The Third Bi-Annual Conference of
The Israeli Association for Japanese Studies (IAJS)
The Challenges of Participation and the Costs of Isolation
May 12-13, 2015, Tel Aviv University
Gilman-Humanities Building, Room 496
Language of the Conference: Japanese, English, Hebrew
(by order of appearance in the conference)
Keynote (Japanese and English)
日本サブカルチャーにおける、サーガへの逃走 [Escape to Saga Stories in Japan's Subcultures]
Eiji Otsuka, Nichibunken, Kyoto, Japan
In this lecture, I propose outlining a process that began with the failure of the left wing activities in early 1970s Japan, extending into the 1980s, in which the generation of former left wing activists and zenkyōtō protestors began constructing "imagined saga narratives" within the worlds of Japanese subcultures. This was the starting point of the contemporaneous historical revisionism in Japan. More concretely, by referring to the first trilogy by Murakami Haruki, Nakagami Kenji, Gundam anime series, anime by Ghibli Studio etc., I will show how subcultures and subcultural literature experimented with the "virtual story" and not with "the real history". It provided the origin of the that underlined the Aum Shinrikyō Incident in the 1990s. Aum committed a coup d'état based on a narrative that replaced "actual history" with a subcultural "virtual history". This was the starting point of the contemporaneous historical revisionism in Japan.
The Galapagos Syndrome in the Economic Sphere (English)
The Digital Galapagos: Japan's Digital Media and Digital Content Economy
Carin Holroyd, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada and Ken Coates, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
Japan was, for almost twenty years, a leading nation in the development of the digital economy. The country's business development on mobile computing, video gaming and video games, and animation led the world. While this prominent role continues, the country has struggled with a "digital island" reality in three areas: the wireless industry, which tried but failed to expand globally, an active by Japan-focuses digital content sector, and digital services, which have not expanded as expected to non-Japanese markets. This paper examines the evolution of Japan's digital media and digital content sector, focusing on national government economic strategies, business development and international business expansion strategies, and the intersection of digital media and Japanese culture, which has created significant global interest but less business development than expected. The Japanese experience is presented in the context of the globalization of Taiwan's digital media business, the rise of Korean digital content internationally, and the continued growth of China in the increasingly valuable sector.
Overcoming the Tension between International and Domestic Pressures: Responses of Audit Firms in Japan
Israel Drori, College of management Academic Studies Rishon LeZion, Israel, and Masaru Karube, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan
Reality is always two-sided. Japanese firms had been highly praised for their competitive edge based on technological capabilities characterized by technocentrism. Now the direction in which its scientific and technological development is taking society is a focus of criticism. To explore the issues of how and why some Japanese firms in some industries show Galapagos Syndrome, we examine the conditions and the mechanism by which such uniqueness could hinder the further growth of Japanese firms as they compete with the rest of the world.
By shedding light on the globalization process of the Japanese audit industry as an example of an underexplored field (even in management studies), we examine the historical process of how Japanese audit firms have overcome the tensions between international and domestic pressuresin response to the globalization of client firms and competition with global audit firms from the 1960s to now. In this paper, we find that 1) audit firms had to tackle globalization even at the early stage of the industry, which had been highly regulated and protected from foreign competitors, because they had to respond to the growing needs of the globalized activities of client firms; 2) the recent trendepitomized by the growing size and complexity of client businesses, deregulation, and the convergence of accounting practices, which drove them to be fully integrated as partner firms under the global audit firm network.
Our findings suggest that 1) the degree of "Galapagosization" depends not only on historical and structural contexts (domestic regulations, market structure, size of local markets), but also depends on the characteristics of products, services, practices, and clients' needs.
