Friday, May 19, 2017

May 19, 2017
12:45 - 5:00 PM

Representing Japanese Studies-related organizations and centers in California, North Carolina, Washington, Massachusetts, France, and Australia, the scholars discussed how best to meet the challenges currently facing the field. They touched on urgent questions of future funding, the need to improve students’ Japanese language skills, how to increase cooperation and communication between their respective organizations, the language barriers that keep scholarship in the field canonized, and the struggle to maintain funding for Japanese Studies while interest and support for other area studies is growing.


Director Biographies

Theodore Bestor

Theodore Bestor is the Director of the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and Reischauer Professor of Social Anthropology at Harvard University. Bestor is the author of Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World, published in 2003 based on his research over the past 20 years on Tokyo’s vast seafood market and its role in Japan's sushi trade. He has been focusing on the ongoing issues on the market's relocation, and is currently working on the second edition of the book. He is the Past President of the Association for Asian Studies (2012-13), and the founding president of the Society for East Asian Anthropology. In June 2013 Bestor received the Commissioner’s Award for the Promotion of Japanese Culture from the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese government (文化庁長官表彰 文化発信部門 ).

Bestor received his PhD and MA from Stanford University, and his BA from Fairhaven College of Western Washington University. He began his professional career as Program Director for Japanese and Korean Studies at the Social Science Research Council. After teaching at Columbia and Cornell universities, he joined the Harvard faculty in 2001.


Dana Buntrock

Dana Buntrock is the Chair of the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies and a Professor in the university’s Department of Architecture. Her work focuses on interdisciplinary collaborations in Japanese architecture and construction practices, starting with her first book, Japanese Architecture as a Collaborative Process: Opportunities in a Flexible Construction Culture (London: Spon, 2000). Buntrock has conducted fieldwork in Japan, the US, Taiwan, and Korea, supported by fellowships from the US National Science Foundation, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars, and the Social Science Research Council. Buntrock’s work has been translated into Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Spanish. She is currently working on a book provisionally titled Untapped Social and Economic Opportunities in Japanese Architecture.


Hideki Hara

Hideki Hara is currently serving as Director of the The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles. Since joining the Foundation in 1991 he has held a number of positions at its offices in Tokyo and Osaka, as well as serving as Deputy Director of the Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership in New York (2001-2005). From 2006 to 2009 he was seconded to the National Graduate Research Institute for Policy Studies as Director of Research Development and International Affairs and facilitated numerous international research projects. Mr. Hara holds an MA in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada.


Yuko Kaifu

Yuko Kaifu is the President of Japan House in Los Angeles, which is a public diplomacy initiative launched by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to showcase the nation through exhibitions and programs from arts and designs to leading-edge technology and beyond. It is slated to open in Hollywood this coming winter, 2017. Prior to joining Japan House in January, 2016, she was Managing Director at Corporate Communications Department of MUFG Union Bank. She started her career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. After she served as Consul at the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles from 2001 to 2007, she left the government to work as Vice President of the Japanese American National Museum. She has sat on the boards of various community organizations, and is also serving as Executive Vice President of Japan Business Association of Southern California.


Indra Levy

Indra Levy is Associate Professor of Japanese and Comparative Literature at Stanford University, and has served as Executive Director of the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies (IUC) since 2010. She is the author of Sirens of the Western Shore: The Westernesque Femme Fatale, Translation, and Vernacular Style in Modern Japanese Literature(2006) and editor of Translation in Modern Japan (2011). She received her Ph.D. in Japanese literature from Columbia University in 2001. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty in 2004, she taught Japanese literature and language at Rutgers University.


Michael Lucken

Michael Lucken is a professor at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO) in Paris. Since 2014, he serves as director of INALCO Centre for Japanese Studies (CEJ). A historian of modern Japanese culture and arts, he is the author of The Japanese and the War 1937-1952 (Columbia, 2017), Imitation and Creativity in Japanese Arts: from Kishida Ryūsei to Miyazaki Hayao (Columbia, 2015) and a coeditor of Japan's Postwar (Routledge, 2011).


Christopher T. Nelson

Christopher T. Nelson is a cultural anthropologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of the Triangle Center for Japanese Studies. Since 1996, he has been conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Okinawa, Japan. Nelson's broader research interests include the relationship between history and memory; the critical study of everyday life; storytelling, ritual and performance; value, exchange and sacrifice. His first book, Dancing With the Dead: Memory, Performance and Everyday Life in Postwar Okinawa (Duke University Press, 2008) considered the ways in which ordinary people come to grips with the burden of their past. Along with Anne Allison and Harry Harootunian, he is a co-editor of a recent issue of Boundary2 that explores crisis and catastrophe in a Japan devastated by earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. He is currently at work on a project entitled, Dreaming of the Dragon King: Death, Hope and Creative Action, an ethnography of laborers, artists, ethnologists, political activists, shaman and the dead in contemporary Japan. Nelson holds an MA in Asian Studies from Cornell University (1993) and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago (2002).


Ken Tadashi Oshima

Ken Tadashi Oshima is chair of Japan Studies at the University of Washington and Professor in the Department of Architecture, where he teaches in the areas of trans-national architectural history, theory, representation, and design. Dr. Oshima’s publications include Kiyonori Kikutake: Between Land and Sea (Harvard, 2016), Architecturalized Asia (University of Hawai’i Press/Hong Kong University Press, 2013), GLOBAL ENDS: towards the beginning (Toto, 2012), International Architecture in Interwar Japan: Constructing Kokusai Kenchiku (University of Washington Press, 2009) and Arata Isozaki (Phaidon, 2009). He currently serves as President of the Society of Architectural Historians (2016-2018).


Carolyn S. Stevens

Carolyn S. Stevens is Professor of Japanese Studies and Director of the Japanese Studies Centre at Monash University. Her recent major publications include Japanese Popular Music: Culture, Authenticity and Power (Routledge, 2008) and Disability in Japan (Routledge, 2013), as well as the co-edited volumes Sound, Space and Sociality in Modern Japan (2014) and Internationalising Japan (2014). Her forthcoming monograph, due out early 2018, is entitled The Beatles in Japan. It traces the group's interaction with and impact on Japanese popular culture. She is currently Editor in Chief of the interdisciplinary journal Japanese Studies, a Routledge imprint.


Jason Webb

Jason Webb is Associate Professor (Teaching) in the Department of Comparative Literature of the University of Southern California and the Associate Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. His chief research interests lie in Japan’s seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries: the reception of Chinese texts in the archipelago, connections between literary theory and political authority, the architecture of royal poetic anthologies, and poetry composed in Japanese and Chinese. Jason publishes articles both in Japanese and English, most recently “F. V. Dickins’ Man’yōshū Poetics” (Man’yōshū Kodaigaku Kenkyu Nenpō, 2017, Japanese) and “The Big Business of Writing: Monjō keikoku in the Early Heian Court of Saga Tennō (Sino-Japanese Studies, 2014). He currently is at work on the first complete English translation of the earliest extant Japanese poetic anthology, Kaifūsō (751 C.E.) and a companion monograph that investigates literary reception, articulations of sovereign authority, and the multilingual poetic discourse that is the hallmark of ancient Japan.