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University of Wollongong welcomes international academics for biennial Japanese Studies Conference

Seven decades of postwar democracy in Japan

Around 200 international academics and experts who specialise in Japanese studies and culture are debating Japan’s post-war democracy at the University of Wollongong (UOW) this week, during the 20th biennial Conference of the Japanese Studies Association of Australia (JSAA) from June 27-30.

The JSAA was founded in 1978, with 2017 marking the first time the Conference has been held at UOW. The event is of great significance to the University, which has offered Japanese studies since 1990, from undergraduate to PhD level, from academics in cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, history, linguistics and literary studies.

This year’s conference program reflects on the seven decades since the end of World War II, with a focus on Japan’s constitutional and legal system, democracy and civil society, the political economy of post-war Japan and the cultural imagining and reimagining of Japanese society over this period. A subtheme of the conference will look at how Japanese Studies is practised in the Digital Age.

Plenary Speakers include Professor John Maher from the International Christian University in Tokyo, Professor Rebecca Jennison from Kyoto Seika University, Emeritus Professor Yoshio Sugimoto from La Trobe University, Professor Yayo Okano from Doshisha University, Professor Carolyn Stevens from Monash University, Professor Karen Nakamura from the University of California at Berkeley and Dr Carol Hayes from the Australian National University.

In association with the Conference, Agnieszka Golda has curated an exhibition of young Australian, Japanese and diasporic artists on the theme ‘Shadow Worlds’ in TAEM Gallery at UOW. There will be performances by Linda Luke, Mayu Kanamori and Terumi Narushima and talks by artists Agnieszka Golda, Jo Law, Haji Oh and Utako Shindo.

Conference Convener, Senior Professor of Asian Studies Vera Mackie, said the biennial conference provides a great opportunity for academics in the field to present their research and receive feedback.

“It is a significant gathering of esteemed experts in Japanese studies, which enables us to collectively consider how global shifts impact on the country’s politics and culture.

“UOW has a good reputation for Asian studies, and it’s an honour to be hosting so many prominent international academic experts in the field, and sharing their knowledge,” Professor Mackie said.

Special workshops for postgraduate students and primary and secondary level Japanese language teachers will be held as part of the Conference.

The Biennial Conference of the Japanese Studies Association of Australia is supported by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, the Japan Foundation and the Sakura Network.