We Cannot Use Japanese ATMs! Japan’s Developmentalist Legacy and Galapagos Retail Banking
Hiroaki Richard Watanabe, University of Sheffield, UK
This paper explains why Japanese ATM services are poor and insulated in a Galapagos way by examining Japan’s financial regulatory system and economic ideologies. The Japanese government maintained the ‘convoy’ system in financial regulation based on the protection of inefficient banks through informal non-market coordination until it introduced the financial Big Bang (Toya 2006), which liberalized Japanese financial services, and market-oriented financial supervision (Amyx 2004) amid the financial crisis in the late 1990s. However, financial liberalization through the Big Bang was limited to wholesale banking and did not really affect retail banking. At the same time, despite greater market mechanisms in financial supervision, competition and market mechanisms have not been introduced in retail banking. ATM services by Japanese banks are more or less the same and their quality is low. Most Japanese ATMs do not operate 24 hours/365 days unlike ATMs in many other countries, customers have to pay fees to use ATMs in the evenings and weekends even if they have bank accounts, and with only a couple of exceptions, Japanese ATMs do not accept non-Japanese bank cards even in this era of globalization. This situation did not change when Japan co-hosted the World Cup with South Korea in 2002 and only recently did Japan’s three mega banks announce to introduce ATMs that would accept non-Japanese bank cards by the time of Tokyo Olympics 2020. The paper argues that this insulated Galapagos phenomenon is a result of the remaining convoy system in Japanese retail banking and a legacy of developmentalism (Jonson 1982) aimed at realizing producers’ economic interests at the cost of consumers’. Theoretically, this phenomenon can be explained with the ‘theory of regulation’ (Rosenbluth 1989) based on an analysis of collective action.
Cross-Cultural Encounters in Film Arts (English)
Voluntary Death in the Japanese Film after World War II: Transformations of the Suicide Aesthetics
Anastasiya Skavysh, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Western and Japanese writings on ritual suicide tend to focus on the cultural roots of this cultural phenomenon in the ethics of pre-modern Japan. This point of view which puts in direct comparison a phenomenon of Japanese aesthetics of pre-modern times with that of modern times seems to me simplified and ahistorical.
In this research the representation of suicide in the Japanese film is brought in connection with the body discourse nikutai (肉体) of the postwar period and the radical cinema of the 60s. It can be assumed that the elements of the erotic and the physical as they are found in the radical postwar aesthetics modified the representation of suicide as a phenomenon which has its cultural roots in pre-modern Japan. The act of suicide as it is shown in the films of the second half of the 20th century combined elements of Japanese tradition and Western ideas to create new aesthetics. The focus has shifted from the dramatic conflict of giri and jō to the depiction of physical decay and destruction which is deployed for political ideas.
How is the suicide related to its cultural roots in pre-modern Japan by the visual construction and throughout the film story? How is the death theme related to the discourses of history and power? What stance do the films take to the death ideology in the period of the Japanese nationalism? How are the concepts sexuality and death related to the idea of an individual happiness?
The Toei-Tezuka Trilogy: Three Films that Paved the Way to the Global Appeal of Anime
Raz Greenberg, The Orthodox College, Jerusalem, Israel
Japanese animation (anime) is considered today as one of the country's leading cultural exports, but this hasn't always been the case. In fact, in the post-war period, Japanese animation studios had struggled to find an audience outside Japan and Toei animation, the biggest animation studio founded in the country by some of its most prominent animators, consistently failed in exporting its productions to both neighboring Asian countries and the American film market. It was manga artist Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989) who was the first to successfully export Japanese animation to foreign markets with the 1964 television adaptation of his iconic series "TetsuwanAtomu" ("Astro Boy").
Before the global success of "Atomu", however, Tezuka collaborated with Toei in the production of three animated features – "Sayuki" (1960), "Sinbad no Boken" (1962) and "Wan WanChushingura" (1963). While largely overlooked, and relatively obscure to the audience outside Japan ("Sayuki" and "Sinbad no Boken" were distributed in America, but as with other such distribution attempts by Toei, failed to make significant impression), these three films demonstrate the later direction that Tezuka has set for himself and the rest of the anime industry, which set this industry on the path to global success: they show gradual movement away from both narrative and design elements that can be considered exclusively Japanese to elements that are modeled after foreign (especially American) animation, while keeping most of their Japanese themes as subtext, rather than on the surface. The presentation offers an examination of all three films, and their long-term influence on subsequent anime productions.
Unwrapping Japan's International Politics in a Changing World (English)
Japanese Defense Policy in a "Brown Bag"
Alon Levkowitz, Bar Ilan University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Japan's defense policy has changed throughout the years from (inactive) "pacifism" to "normal state", to what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calls "active pacifism". These changes were made by expanding the boundaries of Article 9, which on the one hand serves as a constraint to Japan's defense policy and on the other hand as a pacifier for the regional states that were concerned that Japan might revive its militant ambitions.
The change in Japan's role in the international arena and the pressure the United States has exerted on Japan to become a more active player were two main factors that led to an incremental change in its defense policy. Another factor in the last two decades was the increasing security threat from North Korea that forced Japan to expand the boundaries of its self-defense policy and even consider a preemptive strike against the DPRK in case an imminent threat arises.
Japan's defense policy, until the current administration, was functioning like the United States "brown bag" beer system. As long as Japan doesn't use militant rhetoric and it does not pose a potential threat to the regional players, it was allowed to incrementally change its defense policy. The current Japanese administration began to unveil the "brown bag" defense policy.
The paper will discuss the changes within Japan's defense policy and analyze how Japan's self-defense policy handled the potential Chinese threat and the rising North Korean security threat, which allowed it to unwrap the "brown bag" and become a "normal state".
Beyond East Asia:Sino-Japanese Rivalry in the Middle East
Kai Schulze, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
The mounting rivalry between Japan and China has been a dominant aspect of Japan’s foreign relations since the early 1990s. A vast body of literature has analyzed this issue predominantly within the East Asian region. However; if, why and how this Sino-Japanese power struggle also affects Japan’s foreign policy approach beyond East Asia’s regional boundaries defies theoretical and empirical analysis. To improve explanations of the effects of China’s emergence to great power on Japan’s cross-regional foreign policy approach, this paper explores the changes in Japan’s cross-regional relations to the Middle East in the light of China’s rising power. In three interrelated case studies, the proposed project will elucidate the effects of Japan’s rivalry with China on the construction and formulation of interests and strategy development, as well as the generation and implementation of foreign policy measures towards the Middle Eastern region against the background of China’s rise. By merging the strings of Japan’s readjustment of its Middle East policy and its increasing rivalry with China, the proposed project offers a new perspective on the increasingly important discussion on Japan’s reactions to China’s rise but also more broadly on discussions about the new global distribution of power and changing hierarchies of the international system. To develop and improve explanations of the mutual influences of Japan's and China's foreign policy in the Middle East, the project addresses two important but understudied questions: First, how do interstate rivalries influence foreign policy approaches beyond regional boundaries? Second, through which factors does the Sino Japanese rivalry change or sustain Japan's Middle East policy? In order to give answers to these questions, the theoretical framework of this paper combines definitions of interstate rivalry, the construction of state interests and the concept of “interregionalism without regions”.
Cross Cultural Readings of Philosophy and Critical Theory (English)
The Conundrums of Tetsugaku, or: Why Japanese Philosophers are Always Wrong(ed)
Raji C. Steineck, University of Zurich, Switzerland
On any but an openly racist list of criteria, Japan could aspire to be one of the major loci of philosophy. In spite of this, its relevant premodern traditions have usually been subsumed under categories other than philosophy, such as „thought“, „religion“, „ethics“, or shisō. In the modern era, the term „Japanese philosophy“ was virtually ursurped by the distinctly parochialist Kyoto School, which has received most attention by Western commentators and translators. In contrast, non-parochial tetsugaku or professional academic philosophy in Japan is widely regarded as a largely sterile scholastic discourse that only regurgitates Western models, and some Japanese universities have moved to replace this unpopular discipline by other, less narrowly defined subjects.
