Stream F

Post-growth Japan

F1. Post-growth narratives in rural Japan

Wednesday, 5th September, 15:30 - 17:10

This panel problematizes the role that rural areas will play in post-growth Japan. The collapse of the economic bubble marked the beginning of a period of successive crisis for Japan, which was followed by natural disasters, economic crisis (Lehman Brothers), or nuclear catastrophes. The country’s declining population, primarily affecting rural and peripheral areas, has accentuated these problems. Rural areas, hence, are at the centre of Japan’s current socioeconomic transition as they are at the crossroad between being regarded at the verge of extinction or as places for hope and the creation of alternative lifestyles. The papers in this panel explore different approaches that are framing new postgrowth mind-sets in rural Japan. It does so by focusing on this problematic from different, but complementary, viewpoints. Nieves Moreno and Fernando Ortiz-Moya will explore the creation of alternative rural lifestyles narratives in contemporary anime. Susanne Klien will explore forms of mobility that linger between hope and aspiration to ‘the good life’, ‘cruel optimism’ (Berlant 2011) that comes with self-exploitative work practices and emotional withdrawal. Heuishilja Chang will consider the potential and limitations of the Cittaslow (Slow City) approach in enhancing the resilience of shrinking rural communities in Japan, paying attention to the socio-political context these communities face today. Duccio Gasparri will analyse Post-disaster ambiguous relations among locals, new-locals and non-locals in the Miyagi Prefecture. Adrian Favell will then discuss the three papers within the context of post-growth approaches in Japan. The panel questions rural Japan’s future and how it can become instrumental in addressing the challenges posed by its current social crisis.

The joys of 'inaka' living: Framing altrnative lifestyles in contemporary Japanese anime.

Fernando Ortiz-Moya and Nieves Moreno, The University of Nottingham Ningbo China and Autonomous University of Madrid, [email protected]

In recent years, ‘inaka’ living has gained momentum in Japan representing a new paradigm that responds to the country’s new post-growth socioeconomic context. This has also become a common theme in popular media, including magazines, manga, music, film, and anime. This paper explores the creation of alternative lifestyle narratives that opposes urban and rural living by focusing on two recent anime series. Gin no Saji (Itou Tomohiko, 2013-14; based on a manga by Arakawa Hiromu) and Udon no Kuni no Kin’iro Kemari (Ibata Yoshihide, 2016; based on a manga by Shinomaru Nodoka) deal with urbanites that move to the countryside, which became a healing space where to rediscover themselves. Gin no Saji tells the story of a city-boy who decides to enter an agricultural high school to get away from his family but end discovering the joys and sorrows of farm life. Udon no Kuni no Kin’iro Kemari follows the life of an U-turner that returns to Kagawa Prefecture after his father’s death and decides to stay while continuing his career as web developer. Both animes render inaka living in a positive light compared to stressful urban environments, depicting alternative lifestyles to those traditionally followed by the younger generations. In doing this analysis, this paper explores how popular culture is embracing the promotion of such alternative lifestyles away from capitalist and consumerist expectations but questioning the idealised portrayal of inaka living.

Moratorium migration? Urbanite settlers in rural Japan between hope, self-exploration and withdrawal

Susanne Klien, Hokkaido University, [email protected]

This paper examines the trajectories and narratives of urbanites between the age of 20 and 45 across Japan and beyond who have relocated to rural areas to start new lives. Questioning the conventional assumption that movement generally takes place with the aim of rendering subjective lives more meaningful, I propose the concept of ‘moratorium migration’. I argue that settlers engage in mobility to hedge their bets and play for time with the hope of carving out niches to make a livelihood. Yet many fail to find what they are looking for or seem at a loss to relate their larger visions to their immediate lives. This paper ethnographically explores the grey zone of individuals hoping to create something novel, yet finding themselves constrained by systemic as well as self-imposed pressures. Aspiration to pursue more self-controlled lives coexist with self-exploitative work practices and often, emotional withdrawal. Settlers’ narratives are characterized by ‘cruel optimism’ (Berlant 2011), i.e. individuals’ fantasies about realizing ‘the good life’ in the neoliberal context of individual responsibility and achievement, that coexists with the ‘ontology of not yet being’ (Bloch 1986:11) in ‘spaces of hope’ (Harvey 2000). What if ‘moratorium migration’ were the reply of individuals opting out of excessive career and social pressures in a regime that places increasing emphasis on individual responsibility, performance and achievement?

The validity of the cittalows approach for the resilience of shrinking communities in rural Japan

Heuishilja Chang, The University of Oxford, [email protected]

Shrinkage – demographic, economic, environmental, and social decline – has become the norm of many rural areas in industrialised countries. The symptoms of rural shrinkage are far-reaching including the declining local agriculture, lack of employment, vacant buildings, abandoned farm lands, less public services, and degradation of social cohesion. Rural communities in Japan that have experienced depopulation and its consequences for more than half a century are harbingers of acute shrinkages. Drawing upon the perspective of evolutionary resilience, this paper empirically investigates how Japanese rural communities have responded to shrinkage, and if the approach of Cittaslow (Slow City) – an international sustainable rural development movement – can help these communities be more resilient to shrinkage. I first look at the community revitalisation activities in response to shrinkage in two depopulating towns (Minami and Uchiko) in Shikoku, a remote island region in southeast Japan, and identify common social factors that undermine the performances of the activities in enhancing the community resilience. Institutional inertia, low community engagement, poor job creation, and lack of coordination of activities are recognised as key inhibitors. Subsequently, I assess the efficacy of Cittaslow in improving the identified key inhibitors, based on the local development processes in four Cittaslow member towns in Europe. Hypothetically, Cittaslow helps local development as a ‘title’ (slow-city brand) and ‘roadmap’ (action guideline for making slow city). I consider to what degree the ‘title’ and ‘roadmap’ features of Cittaslow can function in the socio-political context of rural Japan. I discuss the likely omission of the ‘roadmap’ function and the conceivable impact of the ‘title’ function on the resilience of shrinking communities in Japan.

