July 22 (Wed) - August 6 (Thu), 2015 in Tokyo and Kyoto

Profiles of Lectures and Brief Abstracts of Lectures (2015)

Profiles of Lecturers and Brief Abstracts of Lecture
Date: Wednesday, July 22 Lecturer: Renato Rivera
Title of Lecture: Introduction to Cool Japan, Pop Culture
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
Modern Japanese pop culture contents currently enjoy enormous popularity all around the world -- what is it about these works that foreign cultures find so endearing and attractive, and how does this process of cultural trade work? To find out, first we must look at the history of manga and anime in Japanese society, trace them back to their roots and identify the factors which make these uniquely Japanese, yet intrinsically universal.
Renato Rivera Rusca Renato Rivera Rusca, M.A. is a graduate of Japanese Studies at Stirling University in Scotland and conducted his Master and Doctorate postgraduate research on Japanese popular culture in Osaka University and Kyoto University. He has lectured at the Manga Faculty at Kyoto Seika University and has participated in many projects involving the Kyoto International Manga Museum since its inception. He teaches Manga Culture at the School of Global Japanese Studies in Meiji University and coordinates the Meiji University Cool Japan Summer Program, and is also a member on the Board of Directors of the Astrosociology Research Institute in California. Recently, his writing has been featured in English in "Mechademia 8: Tezuka's Manga Life" (University of Minnesota Press) in English, and 『宇宙エレベーターの本:実現したら未来はこうなる』(Uchuu Erebeetaa no hon: jitsugen shitara mirai wa kou naru / The Space Elevator Book : The Shape of the Future Society") (Aspect Publishing) in Japanese. He has a semi-regular column in the Japanese-language animation magazine, "Febri" (Ichijinsha).
Date: Thursday, July 23 Lecturer: John Ingulsrud / Kate Allen
Title of Lecture: Manga
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
Interpreting the medium of manga: history, publishing, and social significance
Contrary to what many people assume, the origins of manga are controversial. Most often people see manga as coming out of a long history of Japanese visual culture. Others see the most important influences as coming from Europe and North America in the 19th century, but receiving the greatest impact from American comics after World War II. The survival and development of both manga and comics depend largely on the manner of production and publishing. At the same time, the manner of publishing influences the nature of manga that are created.
Manga Readers: Strategies and Practices
Hardly anyone is praised for reading manga. But is it really as simple as it seems? In this session we will speak about how Japanese manga readers learn to read manga, how their reading practices are sustained, and what strategies they use to understand and enjoy manga.
John E. Ingulsrud is Professor in the School of Humanities at Meisei University. Kate Allen is Professor in the School of Global Japanese Studies at Meiji University.
They are the authors of Reading Japan Cool: Patterns of Manga Literacy and Discourse.
Date: Thursday, July 23 Lecturer: Kaichiro Morikawa
Title of Lecture: The Otaku Culture and Akihabara
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
In Japan, optimism about an ever-progressing technological future ran out in the 70's. It was in the mid-80's that the term otaku was coined to signify a new personality that had emerged as a reaction to the loss of “future.” The term evokes a stereotyped image of an unfashionable computer nerd, preoccupied with games and anime even after his adolescence. The loss of “future” was also critical to Akihabara, a small area amongst the central districts of Tokyo, which is widely known by the unrivaled concentration of electronics stores. “Community of interest” has taken an urban form in Akihabara. This could be a prophetic phenomenon in which a city is simulating cyberspace, as opposed to the conventional notion of cyberspace simulating a city.
Kaichiro Morikawa, associate professor of School of Global Japanese Studies at Meiji University since 2004, was born in 1971. He received MA in Architecture at Waseda University. He served as commissioner of the Japanese pavilion at the Venice Biennale 9th International Architecture Exhibition in 2004 to produce the exhibit OTAKU: persona=space=city (2004). He is involved in establishing Tokyo International Manga Library, and operating Yoshihiro Yonezawa Memorial Museum of Manga and Subcultures at Meiji University. Publications include: The Birth of a Personapolis (Gentosha, 2003).
