New Working Paper

New Ideas in East Asian Studies has just published a new working paper by Ferran de Vargas from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona:



Terayama Shūji is as important counterculturally to the late 1960s and early 1970s as the philosopher Takaaki Yoshimoto was intellectually. Through the analysis of Terayama’s film Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets (Sho o Suteyo, Machi e Deyō), this paper explores a premise little discussed in publications in English so far: namely, that the existentialist emphasis of this director’s cinema on the self-questioning subject, its transformation through action over circumstances and discourse, linked to its emancipatory spirit, allows him to connect his approaches with the ideology of the most libertarian sectors of the Japanese New Left during Japan’s 1960s ’season of politics’.



New Working Paper

New Ideas in East Asian Studies has just published a new working paper by Wang Xiaozhuo:



The Ming-Qing transition, which occurred in 1644, not only made an unprecedented impact upon the domestic political context within China, but also exerted a far-reaching influence on Japan. Japanese Confucian scholars broadly viewed the Manchu as the barbarian; this boosted their strong cultural and ideological self-confidence. In this historical context,  early Mito水戸 scholars deified Japanese emperors and kokutai 國體 (national polity) to emphasise that Japan was a divine country with leaders who were descendants of deities.Japan thus had no revolutions, as compared with China, a country which had experienced multiple revolutions. Their aim was to demonstrate and highlight Japan’s unique superiority and authority. This ideology, with its nationalist tendencies, penetrated into the compilation of Dai Nihonshi 大日本史 (the Great History of Japan, 1657-1906). In this historical book, early Mito scholars distorted and denied the fact that Japan used to be inferior to China in terms of international political identity and had paid tribute to China prior to the Sui 隋dynasty. They also emphasised the divinity of the emperors, whose lineage extended over thousands of generations, and the superiority of kokutai, in order to imply that Japan had become a more advanced country than China. It can be said that the early Mito school’s historical compilation was a process of ‘inventing history’. By producing history, the early Mito scholars connected historical compilation with the Sino-barbarian system in East Asia. They wanted to push Japan to replace China as the centre of East Asia in the historical context of the Ming-Qing transition and to establish political legitimacy among East Asian countries. 

Key words: the early Mito school, Japanese emperor, kokutai, Dai Nihonshi, the East Asian Order


It is our great pleasure to announce publication of our Special Edition of New Ideas in East Asian Studies: Critique of / in Japanese Studies.

This special edition was edited by Ioannis Gaitanidis (Chiba University) and emerged from The British Association for Japanese Studies (Japan Branch) conference held at Chiba University on May 27 and 28, 2017.

Head to the New Ideas in East Asian Studies section of the website to download the special edition.


New Publication: The Starting Point of the Student Movement

Chris Perkins has published a translation with commentary of an editorial that appeared in the (Tokyo) University Newspaper in October 1945. Here is the abstract:

The editorial translated here appeared in the University Newspaper (Daigaku Shinbun), published out of Tokyo Imperial University, on 11 October 1945. It is a very early example of the reemergence of the Japanese student movement after years of repression under the wartime regime. The central issue animating the editorial is the question of how to guard against the rise of “liars and opportunists,” who will use the language of democracy to further their own interests. For the writer, the answer is a vigorous association of progressives, with students at its heart. But for students to be able to play their proper, indeed historically mandated role in such a movement, they first need to acquire the correct political subjectivity. This is the starting point of the student movement.

Follow this link for access (institutional subscription required)

Dr Lauren Richardson to talk about North Korea at the Daiwa Foundation

How to cope with North Korea: what can Japan and the U.K. do?