The oyster gamble: gastronomic tourism in post-disaster Miyagi

Duccio Gasparri, Oxford Brookes University, [email protected]

After the 2011 triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown), the northeastern pacific coast of Japan (Sanriku) underwent a dramatic accelleration of already in place processes of depopulation, economic recession, shortage of manpower, and ageing of residents. On the background of reconstruction efforts (sometimes inefficent, often inhomogeneous), through volunteering campaigns a wide portion of urban young Japanese traveled to Ishinomaki (Miyagi Prefecture), enstablishing networks of friends and acquaintances. These former volunteering, now turned into ijūsha (immigrants), operate as tech-savvy mediators between the local population and domestic tourists. After the disaster, several attempts have been made by the Sanriku municipalities to tap into tourism as a means of recovery, backed up by national advertising campaigns such as the Tohoku Treasure-Land. The need for local attraction rapidly turned to the declining seafarming sector for delicious oysters, or exotic seasquirts, stories of resilience, enterpreneurship, genuinity, and countryside fishermen’s good hearted roughness, now marketed by NPOs and local companies as landmarks of Sanriku-ness, met with varied responses from the actual residents. This paper explores the complex and ambiguous relations between ijūsha, local residents, and tourists, in the context of domestic tourism, focusing on the different strategies enacted to build a narrative of locality and gastronomy.

F2. Comprehending the 3.11 disasters: Ethnographic explorations into disaster recovery

Thursday, 6th September, 0900 - 10:30

The 3.11 disasters and the subsequent recovery process has become entangled by different and often competing ‘expert’ narratives and actors, making residents, care workers, municipal workers, and the state unable to manage it, causing fear and anxiety. Starting from the notion that the Great East Japan Earthquake was ‘too wide, too big and too complicated to comprehend,’ the statement calls for reflections on the consequences of "living with the incomprehensible". The panel brings together researchers from a range of fields to highlight how powerful political interests, organisations, and expediencies are served by techno-scientific uncertainty through discourses about risk and safety, or notions of community and belonging in urban planning.  This panel questions who determines risk and recovery, and what consequences does this have to those whose lives have been directly impacted by the destruction to their built, social, and cultural environment. Our panellists will focus on residents and self-evacuees from Fukushima prefecture, exploring the emotional dimension of the recovery discourse, how it produces contrasting understandings of risk and, then, how it shapes and stages people’s behaviour. In Miyagi, we discuss how ‘empowerment’ and ‘agency’, as key concepts of the global ‘best practice’ toward post-disaster recovery, are not only understood but experienced by tsunami affected coastal communities. And finally, we will examine the way the disaster is framed as an object of technical-medical intervention by the many mental health and psychosocial support organisations currently operating in the disaster-affected areas. By developing the connections between risks and individual behaviour, mental and physical health, and community revitalisation, the panel's aim is to show how attempts to 'tidy-up' the often messy, blurry, boundaries of the disaster are themselves worthy objects of study.

Facing the invisible: risk, emotions and social appropriateness in post-Fukushima Japan

Marie Weishaupt, Freie Universität Berlin, [email protected]

In March 2011, a tsunami provoked by a magnitude 9 earthquake triggered a disastrous accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The accident, rated 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, challenged the “myth of safety” surrounding the nuclear industry and weakened authorities’ legitimacy. The apparition of a new kind of risk, radiation, associated with issues of communication and transparency, generated a profound trust crisis, questioning the ability of existing institutions to tackle the crisis. Radioactivity challenged traditional patterns of recovery by producing uncertainty, distrust and counter-narratives.

In this paper, I address the process of defining risk in post-Fukushima Japan in an attempt to answer the following question: how did the emotionally framed discourse on recovery impact individual risk perception and behaviour within families in the aftermath of the Japanese nuclear accident?

My inquiry is informed by sociological institutionalism, focusing on family as an institution. Family offers a frame of meaning guiding individual’s actions, shaping behaviour, and producing social legitimacy. In the case of post-Fukushima Japan, I will look at how the crisis and the strategies to cope with radiations have created dissonance within families, blurring the lines of appropriateness. Preliminary results from semi-structured interviews conducted with self-evacuees, residents and returnees from Fukushima prefecture show that the discourse on recovery, relying heavily on emotions, tends to silence dissonant voices as it calls for efforts to unite and face the “unexpected” (sōteigai) catastrophe, dismissing fear of radiation as being harmful and irrational, and engendering complex social consequences.

No power for the empowered: Are community-based approaches to recovery failing the communities?

