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Seminars & Symposiums

Dynamics of Asia-Pacific Region -- Interdisciplinary Perspectives: History and Prospects

2014-7-24 (Thu) - 2014-7-26 (Sat)

Osaka University International Symposium Program, 2014

Theme: Dynamics of Asia-Pacific Region -- Interdisciplinary Perspectives: History and Prospects

Dates: 24 ~ 26 July 2014

Venue: Presentation Room (1st floor, Building B), Minoh Campus, Osaka University (Osaka Japan) (Access map) (Campus map) #2 (First Floor)

We assume that all the participants will have read the conference papers before the symposium. Your presentation should be as brief as possible and leave plenty of time for discussion. (15 minutes for presentation, 45 minutes for discussion)

DAY 1: 24 July (Thursday) Symposium Day1

11:20: Please come to the lobby of Kasugaoka House

11:30: Taxies will pick you up (to the Minoh Campus)

12:30-14:00 Keynote Speech:

Presenter: Professor Doug Slaymaker (University of Kentucky)

Title: International Issues: Japanese artists and the problems with borders

Abstract: This presentation will focus on issues raised about international travel by artists and writers traveling from Tokyo to Paris in the early 20th century. The painter Fujita Tsuguharu and the poet Kaneko Mitsuharu provide the main examples of the issues encountered by Japanese moving internationally in the 1920s and 1930s. In particular, we will see how the ideals of international identities clash with personal interactions in an historical moment that is configured along different assumptions than now, in the 21st century.

Chair and Discussants: Professor Maria Toyoda & Professor Toshitaka Takeuchi

14:15 – 16:20 (Sessions 1&2)

Presenter: Professor Akiko Takenaka (University of Kentucky)

Title:Postmemorial Trauma: The Revisionist Turn in Japan’s Memories of the Asia-Pacific War

Abstract: The Asia-Pacific War, which encompassed nearly fifteen years from September 1931 to August 1945, remains central to relations between Japan and the rest of East Asia. Controversies on wartime issues are current and pressing. Since 2001, Korean and Taiwanese nationals have pursued lawsuits to remove names of their family members from the memorial register of Yasukuni Shrine—the former military memorial where all dead associated with the Imperial Japanese Army (including those that died as colonial subjects) are enshrined. Tensions continue to escalate over security concerns between Japan and Korea over Dokdo/Takeshima islands, and with China and Taiwan over Diaoyu/Senkaku islands. Disputes associated with the Comfort Women have recently reached the United States as proposals for memorials and street names.
The recent and renewed focus on these issues reflects ways that Japanese memories of the past war are represented in media and culture. The controversies, in turn, further fuel cultural productions on themes associated with the war. Memories of the Asia-Pacific War have long had a strong presence in Japanese culture—from textbooks and museum exhibits to books and film, but the narrative trend has shifted over the decades. The shift, in part, is reflective of social and political milieu. But there are also distinct trends associated with the age of the creators. For example, those who were adults during the war often admitted Japanese wrongdoings. Many who experienced the war as young children, on the other hand, argue that while the Japanese state waged a war of aggression, Japanese people were victims of their wartime state. More recently, people born years and sometimes decades after 1945 have begun to participate in the process of memory work with a revisionist voice. They show little interest in issues of war responsibility, or the reasons why Japan was embroiled in an extended military conflict. Rather, these newly created narratives attempt to reimagine an idealized past that is eerily reminiscent of the state initiated propaganda of the war years.
My paper builds on trauma theory in order to explain why the postwar generation feels the need to recreate their version of the wartime past, and more importantly, to interrogate the persistence of revisionism in Japan. I locate the cause of this trend in what I call “postmemorial trauma.” While these people have not personally experienced the Asia-Pacific War, I argue that the trauma still exists in the postwar generation. Using the concept of “postmemory”—the idea that collective trauma can be inherited by succeeding generations—I explore the persistence of such inherited war trauma in education and popular culture. I argue that the postwar generation has not only inherited their parents’ trauma, but are also burdened with the idea that they, too, are being held responsible for the war that their parents and grandparents fought. In attempts to rectify the guilt and the resulting trauma, many have turned to revisionist history that reverts back to the wartime state propaganda that Japan fought the Asia-Pacific War out of self-defense.

