Beyond Japan is an interdisciplinary podcast which invites you to take a look at the broad reach of Japanese Studies both within and beyond Japan. The series is hosted by Oliver Moxham (@olliemox on Twitter), researcher of Japanese war heritage, and brought to you by the Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of East Anglia in collaboration with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures.
This week we are joined by Dr Enrico Crema of the University of Cambridge to discuss how big data is revolutionising our understandings of prehistoric societies, laying out shifts in demographics and cultural exchange that occurred with early migration from the Korean peninsula to the Japanese mainland. Enrico explains the breadth and range of the ENCOUNTER project he is heading and how by analysing the impressive archaeological record found in Japan allows for new depths to our understanding of immigration and cultural boundaries long before recorded history, precisely at the shift from the Jōmon era to the Yayoi era (c. 300 BCE). We apologise for the slightly reduced audio quality of this week’s episode brought about by unavoidable technical issues.
Enrico's research profile
[L] "連綿と続く米への情熱 Perpetual Passion for Rice" by Yuya Sekiguchi is licensed under CC BY 2.0
[R] Hypothesised timing of the spread of wet-rice farming (from Kobyashi, K. 2009 Kinkichihoito no chiiki he no kakusan. in: Nishimoto, T. (Eds.). Yayoi-jidai no hajimari to sono nendai, Yuzankaku, Tokyo, pp. 55–82.
This week we are joined by Dr Andrew Littlejohn of Leiden University to discuss disaster heritage around the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. This heritage typically consists of ruins from catastrophic natural disasters that, while initially may be preserved for commemorative purposes, can end up being articulated to attract tourism to sites of mass death. Together we explore how disaster heritage fosters debate around the relationship between humans and their environments, as well as its potential to disrupt authorised heritage discourse. We also consider whether any disaster can be called ‘natural’ given the intrinsic human element to all disasters.
Andrew's research profile
3/11: Shorthand used to refer to the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami and nuclear disaster that took place on 11 March 2011.
Anthropogenic disaster: a disaster caused by human action or inaction.
Ishinomaki’s Okawa Elementary School: a public elementary school building in Miyagi Prefecture where more than 80 pupils and teachers lost their lives in the 2011 tsunami.
Minamisanriku Disaster Prevention Centre: a central disaster heritage site of the 3/11 tsunami in Fukushima
Ontological dissensus: debates around the relationship between people and the environments they live within i.e. the change of a religious practice to local heritage.
Shinsai ikō (震災以降): literally ‘disaster remains’, memorial buildings or structures related to the disaster.
Tensai (天災): natural or ‘heavenly’ disaster
[L] "Boat on the Roof" by Pavel Polukhin is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
[R] "南三陸町志津川 防災対策庁舎（東北トリップ）" (Minamisanriku Disaster Prevention Centre) by jetalone is licensed under CC BY 2.0
This week we are joined by Professor David Rear of Chuō University to discuss the once-dominant discourse of nihonjinron, or “Japanese-ness”, which has shaped many aspects of Japanese society over the last century through its ideas of Japanese uniqueness and group-consciousness. David gives us a brief history of the discourse, how a discourse can shape society and new discourses of internationalisation and individuality which he argues have seen the decline, if not the end, of nihonjinron as the dominant narrative. As there are quite a few Japanese terms thrown around in this week’s episode, a brief glossary has been included below.
David's research profile
Glossary (in order of appearance):
Nihonjinron (日本人論) – literally "theories/discussions about the Japanese". A genre of texts that focus on issues of Japanese national and cultural identity and how Japan and the Japanese should be understood.
Kokoro (心) – “Heart” or “soul”. Within nihonjinron, it refers to Japanese-ness as being something Japanese are born with. As such, nihonjinron argues that Japan and Japanese people cannot be fully understood by non-Japanese.
Kokusaika (国際化) – “Internationalisation”. Originated in the ‘80s during Japan’s economic boom period to attract foreign investment, divided between “outward kokusaika”, where Japanese learn English and go abroad to promote Japan, and “inward kokusaika”, which created a discursive barrier between Japanese and foreigners arriving in Japan who need to adapt to Japanese culture. More recently it has sought to encourage diversity and almost directly opposes nihonjinron arguments of homogeneity (see tayōsei).
