Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Visual Anthropology at the AJJ

The 2012 Anthropology of Japan in Japan (AJJ) Fall Workshop@Kyoto
Doshisha University, Muromachi Campus (Imadegawa) 
December 1st & 2nd, 2012

“Belonging in Japan and Beyond”

This meeting will explore what it means to feel a sense of Japanese cultural and/or national heritage within Japan or beyond its territorial borders.


Lots of good visual anthropology going on this week. Many thanks to my students for their efforts in creating photographs and films - both the photo exhibition and film festival were extremely successful. Thanks to all who came to both events.

In case you need another dose of visual anthro, you are in luck. The AJJ Fall Workshop is in the Kansai this year and has a lot of interesting presentations scheduled. Of particular interest to visual anthropologists will be this session:

Sunday, December 2nd, 13:30~15:30
Session 6 (Law School at the “Kambaikan,” 2F, Room KMB208)

Sights of Community: Exploring Belonging in Visual Practice
Organizer and Chair: Steven C. FEDOROWICZ (Kansai Gaidai University)

Belonging in the Work of Japanese Contemporary Artist Fuyuko Matsui (Eva MISKELOVA, Masaryk University / Kansai Gaidai University)

Exploring Devotees of a Sexy Cyber Green-Haired Guru (John SHULTZ, Kansai Gaidai University)

Fujoshi Between Pleasure and Danger: Yaoi/BL Fandom and the Management of Spoiled Identities in Japan (Jeffry T. HESTER, Kansai Gaidai University)

How to Play Deaf in Japan (Steven C. FEDOROWICZ, Kansai Gaidai University)

For more information about the AJJ Fall Workshop, check out the AJJ Blog: 

For directions to Doshisha University:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

VAOJ Student Film Festival Under the Stars

Join us outside on a cool, brisk autumn evening for a screening of students films. Bring a blanket or someone to keep you warm.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Film Screening: "Nuclear Nation"

Announcement from H-Japan:

Date: Wednesday, November 28th, at 18:30
Place: University of Tokyo, Collaboration Room 3 (4F), Building 18, Komaba Campus.
Film Length: 96 minutes. Subtitles: English. Trailer
Language: English | No registration required

Director: Funahashi Atsushi, Documentary Japan
Discussant: Sato Yoshiaki

While the Japanese government announced that the Tohoku nuclear crisis has been "stabilized" in November of 2011, the 20 km no-entry zone around the leaking plant in Fukushima remains in effect. Today, over a year after the disaster, there are as yet no plans for the thousands of evacuated residents to return home.

Director Funahashi Atsushi's film Nuclear Nation tells the story of Futaba, a small town inside the Fukushima no-entry zone. Located just 4 km from the nuclear plant, Futaba was evacuated in the early days of the crisis, as the plant operator struggled to bring the triple meltdown under control. Over 1,400 residents were relocated to an unused high school in Saitama, where they faced an unknown future.

Nuclear Nation patiently explores the lives of the town's refugees, in their search for both justice and a way forward. Through extensive interviews with former residents and local officials, the film gives a history of the invisible nuclear economy in Japan that is both lucid and highly revealing.

In the tradition of the best of Japanese documentary cinema, Funahashi has gone to extraordinary lengths to depict the situation of the Fukushima refugees, to communicate their voices, and to interrogate the promises and contradictions of the government's energy policy at the level of everyday life.

We are pleased invite you to join us for this special screening, to be followed by a discussion and Q & A with the director.

Funahashi Atsushi is an independent filmmaker working in both dramatic and documentary modes. His first films — Echoes (2001) and Big River (2006) — were produced while Funahashi lived in the United States. After returning to Japan in 2007, he has directed Deep in the Valley (2009), Nuclear Nation (2012), and Cold Bloom (2012). Funahashi's work has received wide critical attention and screenings at numerous international film festivals.

