Friday, May 7, 2021

Representations of Deaf People in Japan: Inspiration, Outrage and Real Life

Abstract: This presentation examines representations of deaf people in Japan as related to so-called "inspiration porn" -- the idealization of disabled people doing everyday tasks (e.g. riding a train, having a job) or for achievements having nothing to do with their particular disability (e.g. deaf athletes). Cross-cultural examples, academic models, observations and perspectives will be discussed to explore how disabled and deaf people are portrayed in various media. Japanese deaf people are often critical of the representations of deaf protagonists and characters in popular television dramas and movies. Such representations create strong but inaccurate images of deafness and sign language that ultimately serve to perpetuate deficit models of disability. On the other hand, representations of disabled/deaf people themselves challenge and add to a social welfare discourse, leading to (re)evaluations of societal norms and attitudes towards disability.

In English, with real-time captioning (CART)

Friday, May 14, 2021, 10:00 AM (Japan time)

Register here:

Inquiries (e-mail):

Asian Ethnology Podcast 2021. Interview with Steven Fedorowicz: Deaf Communities in Japan. Nanzan University. By Mark Bookman.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

「The Last Call: A Visual Ethnography of Drinking Establishments in Japan Before and During COVID-19」Presentation at the Central States Anthropological Society Virtual Annual Meeting

The Last Call: A Visual Ethnography of Drinking Establishments in Japan Before and During COVID-19

Steven C. Fedorowicz
Asian Studies Program
Kansai Gaidai University

Abstract: This presentation is a multimodal visual ethnography of drinking establishments such as izakaya (“Japanese pubs”) and tachinomiya (“standing bars”) in Japan before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus will be on a 40-year-old standing bar in Osaka called Tenbun. Tenbun serves many kinds of alcohol and food items and has a lively atmosphere with plenty of colorful characters, including the owner, employees and regular customers. Not only is it a popular place to eat and drink, it is an important setting for socialization. This study is based upon over two years of dedicated participant-observation and photography, a photo exhibition and other post-fieldwork encounters. Since the onset of COVID-19, out of necessity, eating and drinking behavior has changed and many izakaya, tachinomiya and restaurants have been forced to close. Tenbun closed shop in March, 2020. This research project examines the intersection of food anthropology, multimodal research methods, recent research on drinking establishments and the plethora of “foodie” media productions. It has also become a form of salvage ethnography. My data and photographs not only preserve Tenbun but also document the eating, drinking and socializing habits of Japan before the COVID-19 pandemic.

This presentation will be in session 2-08 on Sunday, April 25, 2021. Session time slot is 4:45-6:30 Central Daylight Time.
(Monday, April 26, 2021, 6:45-8:30 AM in Japan.)
For information about the CSAS Annual Meeting:

Thursday, April 8, 2021

"Japanese Food - Better Than Sex?"

Is Japanese cuisine good? Many in Japan say it's better than anything else in the world. Yes, including THAT. Watch our video for the details!


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

In Case My Students Still Don't Understand What Vis Anth Is: "What is Visual Anthropology | Definition, History, and Career Opportunities | Off the Shelf 5"

What is visual anthropology? What do visual anthropologists do, exactly? In this episode, we'll address those questions and more... defining the field, explaining its unique history, and covering the types of careers that students in visual anthropology could have in the future.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

"BOWIE x KYOTO x SUKITA - Masayoshi Sukita Photo Exhibition"

"Time-TIME BOWIE x KYOTO x SUKITA Masayoshi Sukita Photo Exhibition" will be held at the museum "Eki" KYOTO. In this exhibition, photographer Masayoshi Sukita will exhibit a photograph of Kyoto, which David Bowie loved, in order to organize the past time and re-engrave it in his heart.

Masayoshi Sukita was born in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1938. After graduating from Nippon Photography Institute, studied under Shisui Tanahashi. Known for his diverse work in advertising, music and movies. Representative photo books include David Bowie's "Ki", ​​"Speed ​​of Life", "T-REX 1972", "YMO x SUKITA", and Kiyoshiro Imawano's "Soul". Filmed many domestic and foreign musicians, including the jacket of David Bowie's album "Heroes". In recent years, he has held David Bowie photo exhibitions in England, France, Italy, Germany, the United States, Australia, etc., and plans to publish a photo book "BOWIE x KYOTO x SUKITA" in April this year.

