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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #140: May 25, 2004

Japanese Studies

Journal Name: Japanese Studies: September 2003, Vol. 23, No. 2
ISSN: 1037-1397 (Paper), 1469-9338 (Online)


The colonial annexation of Okinawa and the logic of international law: the formation of an 'indigenous people' in East Asia (pp107-124)
Hideaki Uemura (Keisen University)
Although the United Nations human rights bodies have dealt with the Ainu people as an indigenous people since 1987 and have accepted Okinawan delegations as members of the community of indigenous peoples since 1996, the Japanese government still has not recognized these two peoples as indigenous peoples, asserting that Hokkaido and Okinawa have been part of Japanese territory proper since time immemorial. This article offers a review of the annexation of Okinawa in relation to the building of the nation-state of Japan from the perspective of international law. It shows that the process of annexing Ryu¯kyu¯ is a violation of Article 51 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties that stipulates that the expression of a State's consent to a legal effect is definitely invalid if it has been done by force, in international customary law. In this regard, we should be reminded that the peoples who were unilaterally, forcibly and 'illegally' annexed to a given nation-state as an unrecognized colony are 'indigenous peoples' in a global context.

Meeting of the dugongs and the cooking pots: anti-military base citizens' groups on Okinawa (pp125-140)
Caroline Spencer (University of Melbourne)
This paper documents six anti-military base citizens' groups on Okinawa, Japan to demonstrate the existence of an anti-military base social movement on Okinawa. The author contends that three 'incidents' involving the US military on Okinawa--the 1995 Kin Town rape, the 1997 Nago City Heliport transfer proposal, and the 2001 Chatan Town rape--have solidified the groups into a social movement. This has occurred with the incorporation of broader perspectives into the anti-military base campaign including environmentalism, feminism, and anti-militarism. The author concludes that comparison of the Okinawan anti-base social movement with other social movements and the application of social movement theory to the Okinawan example will facilitate theorising about the future direction of the Okinawan anti-military base social movement.

Sakutarō and the city (pp141-155)
Hugh Clarke (University of Sydney)
This paper addresses the changing image of the city in the poetry, prose and critical essays of the free verse poet Hagiwara Sakutarō (1886-1942). Sakutarō's growing disillusionment with Japan's modernisation and slavish imitation of Western models is reflected in changes in his poetic representations of the city, from a modern, sophisticated utopia, through the liberating home of the crowd, and the symbol of the existential despair of modern man, to the hallucination of a fevered imagination. The progressive disenchantment with the city in Sakutarō's poetry is accompanied by a corresponding rise in his estimation of the countryside. We can also see the city as a metaphor for modernity and the West on the one hand, and the countryside a trope for Japan and tradition on the other. In calling for a fusion of elements derived from both Western and Japanese culture Hagiwara Sakutarō sought to negotiate a distinctive Japanese modernity in the interwar period, but was, in the end, profoundly disappointed with the colourless intellectual desert he saw emerging from the blend.

Ōe Kenzaburō: themes and techniques in mizukara waga namida wo nugui tamau hi (the day he himself shall wipe my tears away) (pp157-166)
Yasuko Claremont (University of Sydney)
In the cancer ward of a hospital a man, known only as 'he', dictates memories of his wartime boyhood in Japan, memories which he insists will constitute a 'history of the age'. Ōe's complex novel has two major themes. Ostensibly an attack on ultra-nationalism, particularly the resurgence of emperor worship advocated by Mishima, the novel explores, at a yet deeper level, existential issues surrounding human isolation and the ambivalence of experience. Not least is the arresting portrait of a psychotic personality. In achieving his effects Ōe uses a variety of techniques, including defamiliarisation--that is, the perception of a familiar object in a new way--and the fusion of space and time in a single consciousness. This paper discusses the major themes and techniques intertwined in the novel.

Constructs of Meiji Japan: the role of writing by Victorian women travellers (pp167-183)
Lorraine Sterry (La Trobe University)
The writings by Victorian women travellers make an important contribution to our understand ing of the historical, cultural and political developments in Meiji Japan. The view of nineteenth-century Japan is a personal one, where the reader is drawn in to share the author's perception of Japan through her experiences and through the minutiae of the daily lives of both the writer and her subjects. By studying these discourses, we find a Japan which is not represented in either the more pedagogical, paternalistic writings by men, or through the subjective demands of official commentaries and formal histories.

Evaluation of business Japanese textbooks: issues of gender (pp185-203)
Chihiro Kinoshita Thomson (University of New South Wales University of Technology, Sydney) and Emi Otsuji
While the Japanese business community continues to be perceived as male dominated, the majority of students of Business Japanese in Australian universities are female. This paper examines Business Japanese textbooks from both macro (social practices) and micro (linguistic discourses) level perspectives, using critical discourse analysis as an analytical tool, to assess the adequacy of the textbooks to be used in a primarily female student community. The analysis reveals that the textbooks present a stereotypical and exaggerated version of social practices of the Japanese business community, based on idealised native-Japanese norms. Female characters in the textbooks have less access to managerial positions, and fewer opportunities to participate in business, than in reality. The analysis also highlights the invisibility of non-Japanese female characters in the textbooks. Female students using the textbooks are not provided with role models or spaces to acculturate into. These textbooks do not grant adequate learning tools for non-Japanese female students. The paper calls for textbooks which provide more diverse perspectives of the Japanese business community, where non-Japanese female students are able to construct their own social identities accompanied by relevant use of the Japanese language.

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