Anna Vainio, University of Sheffield and Tohoku University, [email protected]

Today community-based approaches are widely recognised as the 'best practice' in post-disaster recovery by intra-governmental organisations, governments, and NGOs alike. This reputation is broadly based on the claims that these approaches empower local communities as the agents of localised recovery, thus improving the recovery outcomes. Yet, reports of wide-spread dissatisfaction toward recovery and reconstruction are a staple in almost any post-disaster story, indicating a gap between theory and practice. In order to better understand the philosophical and procedural problems in community-based approaches to recovery, my research examines this gap ethnographically by exploring the sense of agency of disaster affected communities through narratives and lived experience in relation to the recovery, rather than focusing on policy implementation and practice in the administrative sphere.

In this presentation I will discuss my findings from research conducted in coastal communities in Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The findings indicate that the gap between theory and practice is the result of the depolitisation of the community-based recovery process that is taking place in two distinct spheres: the official recovery controlled by the authorities (lack of agency) and community-level reinvigoration controlled by the communities themselves (acquisition of agency). However, crucially, satisfaction could not be reached in either sphere as there was no transferral of power and influence between the two spheres. Despite utilising the language of empowerment, my research concludes that community-based approaches may in fact be advancing dissatisfaction as they are operationalised in an environment of powerlessness.

Governing mental health in the wake of 3.11: ethnographic reflections from the margins

Ben Epstein, University College London, [email protected]

Observers inside and outside Japan have claimed the psychological impact of the triple disaster might outweigh all other health consequences, followed by claims that a ‘mental health crisis’ was underway in the region. The sheer number of actors involved with post-disaster mental health infrastructure, as well as the disavowal of NGOs and smaller organisations by larger, state authorised ones, means that vested interest groups operating around mental health programmes are often not easily recognisable by outsiders. Calls for more evidence around such programmes is rising. What ‘data’ about mental health are deemed evidentiary, and how does this evidence become the basis for further interventions, in a context of severe funding cuts and budgetary restrictions to healthcare? Moreover, the designation of populations as victims of trauma may conceal how experiences take on multiple meanings in a collective history, in a personal life story, and in a lived moment.

To grasp the sociocultural impact of the expansion of services like kokoro no kea, I began fieldwork into the mechanisms of disaster mental health services delivered by academic and governmental actors in Miyagi, Fukushima, and Iwate prefectures. From March 2016 to March 2018 I worked at an NPO, and became a member at a local university department specialising in disaster mental health. When local anthropologist, Ichiro Numazaki, wrote that the disaster was “too wide, too big, too complicated, to comprehend,” I wondered, was I merely a “parachuting anthropologist” myself? Ultimately, whose knowledge about disaster mental health, and more broadly, the disaster overall, is authorised?

F3. Japanese Literati, Public Intellectuals, and the 3.11 Crisis: Arguments for Change or Confirmations of Continuity

Wednesday, 6th September, 11:00 - 12:30

With the Triple Catastrophe of 3.11, Japanese Society is facing one of its greatest challenges since World War II. Some representatives of Japanese cultural discourse understand the events in Tôhoku as a turning point that revealed the weaknesses of the “Japanese system” after 1945. It cannot yet be said to what extent "Fukushima" will constitute a break for Japan, whether the "system Japan" will undergo an decisive change, whether a nation that was said to be economically, politically and psychologically not at its best even before 3.11 will move toward increasing nationalism or instead take the road to the self-empowerment of her citizens, renew democratic structures and leave behind old hierarchies. Meanwhile visions of Japan’s future are discussed in several literary texts such as Tawada Yôko’s Fushi no shima (Island of Eternal Life, 2012), Gen’yû Sôkyû’s Hikari no yama (Mountain Glow, 2014), Tsushima Yûko’s Hanmetsuki wo iwatte (Celebrating the Term of Cesium 137’s Half-Life, 2016), Furukawa Hideo’s  Aruiwa shura no jûokunen (Or A Billion Years of Asura, 2016) or Kirino Natsuo's Baraka (2016).- This panel will examine the 3.11-debates among Japanese literati and intellectuals / public intellectuals (bunkajin), for example Umehara Takeshi, and their arguments for the society of the future and a renewed value system.

Japanese Women Writers against Borders

Masami Usui, Doshisha University, [email protected]

Both Tsushima Yûko and Tawada Yôko embody the emerging women’s voice against violence and crisis in modern and contemporary eras. Especially, the consequences of 3.11 and also the global crisis -- the nuclear power plant issue, hate speech, and ultimately a search for the meaning of life -- made those writers to transcend beyond borders. These borders are not simply national, racial, and social. Those physical borders represent the internal borders that need to be released. Due to the rapidly transforming global networking, the contemporary writers have been confronted with invisible conflicts. Yet, both Tsushima and Tawada have become more active in performing their unique voices against the coming danger of those invisible catastrophes in this globalized age.

Fascism, Nuclear Ontopower, and Subjectivity Production in Tsushima Yûko’s Celebrating the Term of Cesium 137’s Half-Life (Hangenki wo iwatte, 2016)

Livia Monnet, University of Montreal, [email protected]

This presentation examines two post-3.11 fictions, Tsushima Yûko’s “Hangenki wo Iwatte” (Celebrating (the Term of) Cesium 137’s Half-Life, 2016) and Tawada Yôko’s “Kentôshi” (The Emissary, 2014). Both texts describe a highly contaminated near future in which an isolated, totalitarian Japanese society seems to have abandoned the pursuit of technoscientific progress.