The first encounter between a photographer and a rock artist was in London in 1972. Then, the exchange between the two through photographs lasted for more than 40 years until 2016, when Bowie passed away. In particular, the time they spent in Kyoto on March 29, 1980 is said to remain in Sukita's heart.

In this exhibition, Sukita's work, which is a photograph of Bowie spending time in Kyoto, and a new work that Sukita took in Kyoto for this time will be exhibited.

Session April 3rd to May 5th, 2021
Venue Museum "Eki" KYOTO
Street address Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Shimogyo-ku Karasumaru-dori Shiokoji-dori Higashishiokoji-cho JR Kyoto Isetan 7th floor adjacent
Opening hours 10: 00-19: 30 (Admission is 30 minutes before closing)
Admission fee General 900 yen / University / High school students 700 yen / Elementary and junior high school students 500 yen
access Immediately after getting off at JR Kyoto Station


Thanks to MK for the heads up on this.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Jalan Jalan (98): Some Two-Frames to Show Ba-Spaces in the Neighborhood

In everyday thinking, spaces and places are generally seen as empty vessels where human activity occurs. Digging a bit deeper, we can distinguish spaces from places: places are spaces that have meanings attached... Focusing on the Japanese concept ba – usually translated as ‘place’ – this study recognizes that places imbued with social meaning influence human behavior. Ba takes into account the social context, the norms that dictate behavior, the mood of a place, and the individual’s feelings about it. Conceptualized as ba, places limit and direct what we can do, and in the process, shape who we are.

Partial description of the new book, Anthropology of Ba (KAJIMARU Gaku, Caitlin Coker, KAZAMA Kazuhiro, 2021, Trans Pacific Press). I haven't read the book yet, but I am looking forward to it...

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

"Be a Ninja: Cough etiquette is ninja knowledge"

This poster, as seen at train stations and inside trains, is from a current joint manner campaign by 19 railway companies in the Kansai area. The poster has the theme of "Consideration for the surroundings of coughing and sneezing." Good timing as cases in Osaka are again on the rise.

What else is written on the poster?

"How to cover your mouth"

"Prevention of spread of new coronavirus infection"

"Cooperate in wearing a mask in the car"

List of the 19 participating railway companies

Press release about the campaign (in Japanese):

The cute little ninja looks kinda sick under his mask if you ask me... When can we expect vaccines?

Monday, March 29, 2021

「Tenbun Closing」One Year Anniversary, pt. 2: Tenbun People See the Photo Essay (the subjects become the audience once again)

The gang got together for the first time in months. Some have gone through hardships and losses. But it was good to get together at this Italian restaurant. Everyone was happy and thrilled with the photo essay!
For more information on Tenbun and the project: 「Behind the Scenes:「Tenbun Closing」Presentation @ Anthropology of Japan in Japan Annual Meeting 2020」

「Eat, Drink, and Stand in Japan」at Anthropology News (oneline version)

Sunday, March 28, 2021

「Tenbun Closing」One Year Anniversary, pt. 1: Empty Space

March 28, 2020 was Tenbun's last day of business. One year later the location of Tenbun is empty space. The red circles on the floor guide for エルくずは (Elle Kuzuha) show where Tenbun was (lot 5) and that no new shop has opened there.

The Norengai is no more (only two shops seem to have a small noren now). This shot was taken at 5:30 PM last Thursday. The renamed エルくずは is no longer a busy and popular corridor like it once was. The demise was likely caused by the refurbishment/gentrification of the area by Keihan Densha, higher rents, more chain restauraunts, the close of the pachinko parlour and finally the close of Tenbun. COVID-19 was the last nail in the coffin. In all, three shops have gone out of business and remain vacant. At least one shop seems to be at least temporarily closed.
Shuttered and closed. But not forgotten...

For more information on Tenbun and the project: 「Behind the Scenes:「Tenbun Closing」Presentation @ Anthropology of Japan in Japan Annual Meeting 2020」

「Eat, Drink, and Stand in Japan」at Anthropology News (oneline version)