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Keynote Speakers

Posted By admin On July 15, 2016 @ 8:21 pm In News | Comments Disabled

The 10th Conference of the NAJAKS, Stockholm University, August 17-19, 2016

Keynote speeches

Youngsook Pak

Seventeenth-century Japan as seen by the Korean Envoy Hogok Nam Yong-ik (1628-1692)

The powerful Shogun Tokugawa Iyeyasu (徳川 家康 1543-1616) was conscious of and regretted Hideyoshi’s disastrous 1592 invasion of Korea, imjin waeran 壬辰倭亂, Japanese violence in the imjin year. He made conscious efforts to normalize relations with the Chosŏn kingdom and requested the Chosŏn court to resume diplomatic exchanges.  Koreans were reluctant to follow up this approach. However, there was an urgent matter which had to be dealt with. The primary concern of the Chosŏn court was the repatriation of Korean prisoners reckoned to be nearly 50,000 who had been taken to Japan and to investigate whether the Japanese had further intention to invade Korea again. Hence the delegation sent to Japan in 1607, the first after the Imjin war, was hoedap kyŏm swaehwansa 回答兼刷還使, Envoys replying [to Iyeyasu’s letter sent to King Sŏnjo] and retrieving Korean prisoners. Koreans’ view towards Japanese was understandably hostile. Untangling the obstructions and suspicions towards the Japanese took time, until in 1624 Korean envoys went to Edo to congratulate Iemitsu 家光 on becoming Shogun. Thereafter envoys were t’ongsinsa 通信使 and diplomatic relations between the two countries were resumed. Political stabilization in Edo Japan, mutual respect and cultural exchanges enabled these new found peaceful relations to continue until the last official delegation in 1811. The arduous sea and land journey to Japan and back took six to eight months and the cost to send each delegation of some 300 to over 400 people carried in several ships was enormous. They stopped at Tsushima Island 對馬島which had been the important trade centre from the Koryŏ period onwards but which was also the home of Japanese pirates. The Sho 宗 clan as rulers of this Island accompanied the Korean delegation to and from Edo.

The three principal Korean envoys to China or to Japan were selected among senior high-ranking scholar officials. Almost all of them left documents of their journey in the form of diaries, letters and poems. Through their learned literary records we have first-hand unrivalled information on the places and people of the countries they visited. Among all these records, that of the talented young scholar official Hogok Nam Yong-ik who travelled with Ŭlmi sahaeng 乙未使行 (1655) in the 6th year of King Hyojong as Chongsagwan 從事官 (Junior 6th rank) is the most detailed and illuminating. His observations on Japanese landscape, economy, architecture, material culture and people are written in superior literati style in his Pusangnok 扶桑錄, Record of the Journey to Japan. The official mission of Ŭlmi sahaeng was to take King Hyojong’s official letter of congratulations to Tokugawa Ietsuna 德川家綱 (1641-1680) who had become Shogun in 1651. This paper focuses on Hogok’s account to provide a glimpse of seventeenth century Japan.

Youngsook Pak

Professor Youngsook Pak studied at Universities of Heidelberg, Bonn, Köln, and Harvard, East Asian and Western art history and Sinology. PhD in Heidelberg on Koryŏ and Early Chosŏn Kshitigarbha Images. Taught at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Heidelberg University, Yale University, and the Graduate Center, City University of New York as Professor of Korean Art History. At SOAS, she established Korean art history, the first western university to teach this subject and the postgraduate programme. She has been Chairman of the Centre of Korean Studies and Secretary of Association of Korean Studies in Europe, Editorial Board member of Korean academic journals Seoul Journal of Korean Studies (Seoul National University) and Journal of Korean Art and Archaeology (National Museum of Korea).  She has organized international conferences at SOAS and Yale University, and acted as Korean art adviser to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and to the British Museum and Musée Guimet in Paris. Numerous publications on Korean art and architecture from the Three Kingdoms, Koryŏ  and Chosŏn period. Currently working on the edited conference volume on Esoteric Buddhism and Buddhist Art in China and Korea (forthcoming Cambria Press) and publication project Korean Art.