The talk argues that “Hangenki” and “Kentôshi” subvert the subgenre of the postapocalyptic nuclear dystopia by means of a radical, queer-feminist aesthetic. The totalitarian society described in “Hangenki” is a sardonic parody of Nazi Germany as well as of wartime, postwar and 21st century Japan where nuclear accident survivors are either eliminated or used as laboratory specimens for medical research. The radioactive biopolitical regime depicted in “Kentôshi” has been normalized to the extent that noone considers the diformities and illnesses of the young, and the apparent inability to die of centenarians anomalous. Such depictions call attention not only to the inherent fascism of modern liberal democracies including Japan (Reid and Evans), but also to the increasing tendency in contemporary neoliberal capitalism to rely on ontopower (Massumi) – the harnessing of emergent life and affective potentiality for the benefit of capital accumulation, surveillance, and societal control.
In the final section of the presentation I argue that the disempowering effect of the nuclear dystopia envisioned in “Hangenki” and “Kentôshi” is countered through the decolonial techniques of (post)nuclear storytelling (which brilliantly uses parody, absurdist humor, and the fantastic), and (post)nuclear survival (or the ironic embracing of the longue durée of radioactive decay). While characters such as the old woman (rôjo) in “Hangenki” and the centerian writer Yoshiro and his great grand-son Mumei in “Kentôshi” may easily be seen as powerless victims of an oppressive fascist regime, they are also cast as visionary, shamanic storytellers. Embodying the infinite re-existence of atomic deep time, these characters also mediate an emerging decolonial ecology of human-nonhuman co-becomings and queer world-building that opens up new avenues for seeing, feeling, caring and living otherwise.

The staging of writers in the aftermath of March 11

Anne Bayard-Sakai, INALCO French National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations, [email protected]

March 11 disasters have lead many writers to react, and to commit themselves to taking actions as answers to the situation. The texts they have been publishing since then are there as testimonies of those actions. At the same time, and for some of those writers, the way they got involved in the reactions of the literary world to the disasters has been producing social effects, as it changed their position in the literary field (“champ littéraire”). One of the strategic place those changes were displayed are the numerous roundtables, dialogues and interviews published in the literary reviews. How do those metatextual operations work, and what part do they play in the redistribution of roles in the literary field? What do they reveal of the symbolic issues induced by March 11 disasters? In this presentation, we will focus on some of those texts analyzed as symptoms of the redistribution of symbolic capital in the Japanese literary world since 2011.

Murakami Haruki’s “Anti-Nuclear Speech” – “Japanese Mentalities” and the Exclusion of the Protest Experience

Lisette Gebhardt, Goethe University

3.11 built – as a possible caesura in Japanese mentalities – the basis for a new debate on identity. Bundan and rondan asked which way Japan should take in the future. A lot of commentators argued for a better Japan, a new Japan, a “new mindset” for Japan: “Who are we? Who should we become?” Nakazawa Shin’ichi says in his post-Fukushima book Nihon no daitenkan (2011) that there has to be fundamental rethinking of a future Japan. 

In his famous speech in Barcelona, certainly part of a 3.11-literature canon as seen 7 years after the triple catastrophe, Murakami points to both corporate and governmental lapses and calls for more critical consciousness on the side of the Japanese public. At the same time he conjures up the premodern Japanese mentality of mujô. Hisreturn to a traditional world view means once again a mystification (as well as a reduction) of the Japanese mind. While he had attempted to restore credibility to those who had been dismissed by technocrats as ‘unrealistic dreamers’, advising the Japanese citizenry to resist the arguments of the nuclear power industry, Murakami obviously lost the connection to the Japanese Zeitgeschichte of anti-nuclear protest and citizen movements, as for example Kuroko Kazuo argues.

F4. Generative Fictions: Representations of Pregnancy in Modern Japanese Literature and Manga

Thursday, 6th September, 13:30 - 15:10

Japan’s low birthrate, which has earned it the moniker “the childless society,” continues to be one of the principal crises of Japan in recent decades, despite the continuing efforts of the Japanese government to offer viable solutions to this problem. Official and legal documents ostensibly demonstrate the government’s efforts to ameliorate this crisis in a straightforward manner. These governmental policies, however, frequently neglect and omit female voices that attempt to engage with various issues of gynocolonialism or the male-dominated control over the reproductive processes and women’s bodies. Literary representations related to pregnancy and child-bearing, on the other hand, often offer a more complex and multifaceted view that legal texts and official discourses often fail to acknowledge. By looking at the representations of wanted, unwanted, real, and false pregnancies in Japanese literary texts over a large span of time and examining these representations within their respective socio-cultural and historical contexts, this panel seeks to explore the various issues that ‘pregnancy literature’ addresses in its attempts to engage with discourses related to the crisis of childbirth. In seeking to determine the commonalities, particularities, and continuities of the pregnancy (crisis) discourse(s) in Japan, the four papers dialogue with each other to examine a variety of texts – from high-brow literature to somewhat marginal texts, as well as manga representations – from the 19th century to present-day Japan.