Kosei (個性) – “Individuality”, not necessarily in terms of independence but as skill or talent that can be learned and put to use for the nation when referred to politically.
Jibunrashisa (自分らしさ) – “Being true to yourself”. Can be found in commercial advertising with kosei to refer to putting yourself before society’s demands.
Tayōsei (多様性) – “Diversity”. Used today with kokusaika to encourage assimilation of foreigners into society in the context of depopulation and labour shortages.
Orientalism – Coined by Edward Said in 1978, orientalism refers to the othering and stereotyping of Eastern nations with Western nations as Occident vs Orient, "Us and Them".
[L] Dándole forma a mi artículo sobre la teoría nihonjinron (me tiene enganchada ^^) by Lau_chan is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
[R] Tokyo subway at rush hour by transitpeople is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Welcome to a special Japanese-language episode of Beyond Japan. For our English-speaking listeners, please follow this link where our episode with Professor Kikuchi Yoshio on the Kofun of Fukushima is available with English subtitles.
This week we are joined by Professor Kikuchi Yoshio of Fukushima University to discuss excavating kofun burial mounds in Fukushima following the Great East Japan Earthquake. We will explore the cultural significance of kofun in the area and the challenges surrounding their excavation in the last ten years.
If you enjoyed this Japanese-language episode, please get in touch and we may produce more Japanese episodes in future.
Kikuchi Yoshio's research profile [JP]
[L] 大安場古墳1号墳 by 小池 隆 is licensed under CC BY 3.0
[R] 高橋淳一Nippon Jin写真展-087 by gwai is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
This week we are joined by Professor Wolfram Manzenreiter of the University of Vienna to discuss Japanese Diasporas, taking a look at what can be learned from diaspora communities both in the millions, such as those of Brazil, the USA and Peru, and in the thousands in areas like Mexico, Paraguay and Canada. We will also consider the connection between these communities and their indigenous roots in Japan, as well as the relationship between historic Japanese migration and the strategies of the Japanese empire.
Wolfram's research profile
Read Squared diasporas: Representations of the Japanese diaspora across time and space
Fieldwork photographs by Professor Wolfram Manzenreiter
This week we are joined by Aike Rots, Associate Professor of Japan Studies at the University of Oslo, to discuss Heritage-Making in Japan, examining how the process of ‘heritagisation’ can secularise and politicise religious sites, such as Shinto shrines and natural areas of religious significance to Okinawan and Ainu communities, and the role of nationalism within heritage.
Aike's research profile
Sacred Heritage in Japan edited by Aike Rots and Mark Teeuwen
[L] "Evening light, Kiyomizu-dera temple, Kyoto" by Dimitry B is licensed under CC BY 2.0
[R] "Sefa Utaki-15.jpg" by alainkun is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
This week we are joined by Dana Mirsalis, PhD candidate at Harvard University, to take a look at Shinto in Modern Japan. Together we unpack the tricky task of defining what Shinto is, whether it is an unofficial Japanese religion, a Japanese religion or even a religion at all. We also explore the ways Shinto shapes and is engaged with by contemporary Japanese as well as the shifting roles of women within the priesthood.
Dana's research profile, website and Twitter (@DanaMirsalis)
[L] Priesthood students of Kōgakkan University by Dana Mirsalis
[R] "Sumiyoshitaisha Shinto Shrine, Osaka, Japan" by Geoff Whalan is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
This week we are joined by Nick Kapur, Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University, to discuss failed revolutions, drawing comparisons between the 1960 ANPO riots of Japan over US-Japan relations with the Capitol Hill Riot we saw on 6 January 2021. Although more than 60 years apart and in totally different contexts, Nick argues that there are several factors worthy of comparison, such as the role of polarising heads of state, the nationwide shocked response to televised political violence and how the media, state and people respond to these movements which never met their goals.
Nick's research profile
You can order Nick's book, Japan at the Crossroads: Conflict and Compromise after Anpo, here
[L] 1960 Protests against the United States-Japan Security Treaty by Asahi Shimbun Company
[R] Proud Boy Demonstrator, May Day 2017 by AdamCohn
This week we are joined by Daisuke Tsuchiya, Partner at the Brunswick Group and head of Global Japan Practice, to discuss the Japanese business philosophy of ‘Sanpō Yoshi’, or the ‘good for three parties’. Daisuke argues that this notion of stakeholder capitalism, where a successful business must also benefit others, is an important alternative to the profit-oriented Western model of capitalism, especially in a world where nations are increasingly facing top-heavy demographics.
