Friday, April 5, 2024

"Anthropology society apologizes to Ainu people over past actions"

Image and text from The Japan Times, 4/5/24.

The Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology has apologized and expressed its regret over its past research approach when dealing with the Ainu people, an indigenous group in the country.

It marks the first time that an academic society in Japan or abroad has apologized to the Ainu people, according to the Ainu Association of Hokkaido, a group of Ainu people working to promote their collective rights.

“That it has issued a sincere statement and apology is a step toward removing the distrust of academia,” a spokesperson for the association said.

The apology comes after a series of lawsuits filed in the 2010s seeking the repatriation of Ainu remains excavated for research purposes.

The society said that past mistakes resulting from the attitude that deemed research to be more important than respecting the Ainu people can never be undone. It sincerely acknowledges and regrets its past mistakes, it said.

The society also offered its apology and expressed its sense of responsibility to the Ainu people in the hope that they will lead to better communication with the group in the future.

“This statement does not arise from a selfish desire to impose something on the Ainu people. Nor is it issued to alleviate our own guilt,” Yoshinobu Ota, a member of the society's subcommittee on ethical issues related to Ainu studies, said in a news conference on Friday. “We want to use it as a starting point for communication and understanding, to learn about the questions and concerns the Ainu people continue to hold and what they want to know,” he added.

Shuji Iijima, the head of the society's ethics committee, also provided insight into the background of the apology. He said the society had been involved in various activities since 2022 to reflect introspectively on its past actions, including holding several symposiums to discuss its previous approach when conducting research into the Ainu people.

Iijima said that the committee had conducted interviews with a group of 36 Ainu people, consisting of 24 men and 12 women.

“In particular, it was mentioned that every time researchers visited, items disappeared from their homes,” he said. “Furthermore, it was noted that when researchers wanted to conduct research, they would come to consult the Ainu side, but when the Ainu people were in trouble, the researchers would not help.”

Iijima also said that the interviewees told him of unpleasant experiences in educational settings, such as the mishandling of materials they provided to classrooms.

“There were several who expressed a sense of resignation, saying that no matter how many times they spoke, researchers would not change anyway,” he said.

Ota said that examining researchers’ past involvement with the Ainu people further would be crucial for the academic society to decide on its future research approach, as researchers could face similar issues on ethics when dealing with indigenous people in other parts of the world.

It's not everyday that an anthropology academic association makes the news. This is a case of "too little, to late." It's unfortunate that anthropology doesn't make the news for all the good things...


Sunday, March 17, 2024


A way too long overdue update on the blog... But I am too lazy to put them in proper categories. So much good stuff is out there and available... Scroll down to see the new resource list of links on the left side... Recommendations for additions always welcome...

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Yes! "Cover your coughs and sneezes to protect yourself and others."

Photo from Japan Today, 3/13/24.

"Good Manners" Picture of the Day at Japan Today (3/13/24). Caption reads: A poster on the wall of a subway station in Tokyo asks commuters to cover their nose and mouth when they sneeze or cough.

So many people, both with and without masks, fail to cover their mouths when they cough, sneeze and yawn on the bus and train. This needs to be remedied.


Friday, February 16, 2024

The Photo Exhibition Has Ended... Thank you for your interest, support, coming to see our photos, talking with us, filling out our survey, sipping the sacred sake and eating the treats... If you couldn't come, or you want more, we will be presenting at the KGU IRI Forum on 2/22/24.

So many came out to the exhibition - friends, colleagues, matsuri experts, former students, new students, new friends (including interested passersby) ... Thank you so much! We are so grateful! We finished on Tuesday and then it was back to school (and a faculty report meeting) on Wednesday. I am exhausted. Please allow me a little more time to send personal messages and photos to those who came. If you couldn't make it, or you want more, we will be presenting for the KGU IRI Forum, who funded a great deal of our research.

The 10th IRI Research Forum
第 10 回 IRI 言語・文化研究フォーラム 

日時 (Date and Time):2024 年 2 月 22 日(木) 10:30~16:30 
会場 (Place): 関西外国語大学・中宮キャンパス ICC 

「Through Multi-sighted Photographies」


Steven C. Fedorowicz and Lucile Druet 
スティーブン C. フェドロウィツとルシル ドルーエ 

第3室/Room 3 (6312 教室), 10:50 – 11:30 

Kansai Gaidai University Intercultural Research Institute

See you there, and/or see you again!

Friday, February 9, 2024

明日から写真展始まります! Photo Exhibition Starts Tomorrow!

Through Multi-sighted Photographies」

A Photo Exhibition by Lucile Druet and Steven C. Fedorowicz


ルシル ドルーエとスティーブン C. フェドロウィツによる写真展

2024 February 10 (Sat) ~ 13 (Tues)
2024年2月10日(土) ~ 13日(火)
11:00 - 18:00
(last day / 最終日は 11:00 - 16:00)

JARFO Art Square
Kyoto, Japan

Gallery Info:

Accessibility/barrier-free information:

This project is a collaboration that explores Japanese matsuri through the intersections of social science research and visual representation. Fedorowicz’s field sites are autumn danjiri festivals in his own neighborhood in Osaka. His research-based art is long-term, community-based, participatory, reflexive and informed by sensory ethnography and multimodality. Druet’s field sites are Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri. Her art-based research examines vernacular photography, spectacle, iconicity and the performative presence of the Kyoto geisha as dancers and models. Meshing their visions and what they captured together, the photographers want the images they took in these clearly separate loci to be features in a duo exhibition, juxtaposing 40 photos of the Kyoto and Osaka matsuri they engaged in with their cameras and embodied positions as researchers. The photographers hope that the visitors to this exhibition will participate in the research by supplying ideas and opinions through surveys, interview and informal discussions.

