Past Events

4 December 2018

2.5D Theatre: staging Anime, Manga and Video Games in Europe

In Japan, anime, manga and video games generate their own live shows and the 2.5D theatre brand is ever growing. In the West, Japanese franchises have yet to make real inroads on the stage. But looking at the history of Western fandom and the growing interest in East-Asian entertainment, there are signs that the balance is beginning to shift. In this talk Helen McCarthy and Alexandra Rutter looked at the potential of staging anime in European theatres.

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29 November 2018

Approaching a new nuclear threat age - what can we learn from Hiroshima?

President Donald Trump recently announced his intention to withdraw the US from its nuclear arms treaty with Russia and his desire to develop the US nuclear arsenal. The news shocked civil society in both Europe and Japan. This seminar looked at the challenges facing nuclear treaties in the current international context and discussed the lessons that can be learnt from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. Michimasa Hirata, a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, spoke about his experiences during and after the nuclear explosion.

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26 November 2018

Japan’s New Security Partnerships

In this book launch Professor Wilhelm Vosse and Professor Paul Midford introduced the edited volume, Japan’s New Security Partnerships. Japan has begun to actively develop its security ties with a number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. The book analyses the motives and objectives from both the Japanese and the partner-countries’ perspectives and asks what this might mean for the security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region, and what lessons can be learned for security cooperation more broadly.

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23 November 2018

The Wonders of Urushi

Urushi, the sap from the urushi tree from which authentic lacquerware is made, has been used in Japan since ancient times. In this talk Suzanne Ross discussed the origins of Japanese urushi culture, how urushi is extracted from trees and the methods used to create lacquerware. She also discussed the dangers which are facing urushi and why it is necessary to preserve this cultural asset.

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22 November 2018

New approaches to security: Does Japan have other options than the US?

Japan’s foreign and security policy has remained unchanged under the leadership of Prime Minister Abe, and the Japan-US alliance remains strong. However, this relationship is by no means assured and with the Trump administration anything could happen. In the longer term, America may become a less reliable ally and weaken its obligations to defend Japan. These changes in the international landscape raise numerous questions surrounding the US-Japan Security Treaty. This seminar addressed these questions and discuss how Japan should best maintain its peace and prosperity in this new age.

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16 November 2018

Looking Back in Time at the Shikoku Pilgrimage

It is thought that there are over 200 pilgrimage routes in Japan, however many have disappeared over the years. The Shikoku pilgrimage, a 1,200 kilometre route around the island of Shikoku, has gained a lot of attention internationally. In this talk, David Moreton took the audience journey back in time to about 100 years ago to learn about the first Westerners who experienced this pilgrimage, faith-building and miraculous stories related to the Shikoku pilgrimage, and how this journey was promoted to the world so long ago.

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15 November 2018

Artist talk: Tsuyoshi Anzai in conversation with Dr Dean Kenning

Tsuyoshi Anzai discussed his ‘Jailhouse Locke’ exhibition with Dr Dean Kenning, Lecturer in the MRes Art: Theory and Philosophy at the Central Saint Martins and Research Fellow at the Kingston School of Art. Anzai’s works pose questions about the “thereness” of everyday items.  Breaking free of what the artist defines as the “modern disease of the subject/object distinction created by Descartes”, Anzai’s works challenge the visitors to look beyond simplifications and into the intertwined complexities of our modern world.

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8 November 2018

Shōjin Ryōri and the Power of Vegetables

Shōjin ryōri is monastic vegetarian cuisine which has existed in Japan since the 6th century, becoming widespread from the 13th century onwards. In this talk, Toshio Tanahashi explained the philosophy and history of shōjin while also demonstrating some practical cooking techniques. Tanahashi’s style of cooking goes beyond the traditional, offering a new and unique style, which is simultaneously both the oldest and latest food innovation from Japan.

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6 November 2018

Private View: Jailhouse Locke by Tsuyoshi Anzai

The kinetic works and paintings presented in Tsuyoshi Anzai’s first solo exhibition in the UK pose questions about the ‘thereness’ of everyday items. Taking inspiration from the Platonic philosophical assumption of a world of ideas which is hidden from human senses, Anzai’s works attempt to disrupt the way we unconsciously and passively perceive “representation”, and challenge visitors to look beyond simplifications and into the intertwined complexities of our modern world.

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31 October 2018

Japan Story: In Search of a Nation, 1850 to the Present

In this book launch, Dr Christopher Harding introduced his latest book Japan Story. This book explores how the modern nation of Japan has manged to radically reinvent itself since the beginning of the Meiji era. Japan Story looks at the changes that took place in Japan during the 1850s and 1860s and after World War Two. Harding also looks at the present day, questioning if a third transformation may soon occur in Japan.

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26 October 2018

The Forgotten War 1914-18

October 4 1918, the Hirano Maru, a Japanese vessel, was torpedoed by the German U boat, UB91 in the Irish Sea . Of the 320 Japanese sailors on board, only 29 survived. In this talk, David James discussed the sinking of the Hirano Maru. He also talked about his efforts to restore the memorial in Angle, Pembrokeshire, which is dedicated to the Japanese sailors who lost their lives. The new memorial was unveiled in Angle on October 4th 2018.

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25 October 2018

New approaches to addressing climate change in the UK and Japan

Temperatures soared this summer in both the UK and Japan and global temperatures continue to rise faster than the rate predicted by climate modelling. This raises many questions about the implications of climate change, which this seminar attempted to address. Professor Sam Fankhauser and Dr Takeshi Kuramochi outlined the current patterns of climate change and discussed the social, economic and environmental consequences of climate change. They then analysed current government policies which are being implemented to deal with climate change.

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