Abortion in Modern Japanese Literature: Romanticization and Secularization

Takayuki Yokota-Murakami, Osaka University, [email protected]

The commonest remedy for unwanted pregnancy in the Shogunate Japan was abortion and infanticide (both referred to as mabiki). Most historians assume that it was part of mundane family planning, not causing serious stigma or evoking governmental intervention. The Meiji government changed the picture with the Anti-Abortion Law of 1880. The new criminal consciousness about abortion is foregrounded in many literary works as well such as Oguri Fuyo’s Youth (1905-06). However, despite the Anti-Abortion Law, the Japanese culture never problematized abortion as a sin. Abortion in the past few centuries in Japan has never been a moral issue, but an economic and legal one. This view is justified by the Eugenic Law of 1948, which completely authorized abortion as a proper measure to be taken under the economic pressure. Such a worldly, pragmatic view on abortion continues to be found in the post-War Japanese literature on this topic as such Shibata Sho’s Still Our Days Are … (1964). In contrast, in the “West” the decision to have abortion or not can be romanticized and dramatized. This paper, by analyzing some literary works thematizing abortion in Japan in comparison with Western counterparts, attempts to show the diegetic function of abortion in Japanese narratives, which has been essentially secular. Finally, I will be drawing attention to the similar secularization of “double-suicide (shinju)” in Japan in comparison and to the common European misreading of it as something romantic.

The Child(un)bearing Toilets: The Representations of Pregnancy through Excremental Rhetoric

Linda Galvane, Stanford University, [email protected]

This paper focuses on various representations of pregnancies – wanted, unwanted, real, and false – as they appear in Japanese literary texts through the deployment of excremental rhetoric. Specifically, I analyze texts that address the problematics of a binary function imposed on women, which on the one hand reduces their role to the childbearing wombs of the nation and on the other hand views them as tools of sexual exploitation, represented by the metaphor of the toilet. I examine how this issue figures prominently in writings during Japan’s colonial expansion and after WWII in dialogue with the Japanese national polity kokutai (‘national body’). Often expressed through the metaphor of a body, this polity frequently reduced the role of Japanese women to that of child-producing wombs. Concurrently, another role assigned to women was that of a whore, expressed through the imagery of a toilet, a metaphor used for women as recreational sex objects. The most salient example that deals with and problematizes the binary division of women into these two categories is the 1970 manifesto by femininst Tanaka Mitsu, “Liberation from the Toilets.” The awareness of the coexistance of these two roles assigned to women, however, can be found in various works that predate this manifesto. By analyzing the representations of various types of pregnancies that employ the excremental rhetoric, my paper aims at demonstrating how the conjoined role of a womb and a toilet imposed on women reveals the various facets of gynocolonialism in Japan.

False Pregnancy in Tsushima Yuko’s Child of Fortune (Choji, 1978)

Eve Zimmerman, Wellesley College, [email protected]

In Tsushima Yuko’s Child of Fortune, a false pregnancy becomes a powerful metaphor for agency in a young woman’s life. Not only will the “baby” cause her married lover to leave his wife, it will serve as a symbol of protest against a repressive social order. By turning the pregnancy into a false delusion in the young woman’s mind, however, Tsushima forces the reader to question the young woman’s sanity as well as the ways in which we tend to read ‘woman’ through the body. Why does Tsushima experiment with the trope of false pregnancy at a moment in which women were beginning to assert control over their own bodies and reproductive processes in Japan?

Depicting False Pregnancy in the 21st Century: The Avant-Garde Imagination of Yumiko Shirai’s Wombs

Noriko Hiraishi, University of Tsukuba, [email protected]

In her essay in 1994, Minako Saito stated that the modern Japanese literature has cultivated “pregnant fiction,” a genre of fiction typically dealing with the undesired pregnancy. The pregnancy issue has always been an important topic for modern Japan, and a burden for women: an unmarried girl is never expected to be pregnant, as she is supposed to keep her virginity, and a married woman definitely has to bear children. Female artists have often tackled this issue, in various fields. It should be noted that the Japanese female manga has developed denouncing the situation of the male-oriented society and the sanction against questioning the gender role. The genre has taken up the pregnancy, depicting various desires and messages. In this paper, I would like to investigate how a new imagination deals with the issue of false pregnancy in the 21st century, by focusing on a contemporary Japanese sci-fi manga case: Yumiko Shirai’s Wombs (2009-2016). What makes this work conspicuous is the weird premise of the story. To win the battle between the first wave of immigrants and the second of the planet Hekiou, the Firsts military uses a native creature of the planet to give its soldiers translocation abilities. These soldiers are all women, with the alien creature transplanted into their wombs to get the ability. In this story, the false pregnancy of female soldiers is the only chance to win the war. By analyzing this work, I will examine the significance of depicting (false) pregnancy in contemporary Japanese society.

F5. The Realms of Kisshoutennyo and Jurōjin: Socio-cultural and Technological Aspects of Japan’s Recent Past, Present and Future Demography

Thursday, 6th September, 15:30 - 17:00

In discussions over the past 20 or so years - both media commentary and more substantive academic work - almost invariably a major, if not the sole, explanatory factor used to justify the numerous epithetic variations on “Japan in Crisis”, the “Lost Decades” and so on, has been Japan’s demographic experience.  Three manifestations of this have in particular been invoked – that the county’s population is ageing , that its overall population is declining and that its birth rate, while not the absolutely lowest in the world, is certainly very close to that point.  The four presentations in this suite will take the demography of Japan as their underpinning, to varying degrees – some very centrally, others as a backdrop – and will in combination provide a nested set of elucidations of various aspects of the demographic circumstances.  Most importantly however, they will also, in combination, offer a powerful rationale that dysfunctional interpretations of Japan’s current and future demographic circumstances have almost universally drawn on, or have themselves promulgated, selective and probably misplaced interpretations of those circumstances.

A Fresh Map of Japanese Life

David Cope, University of Cambridge, [email protected]

This introductory presentation has three distinct aims. First, it will adumbrate the factual background to Japan’s recent past, current and inevitable future demographic circumstances. There is no dispute that these are historically unparalleled but the analysis will present comparative information that illuminates the Japanese situation.