Daisuke's Brunswick Profile
Familiar Face of Good: Sanpo Yoshi
Capitalism: A coming of age story
Abenomics: The Sequel
[L] 江戶風華-五大浮世絵師展 by 迷惘的人生
[R] Male mechanical engineer with sustainable agricultural robot in field by This is Engineering image library
This week we are joined by Professor Hugo Dobson, Professor of Japan's International Relations, to discuss the cancelled 46th G7 summit. We will explore the summit’s controversies and changes, reflecting the seismic political changes seen within G7 nations over 2020. We also discuss what changes this predicts for the G7 in 2021, the first to be held in post-Brexit Britain.
Hugo's research profile and Twitter.
Watch Hugo's interviews at the G20 Argentina 2018, G7 Canada 2018 and G20 China 2016.
Read up on Hugo's articles:
Reviving multilateralism through multi-stakeholder cooperation
Afterlives of Post-War Japanese Prime Ministers
Is Japan Really Back? The “Abe Doctrine” and Global Governance
Teaching Global Citizenship (paywall)
[L] G7 Summit flags by UK Prime Minister
[R] President Trump's Trip to the G7 Summit by The White House
This week we are joined by Dr Paulina Kolata to discuss lived religion in rural Japan, exploring the active role Buddhism and its institutions play in day-to-day life in such issues as rural depopulation. Paulina Kolata obtained her PhD in 2019 from The University of Manchester. She is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Manchester Metropolitan University and an Early Career Research Fellow at The University of Manchester. Her doctoral work investigated the religious, economic, and social impact of depopulation and demographic ageing in Buddhist temple communities in regional Japan. Currently she is developing a book manuscript based on her doctoral research.
Paulina's research profile
You can read Paulina's chapter on rural temples and heritage through Routledge here.
All photographs taken by Dr Paulina Kolata.
明けましておめでとうございますand welcome back to Beyond Japan! This week, for our first episode of 2021, we are joined by Dr Jamie Coates, anthropologist and lecturer in East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield, to look at migrant communities in Tokyo and Japan at large, exploring how the liminal space of Ikebukuro has fostered a multinational district and understanding how attitudes towards Japan have changed amongst its denizens.
Jamie's research profile
[L] Migrant Community of Ikebukuro by Dr Jamie Coates
[R] IMG_9310 池袋 by Toomore
Beyond Japan will be taking a break over Christmas, resuming on the 14th of January 2021. We will be joined then by Dr Jamie Coates, anthropologist and Lecturer in East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield, to look at migrant communities in Tokyo and Japan at large, challenging the homogenous image of a nation whose future depends on their currently overlooked migrant population. Until then, メリクリ and よいお年を！
This week, for our final episode of 2020, we are joined by Dr Paula Curtis, historian of premodern Japan at Yale University, for a topical discussion on Digital Japanese Studies, considering how moving the field online through incorporating digital methods, tools and resources might alter its future direction. We consider the benefits and challenges of digitising Japanese Studies from compiling open-access databases to online networking.
Paula's research profile
[L] Digitising newspapers at the University Library Svetozar Markovic by europeananewspapers
[R] Digital Archives of From Blanks to Sensitivity by mhrs.jp
This week we are joined by Dr Marta Fanasca, researcher of Japanese and Gender Studies at the University of Manchester, to discuss gender in Japan through Dansō crossdressing escort services. We discuss issues of applying universal understandings of gender and LGBTQ+ terminology in a national context, challenge the Euro-American term of ‘escort’ and explore how supposedly conservative Japan reconciles with its history of gender fluidity.
Marta's research profile
[L] 桜井 涼夜 (@ryoya0127) Twitter
[R] 篠原雪斗@男装 ウィズプラス
This week we are joined by Eric Brunner, Professor of Social and Biological Epidemiology of University College London, to discuss ‘Health & Inequality in Post-Growth Japan’, examining the relationship between health and wealth and what we can learn from the high standard of health equality in Japan where the economy hasn’t seen major growth in 20 years.
We apologise once more for the poor audio quality on my part caused by unresolved technical difficulties. These have now been amended for future episodes.
