2012 Minato Citizen's University at Temple University, Japan Campus "Media"

Wednesday and Thursdays, November 7, 8, 14, 15 & 21
19:00-20:30 (Doors open at 18:30)
Temple University, Japan Campus, Mita Hall 5F (Access)
2,500 yen for five lectures.
Bank transfer prior to the first session necessary. Non-refundable.
50 (First-come, first-served basis)
Registration closed

This series of five talks provides a variety of perspectives on the media, its role in modern society, and its politics in Japan and other countries. The talks will also explore how the media covered or impacted the Fukushima nuclear accident. The lecture will be in English and should prove informative to anyone with an interest in or knowledge of contemporary Japan

Lecture 1

Wednesday, November 7
The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis: Media Scapegoating and Risk Mismanagement
Jeff Kingston, Professor of Asian Studies and History

In this talk I analyze how TEPCO and government regulators mismanaged risk in the nuclear industry. This mismanagement of risk caused the three meltdowns and botched attempts to deploy emergency systems and also explains why evacuation preparations were inadequate. Three investigations into the Fukushima accident expose the nuclear village and its responsibility for Japan’s Chernobyl. I will summarize these findings and also look at the politics of nuclear energy post-3.11 including the scapegoating of PM Kan Naoto. Finally, I will look at how the media has covered the story, the large movement against nuclear energy and why the government is ignoring the lessons of Fukushima.

Lecture 2

Thursday, November 8
The British Media: The Best and Worse in the World?
Tina Burrett, Assistant Professor of Political Science

This lecture examines the politics and professionalism of the contemporary British media. For the last 18 months, the media itself has been the subject of headlines in the UK press. In July 2011, allegations of phone hacking, police bribery and corruption forced the closure of Britain’s best-selling Sunday tabloid, News of the World. Subsequently, two of the newspaper’s former editors were arrested and executives from its parent company, News International, were called to give evidence to parliament. In response to the scandal, the British government set up an inquiry into media ethnic in the UK under Lord Justice Leveson. Evidence given to the Leveson Inquiry by former prime ministers and others reveals a cosy and collusive relationship between politicians and the press that is damaging to British democracy.

This lecture provides a brief history of the role of the media in British politics. It looks indepth at developments in media influence over the political process in the Thatcher, Major and Blair years. Particular attention is given to the role of the media in elections. Regulation of the media is also examined. To conclude, the impact of the Leveson Inquiry on the future of British media culture and freedom will be discussed.

Lecture 3

Wednesday, November 14
Clash of Opinions? Examining the Gap between Japanese Views of Society, the Economy and Politics and the Rest of Asia
Matthew Linley, Assistant Professor of International Relations

In his influential book “The Clash of Civilizations”, the late political scientist Samuel Huntington argued that the “major civilizations” in Asia were the Buddhist (i.e. Cambodia, Mongolia), Sinic (i.e. China, Korea), Hindu (i.e. India) and Japanese. If this is true then we might expect the views of citizens regarding society, the economy and politics to vary greatly among countries in the region. In this talk, I will examine this thesis using data from the 2006 to 2008 AsiaBarometer surveys to examine whether or not a gap exists in the views of Japanese citizens and those of people in other Asian countries. Also I will look at whether or not differences in education levels and the type of media consumed (TV, newspaper, radio, Internet) can account for some of these differences within countries.

Lecture 4

Thursday, November 15
Activist Media: The Convergence of Media and Investigative Journalism as a Process for Social Awareness and Activism.
Ronald Carr, Associate Professor of Film and Media Arts

Investigative journalism continually plays a vital role in bringing attention to pressing issues that affect our lives. Documentary film has played a vital role in the pursuit of social awareness and change. As with any medium, documentary film is constantly evolving, combining both traditional components and adopting new ones, such as social media. Why is this important today? Whereas in the past, one nation’s mistakes often had little or moderate effect upon a neighbor, modern maladies like pollution, terrorism and nuclear disaster know no barriers and can rewrite the world’s history overnight. Media must now address issues quickly and deliver that information to large numbers of people. As well, this modern, activist media unites citizen observers to take action through social media and other viral tools.

In this presentation I explore various examples of how media and journalism combine to not only raise awareness of about social issues, but to unite those who can help resolve those challenging problems. Guest filmmakers will discuss their projects that investigate international urban problems that affect the world, and demand immediate attention.

Lecture 5

Wednesday, November 21
Mobilizing Bias and Constructing Risk Perception in the Japanese Nuclear Crisis
Kyle Cleveland, Associate Professor of Sociology

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, and the nuclear disaster in Fukushima has been one of the most significant public health crises in modern history, with profound implications of how nuclear energy is perceived. This presentation analyzes the nature of risk assessment in the nuclear crisis, examining how decision makers within foreign consulates set policy based upon the complex interplay between information conveyed by the Japanese government and industry officials, assessment by public health authorities and pressure by anti-nuclear activists among their constituents – all of which was facilitated by media coverage in Japan and their respective countries. Based on interviews with foreign consulate officials, the presentation examines how both mainstream and alternative media constructed the nuclear crisis and influenced state-level decision-making in Japan.