Date: Friday, July 24 Lecturer: Patrick W. Galbraith
Title of Lecture: Music & Idol Culture
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
Spend even a day in a major Japanese city like Tokyo and you won’t be able to ignore them: “idols,” or heavily produced and promoted men and women who perform across media genres and platforms. Though central to the workings and experience of Japanese media culture, idols have received little attention in the study of Japan, which leads to naive and reactionary criticism (for example, Noel Gallagher's comments about J-pop artists lacking talent in 2012). In this lecture, we will consider idols in social, economic and political context. Tracing the rise of Japanese popular music after WWII, we will explore how the unruly energy of rock was subdued by the establishment of "agencies," which discipline and control performers in order to sell them to advertisers and the nation. If time allows, we will discuss contemporary idol groups such as Arashi, AKB48, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Baby Metal.
Title of Lecture: Video Games
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
With reports comparing the industry to Hollywood, electronic gaming has never been a hotter topic. It’s a global phenomenon, with professional gamers and leagues existing from Europe to Asia. This three-hour seminar focuses on Japan’s place in the electronic gaming renaissance. In the first half, we will discuss the origins of electronic gaming in the United States, the rise and fall of Atari and the revival of the industry by Nintendo. We will explore some of the specifics of Japanese gaming culture, for example the prevalence of arcades and the hand-held devices, and also the major challenges facing the industry today. We will touch on the competition between Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, and the growing tensions between global and domestic markets. In the second half, we will turn away from big-budget corporate games to discuss bishōjo games, which are unique to Japan. These games focus on interactions with “beautiful girls,” which run the gamut from conversation to sex, and comprise a huge industry that blurs the line between direct, mediated and purely machine contact. We will debate how these games, which are small-scale productions targeting so-called otaku, offer new creative potential, and challenges, to Japan in the global gaming market. 
Patrick W. Galbraith received a Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of Tokyo, and is currently pursuing a second Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. He is the author of The Otaku Encyclopedia (Kodansha International, 2009), Tokyo Realtime: Akihabara (White Rabbit Press, 2010), Otaku Spaces (Chin Music Press, 2012) and The Moe Manifesto (Tuttle, 2014), and the co-editor of Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture (Palgrave, 2012).
Date: Monday, July 27 Lecturer: Ryusuke Hikawa
Title of Lecture: Anime
Brief Abstract of Lecture: 
In Japanese anime, "background scenery" is just as important as the character in terms of the impact to its visual image. This is why it has a connection with the phenomenon of so called "Seichi Junrei (pilgrimage to sacred places), which has become popular in the recent years. Why do we need realistic scenery in anime that illustrates an imaginary world? What does it try to convey? We will examine the history of animation, and clarify its characteristics in the Japanese culture.
Title of Lecture: Tokusatsu (Special effects) Movies
Brief Abstract of Lecture: 
Japan’s famous character Godzilla was created by the usage of tokusatsu (special effects), with Eiji Tsuburaya the special effect director largely contributing to its development. Until the late 1970s, TV programs for children were generally called “TV manga” and both “animation” and “special effects” were considered in the same cultural category, also giving strong influence to each other. In this lecture we will cover the overview of tokusatsu, and its positioning in media art (e.g. anime), in order to help you understand Japanese character culture in depth.
Born in Hyogo Prefecture in 1958, Ryusuke Hikawa is a commentator and researcher on Anime and special effects. He is currently a guest professor at the Graduate School of Global Japanese Studies, Meiji University. From the mid-1970s he worked as a magazine editor, music album creator, and writer in the field of animation and special effects. After gaining 18-years of experience also as an engineer/manager at an IT company, he became fully engaged in literary work. Recently, he has taken roles as a judges in Media Art Festival organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and Mainichi Film Awards. He is also involed in international exchange acitivies through animation in China, Spain and UK.
Date: Tuesday, July 28 Lecturer: David Kracker
Title of Lecture: Fashion and Youth Culture
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
Japan's post-war youth culture is defined by the zoku—the style tribes.
