|Tuesday, April 11th|
2:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Traveling in Japan, someone accustomed to the often single-language culture of the United States might be surprised by the common appearance of English words in Japanese media and literature, and across many registers of Japanese speech. Wasei eigo means “Japanese-made English,” and refers to words or phrases that may have some origin in English but have been incorporated into Japanese usage with a new meaning. Words frequently cross the language barrier into (and out of) the Japanese lexicon. With the particular example of mistaken English translations on official signs outside Kyoto Station, one can begin to see the charm, flexibility and new interpretations that come with the adapted usage of wasei eigo.
2:15 PM - 2:30 PM
The manga, or Japanese graphic novel, is a pop culture medium that appears in a variety of genres and often serves as a platform for discourse on topics otherwise frowned upon in the context of Japanese societal norms. My interest lies in the artistic representation of gender in yaoi, a genre of manga defined by its depiction of homosexual relationships between men. Yaoi manga artists regularly bend traditional definitions of masculinity by drawing their characters as bishōnen, or ‘beautiful boys’— with long hair, jewelry and fine features. My presentation features images of bishōnen seen in various yaoi manga and contrasts them with Japanese representations of beautiful boys from other mediums. I am interested in the ways in which a bishōnen can be represented. If the image of a “beautiful man” travels through the right lens, can that image begin to shift standards of masculinity?
2:30 PM - 2:45 PM
My presentation provides a background that may shed light and understanding on Okinawa’s problematic relationship with both Japan and the United States. In the U.S., people may remember the Battle of Okinawa, or they may know that Okinawa serves as the home for 75 percent of U.S. military bases in Japan. Few in Japan realize that, until 1879, Okinawa was known as the Ryūkyū Kingdom. Today, people in Japan consider Okinawa a tropical paradise for tourists. The name Okinawa means “rope in the open sea,” which aptly describes a long stretch of 150 islands between Japan and Taiwan. But Okinawa has a unique language and culture. Today, the people of Okinawa are at once “Okinawans’” and Japanese. Thus, the question of Okinawa as a prefecture within Japan and the question of Okinawan identity remains a complex and highly debated topic.
2:45 PM - 3:00 PM
Most people translate the word kyūdō as “the way of the bow,” but I want to avoid making the easy association with zen and the art of archery. Instead, my presentation provides a historical context for kyūdō in traditional and modern Japan. I draw on my experiences with bows and arrows and other tools as a student of Japanese language and culture at the Associated Kyoto Program Center. In particular, I share an encounter that led me into a training hall for kyūjutsu or “the practice of using a bow with skill.” In the beginning, I did not shoot arrows. I learned how to sit and stand. I also learned how to put on a kaki (glove), how to hold a yumi (a bow) and how to notch a ya (arrow). I demonstrate these techniques in my presentation.