Eric's research profile.
For Eric's co-authored book: Health in Japan: Social Epidemiology of Japan since the 1964 Tokyo Olympics
[L] Doctor. by MIKI Yoshihito. (#mikiyoshihito)
[R] A visit to the Eye Doctor Netsuke by Curious Expeditions
This week we are joined by Dr Ian Rapley, history lecturer at Cardiff University, exploring the transnational invented language of Esperanto, its legacy in Japan and the alternative historical perspective it provides. We apologise once more for the poor audio quality caused by unresolved technical difficulties, but we can happily confirm they have been solved for next week’s recording.
Ian's research profile is available here.
[L] Capa do manual de Esperanto - 1930s by Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa (Portugal)
[R] 30-8v by Roland ROTSAERT
This week we are joined by Dr Iza Kavedžija, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Exeter, to discuss ‘super-aged’ Japan, the challenges of a top-heavy demographic and how to live a meaningful, hopeful life in the face of crisis.
Iza's research profile is available here.
The good life in balance: Insights from ageing Japan
Social care Japanese style – what we can learn from the world’s oldest population
The Japanese concept of ikigai: why purpose might be a better goal than happiness
Interview in Japanese by Eikoku News Digest
[L] ひいおばあちゃんと曾孫 by k14
[R] お年寄りに注意 by cyberwonk
This week we are joined by Andrea De Antoni, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Ritsumeikan University, discussing how to academically approach rumours of hauntings and the discriminated histories they can represent. In this episode, we grapple with 'affect' as a means of understanding bodily experiences in haunted spaces and what we can learn from comparing such phenomena on a transnational level.
Andrea's research profile is available here.
You can also experience a drive through Kiyotaki tunnel here.
Andrea's article on Kiyotaki tunnel
Witnessing an exorcism in Italy
Steps to an ecology of spirits
Other hauntings of Kyoto
[L] Kiyotaki Tunnel by Andrea De Antoni
[R] Mountain of the Fear - Mt. Osore by Junichiro Sekino
This week we are joined by Warren Stanislaus, PhD candidate at Oxford and Associate Lecturer of global and transnational intellectual history at Rikkyo University, on the Black Lives Matter Movement and Afro-Japanese Cultural Exchange. Listen in to learn about the imaginings and attitudes towards race in Japan and the people challenging the homogeneity myth of 'Nihonjinron'.
Warren's website can be found here.
See the breakdown of his Rikkyo course on Transnational Intellectual History here.
Read his article on 'Black in Japan: Shifting the Narrative' here.
This week we are joined by Dr Michael Tsang, Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellow at Newcastle University, who will be discussing the impact of acclaimed author Haruki Murakami’s ‘Always on the Side of the Egg’ speech on the Hong Kong protests. We explore the agency of a novelist using his skill with language to express political support and inspiration while averting direct political confrontation.
See Michael's research profile here.
This week we are joined by Dr Dolores (Lola) Martinez, research affiliate at the University of Oxford’s Anthropology department, to discuss the cinematic works of legendary director Akira Kurosawa and the exchange of ideas that occurred between his cinematography and that of Western cinema.
See Lola's research profile here.
Review of the book 'Kurosawa Akira vs. Hollywood'
2017 BBC podcast, 'Seven Samurai: A Japanese masterpiece'
This week we are joined by Dr Chris Perkins, senior lecturer in Japanese at the University of Edinburgh, who will be discussing Japanese Korean Cultural Exchange in the immediate post-war. We will be reflecting on how media shaped popular notions of both nations by their respective peoples after more than half a century of colonisation.
See Chris's research profile here.
You can watch Diary of Yunbogi here.
This week we are joined by Dr Giulio Pugliese, Departmental Lecturer in Japanese Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, who has written extensively on politics and international relations in the Asia-Pacific with a focus on Japan, China and the United States. Today we will be discussing the legacy of Shinzō Abe on Sino-Japanese relations following his resignation on the 16th September, and how his departure will impact the future relationship between Japan and China.
You can find out more about Dr Pugliese's research here.
You can preview his book Sino-Japanese Power Politics: Might, Money and Minds here.
This week we are joined by Dr Sherzod Muminov, lecturer in Japanese History at the University of East Anglia, who explores how histories of empire and war are shaped in Japan and the reverberating impact that has in Japanese society and on its international relations.
