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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #91: April 3, 2003

Japan Forum: The International Journal of Japanese Studies

Journal Name: Japan Forum: The International Journal of Japanese Studies: November, 2002, Vol.14, No.3
Print ISSN: 0955-5803, Online ISSN:1469-932X


Sir Peter Parker, KBE, LVO(pp371 372)

Election posters in Japan (pp373 404)
Jonathan Lewis, Brian J. Masshardt
This paper offers a preliminary look at an important medium of political communication in Japan, namely election posters fixed to official poster-boards. We analyze two sets of post-election surveys, present the legal provisions regulating posters and carry out a descriptive and comparative analysis of the posters themselves. We identify significant differences between parties in the content and design of their candidates' posters. However, posters for the LDP and DPJ in particular show little uniformity, suggesting a deliberate strategy of not actively promoting the party brand at election time. We also propose areas for future research.

An epoch-making event? The 1997 Ainu Cultural Promotion Act and its impact (pp405 - 423)
Richard Siddle
This article considers the impact of the Ainu Cultural Promotion Act (enacted 1 July 1997) on contemporary Ainu culture, politics and identity. It describes the events leading to this legislation and suggests that, while it represents on the surface a new official approach to multiculturalism, it has not significantly displaced older attitudes towards Japanese homogeneity and the management of minorities. Although it is only five years since the CPA was enacted, the article argues that it has had a negative effect on the Ainu movement for political and human rights and has some disturbing implications for Ainu identity.

Education of whom, for whom, by whom? Revising the Fundamental Law of Education in Japan (pp425 - 441)
Akito Okada
Revision of the Fundamental Law of Education (FLE) has recently become a key aspect of educational reform in Japan. The perceived need to enhance national solidarity through textbooks and the school curriculum is also evident in discussions surrounding educational issues in Japan and has been expressed in calls for greater patriotism and morality in society. This move towards developing a 'self-awareness of being Japanese' and a respect for traditional culture increased after the establishment of the Ad-Hoc Council in the 1980s and was later sanctioned with the passing of the National Flag and Anthem Law in August 1999. It is important to note that the Education Reform National Council's (ERNC) proposal to revise the FLE must be seen as essentially continuous with the Ad-Hoc Council's call for national integration, since the ERNC views the ideals of education expressed in the FLE as deficient in patriotism and social morality. In an attempt to understand the move towards the revision of the FLE, this paper examines the conflicts that animate the contemporary educational reform debate by scrutinizing the proposals for reconsideration of educational principles of post-war Japan. The paper argues that the revision of the FLE may threaten the democratic ideals of post-war Japanese schooling and result in greater educational inequalities along the lines of social stratification. The paper cautions against an unqualified commitment to the revision of the FLE.

Machi-zukuri as a new paradigm in Japanese urban planning: reality or myth? (pp443 - 464)
Neil Evans
The concept of machi-zukuri (community/neighbourhood planning) has become widely used in recent years, both within the field of urban planning and in more general usage. It is seen as a radical departure from the conventional centralized, top-down, 'civil engineering' approach of Japanese urban planning (toshi-keikaku), or even as playing an important role in the regeneration of Japanese civil society over this period. Two case studies of machi-zukuri are examined, both in Kobe. One is a long-standing example of machi-zukuri in a district that has a long history of autonomous residents' activity.The second is a district that is being reconstructed after the 1995 Hanshin (Kobe) Earthquake. Planning in the former case has exhibited radical differences from the conventional top-down model. However, in the latter case study, it is argued that the local government has appropriated the rhetoric of machi-zukuri, and that this case study is not fundamentally different from the conventional model.

Susa-no-o: a culture hero from Korea (pp 465 - 487)
James H. Grayson
The Izumo area of Shimane Prefecture possesses one of the principal shrines of Shinto, the Izumo taisha, and a distinctive mythological tradition and ritual practice which is focused on Susa-no-o, brother of the sun goddess Amaterasu O-mikami, and which is different from the standard traditions concerning Susa-no-o contained in the Kojiki and the Nihon shoki. The mythic traditions of Shimane associated with Susa-no-o and references to him in ancient texts indicate that this great spirit is a culture hero who brought to Japan Korean metallurgic techniques and methods of afforestation.There are numerous shrines in the northern part of Shimane which are dedicated to this spirit. However, in the central part of the prefecture there is another complete mythic cycle about Susa-no-o and his son Isotake, which has left its imprint on the toponyms of the area as well as being remembered in contemporary annual rituals. Centred in the area of the city of Oda, this second Susa-no-o cycle is independent of the mythic cycle in the Izumo area and is not attested to in any ancient documents. Comparing ancient Korean documents with evidence from various Japanese materials, it is clear that the Shimane area of western Japan had sustained contact in antiquity with the south-western part of the Korean peninsula.

Japan Forum (2002)
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