2016 Minato Citizen's University at Temple University, Japan Campus: "Never Too Late!"

Lifelong learning has become increasingly popular. Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) will be offering various subjects from political science, literature and religion to international relations and an anthropologist’s view of lifelong learning. We hope this series of lectures will stimulate your appetite for learning and encourage you to continue your education.

Image of 2015 Minato Cititzen's University

Scene from previous year's Minato Citizen's University.

October 26 & 28, November 2, 9, & 11
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 is required. Non-refundable.
TUJ will specify bank account details by e-mail.
50 (first-come, first-served basis)
Registration period is over.
Registration deadline is October 21 at 17:00.

Lecture 1

Image of Professor Lee Roser
Zen Buddhism and You
Lee Roser, Assistant Professor of Religion, TUJ (Profile)

An autumn evening: it is no light thing to be born human."

– Issa

In this present age, distanced more and more from our cultural heritages, dominated more and more by computerized distractions, and presenting us with an ominous future of global warming and the questionable genetic-modification of human life, it’s easy to feel hopelessness and loss of meaning in our personal existence. The tradition of Zen Buddhism responds to this predicament by offering a possibility for true human fulfillment. This talk will attempt to explain this positive message and its serious challenge, using some Zen stories and, in particular, cultural expressions of Japanese Zen Buddhism. The goal of this tradition is most relevant to any human being, living in any age.

Lecture 2

Image of Dean Stronach
The Growth of Tourism in Japan and Its Image in the Eyes of the World
Bruce Stronach, Dean, TUJ (Profile)

The number of tourists coming to Japan has jumped sharply from 8.4 million in 2012 to 19.7 in 2015, and that number is continuing to grow in 2016. The question is why? Are the number of tourists increasing because Japan is so safe? Because the Olympics are coming? Because Japan has amazing toilets? Is it the result of a change in government policy?

Given the fact that the vast majority of foreign tourists are from other Asian countries, the question that this lecture will address is what the increase in tourism says about Japan’s role and image in the rest of Asia.

Lecture 3

Image of Professor Mariko Nagai
On Translating Fumiko Hayashi’s Hourouki: Translation as an Act of Betrayal
Mariko Nagai, Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Japanese Literature, Director of Research, TUJ (Profile)

Hayashi Fumiko (1903-1951) is considered one of the most important female writers to come out of the modern Japanese prewar/postwar era. Her debut book, Hourouki (tentatively titled The Song of Wandering Years), a roman à clef, is a hybrid text composed of poems, diary entries, and letters that portrays a literate young woman navigating through Tokyo, jobs, earthquakes, a bad economy, militarism, and bad romances while pursuing her dream of becoming a poet. Though this novel has been partially translated into English by three different translators, this seminal book has never been translated in its entirety. In this lecture, Mariko Nagai, director of research at Temple University, Japan Campus, will discuss the relevance of Fumiko Hayashi’s Hourouki and its various editions, difficulties of translating, and the necessity and importance of translation.

Lecture 4

Image of Professor John Mock
Never Too Late: The Impact of Improving Access to Tertiary Education
John Mock, Visiting Professor of History and Asian Studies, TUJ

While Japan’s primary and secondary education systems (kindergarten through high school) are quite widely recognized as being excellent, Japan’s tertiary education system has a number of problematic features. In fact, one could easily argue that while Japan is one of the top two or three economies in the world, Japan’s tertiary education is extremely weak for an industrialized country.

One of its major shortcomings appears to be a rigidity of administrative policies that seem to have little rationale. One example of this sort of rigidity is the difficulty for “non-traditional” students to begin, continue or re-start higher education. This means that the window to access higher education is an extremely limited one which severely limits options in later life. Given the “tilt” toward metropolitan centers, in terms of education, occupational opportunities, and relative “coolness” or stylishness, the limited window to higher education appears to have a stronger impact in non-metropolitan areas.

Without trying to deal with the politics of education, this lecture will examine some of the possible outcomes of allowing access to tertiary education for non-traditional students.

Lecture 5

Image of Professor James Brown
Never Too Late to Resolve Political Disputes
James D.J. Brown, Associate Professor, Political Science, TUJ (Profile)

One of the key goals of the discipline of Political Science is to understand the nature and causes of cooperation and conflict. This is with a view to better comprehending how political disputes can be resolved in a peaceful manner. Although many such disagreements may appear intractable, history suggests that solutions can be reached through the combination of wise leadership, imaginative thinking, and propitious international circumstances. This lecture focuses on a number of historical case studies in which long-standing disputes have been resolved. It then seeks to apply these lessons to contemporary territorial problems in East Asia, specifically the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and the Northern Territories/Southern Kuril Islands.