Part two will introduce a normative element, primarily by drawing on the work of the late Peter Laslett, Reader in Politics and the History of Social Structure at Cambridge University, especially the concept of the “Third Age”. It will demonstrate and suggest potential consequences of the fact that Japan is the most "experiential" society, based on the proportion of accumulated years of living of its population . The presentation will conclude with an overview of the phenomenon of a declining population, posit the almost guaranteed failure of government “pronatalist” policies that have been introduced or suggested as a means to slow or reverse this and argue that the demographic out-turn should not, anyway, be interpreted negatively.

"Mendokusai!" Women's Perceptions of Motherhood in Modern Japan

Harriet Cooke, Waseda University, [email protected]

Set in the context of life course theory, the paper will report on research completed in July 2018. This has involved a series of in-depth interviews with Japanese women across the conventional child-bearing age groups, who expect to forego, or have forgone, motherhood. It explores whether being "childless" influences Japanese women's broader perceptions of womanhood and whether that specific circumstance casts more general light on fertility decision-making.

Hyperageing Society 2.0: The Shifting Role of Elders in the Technological Landscape of Japan

Professor Atsushi Hiyama, University of Tokyo, [email protected]

Prof. Hiyama is co-director of the "Living Lab Hongo" of the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology of the University of Tokyo and is the author of books and numerous papers on the interface between information technology and ageing societies. He will pick up the theme of "experiential" societies outlined in the first paper and demonstrate that through applications of information and communications technology it is increasingly possible to maximise the contribution from members of this demographic group by harnessing its increasing vitality and productivity.

Visionary Gerontechnological Praxis in Japan: Pathways to Augmenting the Hyperageing Society

Katie Seaborn, University of Tokyo, [email protected]

This paper takes forward the third presentation and reports on current research concerned with various novel applications of technology, especially information technology, to the circumstances of older Japanese people. To date, research for older adults has mainly focused on palliative technologies to support their health needs and address declining abilities. The RCAST team, however, are working on the next level of "gerontechnology" that especially through augmented reality, aims at removing barriers to active social participation, promoting possibilities for continued employment, and so on.

F6. Fighting precariousness in post-growth Japan

Friday, 7th September, 09:00 - 10:30

Entrepreneurship and Women: Policies, Institutions and Developments in China and Japan

Kuniko ISHIGURO and SONG Jing, Chinese University of Hong Kong, [email protected], [email protected]

China and Japan has witnessed the promotion of entrepreneurial activities in the recent decades in the response to the marketization or globalization opportunities and pressures. In China, risk-taking has been increasingly related with rewarding careers, and women have taken an active role in the rising private sectors, ranging from self-employment to family business, although their impact has been often underestimated (Song 2015). Similarly, entrepreneurship was identified as a new career path for Japanese women (Tamura 1995) as part of a greater trend occurring simultaneously around the world. But at the same time, there have been different institutional barriers and policy contexts for men and women to start up their businesses in China and Japan. This research examines the labor force structures and the related gender gap and policy changes in the two societies, which contribute to the different patterns that women enter and conduct entrepreneurial activities. The research centering on the analyses of the governmental policies and statistics have found that there are clear differences of characteristics of female entrepreneurs between the two countries including age groups, and industrial sectors and sizes of the business. While gender gap in entrepreneurship was to some extent enhanced under the market-oriented reform, as well as many institutional and cultural factors in China, the gender gap was deeply rooted in the institutional barriers in other economic sectors and the dominant corporate culture in the business sphere in Japan.

Shadow education in Japan: New stakes in a growing unequal society

Bérénice Leman, Center of Japanese Studies (CEJ), INALCO, [email protected]

The increasing spread of shadow education worldwide shows an evolution of school systems integrating more and more a commercial dimension of education. In Japan, this tendency is very strong especially since the 2000s with the implementation of several neoliberal reforms at the different levels of the education system. If the rapid expand of shadow education   that is gakushû juku and yobikô   had not been questioned in the context of rapid growth and mass education of post war Japan, however, in the new context of social growing inequalities that characterizes today’s Japanese society, the stakes of private tutoring are changing.

We can observe indeed simultaneously to a trend to invest into education at an early stage of schooling through frequentation of private tutoring companies in order to integrate prestigious private lower secondary schools or even primary schools or kindergartens, an opposite tendency which is a growing number of young people compelled to renounce to take higher education for economic reasons. However, these facts run counter to the fundamental principles of equality of access in education on which Japan was based on after World War II.This paper will present the results of recent sociological studies that have showed the impact of economic resources of families on children’s academic performances as well as inequalities in academic results depending on whether children frequent or not private tutoring companies. Furthermore, we will discuss how such a tendency towards merchandising education impacts on the perceptions Japanese people develop about education and society as a whole.

Best Practices of Employability in the Japanese Studies Curriculum

Harald Conrad, University of Sheffield, [email protected]

Japanese companies are important employers of university graduates with knowledge on Japan and Japanese language skills. Yet, much of this employment has happened in overseas subsidiaries and often graduates have seen limited career opportunities. Recently, Japanese companies have begun to hire graduates for employment in Japan itself and have also reemphasized the need to localize their overseas subsidiaries. These trends coincide with universities having become more interested in the employability of their graduates. This paper assesses these developments and explores how Japanese Studies and language teaching should respond. Based on interview data with Japanese Studies departments across Europe, I discuss recent employment trends among Japanese Studies graduates, address how employability issues can be reflected in the teaching and language curriculum and present concrete examples of ‘best practices’ from a newly compiled teaching guidebook.

