Leiden Lecture Series in Japanese Studies

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November 11, 2016: Localism in Early 19th-century Japan: Literature, Book Illustrations and Prints

Hearing the word “u kiyo-e”, you may be reminded of The Great Wave by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). It was commercially published as one of a series of thirty-six prints (which eventually exceeded this number) illustrating Mt. Fuji from different angles in the 1830s. This was a time when various landscape prints by many artists acquired popularity, to be established as one of the genres of ukiyo-e prints. Already indicated as a background to this phenomenon is the custom of traveling to distant shrines or temples that became more common among the general public than before, so that people were more curious about landscapes which they had never seen. In this talk, however, their contexts, or the demand for these prints as commercial products are examined more broadly in relation to their audiences.

 Upcoming lectures

November 11, 2016: Dokdo/Takeshima Territorial Dispute and Social Activism in Japan and Korea

The territorial dispute between Japan and Korea over the ownership of Dokdo/Takeshima islets resurfaced in the early 2000s and today is one of the major stumbling blocks in bilateral relations. However, the dispute is not limited to state to state relations, as in both countries there are citizens' groups actively engaged in protesting, lobbying, and educating the public. Who are these people? What do they do in their everyday life? What motivates them to engage in this kind of activism? How do they see the other side? The usually sensational media coverage of their activities does not answer  these questions. In this talk Alexander Bukh will discuss his research project and a documentary film that aims to provide some answers to these questions.

Past lectures

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Mari Miura, Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Law, Sophia University.

Women in general, and working mothers in particular, occupy a strategic position in Japan’s welfare capitalism. In order to generate economic growth amid the shrinking labor force, policy makers have pursued numerous working-women friendly polices without producing yet tangible results. I will show that the lack of concerns on gender equality makes these polices at best schizophrenic, if not mutually contradictory.

Date: September 20, 2016
Time: 13:00-14:00 hours
Venue: Lipsius 0.28

About the speaker

Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Law, Sophia University. Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley. Author of Welfare Through Work: Conservative Ideas, Partisan Dynamics, and Social Protection in Japan (Cornell University Press, 2012), Making Our Voices Heard—Revival of Representative Democracy (in Japanese, Iwanami Shoten, 2015), co-editor of Gender Quotas in Comparative Perspectives: Understanding the Increase in Women Representatives (in Japanese, Akashi Shoten, 2014) .

November 20 2015: Weapons for the Revolution: the Meiji Restoration and the International Arms Trade

The Meiji Restoration of 1868 has been studied for almost 150 years so one would not expected significant re-interpretations at this stage. My presentation will approach the Meiji Restoration Period from the perspective of new advances in global history and explore a hitherto neglected but seminal topic in shifting the domestic balance of power and legitimacy in Japan itself and in East Asia at large: the international arms trade and its lasting political and economic implications.

September 24 2015: Intolerant but Morally Indifferent Regime? Social Control in early modern and modern Japan

The early modern political regime of Japan (Tokugawa Shogunate, 1600-1868) has been characterized as an oppressive system. On the other hand, however, the ethical norms of daily life of Tokugawa society have been viewed as quite flexible. How could these split characters coexist? This lecture attempts to suggest a way to understand the historical character of "heresies" and "misconducts" in the politico-ethical arguments in early modern Japan.

May 1 2015: Family Memorials, Waka, and Material Culture

On May 1st, Edward Kamens will give a lecture on “Family Memorials, Waka, and Material Culture”. Edward Kamens is Sumitomo Professor of East Asian Languages & Literatures at the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Yale University. His research interests focuses primarily on the poetry and prose genres of the early and medieval Japan. 

April 22 2015: Robots, Cyborgs, and Other Machines in Japanese Contemporary Art

Around the world, Japan is often associated with advanced technology and state-of-the-art machinery, such as automobiles, robotics, or various types of electronic devices. Notions like ’techno-orientalism’ or ’techno-nationalism’ are often used in an attempt to frame the economic, political and social discourses of Japanese technology within a domestic as well as an international context. Gunhild Borggreen (Copenhagen University) will give a lecture on this theme.

May 8 2014: Postwar Judicial Reforms and the Discourse on the Trial by Jury

On May 8, Dimitri Vanoverbeke will give a lecture on three important waves of judicial reforms in postwar Japan; in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, in the 1960s and in the 1990s. In these periods, judicial policy showed a building up towards the realization of the post-1945 ideals of the democratization of justice. Yet, the long-awaited reforms did not happen until the end of the 1990s. Why did the reforms happen then and not earlier?