SOAS University of London

Japan Research Centre

Gambarou Nippon – Imagi(ni)ng Japan post 3/11

Gambarou Nippon
Iwabuchi Koichi and others

Date: 3 September 2014Time: 1:00 PM

Finishes: 4 September 2014Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: B104

Type of Event: Symposium

The 11 March 2011 has been a defining date for contemporary Japanese Studies.  Not so much the earthquake and tsunami that happened on the day, as devastating as they were, but the nuclear catastrophe that came with the natural disaster has become the new focal point of interest. Fukushima, the term itself is symbolic, summing up all the problems that Japan has faced since 2011.  Fukushima seems to have become the flipside of Japan, as bad news continue to dominate international discourses.  On the other hand, Cool Japan still draws in many audiences, and Japanese popular culture is still going strong across the world, counterbalancing Fukushima.  The catchphrase Gambarou Nippon (Hold on, Japan) that was heard so often in 2011, does not really seem to have been needed.

Japan seems to be developing two faces, the shiny, glittering one that is created through its extraordinarily successful popular culture and the craze around the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, and the darker face that comes from Fukushima and the issues surrounding the nuclear plant.  At the same time that ‘our’ image of Japan begins to change, it also stays the same.  Thus, in this field of tension, it becomes important to expand the academic discourse to look at representations of Fukushima, but also at how the images that the Japanese have of themselves and how Japan is shown abroad have changed since 2011.

3 September 2014
13:00 - 17:00Roundtable Discussion with Iwabuchi Koichi - B104
17:00 - 20:00Film Screening: Land of Hope - Khalili Lecture Theatre
4 September 2014; B104
8.45Registration (required of all participants*)
9.00-9.15Opening Remarks and Welcome
9.15-10.00Keynote Speech, Iwabuchi Koichi (Monash University): In the shadow of the vocal majorities: On the responsiveness to unsubstantiated fear
10.00-10.30Coffee Break
Session 1 – Reframing Japan in Film and Television Drama
  • Kristina Iwata-Weickgenannt (Nagoya University): Gendering ‘Fukushima’: Sono Shion’s Film The Land of Hope
  • Akiko Nagata (SOAS, University of London): ‘Kaseifu no Mita’ – Reaffirming the Significance of Family in Television Drama after 3.11
  • Dolores Martinez (SOAS, University of London/Oxford University): Nakamura's Fish Story – An Imagination of Disaster
12.00-13.30Lunch Break
Session 2 – Performing 3/11 – Theatre and Photography
  • Kyoko Iwaki (Goldsmiths College): The Politics of the Senses: Takayama Akira’s Atomized Theatre after Fukushima
  • Barbara Geilhorn (Waseda University): Challenging Reality with Fiction – Imagining Alternative Readings of Japanese Society in Post-Fukushima Theatre
  • Pablo Figueroa (Waseda University): Everything’s Changed, Nothing’s Different: Subversion and Nostalgia in Artistic Photography of the Fukushima Disaster
15.00-15.30Coffee Break
Session 3 – (Inter)National discourses on Japan
  • Griseldis Kirsch (SOAS, University of London) Japan’s ‘Charm Attack’ – NHK World and Soft Power post 3/11
  • Christopher P. Hood (Cardiff University): Uniting a Nation: Transportation and Responses to the 3/11 Disaster
  • Yohei Koyama (SOAS, University of London): Transliterating “Fukushima”: Post-Nuclear Accident Representation of the Word "Fukushima" Transcribed into the Katakana Phonetic Script
17.30-18.00Final Discussion – Making sense of Fukushima

Organiser: Centres & Programmes Office

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Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4893

Sponsor: The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation