograph entitled Population aging and international health-caregiver migration to Japan (Springer, 2018).

| Date & Time |

u:japan lecture | s02e05
Thursday 2021-04-15, 18:30~20:00
max. 300 participants 

| Plattform & Link |

| Further Questions? |

Please contact ujapanlectures.ostasien@univie.ac.at.

Organiser:

Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften - Japanologie

Transcultural Potentials of dōjinshi Culture

25.03.2021 18:30 - 20:00

A virtual u:japan lecture by Katharina Hülsmann (HHU Düsseldorf).

| Abstract |

In this talk I will present findings of an ethnographic study of dōjinshi (amateur comics) culture that I conducted for my PhD thesis. Dōjinshi is a term that is used to describe subcultural publications in Japan that are usually self-published and exchanged at specialised events. Most of the works exchanged at these gatherings make use of scenarios and characters from commercially published media, such as manga, anime, games, movies or television series and can be classified as fan works, poaching from media franchises and offering a vehicle for creative expression. What sets these works apart from fannish forms of expression, like fan fiction, in the anglophone sphere, is, that they are mainly being exchanged in printed form and not digitally over the internet. The fan artists thus utilise a robust infrastructure to produce and exchange their works with like-minded fans.

I will illustrate how Japanese dōjinshi artists produce cultural capital and social capital within their communities and how they navigate conflicts with outsiders, such as media right holders, and within their own community. For my field study, I focussed on Japanese dōjinshi artists who produce fan works based on western entertainment media franchises, such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of the focus points of my study was to trace the potentials for transcultural spreading of Japanese fan works and fannish exchange within local and global fan communities. The talk thus aims to give a brief overview of how dōjinshi exchange and the local community functions, and then delves deeper into the examination of dōjinshi culture as a potentially transcultural phenomenon.

| Bio |

Katharina Hülsmann is a PhD candidate at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany. She is co-editor of the German-language volume Japanische Populärkultur und Gender [Japanese Popular Culture and Gender] (2016). In 2017 she conducted field work supported by a PhD grant from the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo (DIJ). Her research interests include representations of gender in popular culture and fannish works, fan/producer relationships in the digital age, comics studies, as well as transcultural dynamics of fandom.

| Date & Time |

u:japan lecture | s02e04
Thursday 2021-03-25, 18:30~20:00
max. 300 participants 

| Plattform & Link |

| Further Questions? |

Please contact ujapanlectures.ostasien@univie.ac.at.

Organiser:

Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften - Japanologie

Conceptualizing Robotic Agency: Social Robots in Elder Care in Contemporary Japan

18.03.2021 18:30 - 20:00

A virtual u:japan lecture by Anne Aronsson (University of Zurich).

| Abstract |

Japan is a hyper-aging society; it has one of the highest life expectancies in the world and is undergoing a demographic transition that Western nations have yet to experience. The Japanese government is encouraging robotic solutions to address its elder care labor shortage, and authorities have therefore adopted an agenda of introducing social robots. However, increasing numbers of people in Japan are becoming emotionally attached to anthropomorphic machines, and their introduction into elder care may thus be perceived as contentious by elders, caregivers, and family members. By exploring human engagement with social robots in the care context, this presentation argues that rapid technological advances in the twenty-first century will see robots achieve some level of agency, contributing to human society by carving out unique roles for themselves and by bonding with humans. Nevertheless, the questions remain of whether there should be a difference between humans attributing agency to a being and those beings having the inherent ability to produce agency and how we might understand that difference if unable to access the minds of other humans, let alone nonhumans, some of which are not even alive in the classical sense. Using the example of an interaction between an elderly woman and a social robot, I engage with these questions; discuss linguistic, attributed, and inherent agencies; and suggest that a processual type of agency might be most appropriate for understanding human–robot interaction. Machines are already embedded in our lives, but, as we start to treat machines as if they are almost human, we may begin to develop habits that cause us to treat humans as almost machines. We therefore need to consider not only what social robots can do, both now and in the future, but also what humans will become by increasingly forming relationships with machines. 

