Profiles of Lecturers and Brief Abstracts of Lectures
for Cool Japan Summer Program 2011

Date: Tuesday, July 25
Lecturer: Roland Kelts
Roland Kelts is a half-Japanese American writer, editor and lecturer who divides his time between New York and Tokyo. He is the author of <> Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the US and the forthcoming novel, Access. He has presented on contemporary Japanese culture worldwide and has taught at numerous universities in Japan and the US, including New York University and the University of Tokyo. His fiction and nonfiction appear in such publications as Zoetrope: All Story, Psychology Today, Playboy, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue Japan, Adbusters magazine, The Millions, The Japan Times, Animation Magazine, Bookforum, and The Village Voice. He is the Editor in Chief of the Anime Masterpieces screening and discussion program, the commentator for National Public Radio's series, "Pacific Rim Diary
<>," and the author of a weekly column for
<> The Daily Yomiuri newspaper. His latest project is the English edition of the Japanese literary culture magazine,
<> Monkey Business, and his blog is:>
Title of Lecture: Pop Culture from a Multipolar Japan
Brief Abstract of Lecture: Is there something more to the West's fascination with Japanese anime and manga? How are anime films and manga comics cultural channeling zones, opened by the horrors of war and disaster and animated by the desire to assemble a world of new looks, feelings and identities? Lecturer at the University of Tokyo, Sophia University and the University of the Sacred Heart Tokyo, Roland Kelts addresses the movement of Japanese culture into the West as sign and symptom of broader reanimations. With uncertainty now the norm, style, he argues, is trumping identity, explaining, in part, the success of Japanese pop and fashion, design and cuisine in the West.
Date: Monday, July 25
Lecturer: Kaichiro Morikawa
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).
Title of Lecture: LEARNING FROM AKIHABARA: The Otaku City
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.
Date: Tuesday, July 26
Lecturer: Renato Rivera Rusca
Renato Rivera Rusca is a graduate of Japanese Studies at Stirling University in Scotland and has conducted 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 is currently a lecturer at the School of Commerce, Meiji University.
Title of Lecture: From Japonisme to Cool Japan
Brief Abstract of Lecture: Japanese popular culture has become an international industry. The process and policy of capitalizing on these contents has been nicknamed the “Cool Japan” movement. However, if we take a look back at the history through which this came to be, and track the roots of “Cool Japan” back to the 60s and 70s flourishing of Japanese subculture and its relations with the West, we may notice some similarities with another movement propagating the wonders of Japanese art throughout Europe around the turn of the 20th Century: that of Japonisme. This lecture will explore the identity of a “Popular Japan” and its interactions with the West through a comparison with the major events and players surrounding the themes of both ukiyo-e and today’s pop culture.
Date: Wednesday, July 27
Lecturer: Akiko Sugawa
Akiko Sugawa-Shimada is Assistant Professor of Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka, Japan. She is a Ph.D. candidate at University of Warwick, and her thesis topic is Japanese ‘Magical Girl’ anime and female audiences. She is the author of a number of articles on anime and Cultural Studies, including ‘Animation and Culture’ in Encyclopedia of Animation (forthcoming), ‘Double-Imaging of Girls: Hayao Miyazaki’s Kiki’s Delivery Service’ in Cinema and Literature (2010), and ‘Grotesque Cuteness of Shôjo: Representations of Goth-Loli in Japanese Contemporary TV Anime’ in Teaching and Researching Anime: An Asian Perspective (forthcoming).
Title of Lecture: Representations of "Japanese-ness" : Miyazaki and Takahata, and Spirits
Brief Abstract of Lecture: How is so-called ‘Japanese-ness’ often represented in Anime? One of the key elements of the representations of ‘Japanese-ness’ may be something related to supernatural settings based on Shinto, Japanese Buddhism and/or spiritualism. The first session of this lecture focuses on animation directors, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. It explores some non-Japanese animated works that arguably influenced Miyazaki and Takahata and their early works of TV anime and films to examine issues and problems. The second session discusses how Miyazaki constructed ‘Japanese-ness in his films through images of ‘yokai’ demons, ‘kami’ spirits, and ghosts.
Date: Thursday, July 28
Lecturer: Patrick W. Galbraith
Patrick W. Galbraith is a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies at the University of Tokyo. In 2007, he cofounded the first regular English-language walking tour of Akihabara, as well as several websites introducing Japanese popular culture. He is the author of The Otaku Encyclopedia (Kodansha International, 2009) and Tokyo Realtime: Akihabara (White Rabbit Press, 2010). Academic publications include “Moe: Exploring Virtual Potential in Post-Millennial Japan” (EJCJS, 2009), “Akihabara: Conditioning a Public ‘Otaku’ Image” (Mechademia 5, 2010) and “Maid in Japan: An Ethnographic Account of Alternative Intimacy” (Intersections, 2011).
Title of Lecture: Bishōjo Games: ‘Techno-Intimacy’ and the Virtually Human in Japan
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.
Date: Thursday, July 28
Lecturer: Everett Kennedy Brown
Everett Kennedy Brown is the regional chief photographer of European Pressphoto Agency (epa), based in Tokyo, Japan. His 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』Shogakukan Publishers, 『Ganguro Girls』Koenemann, 『生きているだけで、いいんじゃない』Kindaieiga-sha and 『日本力』Parco publishers.
