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Time zone: UTC+2

- 11:00

Eiji Oguma is a historical sociologist at Keio University and an expert of the history of ideas in postwar Japan, as well as current transnational social movements and activism.

At EAJS2021 conference professor Eiji Oguma will be giving the keynote lecture A Reflection on the History of Racial and Ethnic Identities in Japan (Abstract).

Eiji Oguma has written extensively on postwar social and political history and issues of Japanese nationalism.

He has recently also turned to documentary filmmaking, directing a documentary on Japanese protests against nuclear power in the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, entitled "Tell the Prime Minister" (2015).

Read more about Eiji Oguma

See here for the presentation files

- 13:20

A chance to mingle with colleagues and then Tatekawa Shinoharu will perform for delegates.

- 15:00
- 17:30

Japan in a peep box: a perfect miniature world in which the past is preserved and ever unchanging. A world that presents itself to the beholder as a harmonious natural landscape of Fuji-san, temples and geisha, or as Swiss author Christian Kracht (2000) writes: “Tea-ceremony, wabi-sabi, za-zen, miniature gardens, these things.” Yet another, ‘disturbing‘ image slides in front of the image of the exotic paradise: “I myself didn’t know anything at all about Japan, except that over there schoolgirls sell their underwear to the owners of vending machines.” This new image appearing in the peep box is one of modernity; composed of topoi as high technology, mega-cities, emotional indifference, social isolation, suicide, sexual perversion, etc. While the distortion of the well-preserved harmonious image of a traditional Japan is experienced as fracture and rupture, it also confirms and feeds a meta-stereotype: Japan is different and – in its difference – cannot be understood by ‘the others’. This perception of the incomprehensible other, the astonishment of difference then is the fuel for numerous newspaper articles, TV shows, documentaries, travel blogs and tourist photography, in which stereotypical images of Japan are constantly reproduced and consumed. And also the Japanese discourse of self-description relies on stereotypical topoiof ‘its own’ in order to communicate a sense of identity towards the inside and – as diplomatic soft power – to disseminate a positive image to the outside.

The project “The Other Japan” asked students who spent one or two terms in Japan (Kanazawa, Kyoto, Kobe, Sapporo…) as part of their exchange program in BA III and MA II to overcome the ‘tourist gaze’ and detect and deconstruct the handed down “place myths”. 

 Research on orientalism, the construction of national myths, the historical, political and social role of stereotypes is one of the academic interests in the Department of Languages and Cultures. Our research then translates into and is reflected in seminars, in which students are trained to understand the logics of national and cultural identities, cultural nationalism, invented traditions, the conceptuality of “othering” and the gaze of the West. By mapping the semantic and conceptual space of Japan-markers like harmony, homogeneity, nature, tradition vs. modernity, sexuality, family, etc. students are guided not only in the way in which students will perceive Japan, but also in the way in which they individually experience and then photographically capture Japan.


- 09:30 Session 1
- 11:45 Session 2
- 12:45

As part of our special panel series, this session is intended as an opportunity to bring representatives of key peer reviewed journals in the field of Japanese Studies together with interested EAJS members. The session will provide information about the journals, the peer review process and related questions of publishing. The session is also meant to serve as an easy-access opportunity for potential authors to get to know the journals and ask questions about the publishing process. 

The session is organized by the EAJS Council. All EAJS members are cordially invited to attend, but particularly so early career scholars and PhD candidates considering to publish their articles in peer-reviewed journals. 

 The following journals are represented (in alphabetical order): Contemporary Japan (represented by Isaac Gagné), Japan Forum (Hannah Osborne), Japan Review (John Breen, Ted Boyle), Journal of Japanese Studies (Janet Hunter, Morgan Pitelka), Monumenta Nipponica (Bettina Gramlich-Oka), Social Science Japan Journal (Meredith Shaw, Gabriele Vogt).

- 14:00 Session 3
- 14:45

Studying Japan: Research designs, fieldwork and methods

Convenors: Emma Cook (Hokkaido University), Nora Kottmann (DIJ Tokyo), Lynne Nakano (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), Cornelia Reiher (FU Berlin), Christian Tagsold (HHU Düsseldorf)

Chair: Brigitte Steger (Cambridge University)

Research methods are key to any research project and recent years have seen growing demand for more systematic and transparent research practices in area studies. These discussions have not only been fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and its challenges to fieldwork, but are also inspired by the increasing research focus on transnational entanglements and flows, international and interdisciplinary research collaborations, changing institutional structures and requirements and recent technological innovations. 

The handbook Studying Japan is the first comprehensive guide on qualitative methods, research designs and fieldwork in social science research on Japan. It covers the whole research process and addresses these and other issues. Editors Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher will introduce the handbook and discuss individual contributions with several authors.