Reiko Abe Auestad

Affect, Natsume Sōseki and World Literature

In what some critics have identified as an “affective turn,” many cultural theorists in the past decade have turned to the study of emotion in the hope of drawing a more finely grained picture of the social world and human experiences in it. In my lecture, I will talk about the role of affect in literature, with Natsume Sōseki’s Kokoro as an example. Sōseki recognized the importance of “affect” in human interaction in general, and developed a theory of literature based on it. For Sōseki, literature is a device that elicits “jōcho” (affects and emotions) in the reader, differently, depending on the reader’s life experiences.

I focus on two implications that Sōseki’s theory of literature might have for us in 2016. One is to demonstrate how affect can complicate our understanding of human motivations, problematizing our propensity to resort to a simple, reductive causal logic in our eagerness to interpret and judge. The other is to make us realize how literature can resonate differently across time and space, drawing our attention to the need to expand the horizon of our understanding of literature to that of “world literature,” beyond the narrowly defined national framework.

Kokoro, one of the most canonical of Sōseki novels, continues to yield diverse readings, both in and outside Japan. Edited collections of essays, and journal articles on Kokoro are being produced and see the light of day. Outside academia, numerous spin-off versions in film, manga, and plays modeled on Kokoro keep appearing, and BL (Boy’s love)-readings of Kokoro flourish.

My hope is that this exercise will also serve to address the role of literary study with a focus on emotion and empathy, as a way of engaging the larger question of the relevance of  humanistic studies in general.

Reiko Abe Auestad

Received her BA in English and American literature from Sophia University, BA in Humanistic Studies, MA in Japanese literature from University of Wisconsin, and Ph.D. from University of Oslo, where she currently works as professor.

She is the author of Rereading Sōseki: Three Early Twentieth Century Japanese Novels, originally published in 1998; its digital version is forthcoming from the CEAS reprint series for rare and out of print publications at Yale University.  She has recently published two articles on Sōseki’s Kokoro, and is currently involved with editing Japanese and English anthologies of essays on Natsume Sōseki with Alan Tansman and Keith Vincent.  Her current research project, “Affect and Speech Act in Modern Japanese Literature” (working title), examines novels by among others Natsume Sōseki, Ōe Kenzaburō, Kirino Natsuo, and Kawakami Mieko.

Johan Nordström

Propaganda, Education, and the Empire: Japan in 1936

The February 26 incident, the signing of the Anti-Comintern pact, a failing economy and widespread poverty constituted a turning point in the history of Imperial Japan. 1936 was marred by incidents of extreme violence, which coupled with harsh political and economical conditions.

This changing civil and political climate reverberated throughout the film industry. To illuminate the torrent of change and radicalization that was sweeping over Japan and how this came to affect the nature and pleasure of cinema and popular culture, as well as examine the role that cinema can play as a propaganda tool, utilized in the mobilization of the people, or kokumin, both ideologically and physically, I want to focus this presentation on two films, both produced in 1936, the pan-Asian Towards the Equator (Sekido koete, Eiji Tsuburaya) and Japan’s Air Defense (Boku nihon, Kobayashi Masaru).

These films constitute two striking examples of the ways in which the Japanese cinema was utilized for the dual purpose of education and propaganda. They are both examples of how the government, specifically in this case the military, interacted with and utilized the film industry for purposes of propaganda and political gain.

The building of the nation state is always an ongoing project and these two films, taken together, form a kind of snapshot of this process in 1936, emphasizing Japan’s geopolitical aspirations as well as the potential consequences of these policies for the country and for Asia as a whole.

I will examine how these films achieved their purpose, their contemporary production and reception, as well as how they should be situated in the context of Japan’s ever continuing militarization, that would only a year later lead to the country’s full scale war with China. In so doing, I will point towards wider methodological issues involved in approaching these films, and the ideological issues at stake.

Johan Nordström

Johan Nordström took his BA in Film Studies and his MA in Japanese Studies at Stockholm University, where he has also lectured on Japanese film history and modern Japanese visual culture. He received his Ph.D. from Waseda University, and is currently a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Post Doctoral Fellow at Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo. He is completing a book on Tokyo based early sound film studio P.C.L., as well as co-editing the anthology volume ‘The Culture of the Sound Image in Prewar Japan’ for Amsterdam University Press (forthcoming). His essays on film culture in Japan appear in Film Criticism, the BFI’s The Japanese Cinema Book (forthcoming), and Blackwell’s A Companion to Japanese Cinema (forthcoming). He has co-curated many programs of Japanese Cinema for international film festivals, and most recently, autumn 2015, a season of early Japanese sound films for the Museum of Modern Art, New York.


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