New Topics, Technologies and New Times: Japan Ahead

Japan graphic


February 24-25, 2017 | Academic communities play an important role in shaping international perspectives. scholars work within broad networks, developing thoughtful insights on emerging changes long before others become aware of their implications. students, whether within Japan and abroad, will in time become tomorrow’s leaders. How we shape their understanding of Japan establishes powerful influence on the way they will think for decades ahead.

Japan’s role in the world is changing. its long era of postwar prosperity is signaled with a rich harvest of international awards. The Nobel prize once seemed an elusive mark of success, but by 2014, there were three Japanese-born Nobel prize winners and in 2015, two. Japan also boasts more native-born Pritzker prize winning architects than any other nation, in spite of its small size. But the nation’s future international influence is a larger question, its economy overtaken by China’s. Both at home and abroad, Japan faces many other unmapped challenges.

We propose to bring together scholars from Japan and the west to discuss the future of Japan in our academic communities.


Friday, February 24

9:00 AM Opening Remarks
Prof. Dana Buntrock, CJS Chair
Dr. Toru Tamiya, JSPS Director

9:15 AM-10:45 AM Session 1
Cross-Cultural Exchanges: Study Abroad and Its Impact

Dr. Shingo Ashizawa, Toyo University
Dr. Peter McCagg, Akita International University
Moderated by: Dr. Keiko Yamanaka

10:45 AM-11:00 AM Break

11:00 AM-12:30 PM Session 2
Language Education and Where It Leads

Dr. Mayumi Usami, National Inst. For Japanese Language & Linguistics
Dr. Dustin Wright, UC Santa Cruz
Discussant: Dr. Alan Tansman
Moderated by: Dr. Yoko Hasegawa

12:30 PM-1:45 PM Break

1:45 PM–3:15 PM Session 3
Are Science, Technology, Engineering and Math a Part of Area Studies or Above it?

Dr. Masayo Fujimoto, Doshisha University
Dr. Robert Cole, UC Berkeley
Moderated by: Prof. Dana Buntrock

3:15 PM-3:30 PM Break

3:30 PM-5:00 PM Session 4
Media Gateways, Transnational Frames

Dr. Shunya Yoshimi, Tokyo University
Dr. Christine Yano, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Moderated by: Dr. Miryam Sas

5:00 PM-6:00PM Reception

Saturday, February 25

10:00 AM-12:00 PM Session 4
Area Studies Under Threat: How Will Japan be Taught in the Years Ahead?

Dr. Miriam Kingsberg, University of Colorado
Dr. David Spafford, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Yuma Totani, University of Hawaii
Ms. Andrea Horbinski (UCB)
Mr. James Stone Lunde (UCB)
Mr. Shoufu Yin (UCB)
Moderated by: Dr. Mary Elizabeth Berry

12:00 PM-1:30 PM Break

1:30 PM-2:30 PM Keynote

Japanese Studies in the Age of Globalization
Dr. Pat Steinhoff, University of Hawaii

How will Japanese Studies fare in the 21st century? This conference has addressed a number of critical questions about how Berkeley’s Japanese Studies faculty and their Japanese counterparts can deal with the changes they observe. The keynote address at the end of the conference will take a broader look at Japanese Studies in global context. Japanese Studies has been the most studied and well-documented area studies field in the United States, thanks to the generosity of the Japan Foundation and the cooperation of scholars and staff in Japanese Studies programs. Having traced the domestic growth and change in Japanese Studies, what can the trends revealed in these studies now tell us about its future? Our studies have documented that Japanese Studies as a field of study and an academic community is already thoroughly globalized. The presentation will explore some implications of this globalization for our research, our teaching, and our networks of interaction.

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM Discussion
Moderator: Prof. Dana Buntrock

3:00 PM Closing remarks
Prof. Dana Buntrock


SESSION 1           
Cross-Cultural Exchanges:
Study Abroad and Its Impact

Keiko Yamanaka moderating
What responsibility do universities have to promote a deeper understanding of Japan and its place in the world? How do the structures we put in place affect what students learn from study abroad and shape them? What happens when romantic or negative preconceptions are confirmed? Do the globalization models used today privilege certain cultures and practices, and how do universities discover best practices in a period when economic pressures to perform are powerful? 

