Institute of Comparative Culture Public Events


Institute of Comparative Culture Mini Conference

January 12, 2008

Re-Scripting Tokyo: Urban Image and the Re-Writing of the Japanese Metropolis

Organized by David Slater
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Sophia University

The conference is part of a larger project aimed at the systematic analsysis of the different representations of Tokyo. The objective are two fold: first, to examine the shifting ways in which Tokyo has been represetnted as a way to help us understand its, and Japan's place within the larger world political economy and the popular imagination; second, to explore the theoretical issues associated with representation and urban space. This topic is partiuclarly relevant now as Japan moves out of recession, and Tokyo looks to reclaim its status of a world-class "global city" but also a creative, "cool" city of world culture.


ICC Lecture Series

Dec 20 (Thu), 6:00p.m. - 8:00 p.m. 10-301

Evolving Memory: Changes in How China Remembers Nanjing

Dr. Takashi YOSHIDA

Abe Fellow
Department of History, Western Michigan University

nfluenced by both domestic and international politics, Chinese memory of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) has changed over time. Today the Nanjing Massacre is a symbol of Japanese wartime atrocities in China, but the historical discourse on Nanjing has broadened since the mid-1980s. Takashi Yoshida will focus on the new Memorial Hall in Nanjing. Built in 1985, when expansion is completed in December 2007 at a total cost of $61 million the Memorial Hall will occupy more than 7.3 hectares and be about three times larger than the original. The museum plays an important role in public education; in 2005, more than two million people visited the site. Yoshida will analyze the museum's goals, the new exhibits (and what has been excluded), and the effort to avoid demonizing all Japanese. The presentation will include slides taken at the official commemoration ceremony on December 13, 2007, as well as a comparison of similar Japanese war and peace museums such as Yushukan at Yasukuni Shrine and the Peace Museum at Ritsumeikan University.

Takashi Yoshida received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and teaches history at Western Michigan University. His publications include The Making of the "Rape of Nanking": History and Memory in Japan, China, and the United States (Oxford University Press, 2006). His Abe Program project is on "Remembering War, Commemorating Colonialism: A Comparative Analysis of Postwar Japanese Peace Activism and Museums."




内外政治の影響を受け、日中戦争(1937−1945)に関する中国の記憶は時間をかけて変化してきた。今日南京大虐殺は中国における日本による戦時下の残虐行為のシンボルとなっている。しかし、南京についての歴史的言説は80年代半ばから国民の記憶に変容してきたといえる。今回の講演では吉田俊氏が南京にリニューアルされ新たに開館する新侵華日軍南京大屠殺遇難同胞紀念館に焦点をあてる。1985年に設立され、2007年12月には6,100万ドルをかけての増築が完成し、当初の建物より3倍以上の占有面積7.3 haを超える大きさになった。同記念館は中国の歴史教育に重要な役割を果たしており、2005年には内外から200万人以上が訪問している。吉田氏は同記念館の目指すところと新しくなった展示物(および展示から除外されたもの)さらに日本人すべてを悪者にすることをさける努力について分析的な報告を行う。また2007年12月13日の公式記念式典のスライド上映、および靖国神社遊就館や立命館大学国際平和ミュージアムなどの日本の戦争・平和記念館との比較も論じられる予定。

吉田 俊:西ミシガン大学史学部助教授。2005年安倍フェローとして「戦争の記憶と植民地主義の追憶:戦後日本平和運動と博物館の比較分析」を遂行中である。2001年コロンビア大学にて日本史を専攻しPh.D.取得。近著に(邦訳題)『レイプ・オブ・南京の作られ方:日中米における歴史と記憶の変遷』(オックスフォード大学出版会 2006)がある。

2007年12月20日, 18:00~

: diricc(at)


Institute of Comparative Culture Mini Conference

Dec. 1, 2007, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m., 10-301


Organized by James Farrer
Associate Professor of Sociology
Sophia University

“The workshop will bring together scholars who are active researchers and experts in the methodology of the Sociology of Culture. More than most subfields in Sociology, the Sociology of Culture is marked by methodological challenges and discussions over methodology. This workshop will explore the methodological challenges of studying cultural production in the context of globalization by inviting leading experts in the sociology in the US and in Japan.”


Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series

Nov. 21 (Wed), 6:00p.m. -8:00 p.m., 10-301

Empire to Nation: How the Qing Became China

Joseph W. Esherick
Professor of History
University of California, San Diego
Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture, Visiting Scholar

This talk is based on the book Empire to Nation: Historical Perspectives on the Making of the Modern World (Rowman and Littlefield: 2006) that Professor Esherick edited with two colleagues at UCSD, and on his essays in the volume. The book is a comparative study of the transition from empire to nation in China, the Ottoman Empire, Russia, Eastern Europe and the Spanish Empire. The authors contend that there has been a substantial literature on empires, and another literature on nations and the nation-building process, but the critical transition from one political form to the other has been little discussed. Professor Esherick will review some of the comparative issues in the empire to nation transition, and then focus on the Chinese case. The central issue he addresses is what he calls the "Ataturk counterfactual" - why did the Chinese, after a republican revolution in 1911 based on Han nationalism, not adopt the policy of Ataturk in Turkey and form a new nation confined to the Han heartland of China proper and Manchuria - leaving Tibet and Mongolia to the independence that they both aspired to?


Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series

Oct. 25 (Thu), 5:00p.m. -6:30 p.m., 10-301

Superflat Pacific West:
LA as the Global Gateway of Contemporary Japanese Arts and Culture

Adrian Favell
Associate Professor of Sociology. Visiting Scholar
UCLA/ Hitotsubashi University
Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles

Dominant theories and methodologies in cultural studies tend to focus attention on the virtual and textual in discussions on cultural globalisation, but the global mobility of art and contemporary culture in fact depends crucially on the physical mobility and networks of creators and entrepreneurs, as well as material connections between specific places−even when the products themselves are largely fantasy representations of the society that inspired them. Drawing from an ongoing ethnographic LA-Tokyo based project looking at the individuals and business connections involved in the selective import of Japanese art and pop culture into the West − an instantly recognisable vision of "neo-Tokyo" that is quite some remove from the the source it represents − this paper traces the specific role of key individuals and businesses in Southern California in providing the Western gateway to the global diffusion of the now ubiquitous signifiers of "cool Japan". It considers the international careers of artists such as Takashi Murakami and KaiKaiKiki, photographer Shoichi Aoki's "FRUiTS", and T-shirt company Beams/2K, in connection with the curators, entrepreneurs, media outlets and business infrastructure in the classically "superflat" city of LA that have made their global fame possible. Behind the success of this entrepreneurship lies the extraordinary evolving demography of Southern California's young Asian-American population, for whom Japanese popular culture has become a unifying identification.


Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series

Oct. 16 (Tue), 5:30p.m. -7:00 p.m., 10-301

Airport Policy and Performance in Mainland China and Hong Kong

Dr. Anming Zhang
Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Canada

China's airline industry used to be a paramilitary organization with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) as a department of the air force prior to the 1980s. The aviation liberalization began largely in the late 1980s, when the single CAAC carrier was split into six operationally and financially independent airlines and the entry of non-CAAC carriers was encouraged. This implied that the airline operation was separated from the airport operation. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the central government embarked on a program to surrender its airport control to local governments. In addition, a significant recent policy initiative has been to introduce private sector into airport ownership by floating airports in the stock markets. So far, six airport companies, including seven airports, have been listed on stock exchanges. Given that a major problem for Chinese airports was their low productivity, owing largely to poor management, it was expected that the public listing would improve airport efficiency significantly.
This paper discusses these policy developments in detail and examines their impact on China's air transportation industry. We find that the aviation policy liberalization has contributed to the dramatic growth in air traffic and airline productivity, and improved market competition and air safety. Further, the localization program has been successful in encouraging local governments to invest in airport infrastructure. However, it is not clear, from our study of twenty-five major Chinese airports, whether the public listing ? a form of airport privatization ? has significantly improved airport efficiency. The listed airports appear to be productively more efficient than the non-listed airports. On the other hand, there is little evidence suggesting that the listed airports' productivity has improved significantly after their initial public offerings (IPOs). Furthermore, the productivity of the listed airports grew at less than half of the rate of non-listed airports. In reference to the non-listed airports, therefore, public listing does not seem to have a significant impact on the improvement of airport productivity.


Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series

July 17 (Tue), 5:30p.m. -7:00 p.m., 10-301

The Girl Time in Contemporary Japanese Consumer Culture

Dr. Tomiko Yoda
Associate Professor,
Asian and African Languages and Literature, Duke University

A major theme of my ongoing research project is to consider how a period in female lifetime, spanning roughly between low teens and motherhood (what I refer to as the "girl time"), became the paradigmatic temporality of consumption in the post-1960s Japan In this paper, I turn to a number of female-targeted medias in order to examine how girl time was articulated as a continual phase in female life-course with shared affect, aesthetics, and fantasies. In particular, I pay attention to the spread of romantic and girly taste and sensibilities as form of commodity aesthetics heavily promoted not only to teenage girls but also to young adult female consumers. In order to analyze the process through which girly aesthetics grew into a pervasive idiom of contemporary Japanese mass culture, I suggest that we may need to engage with a broader media-historical context than existing accounts of "cute culture" have.


Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series

July 9 (Mon), 5:00 p.m. -6:30 p.m., 10-301

From Rural Transformation to Global Integration:
the Environmental and Social Impacts of China's Rise to Superpower

Dr. Joshua Muldavin
Professor of Geography and Asian Studies, Sarah Lawrence College
Visiting Scholar at Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture

China's economic successes since 1978 are undeniable. But shortcomings and failures of the post-Maoist reforms are also undeniable, and are the inevitable outgrowth of China's chosen path. China's rapid growth of the last two and a half decades has been built upon a base of environmental destruction and social decay. In this process the state has lost much of its legitimacy with the country's majority, and is now challenged by direct and indirect forms of resistance. As China's global integration accelerates, this paradox of growth built on decay has created a shaky foundation for arguably the world's most important new superpower. This has important implications not only for China but also for the world.

Joshua Muldavin, Professor of Geography and Asian Studies, Sarah Lawrence College, was recently named an Social Science Research Council/Abe Fellow for 2006-08 to continue his work analyzing Japanese environmental aid to China, and was awarded a National Science Foundation grant for 2006-09 to pursue his joint research with Piers Blaikie in the Himalayas on comparative international environmental policy between China, India, and Nepal. Former Chair and Director of International Development Studies at UCLA, he has conducted research in China for over 24 years, and is currently writing a book on the social and environmental impacts of China's reforms and global integration. In addition to being a Visiting Scholar in the Institute of Comparative Culture at Sophia University, he is currently a Visiting Scientist at theInternational Center for Mountain Research and Development in Katmandu, Nepal, and Adjunct Faculty in the College of Humanities and Development at China Agricultural University in Beijing.


Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series

June 28 (Thu), 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m., 10-301

Constructing the Sohei: Images of Monastic Warriors

Dr. Mikael Adolphson
Associate Professor
Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

Japan's monastic warriors have fared poorly in comparison to the samurai, both in terms of historical reputation and representations in popular culture. Often maligned and criticized for their involvement in politics and other secular matters, they have been seen as a coherent group of fighters known as sohei (monk-warriors) separate from the larger military class. However, a closer examination of late Heian (794-1185) and Kamakura (1185-1333) sources reveals that these groups have a common ancestry, identical social and political origins, and were equally skilled in the warfare techniques of the age. Monastic warriors acted no differently from their secular counterparts, nor do they appear to have been motivated by a religious rhetoric qualitatively different from other ideologies condoning violence. In point of fact, they were one and the same, but later artists and patrons promoted an image that justified the privileges and powers of warrior aristocrats, resulting in a slow process of standardization that over several centuries led to a stylized image of "monk-warriors," which modern observers, influenced by notions of separate religious and political spheres, never questioned. This talk seeks to explore when, how and why the s?hei image was constructed both visually and ideologically, and why it still carries such weight even though historical evidence overwhelmingly stands in such sharp contrast to the sohei paradigm.


Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series

June 25 (Mon), 3:30 p.m. -5:00 p.m., 10-301

Cross-Cultural Differences and Financial Information

Dr. Tony KANG
Assistant Professor of Accounting, Singapore Management University

The main focus of this presentation is on the influence of national culture on financial information risk (or perception of which). It is comprised of two parts. In the first part, we (Gray, Kang and Yoo 2007) examine whether and how national culture influences firms' cost of equity capital, which is at least in part determined by the quality of firm's financial information. Culture permeates human behavior and certain dimensions of culture deal with peoples' attitudes towards uncertainty and time preference, both of which are commonly considered as important determinants of cost of equity capital. Nevertheless, no prior study explicitly examines how national culture influences firms' cost of equity capital. Using 25,672 firm-year observations originating from 27 countries, we document that certain dimensions of national culture, i.e., uncertainty avoidance and long-term orientation, explain variations in firms' cost of equity capital after controlling for previously identified firm- and country-level determinants of cost of equity capital. This study contributes to the literature by identifying national culture as an important determinant of firms' cost of equity financing across countries.

In the second part, we (Kang and Yoo 2007) relate national culture to firms' audit characteristics. To the extent that managers have an incentive to reduce information asymmetry through financial reporting and that culture determines people's tendency to be more secretive/transparent (and thus managers' willingness to disclose less/more), one might observe an association between cultural dimensions that relate to secrecy/transparency and auditor choice, which could affect a firm's information asymmetry. We present evidence corroborating this conjecture. Specifically, in an international sample drawn from 28 countries, we find that firms in "more secretive" cultures firms are less likely to hire a Big 4 auditor and pay lower audit fees. This is the first study to link national culture to firms' auditor choice practices.


Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series

June 21 (Thu),6:00 p.m. -7:30 p.m., 10-301

Shakespearean Arbitrage: Critiques of Capitalism in the Japanese Financial Markets

Dr. Hirokazu Miyazaki
Assistant Professor,
Department of Anthropology, Cornell University

Speculation has long been a dominant analytical trope in the critiques of capitalism. In this paper, I contrast it with arbitrage, a widely deployed trading strategy that seeks to take advantage of price discrepancies between assets theoretically considered to be equivalent. The focus of my discussion is on the particular kind of ambiguity and ambivalence entailed in arbitrageurs' own conception of arbitrage. I use Japanese arbitrageurs' reading of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice as a window into a delicate balance of belief and doubt that underlies arbitrage operations and its implications for the critical study of capitalism.


Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series

June 19 (Tue), 5:15 p.m. -6:45 p.m., 10-301

Zonal Logics and Urban Imaginations: New Spatial Forms at the Border of the Borderless World

Dr. Jonathan Bach
Associate Director and Associate Professor
Graduate Program in International Affairs, The New School

This talk looks at the phenomenon of the special export zone as transformative of urban space, particularly in Asia. The zone as a spatial form has achieved global prominence not only because of its ability to attract and shape investment, but also because it attracts and shapes fantasies and aspirations of modernity. I trace how the zone changes from a pragmatic space for the production of exports to a place, imagined and lived, which becomes a socio-spatial formation of late modernity. Looking at examples from China, Singapore, and India, the standard account of the zone as a state-led economic strategy is supplemented by looking at the zone as an incipient urban form that incorporates classically modernist fantasies in the context of contemporary logics of sovereignty and accumulation.


Institute of Comparative Culture/JDS Joint Seminar

June 18 (Mon), 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., 10-301

Japanese business cycles and global linkages: International business cycles

Hideaki Hirata
Associate Professor,
Faculty of Business Administration
Hosei University

TDr. Hirata obtained his Ph.D. (2003) in Economics from Brandeise University
He was formerly with the Central Bank of Japan
This paper examines how business cycles are transmitted from other developed countries to Japan using a multi-country stochastic dynamics business cycle model. The model replicates the main features of international business cycles. It also shows that domestic productivity shocks play an important role in explaining Japanese business cycles.
Lecture in English/No prior registration necessary