Chair and Discussant: Professor Bart Gaens

Presenter: Professor Karl Gustafsson (Swedish Institute of International Affairs)

Title: The Japanese Discourse on “anti-Japanism”

Abstract: Existing scholarship has suggested that “Japan-bashing”, a form of “anti-Japanism” taking place mainly in the United States, has been declining since the mid-1990s. Yet, as searches in newspaper and other databases indicate, the general Japanese discourse on “anti-Japanism” has actually grown considerably since 1990. “Anti-Japanism” is likely to be seen in Japan as, if not a threat, at least a problem. This raises the following question: What is the problem of “anti-Japanism” represented to be? The paper addresses this question and analyses whether and how Japanese representations of the problem of “anti-Japanism” have changed between 1990 and 2013 through an analysis of Japanese parliamentary debates and editorials in Japan’s two largest daily newspapers between 1990 and 2012. In addition, it examines books and magazine articles dealing with the topic.
The analysis makes clear that an important aspect of the discourse on “anti-Japanism” is that it is to a significant extent an identity discourse. Problem representations frequently involve identities being ascribed to actors depicted as “anti-Japanese” while a particular Japanese self is constructed. At the same time, there are large differences between representations, testifying to the fact that there is no consensus concerning the construction of “Japaneseness” in such discourses. For example, there is a sharp divide between those who use the word “anti-Japanese” to describe Japanese nationals and those who do not. Such labelling, while common in books and magazines on the right-wing are deemed unacceptable in the Diet and the two major dailies. In the 1990s, the problem of “anti-Japanism” in foreign countries was more commonly seen as caused by Japanese actions than what has subsequently been the case. In addition, in the 2000s, especially since 2003, China has dominated the discourse after having largely been absent from it in the 1990s.

Chair and Discussant: Professor Victor Teo

16:35 – 18:40 (Sessions 3 & 4)

Presenter: Professor Rotem Kowner (The University of Haifa)

Title: Japan and the rise of the Idea of Race: On the synthesis of foreign and domestic constructions (1854-1945) (conference paper is available to the participants upon request)

Abstract: It is often forgotten today but in late-nineteenth-century Japan questions of race, and notably concern over the global hierarchy of the races and doubts about the capacity for survival of the Japanese “race,” were of a major concern. It was perhaps a mere chance that the forced opening of Japan and the subsequent process of modernization following the Western model coincided with the rise of scientific racism in the West. Nonetheless, Japan had its share of rudimental racial worldview much earlier, including certain ethnographic knowledge of the Other and indigenous sense of xenophobia. This presentation seeks to examine the interaction between the domestic and the foreign views of race in Meiji Japan and the way they amalgamated with each other into a national discourse with regard to the self and the Other.

Chair and Discussant: Professor Key-young Son

Presenter: Professor Louise Young (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Title: Rethinking Empire in the Twentieth Century: Lessons from Imperial and Post-Imperial Japan

Abstract: Among the series of “turns” that have overset humanities disciplines in the past two decades, new approaches to empire and imperialism stand out. Cultural studies, post-colonial theory, and critiques of globalization have inspired a boom in new imperial histories. Much of this work is based on the British and American empires. Taking up the theoretical challenges of the new imperial history this paper asks: What happens when we place the Japanese case at the center of our analysis? Japan built a wartime empire in East and Southeast Asia in the 1930s, and after losing that empire in 1945 created a neo-colonial trading imperium under the American cold war umbrella. What are the lessons that imperial Japan can teach us about the global moment of the twenties and thirties, when the rise of anti-colonial nationalism and conflicts between rising and declining powers brought new pressures on longstanding imperial structures? After the cataclysm of World War Two shattered the foundations of colonial empires and divided the globe up into the first, second, and third worlds, what did this moment of rupture and the end of empire mean for Japan and Asia? The answers to these questions suggest ways that we might extend our thinking about metropolitan connections to empire building on the one hand and the particularities of imperial structures in East Asia on the other.

Chair and Discussant: Professor Emilian Kavalski

19:00 – 20:30  Supper: Minoh Campus, Osaka University

DAY2: 25 July (Friday) Symposium Day2

10:00 – 12:05 (Sessions 5 & 6)

Presenter: Professor Bart Gaens (The Finnish Institute of International Affairs)

Title: The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM): Institutional Design, (Inter) regionalism, and Norms

Abstract: The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is a summit-level yet informal dialogue forum aiming to advance interregional relations between Europe and Asia in the political, economic and socio-cultural fields. Created in 1996, the forum has grown from twenty-six to fifty-one members, and currently constitutes the prime focal point of interaction between Europe and Asia. This paper examines the features and changing contours of ASEM as an international institution, and aims to answer three questions: first, how does ASEM act as a tool to further the goals of states and (sub)regions, and how are these objectives linked with the forum’s institutional design in terms of membership, scope, centralization, control and flexibility?  Second, how do global changes in the importance that states attach to multilateralism, regionalism and bilateralism affect ASEM? Third, what are the normative considerations and the collective values underlying the sources of the preferences at the core of the institution, and can a process towards convergence in norms and values be detected? The analysis will show the fragmented nature of Europe-Asia cooperation, reveal the limits to the EU’s ambitions to play a stronger role in the East Asian region, and look ahead to the future of interregional relations. This paper furthermore argues that an international institution such as ASEM is an important signpost reflecting changes in global governance in general and in regionalist projects in particular.

