University of Melbourne (Australia) Global Japan Office June 2019 Activity Report
Global Japan Office Coordinator
G’day fellow GJO’ers!
While this month was a markedly joy-filled one for some (very) lucky students who undertook Japan-based learning through the University of Melbourne and its partner institutions, it is with great sadness that June was my last at the Global Japan Office.
I am however thrilled to report that this cosy operation we have maintained here will be in safe hands. Having shared a co-working space with my successor, Ms Lu Lin, over the past 6 months, I can attest to her diligence and keen advocacy for improved classroom outcomes. It is such infectious enthusiasm and perspective that I hope will shine through her presence! So please join me in warmly welcoming Lu to the GJO family – I promise you will enjoy her reports and expectedly flawless RMIT School of Media and Communication turn of phrase!
So, now to the (kind of) serious stuff! The Tandem (Academic) Learning Project program, held in Hokkaido this year, ran for three days in late June. Twelve students – three each from Melbourne and the University of Helsinki in Finland and six from the host institution, Hokkaido University – participated in the program.
The stated aims in the language and research exchanges yielded all-round positive results, with our representatives from Australia – Natalie McKay, Saffron Lai and Christian Demetriou – receiving positive feedback from their Japanese counterparts and academic staff. In between the sessions, students were active in networking with staff and peers in the evening. The participants also spent a day sightseeing in Sapporo to conclude the program, which is expected to be next held in Melbourne in 2021.
Finally, it would be remiss of me to finish my last submission for the GJO without extending my utmost gratitude to Professor Akihiro Ogawa for according me this wonderful opportunity to engage with my lifelong curiosities about Japan, its history, peoples and wonderfully complex culture. Aki-san, as he is known around the traps here at the Asia Institute, become more than just a boss but rather a keen mentor and friend. Thank you, boss!
University of Melbourne (Australia) Global Japan Office May 2019 Activity Report
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Winter is here!
This month was a rather exciting one for Japan and Japanese Studies enthusiasts. While the ninth installment of the Asia Institute’s Inagaki Seminar 9, titled ‘Transpacific Imagination: Nuclear Representation in Australia and Japan’, was the only major public event – May is typically the time when students across the state of Victoria (and much of Australia) begin to taste the Jekyll-and-Hyde pandemonium of SWOTVAC (Study Without Teaching Vacation) which precedes exams and final assessments. SWOTVAC has long been an institution and is the stuff of cramming legend among many a snowed-under university student in the land Down Under – not that we at GJO Melbourne endorse or condone such an approach to study, especially vis-à-vis anything Japan-related! Now I did mention that the month is an exciting one…because a handful of lucky undergraduate students will be embarking on an Overseas Intensive Subject in Hokkaido, Japan in around a months’ time! Upon successful completion, the subject, Contemporary Japan, should accord students new perspectives on Japanese society that will equip them to navigate the diverse complexes and dichotomies that touch upon modern Japan. Additionally, three students – two undergraduate honours and one PhD – will also be headed to Hokkaido for the Tandem (Academic) Language Learning Project (TLLP), a bilingual research program between the University of Melbourne, the Graduate School of International Media Communication and Tourism Studies of Hokkaido University, and Department of World Cultures of Helsinki University. The program aims to foster improved language outcomes through critical and engaging exchanges and activities between students in their non-native tongues. It is indeed an exciting time for those selected to participate.
University of Melbourne (Australia) Global Japan Office April 2019 Activity Report
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Winter is nearing…!
April is typically a busy month on campus at the University of Melbourne – students still easing into the new semester are suddenly confronting the onslaught of assessments and all the while much of the rest of the population enjoys the public holidays and ensuing long-weekends. April also heralds a seasonal change from summer to autumn (fall, for those better acquainted with North American English) which sees the local weather take on a Jekyll and Hyde act: one moment shorts and t-shirts, the next windcheaters and pullovers are absolutely mandatory. In short, it is cold and windy but the month is punctuated by sporadic warm and sunny days when memories are made and wintry pain is temporarily an afterthought. Welcome to Melbourne!
Amid all this, members of the Japanese studies and language team were brought together on a rather frosty evening for the 8th instalment of the Inagaki Seminar series (see photos), named after Moshi Inagaki who pioneered Japanese language study at the University a century ago. A mainstay of the Japanese program at UoM, the Inagaki series has become an institution for all Japan-interested minds owing to the support and time from the Program Head. With the #MeToo movement making headlines globally, it was a rally opportune moment for an informative session on the gender inequalities persisting in Japanese political and economic life in spite of the narrow gender gap in health and education. It was a delight for Dr Emma Dalton to explore and unpack the issues of inequality of the sexes in the workplace issues through the context of Japanese society.
In May the Inagaki Seminar series will be welcoming Professor Tomoko Ichitani of Seinan Gakuin University to Australia as a Visiting Senior Fellow.