Self-esteem and Women’s Body in Crisis: Continuity and Change in Female Masochism in Kono Taeko ‘Bone Meat’ (1977) and Ogawa Yoko’s Hotel Iris (1996)

Nozomi Uematsu, Queen Mary University of London, [email protected]

This presentation analyses women’s sexuality and issues of their self-esteem both in Kono Taeko’s ‘Bone Meat [hone no niku]’ and Ogawa Yoko’s Hotel Iris, examining the narrative construction of the female protagonist in relation to others. I argue there is a psychic structure of masochism in both works, and this presentation observes the ways in which both texts challenge hetero-sexism, to see the continuity and discontinuity in women’s writing when both writers depict women suffering. Published in 1977 and 1996, these texts draw on sexuality and self-esteem in female characters and connect strongly with current issues on women’s self-esteem in literature and the modern day culture of neoliberalism. Recently, educational programs for building young people’s self-esteem have garnered attention in Japan. The National Institute for Educational Policy Research in Japan explains that rather than the word “self-esteem” (jison-kanjō), a different concept is more fitting to Japan: “sense of self-usefulness (jiko-yūyō-kan)”, as “…In Japan, the significance of ‘consciousness of the norm’ (consciousness to follow the rules voluntarily) is emphasised.” They claim that students learn their value through being found valuable by others, and that is part of the process of learning to be part of society, through interaction with other people. Both in ‘Bone Meat’ and Hotel Iris, women’s bodies and sexuality are challenged twice: first in being tormented by the other, and the second time is in the loss of the pain giver. In both, storytelling does not function as a kind of coping mechanism, but functions as the pain that makes them feel alive.

F7. Art, Media and Technology: Reactions to and Depictions of Demographic Change in Japan

Friday, 7th September, 11:00 - 12:30

Japan is facing an unprecedented economic crisis: the shrinking workforce increasingly unable to fund the needs of the burgeoning elderly population. Narrowing the gender-based wage gap has been identified as one potential source of economic growth that may also help offset the demographic problems. Some elements of Japanese culture, however, including office and employment customs, and traditional beliefs regarding gender roles pose challenges for the success of the policy. Olivia Kennedy will discuss how these issues are presented in contemporary literature through the works of Kakuta Mitsuyo. While few employers have reformed their employment policies, the marketplace has, however, begun to see the increasing elderly as a potential source of revenue. Technologies designed to assist them have begun to be developed, and the success and failure of these have been heralded in both the Japanese and international media. Christopher Hayes will address this in his presentation.  There have also been calls for more humane care of the elderly, and several grassroots initiatives have developed in Japan to help those suffering from dementia. Herb Fondevilla will consider how art projects can be used to help dementia patients, the number of which is increasing as a result of an ageing society. This panel thus addresses demographic change from a number of perspectives, illuminating the complex and varied issues posed by these changes, how they are represented, and how Japan is reacting and preparing for these challenges.

Womenomics through the lens of contemporary literature: Realistic solution or merely wishful thinking?

Olivia Kennedy, Ritsumeikan University, [email protected]

A major part Womenomics, a nickname for the Abe government’s 2013 strategy to alleviate the impending economic crisis, is to persuade more women to start working, to continue working after having children and to advance higher in their careers. With the planned structural reforms has come increased interest in the choices that women make regarding employment, marriage and motherhood. Kakuta Mitsuyo’s Woman on the Other Shore (published originally in Japanese as 対岸の彼女 in 2005), a novel that explores these themes, both won the Noaki Award for Literature and was quickly dramatized for television. Highly esteemed by not only the literary community but also the media, the author has also been embraced by popular culture, several of her novels and short stories being transformed into manga.

This paper explores how Kakuta’s depiction of women swept up in the demographic crisis presently facing Japanese society is received by her readership, domestic and international, reading her works in Japanese and other languages. It analyses the book reviews of readers posted on the international website and on the Japanese website Differences between how international and Japanese readers view the situation for women in Japan become clear through careful coding and comparison. A second thread of the project investigates the responses of a group of 30 Japanese readers to the novel. To what extent these three groups of readers judge the merit of Kakuta’s work and the accuracy of her portrayal of contemporary society, are assessed.

The Elderly as Both Driving Factor and Major Hindrance for Technological Change in Japan: The Depiction of Japan’s Ageing Population in the British Press

Christopher J. Hayes, Cardiff University, [email protected]

An estimated 33% of the Japanese population is presently over 60, a figure projected to increase. The workforce of Japan is thus diminishing, and both companies and the government are trying to find solutions. With immigration dismissed as a viable answer, many are looking to robots to become Japan’s future workers. The lack of care workers to look after increasing numbers of elderly patients in retirement homes has created a growing market for technologies to assist them. The elderly are consequently seen as an important consumer demographic and, as this paper argues, a motivating force for technological advancement. The elderly themselves, however, are notorious for being slow to adopt new technologies. Newly-created, potentially helpful technology sits idle in care homes all over Japan. While the media has been keen to show new care robots successfully implemented in Japanese care homes, it has also reported the rejection of this new technology. Another issue seems to be that manufacturers may be actively choosing to continue to produce analogue, outdated technologies (that would otherwise be phased out of production) to cater to this technology-resistant consumer base. This paper looks at the ways in which the elderly in Japan have been described in the British press, focussing on how they are reported to engage with technology.

