Events

Past Events

Time:
19:00 (Door open at 18:30)
Speakers:
  • Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki (President, America-Japan Society, Distinguished Professor, Chairman of International Strategies, Sophia University and Distinguished Professor, Keio University)
  • Hiroyuki Akita (Commentator at the Nihon Keizai Shimbun)
  • Glen S. Fukushima (Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C. think tank)

At no time since the signing of the Peace Treaty and the Security Treaty in San Francisco in 1951 has Japan faced an American leader comparable to Donald Trump. Even the Nixon Shocks pale in comparison to the challenge which President Trump’s vision of the international order and America’s global pose to Japan. Our panel of distinguished experts will discuss Japan’s response to the new United States and answer the audience’s questions.

Time:
19:30 (Door open at 19:00)
Speaker:
  • Ran Zwigenberg (Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University)

Both home and abroad, Japan’s castles serve as prominent symbols of local, regional, and national identity. Castles occupy the center of most major Japanese cities and are universally recognizable as sites of heritage and as a link to the nation’s past. The current prominence of castles obscures their troubled modern history. After the restoration of 1868, castles, no longer of immediate military significance, became symbols of authority, on one hand, and of vaunted tradition on the other. Castles were major sites of exhibitions, where they were often contrasted with Japan’s achievements in acquiring modern technology, serving as potent illustrations of Wakon-yosai (Japanese spirit and Western technology). As the specific role…
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Time:
19:30 (Door open at 19:00)
Speaker:
  • Michael Plugh (Assistant Professor of Communication at Manhattan College)

As scholars continue to debate the contours of globalization in the early-21st century, people around the world are forced to confront shifting experiences of connectedness, both within communities and between them. Among the many factors responsible for this shift, technology plays a central role. In particular, communication technology has given new form to our symbolic environment. With new pressures applied to traditional understandings of national and cultural identity, societies are thrust into reconsidering their terms of belonging. What does it mean to be Japanese in a world of complex connections? How do “discourses of Japaneseness” accommodate change, while reproducing important traditional associations and values? In his talk, Dr. Plugh will…
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Time:
19:30 (Door open at 19:00)
Speaker:
  • Jane Yamashiro

Growing up in the United States, Japanese Americans learn to understand their Japanese heritage within US-based narratives of racism, cultural exclusion, and multiculturalism. What happens when they move to Japan, where the discourse of Japanese homogeneity and uniqueness shapes what it means to be “Japanese”? What difficulties related to phenotype and language do Japanese American migrants encounter in their daily interactions as they attempt to make themselves understandable in Japan? Redefining Japaneseness: Japanese Americans in the Ancestral Homeland (Rutgers University Press, 2017), chronicles how Japanese Americans’ understandings of Japaneseness – including their own – transform while living in Japan. Drawing from extensive fieldwork and interviews, Jane H. Yamashiro reveals the diverse processes and…
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Time:
19:30 (Door open at 19:00)
Speaker:
  • Ian Condry (Cultural anthropologist and Professor at MIT)

As sci-fi writer William Gibson has said, “The future is already here; it is just unevenly distributed.”  With the on-going decline of the recording industry, music offers a natural experiment in emerging forms of social economies, and thus presents pictures of what a post-capitalist future might be.  By comparing diverse examples of how musicians make livelihoods today, we can observe how social and economic values are complexly intertwined. Examples are drawn from Japan and the US, and will include pop idols (real and virtual), the underground DJ scene, and crowd-funding efforts to support musical projects.