Prof. Sato Yoshiaki has taught American Literature and Popular Music in the Department of Culture and Representation at the University of Tokyo, Komaba. His publications include The Evolution of J-POP (1999) and What Was the Beatles? (2006). A distinguished translator, Prof. Sato has translated Gregory Bateson's Mind and Nature and Steps to an Ecology of Mind into Japanese. At present, he is translating the completed novels of Thomas Pynchon.

For more information:

Monday, November 19, 2012


Announcement from H-ASIA:

The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) annually hosts the premier North American conference of Asia scholars.  The AAS conference is devoted to scheduled programs of scholarly papers, roundtable discussions, workshops, and panel sessions on a wide range of issues in research and teaching on Asia, and on Asian affairs in general. Their upcoming conference is scheduled for March 21-24, 2013 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, CA.

Since 2011, the Asian Educational Media Service (AEMS), a program of the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois, has organized the AAS Film Expo presented at the conference. Films are projected in a dedicated screening room with a schedule running from Thursday afternoon through Saturday evening. For 2013, we are also planning for an additional "on demand" screening area, allowing greater viewing opportunities for attendees who miss scheduled screening times.

For the conference screenings, AEMS is seeking films related to Asia produced by scholars and independent filmmakers. Criteria utilized in the selection process include timeliness, broad appeal to the scholarly community, and examples of new field work. All films presented in the conference will be listed in both the AAS Annual Meeting Program Addendum and in an AAS Film Expo booklet brochure to be distributed at the conference that lists distributors and contact information for each film.

Follow the following address for more information and an application form.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Visual Anthropology Programs Along the Pacific Rim

The American Anthropological Association begins its annual meetings on Tuesday, November 13 in San Francisco. There are hundreds and hundreds of scheduled papers, presentations, workshops, etc. VAOJ will be participating in a round table discussion about visual anthropology programs along the Pacific Rim. Discussions will address topics such as various university program's core ethos (MA or BA, theoretical vs. applied, etc.), student demographics served, any trends in student interests, any notable projects, current challenges, and future directions. Essentially, it will be a 'snapshot' of programs in the region. The round table will be on Friday, November 16, 1:45 - 5:30 PM. Check it out.

Link to AAA 2012 Conference Program:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Deaf World Japan and Deaf Support Osaka Cultural Exchange

This last weekend students from my Deaf World Japan class took a fieldtrip to NPO Deaf Support Osaka for a cultural exchange and Japanese Sign Language (JSL) practice. Deaf Support Osaka has many programs to teach and promulgate JSL, offers a place for older deaf people to work and of course has the famous Deaf Cafe and art gallary. Students from Canada, Iceland, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States were able to meet deaf people and ask them questions about deaf culture. The deaf people also had questions for the foreign students about their own countries, reasons for coming to Japan and their thoughts on Japanese culture. The discussion was held in JSL (with only occasional English interpretation as needed). The event was a huge success - my students could practice their JSL skills with native signers and the deaf people could interact with foreigners (something many of them had not had much experience with). I hope this is only the beginning of this kind of exchange. Many deaf people told me afterwards that they hope to meet the students again. So, my students (and anyone else who is interested), please go back and practice your JSL at the Deaf Cafe!

Link to NPO Deaf Support Osaka webpage (in Japanese):

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Visual Anthropology of Japan Photo Exhibition: NPO Deaf Support Osaka GALAXY

Visual Anthropology of Japan
Photo Exhibition

NPO Deaf Support Osaka

Definition of GALAXY (

1. any of the very large groups of stars and associated matter that are found throughout the universe

2. an assemblage of brilliant or notable persons or things

NPO Deaf Support Osaka has many programs and activities designed to advance deaf people and propagate the use of Japanese Sign Language (JSL). This photo exhibition is a part of a long-term anthropological research project; it aims to showcase the myriad of people who participate is Deaf Support Osaka events. The galaxy is a large place, and Deaf Support Osaka has many more activities that cannot all be showcased in a single exhibition. This photo exhibition serves as an introduction to the galaxy of NPO Deaf Support Osaka with the hope of further exploration to come.

Place: NPO Deaf Support Osaka Gallery Cafe

Dates: November 1 - December 27, 2012
For more information: