Symposium at SOAS, University of London: Gambarou Nippon - Imagi(ni)ng Japan post 3/11
Date: 3 September 2014 Time: 1:00 PM
Finishes: 4 September 2014 Time: 6:00 PM Venue: Russell Square: College BuildingsRoom: B104
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.
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.
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