All this is not due to the lack of originality or philosophical substance in the pertinent Japanese literature. It is, or so I shall argue, more a question of the historical timing of contacts between Japanese and Western philosophers, and the discursive formations in place at crucial instances on the trajectory of the globalization of Western and Japanese philosophies. This leaves Japanologists with the task of understanding the mechanisms at work that seem to always place tetsugaku in awkward spots, and to correct philosophical historiographies and amend canons that exclude it.
Marx and the Fate of Critical Theory in Japan
Elena Louisa Lange, University of Zurich, Switzerland
This paper seeks to draw attention to the curious, yet significant gap between the abundant and fruitful adaptation of the Marxian Critique of Political Economy and the hesitant and sporadic reception of classical Critical Theory in 20th century Japan by looking at the various responses of Japanese critical sociology to economical crisis and its theoretization. This attempt will be conducted by giving an overview of the history of critical social theory in Japan after the War (1950s-1960s) and today (ca. 1980s-2011), its shortcomings and selective reproduction of theses known as the 'canon' of Critical Theory in the West, as well as arguing that the theoretical negligence especially of the theorem of reification and fetishism – a central issue of Adorno's and Horkheimer's theoretical endeavor – led to a truncated understanding of the capitalist present in modern Japan.
Research in the Critique of Political Economy has been performed enthusiastically ever since Capital had been first translated into Japanese in 1920. Notwithstanding military oppression and the tenkō (turnaround) policy of the Japanese ultranationalist government during the early Shōwa period (1930-1945), its defeat and Japan's subsequent occupation by US administrative forces in the post-War period, the Marxian analysis has remained a vital part of critical intellectual life before and after the war. Oddly enough, the theories of what we could now call classical, first generation Critical Theory, an eminent part of Marxian tradition, and embodied in the work of Max Horkheimer, T.W. Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Alfred Sohn-Rethel, and others, have however not been given much attention in Japanese academic theoretical formation after the War. To give a striking example: the first translation of The Dialectic of Enlightenment in Japan appeared as late as 1990.
By examining the conditions of social sciences after the war, this paper aims to point out the reasons for this hesitant appropriation by critically addressing the cleft of capitalism-centered theories as performed by pre-War and post-War Marxists as well as psychological theories of fascism as a collective pathological phenomenon, performed by modernity theorists such as Maruyama Masao or Otsuka Hisao (Maruyama 1946, Otsuka 1946). By suggesting that the cleft could not be closed with the rising popularity of social psychology (1950s-1960s), Habermasian Theory of Communitative Action (1970s-1980s) or the post modern thought of Associationism (Karatani) (1990s-today), this paper will also ask if the present political crisis, expressed in the nationalist backlash of the Abe government, could be explained by Japanese critical theory's shortfall in providing an attempt to integrate the problem of capitalist thought-forms, such as the commodity form, into its theories of fascism and vice versa.
The paper will argue that the negligence of this problem setting continues to haunt the critical political climate in Japan today.
Japanese Architecture: Beyond and Within Japan (Hebrew)
Japanese Architecture as an International Ambassador of ‘Cool Japan’ policy: The case-study of Kisho Kurokawa in planning The New Wing of Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
Sigal Galil, Independent multidisciplinary researcher, Israel
Does Kisho Kurokawa‘s Abstract Symbolism succeeds in implementing “Cool Japan” Values, aimed to conquering the Western heart? Does the pleasing architectural experience of the New Wing of Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Planned by Kurokawa realize his Philosophy of Symbiosis as a sort of resolution to the charged relations between East and West?
Through the lines and forms, the full and empty spaces of the building I’ll try to read how Kurokawa uses Japanese aesthetics as a power field, and activist strategic philosophy for leverage of wide rainbow of interests. Starting with Japanese national interests, and going on with personal interests of worldwide prestigious reputation. In my lecture I will demonstrate how Kurokawa turns his building into a political text, a Japanese Manifest, aimed subversively to please millions of visitors at the van Gogh Museum, experiencing the secrets of Japanese Aesthetics.