Chair and Discussant: Professor Toshitaka Takeuchi

Presenter: Professor Victor Teo (Hong Kong University)

Title: Japan’s Foreign Policy at Cross-roads: Towards a more amicable East Asia

Abstract: Since 2010, tensions in East Asia have increased dramatically. In particular, Sino-Japanese relations have appeared to deteriorate considerably whilst the situation on the Korean Peninsula continues to pose considerable risks for the region. For Japan, these are critical times. Faced with the twin difficulties of aging population and economic recovery at home, Japan today possibly faces one of the most difficult situations in her external relations since the Second World War. Yet, a careful scrutiny would reveal that Japan’s greatest foreign policy challenge might not emanate from tensions with China or North Korea but rather from her relations with her main alliance partner – the United States. This paper first touches on recent developments of Japan-US relations by focusing on two important themes. First, this paper discusses how developments in Japan-United States affect Japan-China relations. Second, this paper examines how Japan today is at a crossroads in its foreign relations with Asia and the World, and considers possible ways forward for Japanese foreign policy. Finally the paper would conclude with a short discussion on the limitations of the conceptual lens used by International Relations scholars on the study of Japan and East Asian politics, and how they may well inhibit the envisioning of better relations in the region.

Chair and Discussant: Professor Maria Toyoda

12:10 – 12:45 Lunch (Bento Box)

12:50 – 14:55 (Sessions 7 & 8)

Presenter: Key-young Son (Asiatic Research Institute, Korea University)

Title: Unpacking Power: Multihegemony, Sutured Regionness and the US-China-Japan Triangle in Northeast Asia

Abstract: The rise of nationalism, unresolved territorial disputes, an intricate system of alliances, and the perceived breakdown of the balance of power have been identified as the main causes behind the outbreak of World War I in 1914. However, they all sound strikingly similar to the set of challenges East Asia has been facing in the early 2010s. Will history repeat itself and see East Asia sleepwalking into another hegemonic war? China’s future relations with the United States and Japan will be crucial for East Asia’s regional order, but its territorial disputes with Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islets have been identified as one of the major causes that could potentially lead the regional powers to war. However, this article argues that a major war is unlikely because pre-WWI Europe and today’s Northeast Asia are qualitatively different in terms of the configurations of what are conceptualised as ‘multihegemony’ and ‘sutured’ regionness.

Key Words: Multihegemony, Sutured Regionness, World War I, US-China-Japan Triangle, Northeast Asia

Chair and Discussant: Professor Rotem Kowner

Presenter: Professor Emilian Kavalski (Institute for Social Justice | Australian Catholic University)

Title: Are there normative powers in the Asia-Pacific? Comparing normative power China, normative power Japan, and normative power Europe

Abstract: Who or what is a normative power? This is a query that has animated European International Relations for the past twenty years. Yet, the conversation on the content and practices of normative power has hardly been broached in the analysis of Asia-Pacific affairs. This investigation aims to redress this by taking stock of the current state of the art. This exploration therefore contends that normative powers are those actors that are recognized as such by others. This qualifies Ian Manners’ oft-quoted proposition that normative powers are only those actors that have the ability to ‘shape what can be “normal” in international life’. The proposition is that the definitions of the ‘normal’ are not merely undertaken by normative power, but that they emerge in the context of its interaction with others. Recognition, in this setting, is indicated by the specific reactions of target states. In this respect, the issue is not merely about being and becoming a normative power, but also about being recognized as one by others. The study will detail this proposition by undertaking parallel assessment of normative power Europe, normative power China, and normative power Japan. The intention of such comparison is to elicit the key elements of normative power not only in the Asia-Paific, but in global life in general.

Chair and Discussant: Professor Akiko Takenaka

15:10 – 16:50 (Sessions 9 & 10)

Presenter: Yoneyuki Sugita

Title: Struggle for Agenda Setting: U.S.-Japan Alliance Management over North Korea, 2001-2003

(Conference paper is available to the participants upon request)

Abstract: This paper’s research question addresses what kind of affects the second North Korean nuclear crisis of October 2002 had on U.S.-Japan relations. My working hypothesis is that the second North Korean nuclear crisis was a result from the struggle for agenda setting in this region between the United States and Japan. Both the United States and Japan sought to take the initiative in setting their own preferred agenda or rules based on which international relations they would have to observe thereafter.

Chair and Discussant: Professor Louis Young

Presenter: Graduate students and younger scholars

Title: current research themes

Chair and Discussant: Professor Maria Toyoda

17:00 – 19:30 Dinner: Gankozushi Toyonaka

DAY3: 26 July (Saturday) Symposium Day3

10:00 – 12:00 Graduate School Students Session

Presenters: Graduate students and younger scholars

Title: current research themes

General Meeting

Date: 2014-7-24 (Thu) - 2014-7-26 (Sat)
Venue: Presentation Room (1st floor, Building B), Minoh Campus, Osaka University
Registration: Not necessary.
Contact: Yoneyuki SUGITA, Graduate School of Language and Culture, Osaka University

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