このプロジェクトは、社会科学研究とビジュアル表現の交わり (intersections) を通して日本の祭りを探求する共同プロジェクトである。 フェドロウィツの研究対象は、彼が住む大阪の秋のだんじり祭りで、彼のリサーチに基づくアートは、長期的、地域密着型、参加型、再帰的で、感覚エスノグラフィーとマルチモダリティの影響を受けている。一方、ドルーエの研究対象は、京都で最も祇園祭と時代祭である。彼女の芸術をベースとした研究では、ヴァナキュラー写真、壮観、アイコン性、そして、ダンサー・モデルとしての京都芸者のパフォーマティブな存在について考察している。自分たちのそれぞれのビジョンとカメラで撮影したものを融合させることで、明らかに別々の場所で撮影した写真を、今回の「デュオ展」の目玉として、京都・大阪で撮りためた写真40枚を展示する。来場者にはアンケートやインタビュー、非公式なディスカッションを通じて、アイデアや意見を共有してほしい。

Lucile Druet is Associate Professor of Japanese Arts and Culture at Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka. Her teaching covers literature, painting traditions, theatrical performances, film and Japanese fashion. Interested in the visual and aesthetical intersection of clothing and embodiment, she researches how kimono is practiced nowadays in Kyoto and how it appears in works of fiction and poetry. See more of her photographic work at:

Steven C. Fedorowicz is a cultural anthropologist, visual anthropologist and Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Asian Studies Program at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka. He has lived in Japan for over 25 years. His research interests include deaf communities, sign language, religion, ritual, performance, B-kyu gourmet, drinking establishments and ethnographic photography. See more of his work at:

ルシル ドルーエは、大阪にある関西外国語大学の日本芸術文化准教授。文学、絵画の伝統、演劇、映画、日本のファッション等、多岐にわたって教鞭をとっている。衣服と体現の視覚的、美的交差に興味を持ち、現在京都でどのように着物が着られているのか、小説や詩の中で着物がどのように表現されるのか、研究を重ねている。ドルーエの写真作品は下記のサイトで閲覧可能である:

スティーブン C. フェドロウィツは、文化人類学者、ビジュアル人類学者であり、彼もまた大阪にある関西外国語大学留学生別科の准教授でもある。日本に住んで25年、研究テーマは多岐にわたり、ろう者コミュニティ、手話、宗教、儀式、パフォーマンス、B級グルメ、飲み屋、民族写真などが含まれる。フェドロウィツの作品は下記のサイト閲覧可能である:

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

「Matsuri」 Photo Exhibition Accessibility and Barrier-free Information 「祭り」 写真展 アクセシビリティ・バリアフリーについて

Through Multi-sighted Photographies」


2024 February 10 (Sat) ~ 13 (Tues)
2024年2月10日(土) ~ 13日(火)
11:00 - 18:00
(last day / 最終日は 11:00 - 16:00)

JARFO Art Square
Kyoto, Japan

Gallery Info:

See the promo flyer:

English (英語の後に日本語の案内が表示されます):
Where to go, how to get there, and what to expect along the way...

JARFO Art Square
Higashiyama-ku, Furukawachō 545
605-0026 Kyōto
JARFO Art Square is 3 minutes away from the Tozai Line Higashiyama Station and 10 minutes away from the Keihan Sanjo Station.

Kyoto Tozai Line stations are largely accessible and wheelchair-friendly, with elevators, narrow gaps between platform and train, and no height differences at places like restrooms. At Higashiyama Station, take Exit 2. There are elevators and barrier-free restrooms inside the station available near Exit 2.
The gallery is about 3 minutes away from the station. Upon reaching the street level, turn left. Turn left again when you reach the nearby shopping arcade.
After the first intersection, the gallery will be on the right side.

Keihan Sanjo Station has elevators and a barrier-free restroom on the ticket gate level near the central exit (on the Osaka-bound side).
You can transfer to the Tozai Line, but it is also easy to walk or roll (about 10 minutes) to the gallery from Sanjo. Walk/roll south on Sanjo Dori (opposite direction of the bridge) on the right side of the street until you get to the Furukawa shopping arcade.
Turn right into the arcade. After the first intersection, the gallery will be on the right side.
The gallery has a wide entrance and plenty of space inside.
The gallery's restroom is not wheelchair accessible.

The photos will be A3 size color prints.

Available languages: Japanese, Japanese Sign Language (日本手話), English, French

日本語 (English directions are above):

JARFO Art Square
JARFO Art Squareは東西線東山駅から3分、京阪三条駅からは10分です。

京都東西線の駅は、エレベーターの設置、ホームと電車の隙間が狭い、トイレの高低差がないなど、バリアフリーで車椅子でも利用しやすい駅となっています。 東山駅2番出口を出てください。 駅構内2番出口付近にエレベーターとバリアフリートイレがあります。
ギャラリーは駅から約3分です。 エレベーターを出たら左折してください。 近くの商店街に出たら、再び左折します。

東西線に乗り換えることもできますが、三条からも徒歩や車椅子(約10分)で行くことができます。 三条通りの右側を古川商店街に向かって南(橋の反対側)に進み、アーケードを右折。