Events category: Book launch

13 June 2018

Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice

In her book, Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice, Dr Kristin Surak explores the role of tea in Japan, including how its preparation and drinking became a strong symbol of Japan. In this event, Dr Surak will be in conversation with Hayato Hosoya, Academy Fellow at Chatham House, discussing the relationship between culture and nation and the position of the tea ceremony within an ever-changing Japan.

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5 June 2018

The State of the Japanese State: Contested Identity, Direction and Role

In Gavan McCormack’s latest book, he argues that whilst Shinzo Abe’s efforts to re-engineer the Japanese state may fail, his radicalism and various attempts to shake up the country will have consequences which are difficult to predict. The author will discuss his previous formulations of the Japanese state and will address his latest concerns about what he refers to as the ‘Rampant State’. He will conclude with a critical analysis of the Abe agenda for constitutional revision.

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4 July 2018

Corporate Governance and Value Creation in Japan

This is the first book to furnish a root cause of the low valuation of Japanese listed companies by using, as qualitative evidence, unique global investor surveys, which are rarely available for Japanese companies.
Illustrated with relevant statistics, evidence of shareholders’ voices, case studies, and empirical research, the book is highly recommended for readers who seek qualitative and quantitative evidence of Japan’s problems and potential prescriptions in connection with value creation.

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12 April 2018

Georges Bigot and Japan, 1882-1899: Satirist, Illustrator and Artist Extraordinaire

Incorporating over 250 illustrations, Georges Bigot and Japan is the first comprehensive study in English of French artist and caricaturist, Georges Ferdinand Bigot (1860-1927). Bigot remains well known in Japan where examples of his cartoons still appear in Japanese textbooks, but he is barely known in France, his home country, or in Britain. In this event, Sir Hugh Cortazzi will briefly introduce the volume, and Christian Polak will then give an illustrated talk about Bigot. The volume includes a full introduction of the life, work and artistry of Bigot by Polak, together with an essay by Sir Hugh on Charles Wirgman, publisher of Japan Punch.

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19 February 2018


Liv Grimstad is riding on a suburban train in Sydney, Australia in 1975 when she takes notice of the old man sitting opposite her. Though his features are different, she recognizes that man by the piercing look in his cornflower-blue eyes. Set in Australia in 1975 and Tokyo in 1945, “LIV” is a personal detective story and thrilling historical mystery that tells a universal tale about how the past bears on our present … and future. In this event, author Roger Pulvers spoke about “LIV”, as well as his previous novel, “Star Sand”, and showed parts of the film “Star Sand” that was released in Japan last year.

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6 February 2018

21st Century Shinto Studies

This event launched two books, “A Social History of the Ise Shrines: Divine Capital” by Mark Teeuwen and John Breen, and “Shinto, Nature and Ideology in Contemporary Japan: Making Sacred Forests” by Aike Rots. Mark Teeuwen addressed the topic of “The ever-changing Ise Shrines: Studying Ise’s history through the lens of its agents”, while John Breen focussed on the radical modern transformation of the Ise shrines. Aike Rots took a critical look at the new Shinto discourse on nature and the environment, as it came to the fore at the start of the 21st century.

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5 September 2017

A.B. Mitford and the Birth of Japan as a Modern State

In this talk, Dr Robert Morton presented a profile of A.B. Mitford as a young British diplomat and writer living in Japan during the turbulent years of 1866 to 1870. With his aristocratic bearing, charm, looks, perfect manners and remarkable courage, Mitford fitted into Japan perfectly. On the other hand, he was lucky to survive his posting.

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20 September 2017

Kotan Chronicles: Selected Poems, 1928-1943

Kotan Chronicles, a collection of texts translated into English for the first time, takes the reader into the lives of the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido, and their interaction with Japanese settlers in the 1920s and 1930s, a period when the traditional world of the kotan, or Ainu village, was being destroyed by the rapid development of the island. In this talk, Dr Nadine Willems discussed the poetry of Genzō Sarashina as both historical document and literary expression.

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25 July 2017

The Teabowl: East and West

In this talk, Dr Bonnie Kemske, author of the new book The Teabowl: East & West, looked at the context of the teabowl as it arose in chanoyu, or Japanese tea ceremony, and the changes it has undergone through the centuries.

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6 June 2017

Isabella Bird and Japan: A Reassessment

In this talk, Professor Kiyonori Kanasaka spoke about the different aspects of his Isabella Bird studies and activities. In particular, he considered how he came to understand Isabella Bird the person – her actions, decisions and motivations – and how and why her travels in Japan have been so widely misinterpreted and misunderstood.

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