- 16:45 JAWS membership meeting
- 18:00 Extra session
- 09:30

Rethinking the ideology of language education from a metrolingual perspective: shifting the focus from individual competencies to the urban public sphere

… it is this ideological conception of ‘language’ that very often causes […] forms of social inequality (Blommaert 2019: 28)

This presentation mobilises metrolingualism to seek an alternative framework for understanding ‘Plurilingual and Pluricultural Competences’ and ‘Competences for Democratic Culture’ and associated understandings of ‘social integration’. It proposes a new language ideology by reconsidering language in terms of semiotic assemblages, thus seeing linguistic resources as part of a wider constellation of things, people, history and places. Adopting a language modifier which represents space (metro), metrolingualism avoids linguistic enumeration politics – language as a discrete, quantifiable and bounded property – as well as methodological individualism, whereby language, cognition, agency and identity are all seen as personal properties. Instead, it views language as an emergent property deriving as much from assemblages of multilingual, multimodal and multisensory semiotic resources (meaning potential resources) as from place, geopolitics, history and the culture of the city.

This presentation proposes that, due to its capacity to break down existing linguistic hierarchies and competency-based linguistic exclusionism, language education premised on the new metrolingual language ideology can assist in reducing social and linguistic inequality while promoting democratic citizenship and ‘civic-mindedness’. Four questions will be explored – What constitutes language? Where does language reside? What counts as competency? What is social integration? – to scrutinise the notions of ‘Plurilingual and Pluricultural Competences’ and ‘Competences for Democratic Culture’ which draw on methodological individualism.

This presentation contends that language education that deploys a metrolingual perspective with its spatial and semiotic orientation is the key to the production of a multiculturally and multilingually convivial society and to the promotion of social integration.


Dr. Emi Otsuji is a Senior Lecturer in International Studies and Education at the University of Technology Sydney. Her research interests include language and globalisation (metrolingualism and multilingualism), language and identities, critical pedagogy, and language citizenship education. She writes both in English and Japanese and is a co-author (with Alastair Pennycook) of Metrolingualism: Language in the City (2015), Routledge; co-editor (with Ikuko Nakane and William Armour) of Languages and Identities in a Transitional Japan: From Internationalization to Globalization (2015), Routledge; and a co-editor (with Hideo Hosokawa and Marcella Mariotti) of Shiminsei Keisei to Kotoba no kyoiku, Kuroshio (2016). She is currently working on a book project with Dr. Shinji Sato and Dr. Yuri Kumagai on the Ecological approach to Welfare Linguistics and Language Education.

Convenor: Marcella M. Mariotti

- 09:30

This is a guest event and not part of the official EAJS program

The Age of Monarchy/Monarchy for the Ages: Revisiting Monarchy from a Comparative Perspective
The International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) has been holding annual overseas symposia to develop academic networks with foreign scholars and nurture up Japanese studies researchers. Moreover, the Consortium for Global Japanese Studies, established in 2017 under Nichibunken’s initiative, is also facilitating overseas conferences to further global Japanese studies. This year’s symposium will be held jointly in collaboration with the Consortium for Global Japanese Studies, and the Consortium is sponsoring one of the two scheduled sessions.

See here for more details

Nichibunken Overseas Symposium I

1. Pan Lei, Beijing Foreign Studies University
2. Takii Kazuhiro, International Research Center for Japanese Studies
3. David Malitz, Independent scholar

John Breen, International Research Center for Japanese Studies

GUO Lianyou, Beijing Foreign Studies University

1. Pan Lei
Art and Kingship: On the Making of Picture Scrolls during the Goshirakawa-in Period
In Japan, the Insei period or the ‘cloistered era,’ when the retired Emperors ruled from the cloister, is viewed as a major turning point in the Japanese history. It encompassed both the decline of the ancient era and the dawn of medieval period and accompanied by a series of new developments like the establishment of the manor, fief system, and the rising status of the samurai class in court politics. Reflecting on this new era, Japanese historian Ishimoda Shō once critically commented that “[This] despotism was characterized by lavish overspending of plundered properties, overindulgence in pleasures, intrigue, and power, vice and corruption, caprice and lethargy. In short, it was a period of decadence unparalleled in the history of Japan’s ruling classes.” (Ishimoda Shō, Kodai Makki Seijishi Josetsu, Miraisha, 1956). But from the perspective of art history, this period is characterized as “profound, creative and copious” (Tsuji Nobuo, Nihon Bijutsu no Rekishi, University of Tokyo Press, 2005). While research in the past was often focused on what are considered historical sources, but in recent years there has been a growing interest in the use of paintings. This presentation, grounded on past researches, focuses on the picture scrolls produced during Emperor Goshirakawa’s cloistered period. I will analyze the objects, people, and events depicted in them, especially focusing on the ideas and ideologies contained in these imageries. My focus will be to understand the message that Emperor Goshirakawa, who ruled the cloistered governments during four Emperors - Nijo, Rokujo, Takakura, Antoku, and Gotoba- intended to project to the contemporary and future generations of people through the production of these picture scrolls. I will also examine the relationship between the production of picture scrolls and politics of this period.