Philosophic reading of the building will show the Invisible thread that Kisho Kurokawa weaves, that connects between architecture, philosophy, and culture in one of the most touristic monuments in the heart of Amsterdam.
Van Gogh Museum, A pilgrimage site for millions of people from all over the world, who worship one of the greatest cultural heroes of human history, is located between the Rijks Museum and the Stedelijk Museum of modern art and the famous national concert hall Concertgebouw, the beating heart of the cultural heritage of Holland.
The traits of the irregular and different building in his architectural surroundings will show how Kurokawa’s architecture tries to function as the “Soft Power of Japan” foreign policy, and how by the unique visual language of the “Japanese Space” he loads Japanese cultural cods at the heart of western cultural fortress in Holland.
אדריכלות יפנית כשגרירה בינלאומית למדיניות "Cool Japan" : מקרה הבוחן של קישו קורוקאווה במוזאון ואן גוך באמסטרדאם
סיגל גליל, חוקרת עצמאית, ישראל
"אבל אם אנו מתבוננים באדריכלות כקרובה לספרות, אם, במילים אחרות, האדריכלות היא טקסט, היא הופכת למקום של קריאת משמעויות. מקום ליצירת משמעויות, מקום מהנה להיות ולפעול." ... " לגמרי בשונה מן התפקידים הפונקציונאליים שלה, האדריכלות בתור טקסט נקראת כל הזמן ומשנה צורה מרגע לרגע, ממקום למקום, דרך הסמלים והסימנים התרבותיים שאצורים בתוכה.
- קישו קורוקאווה, אדריכל, פילוסוף, מחנך, מתכנן האגף החדש במוזיאון ואן גוך אמסטרדאם.
האם הסימבוליזם האבסטרקטי שפיתח קישו קורוקאווה, ממקימי תנועת המטאבוליזם באדריכלות היפנית, מצליח להטמיע את הערכים החשובים של Cool Japan ולכבוש את ליבו של המערב? האם החוויה האדריכלית המענגת של בניין האגף החדש במוזאון ואן גוך שתכנן קורוקאווה מצליחה ליישם את עיקרי פילוסופיית הסימביוזה שלו לפתרון היחסים הטעונים בין מזרח למערב?
דרך הקווים והצורות, החללים המלאים והריקים אבחן כיצד קורוקאווה משתמש באסתטיקה היפנית הקלאסית כשדה כוח, וזרוע אסטרטגית פילוסופית אקטיביסטית כדי למנף קשת רחבה של אינטרסים. החל מאינטרסים פוליטיים יפניים לאומיים ועד לאינטרסים אישיים של יוקרה אישית בינלאומית. בהרצאתי אמחיש כיצד קורוקאווה הופך את הבניין שתכנן לטקסט פוליטי, מניפסט יפני, שנועד באופן חתרני לענג את מיליוני הצופים והמבקרים במוזאון ואן גוך בחווייה יפנית .
ניתוח הבניין יראה את החוט הסמוי ששוזר קורוקאווה שמחבר בין אדריכלות, פילוסופיה ותרבות באחד המונומנטים המתויירים ביותר בליבה של אמסטרדאם. מוזאון ואן גוך, שהפך אתר עלייה לרגל להמונים מכל העולם, הסוגדים לאחד מגיבורי התרבות המיתולוגיים בהיסטוריה האנושית ממוקם בין הרייקס מוזיאון ההיסטורי, לבין מוזאון הסטאדליק לאמנות מודרנית, לבין הקונצרט חבאו, היכל הקונצרטים הלאומי של הולנד.
מאפייני המבנה החריג בסביבתו, יילמדו כיצד האדריכלות של קורוקאווה מתפקדת כשגרירה נאמנה של מדיניות החוץ היפנית שהוגדרה גם כ”כוח הרך” Soft Power of Japan וכיצד דרך שפה חזותית ייחודית ל"חלל היפני" הוא מעמיס בבניין שלו משמעויות וקודים תרבותיים יפניים בלב ליבו של מעוז תרבות מערבי.
