Events category: Annual Seminar Series Seminar

25 March 2014

Soft Power- Influence and Persuasion

“Soft power” can be defined as a country’s ability to get what it wants by attracting rather than coercing others – by engaging hearts and minds through cultural and political values and foreign policies that other countries see as legitimate and conducive to their own interests. Is Japan’s use of its soft power a success at the moment? Is it possible for a state to use soft power and not make it look like propaganda?

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19 February 2014

The Power of Information and Knowledge

This first seminar of our 2014 series on the theme of “Power” will focus on the relationship between information and society, and how the understanding and use of information have been the primary factors in the development and character of the modern age. Prominent British historian Professor Jeremy Black and the Asahi Shimbun European Bureau Chief, Mr Toshiya Umehara discussed the power of information and knowledge, and the dangers of its absence. The seminar was chaired by Professor Arthur Stockwin.

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6 November 2013

Shifting Values: How should we care for older people in society?

Despite persistent economic weakness, Japan, as the country with the world’s oldest population, set out in 2000 to establish an entirely new approach to social care. Part-social insurance model, part-general taxation model, the Japanese system has grappled with a series of questions which we are facing in the social care sector here in the UK: what should the state offer; who should be eligible; and how should it be funded? The speakers and chair, Holly Holder, discussed the Japanese experience of health care reform, care for frail and/or vulnerable older people, and the latest thinking on the progress towards funding reform and integration in England.

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17 October 2013

Youth Entrepreneurship in Japan and the UK: New hope for ‘desperate societies’?

Amid gloomy news about deepening youth unemployment and increasingly precarious labour conditions, entrepreneurship has been highlighted as an alternative career path for today’s young adults in both Japan and the United Kingdom. There seems to be a general consensus — or at least a widely shared hope — that more entrepreneurial activity by the young will lead not only to more jobs and greater opportunity, but also to more economic growth. The speakers Noritoshi Furuichi, Japan’s leading young public sociologist. and Stephen Miller of UnLtd – the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, discussed whether youth entrepreneurship can truly serve as a source of hope and vitality for our affluent but ‘desperate’ modern societies, or whether we are we mistaken to place high expectations on young entrepreneurs without supporting their activity at a level commensurate with these expectations.

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10 July 2013

Shifting Values: Nationalism and Identity

For the third seminar in our series ‘The Search for Contentment: Shifting Values in the UK and Japan’, we have invited two speakers from the social sciences, Dr Toshihito Kayano, a Philosopher and Associate Professor of Tsuda College and Professor Eric Kaufmann of Birkbeck, University of London, to talk about identity and nationalism in the UK and Japan. Post-industrial societies seem to have reached a new phase in which they are focussing on issues such as community coherence and cosmopolitanism but nationalism is also on the rise in both Japan and the UK.

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28 June 2013

Shifting Values: What is the role of religion in the internet age?

Interest in formal religion is low in both the UK and Japan. Most people’s involvement is confined to the marking of major rites of passage or celebrating certain long-standing festivals Certainly the role of the church, shrine or temple as the focal point of a local community has been on the wane for some time, particularly in large cities. Has this role now been transferred to other community gatherings, such as football matches, or even to virtual internet communities in which people with similar interests can gather? And if people no longer take their ethical guidance from religion, what – if anything – have they replaced it with?

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28 March 2013

Shifting Values in Higher Education

In both Japan and the UK, university graduates face intense difficulties finding high-quality employment. In Japan, increasing numbers of young people are classified as ‘freeters’ (people who move frequently between low-paid casual jobs), NEETs (“Not in Education, Employment, or Training”), or hikikomori (young people who have withdrawn from society altogether). In the UK, the trebling of university tuition fees and the associated rise in student indebtedness has added to the pressure for higher education to provide clear routes to employment. But shouldn’t universities also have a broader mission? In difficult economic times, the balance may be shifting.

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10 October 2012

Leadership and Innovation

This was the sixth seminar in our 2012 series ‘Leadership: People and Power in the UK and Japan,’ chaired by Rosa Wilkinson, Director of Innovation of the Intellectual Property Office. Hiroyuki Itoh, CEO of Crypton Future Media, creator of the globally popular ‘vocaloid’ Hatsune Miku, and Dr Jaideep Prabhu, co-author of the book ‘Jugaad Innovation’ discussed leadership and innovation from their perspectives.

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