Podcast interview: Kaori Okano and Yoshio Sugimoto (eds.), “Rethinking Japanese Studies”

Podcasts
Rethinking Japanese Studies. Eurocentrism and the Asia-Pacific Region (Routledge, 2018) is co-edited by Kaori Okano and Yoshio Sugimoto. The book tries to look at the discipline of Japanese Studies from a variety of perspectives and in a variety of contexts, starting from the premise that – as the authors put it – Japanese Studies is not the exclusive property of the anglophone world. In the volume, the authors try to answer several key questions:   What variations are there among the academic communities of Japanese Studies in Asia? Is there a local intellectual approach that displays a degree of autonomy from the global scholarship in the English-using world? In what ways have some academic disciplines or approaches been affected by Anglo-Western scholarship to a greater extent than others? Why? What…
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Philosophy lunches with students

Education
I'm so excited! Today, I just got the final version of the poster for the philosophy lunches I will be doing with my students, and I think the Media Center at the university did a really god job with the design. It's finally happening! I actually came up with the idea for these "philosophy lunches" about half a year ago, but it was the middle of the semester so I decided it would be better to wait for the new academic year. In the mean time, I thought a lot about the format (they were not "lunches" in the beginning), about the texts we would read (Japanese? Western? modern? premodern?), about the topics we would discuss, about how to initiate and moderate the discussions,  etc. etc. etc. My idea was…
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Sympathies and symphonies

Education
One of the courses I have been teaching for the last couple of years at KUIS is a Creative Writing class - to be more specific, "Creative Thinking, Living and Writing". I was in class the other day, with my students - they were working in groups on creating the plot for a fairy tale. (One of the things we do is to tell different stories in different formats, from fairy tales to manga.) I was walking around the room, observing the interactions within the groups, giving a piece of advice here and there and trying not to interfere too much with the whole process. The task was to take the characters they had created during the previous class, integrate them within the story while at the same time thinking…
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CFP: 4th ENOJP Conference on Japanese Philosophy

CFP
Call for Papers: 4th ENOJP Conference on Japanese Philosophy *** The 4th European Network of Japanese Philosophy (ENOJP) Conference at University of Hildesheim​, Germany​ (Sept 5–8 2018)  ​​Übergänge – Transitions – 移り渉り: Crossing the Boundaries in Japanese Philosophy *** We encourage applicants to send in proposals for individual presentations or group proposals of 3 presenters to collaborate on a panel together. Papers dealing with the conference theme “Übergänge – Transitions – 移り渉り” are particularly welcome, but papers on other aspects related to Comparative & Japanese Philosophy will also be considered. It is not necessary to adjust your presentation to the general theme in a very strict manner – we want to use the topic in a thought provoking rather than restrictive way! Please feel free to interpret the theme creatively.…
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Japan Guidebook

Books
The Research Institute for Japanese Studies at Kanda University of International Studies has just published Japan Guidebook, the second edition. (You can find the official press release here.)  The guidebook consists of 20 parts with more than 100 short, dictionary-like entries that cover a variety of topics and themes, from basic information about the geographical characteristics of the country to articles focusing on history, art, literature, education, economy, politics, popular culture, etc. It also includes 20 one-page essays that present the topics from a more general, comprehensive perspective. All the entries and essays are bilingual (Japanese / English). The book is the result of a collective effort - all the researchers associated with the Institute contributed - not only articles, but also time, ideas, and energy. It was not always…
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Book review: “Japanese Environmental Philosophy”

reviews
J. Baird Callicott, James McRae, eds. Japanese Environmental Philosophy. New York Oxford University Press, 2017. xxiii + 310 pp. $45.00 (paper), ISBN 978-0-19-045633-7. The Oxford University Press website describes Japanese Environmental Philosophy as "an anthology that responds to the environmental problems of the 21st century by drawing from Japanese philosophical traditions to investigate our relationships with other humans, nonhuman animals, and the environment." This is a fairly accurate description, and if I were to change only one word in it, it would probably be the word "response," as the book does not offer a unitary "response" to the environmental crisis - there is no red thread connecting the essays to combine them in a single, undivided entity (this is not to say that there should be such a red thread).…
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The future is bleak

Education
Finally, Romania has a new government. It's actually the third one since the coalition between PSD (Social Democratic Party) and their junior partner ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats) came into power in December 2016, which is very telling as to the (in)stability of the country's political system. I will just note that both governments so far, even though initially supported by the ruling coalition, were actually ousted when the leaders of the two parties realized that the prime minister's actions had veered away from their own personal agenda. An agenda which prioritizes, for instance, a so-called "reform" of the justice system which would make it almost impossible for corruption cases to make it to court, as well as an increasingly anti-European discourse in which institutions like the European Parliament…
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CFP: Asian Philosophical Texts

CFP
My friends and fellow researchers Takeshi and Pierre are organizing a conference on Asian Philosophical Texts in Brussels in October next year. They have just sent out the call for papers, so I paste it below. You can also find the details on the conference's PhilEvents page. *** Call for papers A Conference on Asian Philosophical Texts October 25–27 2018, Brussels This conference aims at providing a platform for scholars in the field of Asian Studies and world philosophies to both discuss and perform the task of translating Asian philosophical texts into western languages. Any papers on the philosophy of translation, critical analyses of existing translations, or ongoing translation projects are welcome. Submission deadline: August 15, 2017 Submission guidelines: Please submit abstracts or papers to Takeshi.Morisato[at]ulb.ac.be or Pierre.Bonneels[at]ulb.ac.be. The abstract…
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Presentation at ENOJP 2 (Brussels)

Conferences
Exactly one year ago, in December 2016, I was in Brussels for the 2nd Conference of the European Network of Japanese Philosophy, talking about Andō Shōeki and his vision of the human being in the shihōsei, the "world of the private law". The presentation was a sequel to the one I did in Barcelona in 2015, about the creative use of language and the coinage of new philosophical concepts. The ENOJP members behind the scenes did a great job and edited the video of the presentation, including the slides I used at the time. I really have a strange feeling when I see myself on video, and one year later (and wiser) I would change many things in the slides and in the way I present, but I think sharing…
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CFP: Japan in the World, the World in Japan

CFP
Three very dear friends of mine are involved in organizing a conference focusing on the methodology of teaching (in) Japan - they just announced the call for papers for the next iteration of the conference and, with their permission, I pasted it here. (I also uploaded the pdf file here to make it easier to circulate the announcement.) *** Call for Papers We are pleased to announce the third “Japan in the World and the World in Japan: A Methodological Approach” annual symposium. This year’s event will be held at the Center for Japanese Language and Culture, Osaka University (Minoh Campus), on March 3rd and 4th, 2018. The symposium focuses on the secondary and tertiary level instruction of subjects related to Japan (history, culture, literature, etc) in a cosmopolitan way…
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