Events category: Annual Seminar Series Seminar

16 October 2015

Sexual Diversity in the UK and Japan

Japan has a long history of sexual diversity, but during modern times the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community has for the most part kept itself out of the limelight. Although there are some signs of change, Japanese society appears less tolerant of sexual diversity than the UK. This seminar discussed the experiences faced by LGBT individuals in both countries, and how LGBT rights may develop in the future.

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4 June 2015

Diversity in Education: Alternative Schools

A. S. Neill, a Scottish writer and education philosopher, created a community in which children could be free from adult authority, which in 1927 became Summerhill School in Suffolk, probably the world’s best-known “free school”. The school and Neill’s “free school” ideas became famous through his writings and lectures. In Japan, Professor Shinichi Hori was impressed by Summerhill and translated many of Neill’s books into Japanese, later establishing his own schools in Wakayama, based on Neill’s educational philosophy of liberty and democracy exercised by children.

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7 May 2015

Diversity and Innovation in Japan and the UK

‘Galapagos Syndrome’ has become a term to describe Japan’s insular attitude to the outside world. Like the species on the Galapagos Islands, Japanese corporations did not adapt their business models to the outside world, consequently losing their competitive edge to businesses in China and the rest of Asia. Similarly, in the sphere of policy-making, diverse and external opinions were not taken into account, and rather the vested interests of insiders were prioritised within a cosy, closed community. With increasing insularity and nationalism in the UK, does it risk going the same way?

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27 January 2015


The term “Womenomics,” coined by Kathy Matsui, Chief Japan Equity Strategist at Goldman Sachs, refers to policies aimed at enabling women to make a larger contribution to the Japanese economy. It has become a key component of “Abenomics” – Prime Minister Abe’s overall policies for the revitalisation of Japan. As dual-income couples have increasingly become the norm in Japan, the female labour participation rate is, in fact, more or less in line with other developed countries. The difference is that Japanese female workers disproportionately work in positions with low status, low pay, and low job security.

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16 December 2014

The Power of Politics

This seminar took place just two days after the Japanese Lower House election, while the clock is also ticking towards a General Election in the UK next year. It seemed a timely moment to consider the power that politicians wield in the two countries, and the extent to which they can actually affect the lives of their citizens. How easy is it for politicians to push their policies through the legislature? And when they succeed, how much impact do those policies have?

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22 October 2014

The Power of Art

What is the power of art? What can art do? Can art deliver a social message, or any messages at all?

We invited Mami Kataoka, Chief Curator of the Mori Art Museum, one of Japan’s most active and prestigious galleries and James Lingwood, Director of Artangel, which commissions and produces exceptional projects by outstanding contemporary artists across Britain and beyond, to talk about the power of art.

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23 September 2014

The Power of Conscience

Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat based in the Japanese consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1940, went against his superiors and granted visas to Jewish refugees looking to escape Europe by travelling to Japan via the Trans-Siberian Railway. Virtuous behaviour seems to be strongly linked to the notion of conscience, that inner voice that tells us what we ought to do. But when and how do we learn conscience, or are we born with it? Is conscience synonymous with ethics, morals and a sense of justice? Morals and values differ from country to country, so do cultural values influence people’s conscience?

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28 May 2014

The Power of Music: Yoshiki Classical

YOSHIKI, leader of X JAPAN and one of Asia’s most influential musical artists, is performing at London Royal Festival Hall on 29 May. The day before this, he gave a talk and mini recital at the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation on 28 May, as part of our annual theme of “Power” to prove that music is the power that goes beyond country borders and reaches people’s hearts directly. No Japanese politician can attract the kind of crowds that YOSHIKI can.

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29 April 2014

Russia and the Power of Diplomacy: What can the International Community do?

The third seminar in our 2014 series on “Power”. In the previous seminar, we discussed “soft power”, and the panel concluded that a combination of hard and soft power, namely ‘smart power’, is the most effective way to influence other states in the contemporary world. But what can a weaker state with limited hard power (military force) do to deter other states? Can the international community be effective in pressuring stronger powers like Russia to change course without resorting to hard power? How can the diplomatic efforts of the international community be made effective?

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