Programme

The International Conference on Japan & Japan Studies (IICJ) is an interdisciplinary conference held alongside The Asian Conference on Asian Studies (ACAS) and The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies (ACCS). Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for any one of these conferences permits attendance in all three within the event.

This page provides details of presentations and other programming. For more information about presenters, please visit the Speakers page.


  • Precarious Futures, Precarious Pasts: Migritude and Planetarity
    Precarious Futures, Precarious Pasts: Migritude and Planetarity
    Keynote Presentation: Professor Gaurav Desai
  • The Challenges of Doing Cultural Studies Today
    The Challenges of Doing Cultural Studies Today
    Featured Panel Presentation: Professor Donald E. Hall, Professor Emerita Sue Ballyn & Professor Yasue Arimitsu
  • Buddhist Terrorism?
    Buddhist Terrorism?
    Featured Presentation: Dr Brian Victoria
  • Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Studies in Today’s University Systems
    Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Studies in Today’s University Systems
    Featured Presentation: Professor Emeritus Yasue Arimitsu
  • “(…) For those in peril on the sea”: The Important Role of Surgeons on Convict Transports
    “(…) For those in peril on the sea”: The Important Role of Surgeons on Convict Transports
    Spotlight Presentation: Professor Sue Ballyn
  • Not Just Your Average Cartoon – “Mainzelmännchen” As Agents of Conservative TV Propaganda
    Not Just Your Average Cartoon – “Mainzelmännchen” As Agents of Conservative TV Propaganda
    Spotlight Presentation: Dr Holger Briel
  • Cross-Cultural Engagement and Media Integration in Japan and East Asia
    Cross-Cultural Engagement and Media Integration in Japan and East Asia
    Spotlight Presentation: Dr Seiko Yasumoto
Precarious Futures, Precarious Pasts: Migritude and Planetarity
Keynote Presentation: Professor Gaurav Desai

In this talk I will focus on the figure of the migrant in recent Anglophone fiction from Africa and South Asia. I am interested in the continuities and discontinuities in the experience of migration from the nineteenth century to the present, particularly, though not exclusively, for vulnerable populations. I then attempt to connect that experience to challenges posed to us by environmental changes and vulnerabilities in the same time frame. The aim is to think through the figure of the migrant not just as someone who moves from one sociopolitical context – village, town, city, nation – to another, but to think through migrant experiences as they relate to larger planetary concerns.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

The Challenges of Doing Cultural Studies Today
Featured Panel Presentation: Professor Donald E. Hall, Professor Emerita Sue Ballyn & Professor Yasue Arimitsu

Featured Panel Presentation: Professor Donald E. Hall, Professor Emerita Sue Ballyn & Professor Yasue Arimitsu

Given the rise of anti-globalisation, nationalisms and cultural isolationism, 2017 and beyond will prove particularly challenging times for those of us working in cultural studies. Our four panellists will each speak for five minutes about emerging geo-political constraints on their work, as well as their respective national and institutional contexts. This will be followed by a general discussion with the audience about collective experiences and strategies for individual and collective response to the challenges that we face.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

Buddhist Terrorism?
Featured Presentation: Dr Brian Victoria

Buddhism has long enjoyed a reputation in the West as a religion of peace. It is only in recent years that the long history of those calling themselves Buddhists who engaged in warfare has been introduced to Western readers (see, for example, Buddhist Warfare). In an era in which terrorist acts carried out by those who identify themselves as Muslims attract our attention, it is noteworthy that Buddhists, too, are not immune to this form of religious fanaticism. The historical truth is that in 1930s Japan at least three Buddhist-related acts of terrorism took place. While introducing these terrorist acts, this presentation focuses on the Buddhist doctrine and practice undergirding the so-called “Blood Oath Corps Incident” (J. Ketsumeidan Jiken) of early 1932.