Monday 2 October 2017
Admission free, booking essential
Daiwa Foundation Japan House
13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle
London NW1 4QP MAP
Nearest station: Baker Street

In this seminar, Professor Hitoshi Tanaka, Dr Jim Hoare and Dr Lauren Richardson discuss nuclear and missile development in North Korea, which continues to be aggressively pursued despite sanctions from the United Nations Security Council. While military confrontation must be avoided, the relationship between the U.S. and North Korea makes this particularly difficult. What are the essential elements for a diplomatic solution, if any? Can diplomacy succeed?
Professor Tanaka will give a brief history of the North Korea nuclear issue, discussing why North Korea is determined to acquire nuclear weapons and why this programme has continued despite sanctions from the UNSC. Dr Hoare will discuss how the UK might help to improve the situation. Dr Richardson, a specialist in regional studies, will take a third-party view and consider Korea-Japan relations from a broader perspective. 


Professor Hitoshi Tanaka is chairman of the Institute for International Strategy at the Japan Research Institute, and a senior fellow at the Japan Centre for International Exchange (JCIE). He joined JCIE in 2005 after serving for three years as Japan’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, serving as top advisor to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on issues including North Korea, China, Russia and the United States. His publications include Nihon Gaikō no Chōsen [The Challenges for Japan’s Diplomacy], Reimagining Japan, Gaikō no Chikara [The Power of Diplomacy], and Purofeshonaru no Kōshōryoku [The Logic of Strategic Negotiation].

Dr Jim Hoare is a British academic and historian specialising in diplomacy and diplomatic history, Korea, Japanese history and Chinese foreign policy. He currently holds the position of Associate Fellow of the Asia Programme at Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs. Before this, he worked in HM Diplomatic Service, and played an integral role in establishing the British Embassy in North Korea. He holds a degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and his research and publications include Korea: The Past and Present, and Embassies in the East: The Story of the British and their Embassies in China, Japan and Korea from 1859 to the Present.
Dr Lauren Richardson is a Teaching Fellow in Japanese-Korean relations at the University of Edinburgh, and incoming Lecturer at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University. Her research focusses on International Relations in North East Asia. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Asian Studies from Monash University, and a Master’s degree in Political Science from Keio University. Her PhD in International, Political and Strategic Studies at the ANU entailed one year of fieldwork in both Korea and Japan. She has been a Visiting Fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs and Keio University, and has participated in a number of security and strategic dialogues in the Asia-Pacific.

Japanese Society and Culture Students on the MIRAI programme

It is my great pleasure to announce that two of our MSc Japanese Society and Culture students, Christina Xenaki and Serena Scateni, have been accepted onto the Government of Japan's MIRAI exchange programme for 2016.

The MIRAI programme is a short-term youth exchange scheme set up to invite to Japan graduate and undergraduate students from Europe, Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus who are studying politics, law, history, international politics, economics, international relations, public policy, area studies (Asian Studies, Japan Studies, etc) or subjects in related fields with regard to Asia or Japan. The Government of Japan invited 150 students last year.  This programme is intended to offer an opportunity to (i) promote mutual understanding, (ii) enhance intellectual exchange, and (iii) build a strong network among future leaders of Japan, Europe, Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. 

So congratulations to Christina and Serena, we are all looking forward to hearing about the programme on your return to sunny Scotland!

Asian Studies at Edinburgh made core member of the Japan Foundation Sakura Network

Since 2008, the Japan Foundation has been building up the Sakura Network with the cooperation of Japanese language education institutions worldwide.

Sakura Network members play a significant role in enhancing Japanese language education in their region or countr through various programmes provided by the Japan Foundation.

It is our great honour to have been added to the Japan Foundation's Sakura Network and we are excited to continue furthering the cause of Japanese language education in the UK and beyond.

Welcome to our Sasakawa Scholars!

This year we secured three postgraduate scholarships from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.  

Roddy McDougall will be continuing into the third year of his PhD, which looks at media representations of the Great Financial Crisis in Japan.

Beth Noble is studying for an MSc by Research with a particular focus on the postwar Japanese avant-garde.

Eleanor Hobbs is studying on the MSc in Japanese Society and Culture.

We would like to thanks the Sasakawa Foundation for their continued support through this wonderful initiative!