Cross-Cultural Approaches in Arts and Dementia Research

Herb L. Fondevilla, Aoyama Gakuin University, [email protected]

No country has ever gotten older faster than Japan, the world's first “super-aged nation.” It has been projected that in 2060, 40% of its population will be over the age of 65. As such, the demand for less hostile and more humanitarian ways of caring for patients in healthcare institutions is becoming more widespread and accepted. Japan is not the only country that is beset with this problem, with countries such as the UK, Canada, and many European nations are also facing the same dilemma. The difference is that Japan is the first nation that is already experiencing the first waves of the problems associated with dementia, for which there is no known cure. In Japan, grassroots projects such as “Dementia Friends” and more recently “The Restaurant of Order Mistakes,” have taken the lead in helping people with dementia and their carers. There has been no long-term, dedicated art- and design-based project aimed at helping people with dementia through the arts, however. Based on an ongoing project, this presentation will discuss the challenges of adopting British art and design practices for an arts in dementia project in Japan, as well as confer the importance of creating evidence-based knowledge on helping patients with sensory, cognitive and physical impairments.

F8. Hope and revival for rural Japan

Friday, 7th September, 13:30 - 15:00

Depopulation isn’t here yet!’ – hope and crisis in rural temple communities.

Paulina Kolata, The University of Manchester, [email protected]

Despite the current developments in the field of regional studies (including the most recent virtual special issue in Contemporary Japan journal – “Rural Japan Revisited” (2017) and Den’en kaiki series (2016)), religious organisations such as local Buddhist temples are a forgotten factor in academic and public debates on the sustainability of Japan’s regional communities. Although they are often conceptualised as spiritual and communal centres, their role in relation to regional community survival is rarely, if ever, discussed in kaso studies. However, as my recent ethnographic fieldwork in rural Hiroshima prefecture indicates, they are a significant element in local community dynamics and in the construction of images of hope in the face of depopulation and decline.  I use a case study of a local Jōdo Shinshū temple and employ a concept of hope to outline ideological and generational shifts in the ways local actors imagine and work towards a sustainable future of their shared community. In so doing, I position the temple within wider community dynamics, and investigate the local conceptions of possible futures and routes leading to them. Thus, this paper scrutinises the local narratives of ‘not yet’ and ‘no longer’ as vehicles for conceptualising continuity and change in depopulated areas. As such, it maps out how notions of imminent crisis and hope mobilise and paralyse human agency in community building efforts, while showing that the role of religious institutions, currently a neglected element in the field, need to be incorporated into the framework of discussions on depopulation in regional studies.

Contemporary Art as Remedy?  An Anthropological Examination of Revitalized-oriented Art Festivals in Rural Japan

Shiu Hong Simon Tu, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, [email protected]

Since the launch of Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial in 2000, there is a boom of contemporary art festivals (geijutsusai) across Japan for the purpose of regional revitalization. In the crisis of economic stagnation and aging population, these art festivals are conceptualized as a means to promote the once marginalized regions, to encourage the aged inhabitants’ sense of pride in their regions, to boost the economy by tourism, and to attract younger people to settle in the regions. It is generally recognized that there are over a hundred art festivals of this type in Japan nowadays.  Questioning the artistic value and social effects of the boom of art festivals, Japanese commentators have started describing the current trend as ranritsu – jumbled up.  Based on my on-going ethnographic research centering on one of the largest-scale art festivals in Japan – Setouchi Triennale – this paper firstly examines social processes behind, and social consequences of, the art festival among local communities.   Facing an art genre they do not understand becoming parts of their neighborhood, how do local inhabitants participate and negotiate in the process?  How have their communities changed?  Is contemporary art festival really efficacious in remedying depopulation in rural Japan?  Secondly, this paper discusses how artistic values are contested behind these art festivals.  Between the remnants of avant-garde and the wide-sweeping influence of superflat, how do Japanese artists participating in rural art festivals make their artistic choices?  What are their artistic strategies?  And, how are they situated in the larger art world of Japan?

Exporting Theory “Made in Japan”: The case of contents tourism

Philip Seaton, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, [email protected]

The recent performance of Japanese universities in global university rankings (particularly THE World University Rankings) might be labeled a “crisis” in the wake of government targets that ten Japanese universities should be in the global top 100. Within the Japanese system, there is a recognition that something must be done to make Japanese universities more “globally competitive”, but a resignation regarding the costs – financial, social, philosophical – of playing the rankings game. The social sciences may not be the key to solving Japan’s rankings “crisis”, but identifying topics in which Japan is indispensible to global debates is surely a priority. Tourism is one such topic given the massive recent growth in tourist numbers in Japan (and also Asia as a whole). And where there is intense activity, there is the opportunity to develop theory. One example is tourism induced by popular culture, known in Japan as “contents tourism”. This concept, which was “Made in Japan”, has considerable theoretical advantages over related approaches developed in the West, such as “literary tourism” or “film tourism”. This paper is part “looking back” on the results of a five-year contents tourism research project that concludes in 2019. It discusses how tourism scholars with little prior focus on Asia have started incorporating contents tourism theory into their work on other regions/countries. The paper is also part “looking forward” and identifies more topics on which Japanese Studies and Japan researchers can contribute globally, and thereby help dispel some of those “rankings blues” via enhanced relevance, reputation and citation rates for Japan-related research in the social sciences.