Traffic and Diaspora: Political,
Economic, and Cultural
Exchanges between Japan and Asian America
February 25th &
February 26th, 2005
Conference Location: The
Inn at Middletown
Friday (February 25th)
2:00-8:00PM (2nd Floor Lobby)
Saturday (February 26th)
8:00AM-noon (2nd Floor Lobby)
Friday (February 25th) Day
8:00- PM/Welcome by Judith C.
Brown, Vice President for Academic
Affairs & Provost followed by the Panel 1, Authenticity
Saturday (February 26th) Day
8:00- 9:00 AM/Breakfast buffet
9:00-11:00 AM/Panel 2, Communities
11:30-12:15 PM/Keynote speech by Eiichiro Azuma
12:15- 1:00 PM/Lunch
(Lunch will be provided on Saturday, February 26, 2005 for
Wesleyan students attending the conference at a nearby restaurant.
Location will be announced after the keynote speech.)
1:00- 3:00 PM/Panel 3, Return
3:00- 3:30 PM/Coffee/tea
3:30- 5:30 PM/ Panel 4, Wrap
5:30- 7:30 PM/Reception and dinner
bus leaves hotel for evening event (optional)
performance by Yosuke Yamashita
of the Yosuke Yamashita New York Trio. Following
the performance there will be a reception with the artists.
(Shuttle buses will return to the hotel after the
performance & the reception)
Panel participants & Paper
Azuma (plenary speaker)
Empires: Interpreting a transnational dimension of Japanese Migrant
Experience in North America
will probe the meanings of "transnationalism" and "diaspora"
in the history of Japanese migration to North America before the
Pacific War. In particular, he will examine the possibilities
and limitations of these conceptual categories as analytical frames
for studies of Japanese transmigrants, who attempted to negotiate
but not transcend the tight grips of the two commanding nation-states:
Japan and the United States. Instead of abstract theoretical
formulations, Azuma's discussion will draw from concrete examples
and empirical data that have derived from his own archival research
and close readings of primary source materials produced by the migrants
E. Taylor Atkins
Jazztowns and Globalizing Local Identities in Japan"
Nippon, I argued that jazz artists and aficionados developed
a variety of musical and discursive strategies to authenticate a
foreign art form performed and appreciated by Japanese. Here
I investigate the ways in which local governments and citizens'
groups (mainly in Yokohama and Kobe) have used jazz to authenticate
their local identities and their place in a national narrative of
internationalization (kokusaika). The appropriation
of jazz -- hailed by so many as the quintessential global
music -- as an integral element of local identities is indicative
of a number of important themes in contemporary Japanese experience:
the quest to define distinctive local identities; the centrality
of cosmopolitan experience to that process of local, indigenous
identity formation; and the concomitant aesthetic, social, and institutional
legitimization of an art once regarded as emblematic of cultural
imperialism and the annihilation of indigenous social and aesthetic
Crossings: Visions of the Techno-Oriental Future in Anime and
US Cyberpunk Cinema"
paper looks at the different ways in which "cyberpunk"
themes and motifs appear in Hollywood cinema and Japanese animation.
More specifically, it compares how feature anime films such
as Akira and Ghost in the Shell and US cyberpunk films such as Blade Runner and The Matrix depict
the relationship between human and machine, and ultimately re-defines
the category of the "human" with respect to issues of
national, racial, and sexual difference. It uses a comparative approach
to analyze the texts and contexts of these films, drawing on social
science, historical, and literary models from Film and Media Studies,
Asian American Studies, and Postcolonial Studies.
"Real Japanese Hip-Hop
and the Paradox of Cultural Globalization"
What is "real" Japanese hip-hop? In this paper,
I discuss a some Japanese rappers' approach to authenticity, one that
emphasizes performance skills in nightclubs, the so-called genba
or "actual site" of the Japanese rap music scene, and which
suggests a way of understanding an emerging politics of transnational
popular culture. Using musical examples, I show how this perspective
can help us understand what may seem paradoxical, namely, how can
youth be both Japanese and hip-hop?
Modern Jazz Coffee shop as Cultural Space"
the 1960s and early 1970s, Japan‰s /jazu kissa/, or jazz coffeeshops,
served as a cultural magnet for aspiring artists, writers, and intellectuals.
This paper situates the /jazu kissa /in its contemporary historical
context while examining it as a vital cultural institution in which
American, specifically African American, music was introduced to
an entire generation of Japanese university students. I will discuss
the ritualistic listening behavior of customers and ask what type
of community is forged when a group of strangers sits together in
darkness and silence, listening to the sounds of jazz blasted from
bye, America: the origin and failure of anti-imperialist
movement by Japanese emigres in the United States around World War
This paper examines the
nature of the the anti-war anti-imperialist movement by
Japanese emigres in the United States and discusses reasons
for its failure from different perspectives: ideological,
racial and cultural and political. The reasons include: why
they were affiliated with the American Communist Party; how they
perceived a parallel between American racism toward Asians and Japanese
racism toward Asians; and why they had to leave the United States
after World War II. The paper attempts to evaluate a
significance of their thinking in a confluence of American,
Japanese and Chinese histories.
"Socialism, Sociology, and
the Japanese Problem: The Case of E. A. Ross"
E. A. Ross was a pioneer scholar
in American sociology who captured broad attention in 1900 both for
his sympathies to radical socialist ideas and antagonism against Japanese
immigration. This paper seeks to connect Ross's conception of
Japanese immigrants with that of his vision of American workers and
the working classes, while grounding such a linkage in the exigencies
of the newly professionalizing social sciences in the US. The
goal is to complicate the definition of Japanese immigrant community
by situating it within a complex web of relations to other communities
in the social order of turn-of-the-century America.
on the condition of diaspora in the Americas, specifically
the U.S., Mexico, Bolivia, and Peru, along with the shifting meanings
of "Japanese" as differentiated by subject positions,
place, and time.
of Mixture: Japanese Brazilian Adoption of Japanese Cultural and
Linguistic Idioms in Contexts of Return"
Brazilians did not speak Japanese fluently before going to work
in Japan, and many remained largely unable to communicate after
several years living there. Many, however, have begun to mix more
and more Japanese into their everyday speech. What are the social
consequences of this mixture, and what does is signify about Japanese
Brazilian identification in contexts of "return"?
and Internment: One Sansei's Journey
from his memoir, fiction and poetry, Mura will explore how Japan
has affected his own work on the themes of sexuality and, more recently,
science fiction. He will then suggest ways his own experiences
with Japanese culture, given his status as a sansei or third generation
Japanese American, both mirror and differ from that of mainstream
American culture. Finally he will touch on his work with African
American writer Alexs Pate and how his consideration of other people
of color has changed his understanding of the internment and what
it means to be a Japanese-American.