How did teenagers use fashion as tool for rebellion, and what did were they rebelling against? Our tour follows anti-social boys in Aloha shirts, wild biker gangs, self-reliant Gucci girls and more before arriving upon hipsters at the bleeding edge of net culture.
  Dave Kracker graduated with a B.A. in Japanese Language and Culture from Eastern Michigan university. A JET Program alumni, he works in Tokyo as a
translator and has written articles with a focus on subculture for MTV81, The Japan Times and Japanese fashion magazine VOiD.
Date: Tuesday, July 28 Lecturer: Hiroki Fukunaga
Title of Lecture: Japanese culture and hospitality
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
Japanese culture and hospitality storming the world
For more than 1300 years, the traditionally family-run “Ryokan” (traditional inn) business has developed and maintained its importance through the spirit of Japanese hospitality (omotenashi). This omotenashi has contributed to the country’s high economic growth and made Japan what it is today. Furthermore it has also played an important role in the Japanese creative industry. So what is the very essence of omotenashi? All Japanese embody this omotenashi spirit so naturally and unconsciously, and it adds a “story” to the “Made in Japan” product making it the one and only “Japan Brand”.

Managing Director, R Project Inc, and Councilor for the Cool Japan Blue-Ribbon Panel held by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). After working 15 years in an English first class hotel, he started “The Ryokan Collection” from 2004, which challenges traditional Inns to exceed the branding image of a modern first class hotel. He is also the director for the Luxury Travel Market Committee under METI, and the Japanese representative (from 2010) for International Luxuriate Travel Market (ILTM) which is the most prestigious business conference targeting the travel market for wealthy people.
Date: Wednesday, July 29 Lecturer: Everett Kennedy Brown
Title of Lecture: Japanese Culture – Depth and Diversity
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
JAPAN(S): On deeper and pluralistic aspects of Japanese culture
Cool Japan: the catchphrase coined by the Japanese government to market Japan as a commercial commodity is being promoted globally through the media. What really is Cool Japan and how are contemporary views of Japan becoming polarized by this agenda? In this photographic slideshow and talk, writer and photojournalist Everett Kennedy Brown explores these questions, and then will focus on deeper elements of the culture that emerge beneath the surface of contemporary trends.
  Everett Kennedy Brown is a writer and the former regional chief photographer of European Pressphoto Agency (epa), based in Tokyo, Japan. He is a Councilor for the Cool Japan Panel held by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the recipient of the Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency Commissioner's Award. Everett's work appears regularly in The New York Times, International Herald Tribune and other major newspapers and magazines. Everett's books include, 『俺たちのニッポン』(Oretachi no nippon) Shogakukan Publishers, 『Ganguro Girls』Koenemann, 『生きているだけで、いいんじゃない』(Ikiteirudakede iinjyanai) Kindaieiga-sha and 『日本力』(Nihon ryoku) Parco publishers.
Date: Thurday, July 30 Lecturer: Azby Brown
Title of Lecture: Japanese Craftmanship
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
Since its first exposure to the West, Japan has been renowned for its craftsmanship in fields as diverse as pottery, textiles, metalworking, carving, and lacquer. Paramount among Japanese crafts is carpentry, particularly temple building, which brings together skilled practitioners from many disciplines to create sublime architectural environments. This lecture will describe important aspects of temple carpentry, including planning, the use of materials, tools, and the philosophy which underlies building for a thousand-year useful life.
  Azby Brown, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, is an artist and designer who has lived in Japan since 1985. He is the author of The Genius of Japanese Carpentry (1995), Small Spaces (1996), The Japanese Dream House (2001) and The Very Small Home (2005), and "Just Enough: Lessons in living green from traditional Japan" (2010). On the faculty of the Kanazawa Institute of Technology since 1995, he is the director of the KIT Future Design Institute in Tokyo.
Date: Thursday, July 30 Lecturer: Matthew Alt
Title of Lecture: Watching Yo-Kai: A History of Japan's Yokai Monsters
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
Why is Japan so good at creating characters?