2. Kazuhiro Takii
The Emperor as Captive of the Constitution
On August 8, 2016, the Emperor Emeritus Akihito announced his intention to the Japanese people to abdicate the throne in a video message. Subsequently, the current Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne on May 1, 2019. It was a revolutionary change in Japan’s modern imperial system since the country became a constitutional monarchy with the enactment of the Imperial Constitution of Japan in 1889. The Imperial constitution upholding imperial sovereignty was amended in 1946, and with this the current constitution upholding the people’s sovereignty and a symbolic imperial system came into force. In terms of the constitutional provisions, the imperial system underwent a fundamental transformation here. However, if we observe the actual status and role of the emperor, we can see that throughout the old and new constitutions, the emperor has been positioned in the constitutional order as a thoroughly institutionalized entity. Therefore, the abdication of the throne this time can be seen in some respects as a “rebellion” by the emperor against the modern imperial system. In this paper, I would like to examine how the emperor has been constitutionalized through both the old and new constitutions, and offer a clue to consider the future of Japan’s imperial system.

2. David Malitz
Resemblance and Interaction: The Modern Monarchies of Japan and Siam (Thailand)
Being located in the distinct regions of East Asia and Southeast Asia and their related academic disciplines (East Asian Studies/Japanology vs. Southeast Asian Studies/Thai Studies), the monarchies of Japan and Siam (Thailand) are rarely discussed together or comparatively. There is, however, an important commonality that has profoundly shaped both institutions from the late 19th century onward. At that time, both countries were integrated through unequal treaties into the global economy dominated by the ‘Western’ colonial powers. To reclaim national sovereignty and support nation- and state-building projects, the monarchies were remodeled to (re-)establish symbolic sovereignty through equality with their European peers. They did not, of course, become carbon copies of European and Christian monarchies, but they adopted ‘Western’ royal practices sufficiently to become familiar yet remain foreign, to be modern yet remain authentic national institutions. Domestically, through changes in ritual, consumption and gender roles, they became crucial pivots for demonstrating the reconcilability of modernity with an authentic national self, thus shaping their countries’ modern national identities.
Owing to World War II and its Thai historiography, it is rarely admitted today that for the less ‘successful’ Siamese modernizers, the Japanese monarchy quickly became a role model in its own right. Precisely because of their successes in the past, the Japanese and Siamese monarchies are both faced in the present with an existential challenge. The abolition of collateral houses and noble families in combination with the lack of a history of regional or international intermarriage makes their long-term survival uncertain, unless reforms are enacted. Against the backdrop of ongoing political crises, Thailand has rediscovered the Japanese constitutional monarchy as a role model for the Southeast Asian kingdom’s democratization.

- 09:30 Session 4
- 11:45

This is a guest event and not part of the official EAJS program

The Age of Monarchy/Monarchy for the Ages: Revisiting Monarchy from a Comparative Perspective
The International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) has been holding annual overseas symposia to develop academic networks with foreign scholars and nurture up Japanese studies researchers. Moreover, the Consortium for Global Japanese Studies, established in 2017 under Nichibunken’s initiative, is also facilitating overseas conferences to further global Japanese studies. This year’s symposium will be held jointly in collaboration with the Consortium for Global Japanese Studies, and the Consortium is sponsoring one of the two scheduled sessions.

See here for more details

Nichibunken Overseas Symposium II (EAJS2021 next-generation workshop)
Names of Speakers:

  1. Cheng Yongchao, Tohoku University
  2. Mick Deneckere, Gent University
  3. Kameyama Mitsuhiro, Tohoku University
  4. Chen Yijie, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI

Moderator: Gouranga Charan Pradhan, International Research Center for Japanese Studies
Discussant: GU Xueni, International Research Center for Japanese Studies

1. Cheng Yongchao (Tohoku University)
Diplomacy and Kingship : Trilateral Relationships among Japan, Korea, and China in the early 17th Century
This presentation discusses the process of interactions between new political forces in East Asia, followed by a re-examination from the perspective of trilateral relationships of the Chinese dynasties, the Korean kingship, Japanese court and samurai factions where all factions affected each other to a great extent at the dawn of their creation.

