Past Events

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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18 October 2018

Beyond Fukushima: capturing untold stories of nuclear disasters

The work of the Japanese photographer Kazuma Obara explores the untold histories and stories of victims of nuclear disasters. He has documented the effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. In this talk, chaired by Ele Carpenter, Kazuma discussed the various challenges that he has encountered in visual storytelling. He also talked about his contemporary photobooks, including ‘Reset Beyond Fukushima’ and ‘Exposure’, which he uses to tell these stories.

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9 October 2018

Health and Care Systems in the Era of Super Ageing

Various demographic, social and economic shifts across Europe and Asia have increased concern regarding the ability of these societies to provide sufficient quality and quantity care for their older citizens. As both the UK and Japan continue to age health and care systems will have to adapt to be able to afford health services. This seminar discussed how health and care systems in Japan and the UK are adapting to cope with these challenges in their efforts to provide affordable, quality care.

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5 October 2018

Artist Talk: Akira Yamaguchi in conversation with Tim Clark

Akira Yamaguchi and Tim Clark, head of the Japanese section in the Asia Department, British Museum, and a specialist in ukiyo-e, discussed the artist’s influences, as shown in his exhibition Resonating Surfaces, and his attempt to resolve the contradiction of being a painter inheriting the legacy of classical Japanese art, but also trained at art school to follow Western (oil-based) painting techniques.

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3 October 2018

New Approaches to Ainu Contemporary Art

Despite facing discrimination in Japan, the indigenous Ainu people have maintained their own culture and art. The Ainu have developed their art through their everyday life and it has its own unique value and beauty. Surprisingly, Ainu art has been largely ignored in Japan but has received attention in other countries such as the UK. In this seminar the Ainu artist Toru Kaizawa will talk about his passion for Ainu contemporary art; Professor Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere will explain why she values Ainu contemporary art; and Professor Simon Kaner will explore Ainu art from a historical perspective.

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2 October 2018

Private View: Resonating Surfaces by Akira Yamaguchi

The works exhibited here present Akira Yamaguchi’s attempt to resolve the contradiction of being a painter inheriting the legacy of classical Japanese art, but also trained at art school to follow Western (oil-based) painting techniques. Experimenting with different media and questioning the cultural significance of “oil on canvas”, Yamaguchi’s works urge the viewer to reconsider arbitrary boundaries within art history, while inviting us to contemplate the visible and invisible “resonances” of painting.
This exhibition is held in collaboration with Mizuma Art Gallery, Tokyo.

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26 September 2018

Fintech trends in Japan and the UK

The financial industry is facing a rapid change as new disruptive technologies emerge for the benefit of consumers. In this seminar, the development of payment related services, open banking and cryptocurrency legislation in Japan was discussed. This was followed by a talk on the recent developments in the UK fintech sector.

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6 September 2018

Archives and secret papers: uncovering hidden truth

We live in a world where we are surrounded by endless information.  However, when information is so readily available, how do we tell fact from fiction?  In this seminar, three journalists, who specialise in uncovering new facts by using National Archives, will discuss how public documents can be used to reveal government secrets, both past and present, and uncover the truth in Japan and the UK.  Although the use of archives is a long-standing journalistic practice, in our information saturated societies, it may take on new importance in the dissemination of knowledge.

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4 September 2018

Political Leadership and Policy-Making Processes under the Abe Administration: What has gone wrong?

This seminar discussed the LDP Abe Administration, which, although a product of several political and administrative reforms since the 1990s, continues to raise new questions: is it really working well and precisely what we expected? Has Japan departed from the traditional model defined by weak government and strong civil servants? This seminar attempted to answer these questions.

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26 July 2018

The Women of Ishikawa

Be drawn into the faraway world of The Women of Ishikawa: a selection of strange, hilarious, and tragic folk stories from the mountains of Ishikawa, brought over from Japan and performed by Doubtful Sound. The show is in a mix of Kaga-ben (the local dialect) and English, and the stories are sprinkled with traditional folk songs from the SOAS Min’yo Group. 

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24 July 2018

Zen Buddhism

Zen Buddhism attracts a great deal of attention from around the world. In this talk, Toda Seizan, the head priest of Daiji-in Daitokuji temple, discussed the close relationship between Zen Buddhism and the Japanese tea ceremony. He talked about the Heart Sutra, which is one of the most familiar sutras in Japan. There was the chance to experience dokkyou (sutra chanting) and shakyou (sutra transcription).

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17 July 2018

Kokeshi from Tohoku with Love

Kokeshi are traditional wooden dolls that are produced in the Tohoku region of Japan. They are considered to be an icon of Japan, reflecting Japanese aesthetic sensibilities with their simple, elegant and minimalist designs. At this event Manami Okazaki will talk about these quirky dolls. A range of Kokeshi will also be on display, providing a rare opportunity to see new styles alongside traditional designs.

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