SOAS University of London

Japan Research Centre

Nostalgia, Soft Power and the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme

Dr Sharleen Estampador Hughson (University of Sheffield)

Date: 17 January 2018Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 17 January 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Seminar


Cultural exchange programmes such as the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) have become part of a growing diplomatic agenda within politics and international relations.  This paper investigates the experiences of JET Assistant Language Teachers, revealing a link between memory, nostalgia and soft power.  JET participants promote Japan abroad by portraying images and ideas of Japanese culture and society to others. Applying everyday life theory revealed intimate connections that attach these individuals to Japan, which contributes to soft power.  The study applied a theoretical framework consisting of everyday life theory, that explored how memory and nostalgia are valuable agents for soft power.  JETs are able to compare their own routines and values with others, and participants go through various phases as they progress through the overseas experience.  This study contributes to the scholarly discussion by using the experience of participants on JET and former BET and MEF schemes from the 1980s to 2010s. Through their narratives I draw out themes, revealing that the participants contribute to the development of soft power from the bottom-up.


Speaker Biography

Sharleen Estampador Hughson was a supported White Rose East Asian Centre and Economic Social Research Council PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield’s School of East Asian Studies. She recently finished her PhD on the topic of nostalgia, soft power and the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. Sharleen read an MSc at the University of Aberdeen in International Relations and BA at the University of South Florida in International Studies with a focus on East and Southeast Asia. She was an Assistant Language Teacher on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme from 2006-2009 and through JET successfully obtained an internship at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. Her publications include: Personal Impact of Soft Power published March 2015 in the ACUMEN Magazine for the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan and co-author on the Spotlight East Asia blog at Sheffield’s School of East Asian Studies, Applying Quantum GIS to Social Research and UIEC: Asian Regional Economic Integration: A Gradual but Cautious Approach.


Peter Matanle Photo


Dr Peter Matanle (University of Sheffield)

Peter Matanle is Senior Lecturer and Director of Research and Innovation at the School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield.  His research interests are in the social and cultural geography of East Asian development, including research on the theory and practice of permanent employment in large organizations, and work and its representation in popular culture.

Organiser: SOAS Japan Research Centre

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