University of Melbourne (Australia) Global Japan Office March 2019 Activity Report
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Seminar season is upon us
In the month of March, members of the University of Melbourne’s Japanese studies and language fraternity – students, academics, staff and those simply interested in the goings-on in Japan – came together for a day-long celebration of all-things Japanese. This was preceded by a PhD workshop featuring special guest Professor Miranda Schreurs of the Technical University of Munich who was on hand to provide comments to three postgraduate students whose dissertations cover: (1) civil society’s role in driving alternative energy dialogues; (2) perceptions of media credibility in the context of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster; and (3) the risk perception and reduction of migrant mothers in its ensuing aftermath.Prof. Schreurs headlined Part 1 of the 7th Inagaki Seminar, named after Moshi Inagaki who pioneered Japanese language study at the University a century ago, with her speech ‘Reinventing Fukushima: Post-Disaster Recovery and the Japanese Energy Transition’ in which she explored the energy transition following on from the March 11 catastrophe in 2011. Her presentation, on the recovery efforts after the nuclear catastrophe and subsequent designs to establish Fukushima as a pioneer for low-carbon, nuclear-free energy transition, also highlighted the disaster’s facilitation and galvanising of an increasingly assertive civil society vis-à-vis nuclear power that had previously been earmarked and hailed as a key post-Kyoto Protocol carbon reduction energy source. And with sentiments shifting away from nuclear technology for domestic energy provision, renewables were becoming the preferred energy source by community members owing to their relative affordability (and not to mention the potentially exportable knowledge and insights).
Between the Inagaki seminar sessions was Unimelb’s official Welcome Event for the Japanese studies and language program, organised by Dr. Claire Maree. Following the welcoming remarks from Professor Akihiro Ogawa was the announcement of the 2018 Japan Foundation Video Matsuri awards winners and cordial greetings from staff, the Melbourne University Japanese Club and Asia Institute Director, Professor Vedi Hadiz.Part 2 of the seminar featured a film screening of ‘I want to go home’. Translated by Miki Hawkinson, a teaching associate with the University, the film follows a man’s search for his missing wife after the tsunami. And on this occasion, it certainly did not fail in tugging at the heart strings! As of last week, as part of the Asian Civil Society Research Cluster at the Asia Institute, an international workshop titled ‘Embedding the Apology in the Media: How Civil Society Contributes to Reconciliation’, was organised by Cluster leader Professor Ogawa. The speakers/delegates hailed from both the University and abroad and came together to discuss the role of civil society in post-war reconciliation, namely in the context of World War II antagonists, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. It was a most engaging and illuminating experience as the discourses ranged from the effectiveness of institutionalised memory of war crimes to how media portrayed history in the respective societies. Also on the agenda this month was the updating of the respective study areas for the Asia Institute website that, of course, includes Japanese Studies among others (Asian, Arabic, Islamic, Chinese and Indonesian with Korean to be added soon). With a marked emphasis on Asian capabilities (languages, cultural awareness and skills et al), a free trade agreement in place between Canberra and Tokyo and the increased diversifying of Japanese foreign investment in Australia, there is no better time for Unimelb students to consider taking up Japanese language and studies! With enrolments for Japanese ahead of all other Asian and non-Asian languages in the LOTE category across all proficiency levels, the dedicated teaching staff certainly deserve their hard-earned kudos! In the month of April we will be looking forward to the eighth installment of the Inagaki Seminar series. Titled ‘Women’s challenges at work in Japan’, it will feature a speech from Dr Emma Dalton of RMIT University who most recently published Womenomics, ‘Equality’ and Abe’s Neo-liberal Strategy to Make Japanese Women Shine in the Social Science Japan Journal (Vol. 20). Can’t wait!
University of Melbourne (Australia) Global Japan Office February 2019 Activity Report
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Great to be on board
G’day fellow GJOers! This month’s is the first submission of many from the Global Japan Office at the University of Melbourne in (usually) sunny Australia! And yes, our campus is only a few tram stops from the central business district – not far from where global tennis superstar and Japan’s very own Naomi Osaka claimed the Australian Open Grand Slam title to shoot right atop the world rankings and be crowned the world’s best female tennis player!
GJO on-campus room
Our working space is underway and almost completed, with a room located in the Sidney Myer Asia Centre (which houses the Asia Institute under which the Japanese and Japan Studies academic and administrative staff operate) currently being used for administrative duties.
A name plate has been procured and awaiting framing before it officially goes up on the door of the shared room which is also the administrative centre of the Centre of Contemporary Chinese Studies and the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies. So we cannot wait to see the GJO brand sitting aside our friendly neighbours up on level 3 of this beautiful building – from where we are treated to skyline views (weather permitting, of course!).
Welcome to Semester one
As the semester has only commenced this week, much of our focus has been on preparing for an upcoming medley of events – a PhD workshop, seminar and film screening – that we are excited to report about in next month’s installment of the GJO Activity Report. Given the University’ reputation, we are hopeful that the engaged student population, many of whom taking a keen interest in in the Asia-Pacific region (including students majoring/minoring in Japanese or Japan studies), will be drawn to the public event that will be featuring a keynote address from Professor Miranda Schreurs of the Technical University of Munich.
Until then, please feel welcome to marvel at the beautiful architecture and campus grounds that hosts a most vibrant and multicultural student population!