Events category: Talk

22 March 2018

Japanese Security Legislation and Constitutional Reforms after the Elections: Prime Minister Abe’s Legacy?

In 2015, under Prime Minister Abe’s leadership, the Japanese government enacted controversial new security legislation with the aim to facilitate the country’s role as a ‘pro-active contributor’ to international peace and security. This seminar focuses on the political, legal, and strategic implications unfolding from possible constitutional reforms. This is a timely and much needed discussion with clear repercussions on Anglo-Japanese defence relations and on the prospects of Japan’s continued contribution to a stable international system. (The event is organised in cooperation with the King’s Japan Programme.)

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27 February 2018

Hands of Goze: the Tactile Culture of Visually Impaired People in Modern Japan

In this talk, Professor Kojiro Hirose discussed “the hands of Goze” and approach the relevance and the possibility of Goze culture from three different angles: “touching the sound”, “touching the colour”, and “touching the heart”. Referencing Goze folk songs, which Goze created and spread as their own oral traditions, Professor Hirose clarified the role that tactile culture of visually impaired people should play in today’s society.

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16 January 2018

Japanese Corporate Governance – The Inside Story

In this talk, Gerhard Fasol is joined by Sir Stephen Gomersall to discuss the reforms to Japanese corporate governance made in recent years, based on their direct experiences as non-Japanese Directors of Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Japanese companies. The speakers will also discuss issues of diversity and its importance for the quality of management in Japanese corporations.

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23 January 2018

The Extraordinary Untold Story of James Bond and Japan

For a James Bond locale, exotic Japan fits the bill nicely with sliding doors and ninjas, high-tech gadgetry and interesting options for expendable henchmen. Yet for Ian Fleming Japan offered more than literary background colour. Grab your Beretta, put on your tuxedo and fire up the Bentley… In this talk, Dr Damian Flanagan took us on a thrilling spy adventure, showing us Japan in a way we had never imagined before – the extraordinary untold true story of Bond, James Bond and Japan.

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3 November 2017

Joso's Japan: Nature, Blood and Dust

Novelist Jayne Joso discussed Japan’s deep affinity with nature, how this permeates traditional everyday life and culture, and how it pulses through the country’s art and literature. She talked us through the insights she gained into Japan’s relationship with nature as one of a cycle of transmigration, as one that places the human in equal relation, and as one that is for forever fluid, dynamic and ultimately humbling.

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9 November 2017

Turning Point: The Momentous Events that Created Modern Japan

To Japan, the arrival of Commodore Perry and his Black Ships in 1853 was almost as shocking as if Martians had landed. In this talk, Lesley Downer began by setting the scene on the cusp of Perry’s arrival, telling the story of the Black Ships from both Japanese and American viewpoints. Her talk was illustrated with contemporary documents and pictures including woodblock prints of Perry and Harris as seen through Japanese eyes, and American drawings of the Japanese.

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26 September 2017

Kumamoto: Earthquakes and Art

In April 2016, Kumamoto Prefecture was hit by two massive earthquakes in two successive nights. The Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, was damaged, but most of the artworks were saved, and it was able to reopen within a month as a cultural hub. Director of the Museum Takeshi Sakurai talked about his work there both before and after the earthquake, as well as the progress of reconstruction in Kumamoto more broadly.

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29 June 2017

How to Deal with a Rising China: a Japanese Perspective

In this talk at the University of Cambridge, Professor Akio Takahara approached the bilateral relations in a comprehensive way and explore four areas of factors in the relationship, namely, domestic politics, economic interests, international environment and security, and people’s perceptions and identity.

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20 June 2017

Chiune Sugihara: Visas of Life

Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat based in the Japanese consulate in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1940, went against his superiors and granted more than 2,000 transit visas to Jewish refugees looking to escape Europe by travelling to Japan, helping as many as 6,000 Jews to flee. In this event, Akira Kitade shared the stories of the fateful encounters between Japanese civilians and Jewish refugees at a time of life and death during the Second World War.

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1 June 2017

Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan

The House of Illustration hosted the UK’s first ever exhibition of handmade background illustrations for classic sci-fi anime films. It featured drawings and paintings from some of the most influential productions in the genre’s 1990s heyday, including Production I.G’s phenomenally influential 1995 film Ghost in the Shell. In this talk, House of Illustration curator Olivia Ahmad, was joined in conversation by the exhibition’s curator Stefan Riekeles and Helen McCarthy, author of The Anime Encyclopaedia.

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