השיח על מורשת מודרנית בנויה לפני אולימפיאדת טוקיו 2020
ארז גולני סולומון, אוניברסיטת ווסדה, טוקיו, יפן והאקדמיה לאמנות ולעיצוב בצלאל, ירושלים, ישראל וכריסטיאן דימר, אוניברסיטת טוקיו, יפן
Discourses Around Modernist Built Legacy Before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Erez Golani Solomon, Waseda University, Japan and Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, and Christian Dimmer, Tokyo University, Japan
On September 7, 2013 the International Olympic Committee announced that Tokyo would host the 2020Summer Olympics. Although less than two years have passed since then, the announcement appears to have catalyzed a significant re-evaluation of heritage conservation in Japan, and in particular of its modernist iconic buildings and infrastructure built in the 1950s and 60s. Structures that have been completed in the context of another key moment in Japan’s modern history—namely the 1964 Tokyo Olympics—had so far only been appreciated by a handful of academics, professionals and architecture tourists but weren’t broadly recognized as valuable historical assets worthy of material preservation. Significant modernist buildings have been steadily and quietly disappearing for years, without much ado, or public protest. It seems that the decision to host the summer Olympic Games once again after 56 years has created a sincere sensitivity to the post-war built legacy. Ironically, this novel preservation effort is only paralleled by a similar sense of urgency that had these structures built in anticipation of the mega events of 1964.
The lecture explores the new wave of heritage conservation from two perspectives. On the one side it examines the inclusion of ‘heritage’ as a central category in Tokyo’s failed bid of 2009 and the following successful bid of 2013. Here, along with the declared intension to re-use 1964 Olympic facilities such as Kenzo Tange’s Yoyogi National Gymnasium or Mamoru Yamada’s Nippon Budokan Hall [Arena for traditional Japanese martial arts] heritage functions also as part of a dubious language that appeals to a global common sense for preservation, without feeling a genuine commitment to this cause. On the other side the chapter examines those heritage discourses that have been spurred around controversial events such as the imminent destruction of Yoshiro Taniguchi’s Hotel Okura  or Mitsuo Katayama’s National Stadium , and the adoption of Zaha Hadid’s plans for the new Olympic Stadium. It looks at a new and rich preservation rhetoric of post-war architecture as well as important infrastructures like the inner city expressway system or the Tsukiji fish market and sets them against the background of a new national image being currently constructed around ideals such as environmentality and maturity.
"בתי גלפגוס": בתים יפנים עכשווים, העידן הפוסט מודרני
אדריכל אריה קוץ, אוניברסיטת תל אביב, ישראל
Galapagos Homes: Recent Japanese Houses – "Post International Style"
Architect Arie Kutz, Tel Aviv University, Israel
A wide range of Japanese architects, all born after WW 2, are producing in recent years extra ordinary architectural solutions in the field of private houses. They are enthusiastically accepted by the professional media and well exposed internationally. What is striking about most of them is that the extreme architectural solutions, usually common to most of them, do not seem to be possible anywhere outside Japan... "this can be accepted only in Japan" is a reaction usually heard.
The materials used are surprising (10 mm steel plate), the climatic performance are sometimes questionable (walk out doors for the bath), the approach to privacy (visual and acoustical) is non-conventional, etc.
This paper will introduce some of the architects and these "extreme" architectural solutions and will try to understand the profile of the Japanese client ready to accept these extreme solutions and prefer them over the common market's available prefabricated homes…
The History of Science from a Japanese Perspective (English)
Chase after Tools and Sources for Studying Japanese History of Science
Yona Siderer, Independent Researcher, Israel
In an attempt to understand Japanese culture and the evolution of its scientific terminology, an exciting chase that can be compared to a detective story of collecting evidences from various sources is underway. My research on adapting science from the West in Japan in the 19th century has carried me to many places in Japan and other countries. In order to form new scientific disciplines new terminology had to be coined. My lecture will show (i) routes to obtain research documents and (ii) the importance of comparing these sources that were written in several European languages. In the following examples, the lecture will present 18th-19th century explanation of ‘what is light’ and on routes to reach the original documents which were used in this study.