This talk focuses on the yokai, creatures from traditional folklore. At turns spooky and wacky, these illustrated flights of fancy are the direct ancestors of modern Japanese manga, anime, and mascot culture.
Matthew Alt, a native of Washington, D.C., has been working as a professional translator and writer since the early 1990s. His experience includes four years as an in-house technical Japanese translator for the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He currently runs AltJapan Co., Ltd., a Tokyo-based localization company that produces the English versions of video games, comic books, and other forms of entertainment. An expert in Japanese folktales and character culture, he is the co-author of numerous books, including "Hello Please! Very Helpful Super Kawaii Characters from Japan” and "Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide”.
Date: Wednesday, August 5 Lecturer: Kazuhiko Tsutsumi
Title of Lecture: Promoting Cool Japan to the World
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
The NHK “Cool Japan” is a TV program that has focused in discovering cool things about Japan from foreigners’ perspective. The themes showcased in the past were pop-culture, traditional culture, cutting-edge technology, “Japanese” service, Japanese lifestyle etc. What aspects catch foreigners’ attention and makes them think it’s “cool”? This lecture will analyze the current Japanese culture through foreigners’ perspective seen in the making of these programs. Furthermore, when we look at the history of Japan, we notice that we have also continuously been learning from other countries. It can be said that the progress of civilization has become possible through people's interaction in this multi-ethnic world. The globalization and the widespread of the internet have enabled us to share more information and deepen cultural exchange. I personally hope more people in the world will get to know the “cool” side of Japanese culture, and that it help enrich their lifestyle. And I also wish the young generation will take major roles in this world's cultural exchange.
Executive producer of NHK Enterprise Inc. After graduating in 1977 (University of Tokyo, BA Faculty of Letters, major in Western history), he entered NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), and has worked as a director/producer for politics, economy, and international information programs/news. From 2004, he became in charge of youth debate and cultural information programs in NHK Enterprise Inc.
Currently he is the Chief Producer of “Cool Japan~ Discovering COOL things about Japan” which is shown on NHK Satellite channel. He has also published a book called “What makes Japan great!! Cool Japan from foreigners point of view” (2011, Takeda Random House Japan).
Work Shop
Date: Thursday, July 30 WS: Michiyo Kagami
Title of WS: What is Daikagura?
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
Daikagura is known as the Japanese traditional and spiritual performance.
In the Edo era, for the people who couldn’t offer prayers to major shrines like Ise shrine or Atsuta shrine because of the distance, Daikagura troupes visited houses in Edo and gave charms and danced the ritualistic Lion dance to dispel evil spirits and perform juggling to bring in food fortune.
Within juggling, every move has an auspicious meaning.
For example, we use the umbrella to show prosperity because the open umbrella represents spreading wealth. And the movement called Gokaijawan in which the performer balances cups and bowls on his/her chin is represents the audience’s happiness piling up as things are added.
Daikagura performers no longer visit houses and give charms these days, but the spirit to pray for someone’s happiness has not changed.


Michiyo Kagami is a Daikagura performer.
She graduated International Christian University (Tokyo, Japan) and worked at a PR company. After her career as a corporate employee, she entered the training center for Japanese traditional arts at the National Theater and trained for 3 years. She learned Japanese dance and Japanese music instruments like the shamisen, drum and flute, as well as Daikagura. After graduation, she joined the Rakugo Geijutsu Kyokai (Rakugo Arts Association) as an apprentice of Bonbon Brothers, the Daikagura masters.
She started her stage career from April 2011 at Asakusa Engei Hall (entertainment hall). She performs not only on the theater stage, but also at the disaster area after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Date: Friday, July 31 WS: Ichiro Itano
Title of WS: Animation Seminar
Ichiro Itano is a world-famous animation director. Mr.Itano’s credits include key action animation for classic anime like Mobile Suit Gundam (1979), Space Runaway Ideon (1980), and series director on newer hits such as Gantz (2004) and Blassreiter (2008). He is most famous, however, for his revolutionary high-speed action sequences in Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982), creating the technique known as the “Itano Circus”. Mr. Itano has prepared a crash-course in the unique techniques behind Japanese-style animation production, giving us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn the secrets behind the scenes of anime, and experience them first-hand.