I suggest that elderly people can develop an emotional attachment to social robots by attributing agency to them, and, as machine-learning routines grow more sophisticated, those robots will eventually interact with humans in such an insightful way that the division between attributed and inherent nonhuman agency might become meaningless.

| Bio |

Dr. Anne Stefanie Aronsson is a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies at the University of Zurich and her current research focuses on elderly care in Japan and the use of robotic care devices, with a focus on social robots and emerging emotional technologies. She obtained her doctor‘s degree in socio-cultural anthropology from Yale University, United States.
She has authored several publications, including “Social Robots in Elderly Care: The Turn Toward Machines in Contemporary Japan,” Japanese Review of Cultural Anthropology, as well as her monograph Career Women in Contemporary Japan: Pursuing Identities, Fashioning Lives. New York: Routledge.

| Date & Time |

u:japan lecture | s02e03
Thursday 2021-03-18, 18:30~20:00
max. 300 participants 

| Plattform & Link |

| Further Questions? |

Please contact ujapanlectures.ostasien@univie.ac.at.

Organiser:

Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften - Japanologie

Love in the Time of COVID-19: The ‘New Normal’ in the TV Series #rimorabu (“Remote Love”)

11.03.2021 12:30 - 14:00

A virtual u:japan lecture by Nora Kottmann (DIJ) & Elisabeth Scherer (HHU Düsseldorf).

| Abstract |

Television series in Japan frequently deal with life plans and life choices of (young) adults and, in so doing, serve as a way to negotiate societal normality. Often, one focus of these series is on unmarried women (‚singles’) of different age groups. One such example is the recent television series #rimorabu. Futsū no koi wa jadō (#remote love. Ordinary love is a wrong course; NTV 2020) which aired from mid-October to late December 2020. The series is situated in the context of the ongoing pandemic and discusses how calls for self-restraint and the avoidance of ‘the 3Cs’ – closed spaces, crowds and close contact situations – affect the dating- and love-life of unmarried individuals. In our talk, we address challenges on the production side, critically discuss depictions of a ‘new normal’ in the context of current single- and gender-discourses in Japan and show that the series, while being extremely up-to date on the one hand, falls back on old narrative patterns on the other hand.

| Bio |

Elisabeth Scherer is a Japanese studies researcher and e-learning professional at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. Her areas of research interest include popular culture, intermedia, rituals and gender studies. She is the editor of Reconsidering the Cultural Significance of NHK’s Morning Dramas (special issue of East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, 2019).

Nora Kottmann is Senior Research Fellow at the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ) in Tokyo. Her research focuses on issues related to gender, intimacy, mobility, space, and (not) belonging. Recent publications include the co-edited volume Studying Japan. Handbook of Research Designs, Fieldwork and Methods (2020; with Cornelia Reiher).

| Date & Time |

u:japan lunch lecture | s02e02
Thursday 2021-03-11, 12:30~14:00
max. 300 participants 

| Plattform & Link |

| Further Questions? |

Please contact bernhard.leitner@univie.ac.at or
florian.purkarthofer@univie.ac.at.

Organiser:

Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften - Japanologie

Geschlecht und Faschismus in Darstellungen der japanischen Siedlungsaktivitäten in der Mandschurei

04.03.2021 18:30 - 20:00

A virtual u:japan lecture by Jasmin Rückert (HHU Düsseldorf).

