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East Asian Images of Japan

Friday, June 28, 2013   19:00 - 21:00

Speakers:
  • Edward Vickers (Associate Professor of Comparative Education at Kyushu University, Japan)
  • Christine Han (Lecturer in Education at the Institute of Education, University of London)
  • Paul Morris (Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London)
  • Naoko Shimazu (Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London)

Recent disputes between Japan and her regional neighbours have been met with resentful incomprehension by many Japanese – contributing to the election in December 2012 of perhaps the most nationalist Diet since 1945. These developments highlight the persistent gulf between the images most Japanese harbour of their country, and the ways it (and they) are perceived and portrayed by their neighbours. This panel stems from a project that aims, amongst other things, to help bridge this gulf and promote a more informed debate about on Japan’s relationships with other East Asian societies.

Over the past three years, an international network of scholars based in East Asia, Europe and North America has been looking at the portrayal of Japan in a range of media – school texts, TV, cinema, museums and the internet – in societies including China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. A major international symposium in Fukuoka this September 6-7 will showcase this research. This panel presentation introduces a small sample of work by several of the scholars involved.

Naoko Shimazu first offers an overview of the work of the broader network, discussing the various ways in which Japan is portrayed as an ‘Other’ in societies throughout East Asia. In the course of outlining the various images of Japan that prevail in different societies, she will discuss why these particular images have emerged, and how they relate to domestic debates over national and local identities.

Paul Morris and Christine Han discuss the cases of Hong Kong and Singapore respectively. While the histories of these societies are in many respects comparable (predominantly ethnic Chinese, former British colonies, occupied by Japan during the Second World War), the kinds of images of Japan that have emerged in the postwar period, and the ways in which these have been produced or manipulated by key elites, reflect important differences in the political and social dynamics that have shaped their recent histories.

Edward Vickers then compares the portrayal of Japan in major national historical museums of the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, focusing particularly on two museums opened or re-opened in 2011: the National Museum of China (Beijing), and the National Museum of Taiwan History (Tainan). He argues that the images of Japan visible in these two flagship institutions reflect both fundamental differences in historical experience vis-a-vis Japan, and the stark divergence in official discourse on national identity within Taiwan and China over recent decades. They also reflect the different ways in which the role of museums has evolved on either side of the Taiwan Strait over recent years – a phenomenon closely related to broader political and social change (or the lack of it).

For more specific information about this event, please click here.

Date & Time:
Friday, June 28, 2013   19:00 - 21:00 (Doors open at 18:30)
Venue:
5F, Mita Hall
Temple University, Japan Campus
4-1-27 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Moderator:
Kyle Cleveland (ICAS Associate Director)
Registration:
If possible, we ask you to register by E-mail (icas@tuj.temple.edu) , but we always welcome participants even you do not register. / 参加登録はなしでも参加できますので、直接会場へお越しください。

Speakers:

Edward Vickers

Associate Professor of Comparative Education at Kyushu University, Japan

Edward Vickers is Associate Professor of Comparative Education at Kyushu University, Japan. His books include In Search of an Identity: the Politics of History as a School Subject in Hong Kong (1960s-2002) (Routledge 2003), and (edited with Alisa Jones) History Education and National Identity in East Asia (Routledge 2005). He also researches the politics of history museums in contemporary Chinese societies.

Christine Han

Lecturer in Education at the Institute of Education, University of London

Christine Han is a Lecturer in Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, and formerly taught at the Nanyang Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. She researches the role of schooling in political socialisation in Singapore and internationally.

Paul Morris

Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London

Paul Morris is Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. He is a former President of the Hong Kong Institute of Education, and the author or editor of numerous studies of schooling, curriculum and political socialisation in Hong Kong and other East Asian societies.

Naoko Shimazu

Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London

Naoko Shimazu is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is author of Japanese Society at War: Death, Memory and the Russo-Japanese War (Cambridge UP, 2009) and other studies looking at Japanese nationalism and the history of international relations.