Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Paper Presentation at ASCJ: "Visualizing the Deaf in Contemporary Japan"

The Asian Studies Conference Japan will take place at J.F. Oberlin University in Tokyo, June 29-30, 2013. of special interest to visual anthropologists is the following presentation:

Visualizing the Deaf in Contemporary Japan

Steven C. Fedorowicz, Kansai Gaidai University

This paper provides an ethnographic and visual description of contemporary Japanese deaf people based upon long-term research among deaf individuals and groups in Osaka, Japan. Academics describe deaf people in terms of cultural and deficit/social welfare models. The language of deaf people is similarly divided between a “true” Japanese Sign Language (JSL) and a signed version of spoken Japanese. Major deaf organizations are usually described as radical exclusive or conservative inclusive. This paper argues that these models do not work as an either/or situation but rather as also/and situations along the lines of Bakhtin’s architectonics. Deaf people live through these models simultaneously, shifting through combinations as their immediate concerns necessitate, resulting in multiple identities and various forms of language use. Real life conflicts and political debates dealing with family, friends, work, education and other social domains ensue. Japanese Deaf researchers describe this condition as a process of pluralization created by multiple groups and individuals rather than falling under the hegemony of major organizations or heuristic models. Data for this paper comes from recent classes, clinics, workshops, projects and lectures conducted by and for deaf people themselves with the goals of sharing perspectives and exploring their own place(s) in society. This paper falls under the category of visual anthropology in terms of research subjects (using a visual form of language), methods (photography and video in analysis) and presentation (photography and video accompanying text).

Sunday, June 30, 2013, 1:30 PM Session 36, J.F. Oberlin University, Machida Campus, Meimeikan Room A304

For more information about the ASCJ:

Monday, June 24, 2013

"Deaf bartender raises game to thrive in Ginza"

Photo and text borrowed from The Japan Times, 6/13/13.

Dai Igarashi is a bartender in Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza entertainment district, attending to customers like any barkeep but with one difference — he is totally deaf.

As the manager of Bell Sign, which caters to hearing-impaired people, Igarashi communicates in sign language. But since people with normal hearing also visit the bar, he keeps writing boards on the counter to communicate or resorts to lip-reading and speaking.

Igarashi, 31, was born deaf and attended a school for the hearing-impaired until he was 21. Part of his education was learning oralism — a method that teaches lip-reading and breathing patterns used in speech to communicate through oral means — in junior high school.

Oralism teaches people how to interpret and mimic mouth shapes, but it isn’t perfect. For example, words that evoke similar lip movements, such as “tabako” (cigarette) and “tamago” (egg), or “gomi” (garbage) and “kopi” (copy), are often difficult to distinguish by the deaf.

In high school, Igarashi learned sign language, which made him feel happy because “I could express myself,” he said. He mastered it in two months.

This helped him become more active.

Read the whole article:

Monday, June 10, 2013

New on-line database: Enemy of the People - Visual Depictions of Chiang Kai-shek

Announcement from H-ASIA:

The 'Enemy of the People' database has recently been established by Dr Jeremy E. Taylor at the University of Nottingham, and has been designed to catalogue the ways in which the Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek was visually denigrated by various groups at different points throughout the twentieth century. It includes scans of a wide range of depictions of Chiang by groups as diverse as the Imperial Japanese Army, communist Chinese cartoonists, Soviet propagandists, American caricaturists, and Taiwanese independence activists. Posters, leaflets, and oil paintings, as well as photographic images of effigies and defaced sculptures, are all included. The database also includes a background essay on the collection, and information on selected images.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), the database has been designed to aid students, scholars, and anyone else with an interest in the depiction of Chinese (and other) leaders, propaganda art, and visual history. It is hoped that the collection will prove to be of relevance not only to those with an interest in Chiang Kai-shek, but to anyone with an interest in the depiction of authoritarian leaders in Asia and beyond.

New Resource: Great Kantō Earthquake Japan, September 1923 Image Site

Announcement from H-Japan:

The Great Kanto Earthquake Japan of 1923 provides access to 199 images from a historical album of still photos captured destruction by the deadliest earthquake occurred on September 1st, 1923.

The project was funded by the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library and the National Research Center, East Asia Grant (NRC-EA).