井の中の蛙

7/23/2007

The Rice Bowl and the Bomb

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 6:35 pm

Japan Focus and the NYTimes seem to be in sync at the moment, with a spate of pieces on resurgent nationalism and Japanese war memory.1 Say what you like about the NYTimes, but it gets good people to comment on things sometimes. MIT’s Richard J. Samuels is the featured scholar in this discussion of remilitarization and Hiroshima City University’s Yuki Tanaka is the premier talking head in this video documentary about the rearmament debates.2
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  1. If I keep this up, I’m going to have to start putting “War and Memory” on my c.v.: it seems like all anyone writes about nowadays with regard to Japan. []
  2. The video is pretty good, for 20 minutes, but a few things struck me as odd. The first segment seems rather cliched, both musically and visually. In the second segment a group of Waseda students is discussing rearmament, and the one who expresses the clearest pro-nuclear position has a distinctly un-Japanese name (I’m guessing resident Korean Japanese, but it’s impossible to tell for sure). And Mr. Taniguchi from the Foreign Ministry seems to be expressing a pretty clear and partisan opinion, more so than I would have expected from a bureaucrat. []

7/17/2007

Oh Tempura, Oh Mores!

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 4:06 am

The New York Times has been on a Japanese culture kick this week which I just couldn’t let pass without note. There have been not one, but two articles in praise of Sushi, and an appreciation for a Roots Kabuki troupe on tour in the US.
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7/3/2007

Marginalizing Discourses at ASPAC

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 6:01 am

For the conclusion to my ASPAC blogging, I want to talk about the panel which invited me to serve as moderator. It was a pleasure, and not just because three of the four of us were Harvard Ph.D.s., though catching up with gossip was fun. The papers covered a solid range of early modern and modern topics — outcastes in the early 19th century, historiography of rebel domains in imperial Japan, political violence in the 1950s — and was uniformly excellent research which should soon see publication. My introduction tried to tie things together thusly

Marginalizing discourses are, of course, actually intended to normalize. These are not out-groups for the sake of individuality or obtuseness, but groups trying to function within society, negotiating from positions of weakness, but using available leverage — function, ideology, resistance — which is considered legitimate. But there is a trend away from formal stratification, through uniformity towards equality: modernity shifts from marginalizing people to marginalizing behavior.

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7/1/2007

Japanese War Memories at ASPAC

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 4:24 am

I’m not going to go though quite the same song-and-dance I did with Japanese Diaspora or South Asian studies because these issues are much more familiar to the readership here. But I did see two presentations that I wanted to share: Noriko Kawamura’s on the new sources and debates about the end of the war and just-graduated college senior Megan Jones’ fantastic project about Japan’s WWII museum/memorials.

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