See Sherzod's research profile here.
If you would like to tackle the challenging field of transnational imperial history with Sherzod, check out the ‘Researching Japan’ module of our new MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies.
Image credits: Photograph of Yushukan imperial soldier statue by Oliver Moxham; Kobayashi Yoshinori (1998) 'Sensōron', Tokyo: Gentōsha
This week we are joined by Dr Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer, lecturer in Japanese Arts, Cultures and Heritage at the Sainsbury Institute, who will be introducing us to calligraphy and the post-war avant-garde movement.
See Eugenia's research profile here.
Eugenia is the Course Director of our new MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies. If you would like to explore the colourful and diverse world of Japanese Art History, you can find out more about the course at the SISJAC website.
In this episode, Dr Nadine Willems talks about political dissent during Japan’s modernisation period. She highlights the grievances of dissenters and the kind of censorship and repression they had to confront. She discusses the place of anarchism as an anti-capitalist ideology in the early twentieth century and how it was informed by foreign intellectual trends as well as indigenous traditions. The podcast also illustrates the role of poetry as a way to raise awareness about the plight of the Ainu community in northern Japan in the 1930s.
See Nadine's Research Profile here.
Follow her on Twitter @N_Willems5
This week we are joined by Dr Rayna Denison, Senior Lecturer in Film, Television and Media Studies. Rayna specialises in local and transnational studies of Asian media industries, especially popular cinema and television. Today she kindly joins us to place the genre of Japanese animated television and film, popularly known as anime, into the broader world of arts.
See Rayna's Research Profile here.
Get in touch here.
If this episode has fired up your interest in Japanese Arts, then check out the Japanese Art History and Cultural Heritage module on our new MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies. See the SISJAC website for more details.
This week we are joined by Dr Ra Mason, Sasakawa Lecturer in International Relations and Japanese Foreign Policy at the University of East Anglia who will introduce us to the dynamic and nuanced world of Japan's International Relations.
See Ra's Research Profile here.
If this episode has given you an appetite for politics and diplomacy, you can join Ra at the cutting edge of Japanese Foreign Policy on our new MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies. For more information, see the SISJAC website.
This week we are joined by Dr. Hannah Osborne, Senior Lecturer in Japanese Literature at the University of East Anglia, who explores with us the diverse, powerful and increasingly international field of modern Japanese literature. Hannah Osborne is Lecturer in Japanese Literature at the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing and the Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of East Anglia. She completed her doctoral thesis, Gender, Love and Text in the Early Writings of Kanai Mieko at the University of Leeds in 2015. Before taking up her current post, she taught courses in modern Japanese literature at SOAS, University of London, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include: intersections between text, illustration and the avant-garde arts; gender and the body; and women's writing and translation in modern Japanese literature. She is currently working on her book manuscript The Intermedial Text: Kanai Mieko and the Japanese Avant Garde. She is also Editor for Literature at Japan Forum.
If this episode has awoken your inner bookworm, check out our new MA where you can discuss your favourite titles with Hannah herself on our Modern Japanese Literature module. Find out more on the SISJAC website.
See Hannah's research profile here.
'The Ai-Novel: Ai no seikatsu and Its Challenge to the Japanese Literary Establishment'
'The Transgressive Figure of the Dancing-Girl-in-Pain and Kanai Mieko’s Corporeal Text'
Welcome to the debut episode of our new podcast series 'Beyond Japan', where we explore the interdisciplinary nature of Japanese Studies through academics from a wide range of fields.
In this episode, the Director of the Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of East Anglia, Professor Simon Kaner, Executive Director of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, where he is also Head of the Centre for Archaeology and Heritage talks about the significance of Japanese archaeology for the global history of humanity, and introduces some of the initiatives he leads setting Japanese archaeology and heritage in a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective, most recently launching the Online Jomon Matsuri.
Has this episode piqued your interest? You can study more like this in our new MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies. Find out more: https://www2.uea.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught-degree/detail/ma-in-interdisciplinary-japanese-studies
Profile of Prof. Simon Kaner
For more information on Simon's research:
Work at the Sainsbury Institute
The Online Resource for Japanese Archaeology and Cultural Heritage
Global Perspectives on British Archaeology
For works written and edited by Simon