- “A Speech on the Japanese Nation 1784” delivered by the botanist Thunberg. Original Swedish hand written faccimillia and its English translation are presented in a book of 2007, published by The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. The beautiful red bound book was donated to the Japanese Emperor on his visit in Sweden.
- Translations of Lavoisier French Chemistry book of 1789 into English, Dutch, and Japanese. Documents describing “light” were gathered from the British Library, London; Kyo-U Library of Takeda Science Foundation in Osaka; National French Library Website. Changes of terms and descriptions in the various versions shed light on Japanese and others’ understanding of science at that time.
- Roscoe’s Chemistry book of 1871 and its Japanese translation of 1873. Griffis teaching chemistry in Fukui, asked his sister Maggie in a letter to Philadelphia to send him that book in July 1871. Recently I received a Japanese translation from a Kyoto University scholar and a digitized English copy from Oxford University Press Website.
The Transformation of Organic Chemistry in Japan: From Locality to Universality
Masanori Kaji, Graduate School of Decision Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
Majima Riko (1874–1962) graduated from the Department of Chemistry at the College of Science at Tokyo Imperial University in 1899. After a four-year stay (1907 to early 1911) in Europe, he became a professor of organic chemistry at the newly established Tohoku Imperial University in March 1911. He was one of leading research organic chemists of the first generation in Japan, and became famous, especially for his study of urushiol, the main component of the sap of the Japanese lacquer tree. His research strategy involved studying the structure of the components of Japan’s local natural products using newly developed methods from Europe to catch up and compete with chemists in more advanced-countries in the West. Majima’s approach became the primary research method employed by research chemists in Japan until the 1950s.
After Fukui Ken-ichi received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in Japan in 1981, six other Japanese chemists also went on to receive the same award. These chemists all discovered and developed new methods or theories from the 1950s to the 1970s. During the period between 1906, when Majima thought out his research strategy and attempted to apply it to urushiol, and 1950, when Tsuda Kyosuke (1907–1999) started to study tetrodotoxin, the poison from puffer fish, the Japanese became well prepared to compete on an equal footing with their Western counterparts without taking advantage of locality; Majima’s approach gave some lead time to those chemists with good accessibility to natural products for their research. Organic chemistry in Japan completed its transformation at the end of the 1950s, and since then, Japanese chemists reached the stage of universality and began to study equally in terms of facilities and theoretical settings with overseas top researchers.
Japan as a Multilayered Democracy (English)
What is Multilayer Analysis? The Case of Japan
Sigal Ben Rafael-Galanti, Beit Berl College, Israel
As one of the earliest non-Western countries to adopt democracy, Japan provides an excellent case-study for formulating theories about democracy. Hence, while some researchers, such as Reed, Curtis and Kohno, argue that "culture" and traditions play a very limited role in the way Japanese democracy functions, Inatsugu, Blechinger, Pempel and others point out Japan’s difficulties in developing liberal values.
In this direction, in the volume “Japan’s Multilayered Democracy,” we ask - together with Nissim Otmazgin and Alon Levkowitz - two central questions: (1) what constitutes “Japanese democracy” and what are its historical, institutional, and behavioral expressions?; and (2) what can we extrapolate from the Japanese experience about democratization and the very nature of democracy?
Furthermore, we suggest addressing those questions through an integrative model that refers in tandem to different angles, epochs, and disciplines – to be called here a multilayered analysis. It enables learning about Japan through its historical roots, postwar institutions, and its civic and cultural expressions.
Such an approach – we contend – is able to evaluate Japan’s democracy in depth, contribute to the ongoing discussion about non-Western societies’ capabilities to become genuine democracies, and is likely to ameliorate the analysis of democracies and their comparisons.