2. Mick Deneckere (Ghent University)
Choshu, Shin Buddhism and the Restoration of the Emperor
In this presentation I discuss how the intertwinement of strong pro-emperor sentiment in Chōshū—a domain with an important Shin Buddhist presence—and the historical link between the Shin sect and the imperial institution propelled Shin Buddhism into playing an important, yet underacknowledged role in the Meiji Restoration.

3. Kameyama Mitsuhiro (Tohoku University)
Modernity for the True Dharma: Sangha, King, and Buddhist Precepts
In this presentation, I will explore the discursive entanglements of the “true dharma” (shōbō 正法) with kingship in Meiji Japan (1868–1912), with a focus on the ideas and activities of a precept-upholding monk (jikaisō 持戒僧), Shaku Unshō 釈雲照 (1827–1909).

4. Chen Yijie (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI)
The Red Sun : National Idol in Japanese and Chinese Paintings during 1930s-1960s
This paper analyses the red sun motif in Chinese painter Fu Baoshi’s works during 1950s-60s, traces the origin back to ancient court paintings. There is no solid proof to show he learnt from the 1920s-30s Japanese paintings, but they do share many similarities. I presume they both inherited the traditional models to depict the national idol.

See long abstracts here

- 11:45 Session 5
- 13:15

Toshiba International Foundation Roundtable: The Future of Japanese Studies – Perspectives from Early Career Scholars

As part of our special panel series, this roundtable will address vital questions regarding the future of Japanese Studies and the opportunities and challenges our field currently faces. The roundtable will give special attention to the perspectives of early career scholars. Guiding questions for the discussion will be:

o What are the greatest challenges to studying Japan today? What new opportunities open up?
o Looking at 2021 and beyond, what future role and form could Japanese Studies assume?
o What are unresearched or under-researched topics or fields within Japanese Studies?
o Where do we find emerging new trends in Japan-related research?
o How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected research about Japan? What new challenges will emerge from the pandemic in the years to come?

The idea for this roundtable was conceived as part of the TIFO-EAJS Essay Contest that was held on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Toshiba International Foundation (TIFO) in 2019 and jointly organized by TIFO and EAJS. A total of 18 essays were submitted, each tackling the above questions in a unique and inspiring way. For this roundtable, we have invited the authors of four winning papers to present their ideas and findings and engage in a discussion with the audience on matters that concerns all of us working in the field of Japanese Studies.

Ioannis Gaitanidis, Chiba University
Aya Hino, Ca’Foscari University of Venice/Heidelberg University
Eiko Honda, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures
Aike Rots, University of Oslo

Chair: Verena Blechinger-Talcott

- 14:00 Session 6
- 16:15 Session 7
- 09:30 Session 8
- 11:45

Not part of the official EAJS program

Part 1 working language is English

Voigtmann, Bastian Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt
Introduction 5 min. 

Birenheide, Koray Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt
The Shin Tôtosaijiki – A DemiScript Picture Map of Edo 15 min. 

Born, Leo Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg
Connected Components of and in the JBDB 15 min. 

Kinski, Michael Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt
Digital Humanities in Japanese Studies – An Example From the Field of the History of Japanese Thought 15 min. 

Uesaka Ayaka Osaka University
Early Modern Japanese Literature from a Quantitative Perspective 15 min. 

Hashimoto Yûta National Museum of Japanese History, Sakura
Can Crowdsourcing Boost Data-driven Research in Pre-modern Japanese History? 15 min.

Q&A 10 min.

- 11:45 Session 9
- 13:45 TIFO-EAJS Alumni Meeting
- 14:00

Not part of the official EAJS program

Part 2 working language is Japanese

Didier Davin, NIJL
Introduction 5 min. 

Fujizane Kumiko, NIJL
Comparing Editions with Digital Tools: The Bukan (武鑑) Project 15 min. 

Yamamoto Kazuaki, NIJL
The New NIJL Database: The Largest Digital Reference on Pre-modern Japanese Works 15 min. 

Unno Keisuke, NIJL
Data-Driven Research on Pre-1900 Japanese Texts at NIJL and Beyond 10 min. 

Saitō Maori, NIJL
NIJL’s English-Language Online Journal, Studies in Japanese Literature and Culture 10 min. 

Yamamoto Yoshitaka, NIJL
Digital Initiatives of the Global Consortium for Japanese Textual Scholarship 5 min.

Roundtable and Q&A
Moderator: Yamamoto Yoshitaka
Roundtable and Q&A working language is Japanese

- 14:00 Session 10
- 16:15 Session 11
- 09:30 Session 12
- 11:45 Session 13
- 12:30
- 14:00 Session 14
- 16:15 General meeting