Shingo Ashizawa
Toyo University
Long-Term Impact of Study Abroad and the Role of University Network: Strategic Partnerships for Maximizing Student Learning Outcomes
Study abroad is now more accessible to today’s college students, compared to a time when only a limited number of elites went abroad. This session will examine recent trends, opportunities and the challenges of study abroad. Diversification of programs is one of the strongest trends and shorter programs have gained in popularity. Many institutions are facing difficulties in assessing learning outcomes and developing new programs which meet their students’ needs. The presenter will introduce research results of a recent study which analyzed data on the long-term impacts of study abroad on Japanese, mid-career professionals. The research results show how study abroad alumni assess the long-term impact of their international experience, especially in areas such as self-esteem, employability, cross-cultural competencies and earning capacity. In addition, this session will look at efforts made by various universities to 1) diversify study abroad opportunities, 2) establish institutional strategies, and 3) create institutional networks. The audience will take away ideas for good practices, including a consortia approach such as UMAP (University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific), transnational programs and joint teaching (degree) programs. Finally, after introducing the TeamUP project, organized by CULCON (The United States-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange), the audience will be invited to join in a discussion about how we can create better partnerships between the US and Japan.

Peter McCagg
Akita International University
It May Not Be Enough To Lead A Horse To Water

“The people there were gods and midgets and knew themselves mortal and so the midgets walked tall so as not to embarrass the gods and the gods crouched so as to make the small ones feel at home. And, after all, isn’t that what life is all about, the ability to go around back and come up inside other people’s heads to look out at the damned fool miracle and say: oh, so that’s how you see it!?” (Ray Bradbury: “Dandelion Wine”)
My comments aim to relate the experience of study abroad to this Bradbury quote from four perspectives: cognitive development, the AIU context, the four “fearful” questions that frame this session, and some hoped for insights to be gleaned from the 2017 AIEA (Association of International Education Administrators) meetings, which I shall be attending immediately prior to the CJSJ/JSPS symposium.

SESSION 2           
Language Education and Where It Leads
Yoko Hasegawa, moderating

Political conflicts and language education: what is the educator’s role? Language and culture are intertwined in effective language education and lead to deeper discussions. Is it possible for the language classroom to be neutral territory in an age when even that names of oceans and islands are under debate?

Mayumi Usami
National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics
Language education and political issues: why do political issues matter in the lan-
guage classroom?

Foreign language classrooms are a curious environment because students are themselves often from different languages and cultures, and they communicate in yet another language, the one that they are learning. Nevertheless, they can provide rare opportunities that may contribute to resolution of the world’s conflicts. This possibility is particularly significant considering the recent trend wherein people are weary of economic globalization and wish to look inward.

Most adult learners of a foreign language are naturally and inevitably involved in various political issues, whether they assert such concerns or not. This is true of foreign language educators as well. We all encounter daunting political issues. How, then, can we utilize such inevitabilities and turn them into opportunities?

I will discuss what foreign language education tomorrow should be and how various in-
sights should be brought into practice.

Dustin Wright
University of California, Santa Cruz
Embracing Controversy in the History Classroom: The “Comfort Women” Module

The history classroom is no stranger to controversial historical issues. In my own Japanese
and East Asian history classes, the complex histories surrounding the comfort women, the Nanjing Massacre, and the dropping of atomic weapons are among those that often elicit productive debate and discussion from students. Issues such as these, of course, are not simply provocative topics of the classroom, but actually continue to inform contemporary geopolitics and the everyday lives of people throughout the Pacific.

The comfort women issue remains unresolved in the realm of diplomacy. Even the 2015 formal agreement between Prime Minister Abe and South Korean President Park Gyeun-He to finally “solve” the comfort women issue has failed. In my talk, I discuss how I teach the comfort women issue in my own classes and will suggest that language classes can also similarly benefit by embracing this content. Lastly, as an academic who first began his
study of Japan in the university language classroom, I will also suggest that some language learners could benefit from greater inclusion of socio-political and historical material.

Alan Tansman, UC Berkeley (Discussant)
Are Science, Technology, Engineering and Math a Part of Area Studies or Above it?

To what extent do science and technology institutions, research directions, policies, practices and work routines, or outcomes reflect national cultures? Japan’s manufacturing prowess during the postwar era, or California’s IT innovation today, suggest technologies can be deeply reflective of their environments. If so, how do science and technology educational institutions shape these outcomes? Are educational institutions themselves shaped by national cultures? If so, how might area studies or country-focused research play a role within science, technology or engineering?

Masayo Fujimoto
Doshisha University
Differences in Relationships with Colleagues, Organizations of Researchers and Engineers by Utilizing the Mobility as a Social Environment: Comparison among Japan, the US and France

This research investigates and analyzes various factors that affect the consciousness and norms of people engaged in work related to science and technology. Researchers and engineers tend to be regarded as individuals independent from groups, organizations and societies because of their expertise. But their dependence or independence is influenced by the social environment surrounding them. The attitudes and behaviors towards their work can be seen with the point of similarities specified to professionals regardless of region or country, and with the point of differences to their socialization process. Those factors that affect so-
cialization are, for example, the environment in school education which they received, mobility produced by the labor systems of the region or country where they worked, the habits in the social stratification, educational system by management philosophy of the organization, customs and common consciousness shared with colleagues, exchange among professionals outside the organization, and so on. These affect their attitudes, customs, and the generation of norms. As a result, there are differences in outcomes and institutions.