Failures in Leadership: How and why Politicians Equivocate on Japanese Televised Political Interviews?
Ofer Feldman, Dōshisha University, Japan
This paper examines how Japanese leading politicians cope with the communicative problems posed to them during televised political interviews. Based on data gathered for 14 months during 2012-2013, the paper replicates and modifies the "Theory of Equivocation" to detail the responsiveness of both national and local level politicians (and for comparison purposes also of nonpoliticians) to interview questions they are asked on live broadcast shows. The paper's main focus is on the extent to which Japanese politicians equivocate during televised programs, and the reasons underlying this equivocation. It aims to identify the motives behind interviewees' equivocation, thereby to also assess the significance of these talk shows in the broader context of political communication in Japan.
Building Democracy through "Pink Power": Dynamic Gender in Japan's Women's Politics
Ayala Klemperer, Tel Aviv University, Israel
The paper examines the work of prominent female politicians who adopt while at the same time subvert femininity discourses in order to climb the Japanese political ranks that are so often over-populated with men. It suggests that commonly used terms such as "feminine" or "masculine" are not the only valid terms in which one can describe women's politics, but rather that finer terminology needs to be recognized and explored by politicians as well as scholars.
בניית הדמוקרטיה דרך "הכח הורוד": מגדר דינמי בפוליטיקה הנשית היפנית
אילה קלמפרר, אוניברסיטת תל-אביב, ישראל
מחקרים מוקדמים יותר שעסקו במקומן של נשים בפוליטיקה היפנית רווית-הגברים ובדרכי-פעולתן, הצביעו על תכיפות השימוש בפרדיגמה רטורית "נשית". אולם, בחינת עבודתן של הפוליטיקאיות היפניות בשנים האחרונות מאירה גישות עכשוויות יותר, גישות המשלבות שימוש בשיח ה"נשי" ביחד עם חתירה תחתיו. התמקדות בנושאים שנחשבו בעבר "נשיים" והצלחה להציגם כנושאים בעלי עניין לכלל הציבור מעלה שאלות לגבי ההתאמה של מושגים כגון "נשי" ו"גברי" לעידן אליו נכנסת יפן כיום.
The Japanese Labor Tribunal System as a Litmus Test of Japan's Democratization
Wered Ben-Sade, Bar Ilan University, Israel
The Labor Tribunal System (LTS) is a speedy non-contentious tri-partite procedure within Japan's district courts to mediate or otherwise suitably adjudicate individual labor disputes. The LTS was introduced to cope with the multitude of employment disputes that were lacking an adequate judicial resolution forum. By introducing such a forum, the LTS provides protection for the weak party in labor relations (often the worker) from abuse by the powerful party, and advances democratization of labor relations. The Labor Tribunal Act (LTA, 2004) enactment process involved all “stakeholders” in a consensus-building process, supporting Harari’s (2002) argument: Participation by sharing knowledge creation and information facilitates reform.
The LTS incorporates a civic expression of democracy via the tri-partite structure that engages lay judges (albeit labor-relations experts) on an equal footing with the professional judge. The unique resolution system, in which mediation and adjudication closely interact, reflects Japan’s tradition of dispute resolution, challenging Western concepts of democratic ideas, e.g., “due process”. Thus, these aspects of the LTS, namely, the enactment process, civic participation structure and consensus-based adjudication, provide a litmus test of Japan's ongoing democratization process. Moreover, the nine years that have passed since the LTA’s implementation in 2006, enable an initial assessment of the role the LTS plays in setting democratic norms and in encouraging democratic practices in other dispute resolution systems.
The deviation of the LTS from Western concepts of dispute resolution seems to constitute a step towards a new paradigm of the field. However, what does it tells us about the nature of Japan's "maturing democracy" (Harari 2012)? I consider the LTS not merely an effective tool to mediate labor-disputes without dealing too much with questions of justice, but an important step towards democratization.