| Abstract |

Während des Bestehens des „Puppenstaats“ Manchukuo investierten der japanische Staat und in der Mandschurei ansässige japanische Firmen mit unterschiedlichen Mitteln in die Verbreitung propagandistischer Repräsentationen der Region. Ein Beispiel für solche Propagandaproduktionen ist die Zeitschrift Manshū Gurafu („Manchuria Graph“), die im Mittelpunkt dieses Vortrages steht und unter Berücksichtigung des zeitgeschichtlichen Kontextes vorgestellt wird. Manshū Gurafu wurde zwischen 1932 und 1944 herausgegeben und von der Südmandschurischen Eisenbahn finanziert. Der frühere Avantgarde-Fotograf Fuchikami Hakuyō und seine Kollegen in der Mandschurischen Gesellschaft für Amateurfotographie prägten das Magazin maßgeblich. Sie bedienten sich stilistisch unter anderem aus dem Kanon sowjetischer Propaganda um die technologische Überlegenheit und einen von Japan angeleiteten Modernisierungsprozess des besetzten Gebiets zu demonstrieren.  Gleichzeitig wurde über Manshū Gurafu auch das Bild eines idyllischen, utopischen und zur Besiedlung durch japanische Siedler bereitstehenden Landes vermittelt. Die Darstellungen der japanischen Siedler und Siedlungsaktivitäten stehen im Fokus dieses Vortrags. Insbesondere wird dabei die Inszenierung von Geschlecht, Jugend und Gemeinschaft und deren ideologische Aufladung in den Blick genommen. Die Analyse der Zeitschrift ist Teil eines DFG-geförderten Projekts zur Untersuchung visueller japanischer Propaganda unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Ästhetiken, die sich geschlechtlicher Darstellungen bedienen.

| Bio |

Jasmin Rückert studierte an der Universität Wien und der Universität Paris VII Diderot Japanologie, Kunstgeschichte und Gender Studies. Seit 2017 arbeitet sie als wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf und ist dort Projektmitarbeiterin bei Prof. Dr. Andrea Germer in dem Forschungsprojekt „Faschismus und Geschlecht: Visuelle Propaganda im Japan der Kriegszeit“.

| Date & Time |

u:japan lecture | s02e01
Thursday 2021-03-04, 18:30~20:00
max. 300 participants 

| Plattform & Link |

| Further Questions? |

Please contact bernhard.leitner@univie.ac.at or
florian.purkarthofer@univie.ac.at.

Organiser:

Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften - Japanologie

u:japan lectures | Season 2 | Spring 2021

14.02.2021

The second season of the u:japan lectures will start soon (at the 4th of March 2021), consisting of 13 distinguished scholars delivering lectures about crucial subjects in Japanese studies. For more information visit japanologie.univie.ac.at/ujapanlectures

  •  #1 | 2021-03-04 | Jasmin Rückert | Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
    Geschlecht und Faschismus in Darstellungen der japanischen Siedlungsaktivitäten in der Mandschurei
  •  #2 | 2021-03-11 | Nora Kottmann & Elisabeth Scherer | DIJ Tokyo & HHU Düsseldorf 
    Love in the Time of COVID-19. The ‘New Normal’ in the TV Series #rimorabu  (“Remote Love”) | LUNCH LECTURE
  •  #3 | 2021-03-18 | Anne Aronsson | University of Zurich
    Conceptualizing Robotic Agency: Social Robots in Elder Care in Contemporary Japan
  •  #4 | 2021-03-25 | Katharina Hülsmann | HHU Düsseldorf
    Transcultural Potentials of Dōjinshi Culture
  • #5 | 2021-04-15 | Gabriele Vogt | LMU Munich
    Local Governance in Okinawa
  • #6 | 2021-04-22 | Katarzyna J. Cwiertka | Leiden University
    From Cellophane to Thermoplastics: The packaging revolution of postwar Japan
  • #7 | 2021-04-29 | Edward Mack | University of Washington
    Japanese Literary Nationalism
  • #8 | 2021-05-06 | Aya Homei | Manchester University
    Science for Governing Japan's Population
  • #9 | 2021-05-20 | Uchida Yukiko | Kyoto University
    Interdependent well-being: How do Japanese seek and feel well-being? | LUNCH LECTURE
  • #10 | 2021-05-27 | Christoph Brumann | Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
    From Private to Public and Back? The Townscape Councils of Kyoto
  • #11 | 2021-06-10 | Brian Victoria | Kyoto
    Zen and the Art of Ending Taishō Democracy
  • #12 | 2021-06-17 | Conny Reiher | FU Berlin
    Revitalizing rural Japan through crafts
  • #13 | 2021-06-24 | Brigitte Steger | Cambridge University
    Waste disposal as consumption work