In this report, we pay attention to mobility as an element of the social environment surrounding individuals and we use the number of job changes as an indicator as to whether people expect their relationship with organizations and/or colleagues to be a long-term. We analyze how they build relationships with surrounding people and how they are socialized to different mobility patterns.

Robert Cole
University of California, Berkeley
Academic Promotion of Computer Science (CS) and Information Science (IS): U.S. Japan Comparisons

U.S. IT industry’s superiority over Japan originated in its first mover advantage enabled by government R&D policy & early development of CS university education. This led to a large supply of the talent needed to build a successful IT industry. PhD CS researchers at U.S. universities transformed the field making relevant knowledge widely available and also creating path breaking startups. The situation was quite different in Japan where previously successful hardware focused companies held sway and were late to appreciate the transformational nature of CS. Government was also late to appreciate and invest in software and computer science. This was reflected in the lack of pressure on Japanese universities which were slow to adopt a rapidly evolving CS curriculum and to employ faculty with state of the art knowledge. Even when the government tried to change gears, their efforts to modernize university CS and IS curriculum were sabotaged by the government’s conflicting policies.
Media Gateways, Transnational Frames
Miryam Sas, moderating

Many students now come to their interest in Japan through media forms—film and television, anime, manga, and social media among others. These forms challenge ideas of nation that shape area studies models. What frames are now appropriate for study and teaching about media from Japan and East Asia? How will this influence area studies ahead? Does shared appreciation for these media create strong bridges between young people in Japan and those beyond its shores?

Christine Yano
University of Hawai`i at Manoa
New Gateways: Teaching “Japan” Through Kitti-chan

Sanrio’s highly successful kyarakutaa Hello Kitty has been a touchstone of what I call “pink globalization” – that is, the spread of goods and images labelled cute (kawaii) from Japan to other parts of the industrial world. Pink globalization connects the expansion of Japanese companies to overseas markets, the enhanced distribution of Japanese products, and the rise of Japan’s national cool as suggested by the spread of manga and anime. But how might a commercial product such as Hello Kitty be framed as a gateway for teaching “Japan”? In this
presentation I suggest talking points for which Hello Kitty may serve as a prompt in the classroom. These include girl culture, cuteness as an aesthetic and affective practice, kitsch, irony, subversive appropriation, irony, asobi (play), “winking” cultural expression, kyarakutaa and its theorization, national identity (including governmental appropriation), and globalism. Through a Hello Kitty gateway, “Japan” far exceeds its political and even cultural boundaries to become a multivalent symbol of ebullient corporate and consumerist spirit.

Shunya Yoshimi
University of Tokyo
Post-postwar Japan in the Global History of 500 year

Since 1995, the landscape of Japanese society has completely changed due to two earthquake disasters, acts of terrorism, and nuclear accidents. Japan no longer is as economically prosperous as it once was during its ‘bubble economy’ period. Although it is clear that this decline was triggered by the two earthquake disasters, we should also bear in mind that Japan has experienced other challenges, such as economic recessions, declining youth populations and relatively high levels of political instability. This is why it is said that the 20years following the mid-1990s are the “Lost Decades” of Japan. In this presentation, I will position these “Lost Decades” within modern Japanese history, which spans over 150 years. I also make reference to the last 500 years of global history since the end of the 15th century. My main point in this presentation is that history has been changing every 25 years and that we are currently in the third phase of world history after WWII: with the first period spanning from 1945 to 1970, the second period from 1970 to 1995, and the third period from 1995 to 2020. In this presentation, I will explain how the history of this 25 year cycle has operated through the modern era. I will also explain why 25 years is a significant number and how such viewpoint can change the grasp of global history.
Area Studies Under Threat: How Will Japan be Taught in the Years Ahead?

Mary Elizabeth Berry, moderating

There are many challenges to the intimate study of specific cultures on our campuses today, and growing calls to simply address the world beyond our shores as a collected, global other. Will Japan remain central to discussions on overseas campuses and communities or is a broader study of East Asia and the international world more suitable for our times? Should Japan also target communities for greater understanding and collaboration?


Ida & Robert Sproul Room
International House
University of California, Berkeley

IHouse Panoramic