Title of Lecture: JAPAN(S): On deeper and pluralistic aspects of Japanese culture
Brief Abstract of Lecture: Cool Japan: the catchphrase coined by the Japanese government to market Japan as a commercial commodity is being promoted globally through the media. How are contemporary views of Japan becoming polarized by this agenda? In this lecture, photojournalist Everett Kennedy Brown explores this question, while shedding light on more deeper and pluralistic aspects of Japanese culture. Through a series of photographs the speaker will address the sources of the modern Japanese malaise, and then focus deeper on elements of the culture that emerge beneath the surface of contemporary trends.
Date: Friday, July 29
Lecturer: Azby Brown
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). His most recent book, "Just Enough: Lessons in living green from traditional Japan" was published this year by Kodansha International. On the faculty of the Kanazawa Institute of Technology since 1995, he is the director of the KIT Future Design Institute in Tokyo.
Title of Lecture: New Architecture for New People: The latest in building design in Tokyo
Brief Abstract of Lecture: This lecture will introduce recent work by leading architectural designers in the Shibuya-Aoyama-Omotesando area of Tokyo. We will discuss how Tokyo developed, the character of some of its neighborhoods, why it is so open to experimental architecture and new ideas, and what this means for the cityscape and for people living and working here. Images and influence of popular culture, such as manga and anime, on Japanese architecture will be discussed. The lecture will also touch on shop interiors and other aspects of contemporary design. Designers to be discussed include Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma, Herzog and DeMeuron, Toyo Ito, Kazuyo Sejima, and others.
Date: Monday, August 01
Lecturer: T.B.A.
Title of Lecture: Hands-on experience of manga drawing
Brief Abstract of Lecture: Every day you see manga at book stores and convenience stores in Japan. There are a lot of fans who wait for the next issue every week and every month. Why can we enjoy reading manga so much? That is because manga has rules and techniques of expression to attract many people. The lecture will explore these rules and techniques by drawing manga by yourself so that you can learn the difference of effect and impression.
Date: Tuesday, August 02
Lecturer: Ken Rodgers
Ken Rodgers, originally from Tasmania, has been living in Kyoto since 1982. He is one of the founders, and managing editor, of Kyoto Journal, a long-established all-volunteer non-profit English-language magazine presenting “Perspectives from Asia,” a quarterly publication that aims to provide informative reality-based alternatives to the often stereotyped views of traditional and contemporary Asia, and especially Japan, that exist and continue to be proliferated, especially in Western mainstream media.
Title of Lecture: Kyoto Culture: Old, New, and Timeless
Brief Abstract of Lecture: Publishing since 1986, in 75 regular and specially-themed issues, Kyoto Journal has featured a wide diversity of thought-provoking articles, interviews, essays, translations, "encounters," fiction pieces, reviews and photo-essays by contributors with deep and rich experience in their fields. Many have shared valuable insights on traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. This lecture will introduce a varied selection of viewpoints, focusing on Kyoto's traditional cultural forms that still exist strongly in the present day, and which can be seen to exhibit the complementary aspects of Zen insistence on full immersion in the present moment, and keen awareness of the transience of all things.
Date: Thursday, August 04
Lecturer: Patrick Macias
Patrick Macias is the editor in chief of Otaku USA, a bi-monthly newsstand magazine covering anime, manga, and J-pop for the North American market. He is also the co-owner of jaPRESS, a publishing and localization company that provides media content to both Japan and America. Patrick is also the author of several books including “Otaku in USA” and “Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno: Tokyo Teen Fashion Subculture Handbook”. He has participated in lectures at the University of California, Los Angeles and Temple University, Japan Campus.
Title of Lecture: J-pop Without Borders: Music & Film
Brief Abstract of Lecture: Anime and manga represent the most visible parts of the “Cool Japan” package. But other Japanese pop culture (J-pop) genres - such as idol music, visual kei bands, cult film - have also played a key role in shaping Japan’s image overseas. This two-part seminar with writer Patrick Macias will present profiles of foreign subcultures that have evolved around these J-pop exports and examine how they relate to notions of identity and the search for authenticity in a globalized world.
Date: Thursday, August 04
Lecturer: Toby Slade
Toby Slade is an assistant professor at the University of Tokyo researching Asian modernity and the history and theory of fashion. His doctoral research at University of Sydney examined the Modernity of Japanese clothing and the implications of that unique sartorial history for contemporary theories of fashion. Last year he published a book entitled, Japanese Fashion: A Cultural History (Berg, 2010), which was the first English language publication to explore the full sweep for the history of Japanese fashion from the earliest days until today.
Title of Lecture: Japanese Fashion: Past and Present
Brief Abstract of Lecture: This lecture will examine the unique path taken by Japanese fashion, starting in the Edo period. It will explore the radical changes of the Meiji period, the flapper-age Taisho years, and the war, reconstruction and the Bubble. It will then discuss the fashion of today’s Japan, from the top designers to the rapid street movements and the diverse subcultures. In particular it will examine the links between these vastly different times and what continuities and themes exist across the ages of fashion in Japan. While often a subject that is studied from the perspective of its fragment components, the scope of this lecture is deliberately broad in an attempt to identify the continuities and major themes of the entire history of Japanese fashion in the modern and postmodern eras.

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