Image: “Blood Oath Corps Incident” defendants awaiting trial

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Studies in Today’s University Systems
Featured Presentation: Professor Emeritus Yasue Arimitsu

In the last two decades, Japanese universities have been struggling to attract young students taking entrance examinations for universities, because 18-year-old students are drastically decreasing in number due to Japan’s falling birthrate. It is said that the number of 18-year-old students will be the lowest ever in 2018, and a great number of private universities will be forced to close. In order to survive, universities in Japan are now reorganising their academic systems, and sometimes replace unpopular departments with new and perhaps more attractive departments. The current situation for universities goes along with the globalising movement in the academic world, and some traditional disciplines such as English, French, German or Russian literature (so-called national literatures) are replaced by global/regional studies or communication studies. In these new departments, cultural studies are widely accepted since they are recognised as interdisciplinary studies. However, interdisciplinary studies are still difficult for some academics to accept, especially those with a strong base in traditional disciplinary studies. I would like to examine questions about cultural studies in this globalising age: how to combine disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

“(…) For those in peril on the sea”: The Important Role of Surgeons on Convict Transports
Spotlight Presentation: Professor Sue Ballyn

Sailing in the eighteenth and nineteenth century was indeed dangerous. Without the sophisticated equipment we have today and out of reach of rescue services, those sailing the high seas did well to commend their bodies and souls to God. The long trip from England to Australia was fraught with difficulties, from storms, doldrums and leaky hulls to serious illnesses on board. It was the surgeons on the convict transports who were often the unsung heroes of hazardous passages to the Antipodes. While their role has not been ignored, it is only through reading their journals that complete maritime narratives emerge. In this paper I want to discuss the work of surgeons on female transports, the importance of their power at sea and on land, their care of their charges and how medical improvisation very often saved a patient’s life. I have chosen female transports rather than male because of the added difficulties the women brought to the weeks at sea: pregnancy among others. The subject is very complex but I hope to be able to offer a general overview of the outstanding role played by these men in the project of expanding the British Empire into the Antipodes.

Image | The ship ‘Mountstuart Elphinstone’ offshore by William Adolphus Knell (1840)

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

Not Just Your Average Cartoon – “Mainzelmännchen” As Agents of Conservative TV Propaganda
Spotlight Presentation: Dr Holger Briel

While the West German TV broadcasting system had to a large part been modelled on Hugh Green's understanding of the BBC (who had been charged with creating a non-centralised German broadcasting system after WWII), it did, unlike the BBC, include moderate yet tightly controlled advertising time. Initially, advertising was only allowed between 17:00 and 20:00, excluding Sundays, and only in blocks of 5–10 minutes each. In order to break up the succession of adverts, stations used animations. First and foremost, these clips were meant to provide a light-hearted caesura or insert (Werbetrenner) between individual adverts. But ultimately, their remit went much further than that; on the one hand, these animations were intended to draw children into the advertising world and keep viewers on the station; on the other, they also provided a glimpse of social issues shaping the evolution of German society. The most famous ones were the “Mainzelmännchen”, a collection of funny gnomes created for the ZDF broadcasting station. In my presentation, I will analyse a number of these clips according to their relevance as markers of social changes through the last 50 years or so. It will become clear that they are far from lighthearted entertainment but have a neo-conservative agenda regarding nationalism, gender, education, consumption and social change. Furthermore, I will also discuss changes made to them due to digitalisation and how they and their creators’ agenda have become re-entrenched in new media in a changing and unequal world.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.

Cross-Cultural Engagement and Media Integration in Japan and East Asia
Spotlight Presentation: Dr Seiko Yasumoto

In East Asia a progressive multilateral process of cultural re-engagement and media integration is occurring. Japan has achieved the right and acceptance to trade media content in East Asia and beyond, particularly in the domain of popular culture for anime, manga and television drama (TV drama). Japan’s media trade in Korea, and particularly in mainland China, has in the past been inhibited by respective government controls and regulations. These controls have progressively been relaxed and benefits have multilaterally accrued to creators of content. An outstanding example of this is South Korea’s Korean Wave, which is directly attributable to the progressive dismantling of media controls in South Korea preventing Japanese content entering South Korea. This study examines the macro Japanese broadcasting content overseas exports from 2001 to 2014. Japanese content has been regionalised and disseminated beyond Japan, for example, with content adaptation, localised remaking and co-productions. This study further analyses the remaking of Japanese media products in South Korea and Taiwan, exploring three examples including the ground-breaking Japanese and Korean co-production of the TV drama Friends by Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) and Munhwa Broadcasting Cooperation (MBC Korea), which was broadcast simultaneously in South Korea and Japan, the remake of the Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango and remade into the TV drama format Meteor Garden in Taiwan with subsequent extensive regional adaptation, remaking and format changes, and the remake of the manga Jin into the TV dramas Jin in Japan and Dr. Jin in Korea. The study confirms the value attributable to the relaxation of controls inhibiting or preventing the flow of media content and in turn contributing to cultural re-engagement.

Read presenter biographies on the Speakers page.