Date: Friday, July 31 WS: Makoto Ohtaka
Title of WS: Aikido
Brief Abstract of Lecture:
Aikido is composed of Japanese traditional fencing, cane staff and martial art. It demonstrates the road of the current samurai, and is also a compass towards nurturing the true meaning of world peace.
In this lecture you will learn how to easily bring down a person who is grabbing you with full strength. This is possible not by fighting back but to roll into their power, and bringing it to your side. Even a woman can throw a man, so it also can be applied as self-defense skills.
While many martial arts have become a sport that fights to decide a winner, there is no “match” in Aikido. The purpose of training is not to defeat the opponent, but to wash away the “fighting” spirit, and practice the skill (tactics) though the heart of harmony. You appease your soul, train your inner-self, and nurture your human quality that will lead to world peace, through the “love” of martial arts “武”. And I hope you can feel this through Aikido.
Makoto Ohtaka Aikido Master (6th rank)
He is the representative of Tokyo Dojo(training hall) of Iwama Shinshin Aiki Shuren Kai , which was founded by Morihei Ueshiba, the originator of Aikido. Born in 1974, after graduating from Akita University (majoring in Education), he worked for 15 years in a major credit-research company, and continued his training of Aikido. In 2014, he became a professional Aikido master, and currently coaches at various places such as Tokyo, Yokohama, and Seoul (Korea), and conducts seminars regularly regarding Aikido and self-defense. He is a father of 4 children and also a chiropractor.
Field trip

Date: Friday, July 24 FT: Flower Arrangement and Tea Ceremony
  Kado - Ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement
We can enjoy Ikebana to learn more about the Japanese approach to appreciate nature and the spirit of simplicity.

Sado - tea Ceremony, the way of tea
We will participate in an authentic tea ceremony to understand its philosophy which includes the essence of Japanese harmony.
Date: Mon, July 27 FT: Japanese animation studio
  Japanese animation studio
We will visit J.C. Staff animation studio which produces TV, movie, games and commercial animations as well as original video animations.
Date: Tue, July 28 FT: Sushi making
  We will visit Tsukiji, famous for its enormous fish market, and will learn how to make thin rolls and sushi with the guidance of a professional sushi master.
Date: Wed, July 29 FT: Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
  This open-air museum exhibits 30 restored building from the Edo period to early Showa era.
This museum aims to relocate, reconstruct, preserve and exhibit historical buildings of great cultural value that are impossible to preserve at their actual places as well as to bequeath these valuable cultural heritages to future generations.
Cool Japan Summer Program Coordinator
  Franck Michelin
Cool Japan Program, coordinator.
A native from Paris (France), he owns a Ph.D. in History from Paris-Sorbonne University. He came to Japan in 1996 as a scholar of the Japanese government. He taught at the University of Tsukuba (2002-2005), has been in charge of the promotion of higher education in Japan for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2005-2009), and has been working at Meiji University as an Associate Professor since 2010, working for the development of academic relations between Japan and Europe, as well as doing research on Japanese contemporary history. He has been rewarded this year by the “Shibusawa-Claudel Prize” (a prize organized by the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper) for his Ph.D. thesis.

I think you will feel excitement in discovering Japan. I hope that, while taking the classes of this program, you will keep looking at Japan with fresh eyes. I am looking forward to seeing you in Tokyo.
  Renato Rivera Rusca
I am very excited to have witnessed this program grow in popularity every year, and now in its sixth year, I hope to bring the best experience of Japan to the participants that I can. It is always my pleasure to introduce aspects of Japanese culture to young mind around the world and it is a learning experience for me also, since the nature of pop culture in particular is its transience, thus every year the students have varying reactions to what they see, hear and feel. This is the type of program I wish to have had the opportunity to participate in when I was a student, and it is with that emotion that I organize the Cool Japan Summer Program. I hope you enjoy it, and that it brings you lots of memories and knowledge!