Workshop: Traditional Theater Training, Kyoto (summer 2016)

Want to train with real masters in Kyoto this summer?

The 32nd annual Traditional Theater Training (T.T.T.) 2016 will be held at the Kyoto Art Center.

T.T.T. is a three-week summer intensive training program that introduces the traditional arts of noh, kyogen, and Nihonbuyo. The program is based on the practice-recital approach, and aims to allow participants from all over the world to learn the skills and spirit of traditional performing arts.

This year’s program is scheduled to begin in late July and end in early August (approx. three weeks). The instructors will be Shingo Katayama, Hiromichi Tamoi, and Nobuyuki Oe (Noh); Akira Shigeyama, Yasushi Maruishi, and Doji Shigeyama (Kyogen); and Yayoi Wakayagi and pupils (Nihonbuyo). Fluency in Japanese is not required of participants, though lessons will typically be given in the language (with interpreters on hand).

Application will be open from February 2016 and discounts are given to early applications, students, and artists. For more information feel free to respond to me directly, or contact Kyoto Art Center (in Japanese or English) at or+81(0)75-213-1000. You can visit the KAC website at 



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Funding: MA and PhD funding at Newcastle University (UK)

money [150-2]We are pleased to announce the following funding opportunity for MA or PhD in Japanese studies at Newcastle University (UK):

Sasakawa Studentships in Japanese Studies

Closing Date: 15 March 2016

The studentships form part of a five year programme designed to support the study of Japan in the UK at postgraduate level which the Nippon Foundation and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation launched in 2014. Up to three studentships (MA or PhD) will be available per annum, each worth £10,000. We invite applications from suitably qualified candidates who wish to pursue an MLitt (Masters by Research) or a PhD in Japanese studies, starting October 2016. We particularly encourage students with an interest in contemporary Japanese literature, gender and/or popular culture to apply, but still welcome applications from candidates with an interest in any area of Japanese studies.

Candidates of any nationality are eligible to apply for the studentships. Non-UK nationals applying for Masters studentships are eligible only if they are settled in the UK or have been ordinarily resident for at least three years immediately preceding the start of their Masters course. This does not apply to PhD studentship candidates.

How to apply

To be considered for nomination, you must:

  1. Register your interest and discuss your research proposal with Dr Gitte Hansen (
  1. Apply online for a place on either our PhD or MLitt programmes via thecentral portal for Postgraduate Admissions. You must hold a conditional or unconditional offer of a place before you can be nominated. The deadline for applying on the central portal is 5pm on 15 March 2016.

For more detailed information about the award scheme, please refer to the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation website:

Japanese studies at Newcastle University is located within the School of Modern Languages (, where research focuses on contemporary Japanese gender, popular culture, contemporary Japanese literature, and film. The Japan section works closely with Japan-focused researchers at the School of History and the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology and, through the recently established Asian Studies Research Group (ASRG), the university offers post graduate students a highly multidisciplinary environment for the study of Japan and Asia. To further promote the humanities both within and beyond the University, the Humanities Research Institute ( was founded in 2015 to catalyse, coordinate and support research in the humanities at the university.

You can find out more about Newcastle University at:

For any enquiry on Japanese Studies at Newcastle, contact Dr Gitte Hansen (

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Call for Papers: Children, Family and Migration in East Asia

call for papers [150-2]This international conference is jointly organized by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, and the Department of Sociology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Under conditions of economic globalization, migration across borders – whether international or internal – has become part of childhood experiences of many children in East Asia. While children are heavily involved in a wide range of migration streams in the region, they (with a few exceptions) continue to remain in the background of migration scholarship that is dominated by a focus on adult-centric labour migration concerns and processes. In this context, this conference sets out to examine the complex and multi-faceted ways in which East Asian children’s lives – as they unfold in familial contexts – are intersected by migration processes and pressures. Children in migratory contexts are complex social actors who eschew easy classification into the binary states of ‘agent’ or ‘victim’. They embody agency and resilience in situated practices, shape and are shaped by normative structures of familial and intergenerational relationships, and are deeply implicated in the negotiation of subjectivities folded into processes of development and change throughout the region.

In East Asia, the well-being of children (defined here broadly as those aged below 18) is often closely associated with family contexts and migration in at least four ways. First, in the developing economies in the region, when parents migrate to more affluent destinations in search of better work opportunities, children may be left behind and taken care of by other family members or substitute carers. For left-behind children, parents’ migration may have multiple and sometimes contradictory effects, improving their well-being through remittances sent home, or affecting their lives adversely as a result of the absence of primary carers. Second, children may move and migrate with their family members. The well-being of migrant children in post-migration situations is often uncertain because they may lack access to needed education, health and other services due to their migration status.  Third, some migrant workers bear children during their migration stints. This often creates a challenge for both parents and children, because migrant workers may face discrimination and marginalization in the host society. Children born of female migrant workers often do not have citizenship or residency rights in their birth place given their mothers’ transient – often precarious – labour migrant status. Children born ‘out of place’ in host societies may also encounter stigmatization in returning to their parents’ origin communities. Fourth, in more affluent societies in the region, middle class parents have increasingly used migration as a strategy to improve their children’s future prospects. For example, in order to help their children obtain citizenship rights in more developed societies, pregnant women may migrate to give birth. In other instances, mothers from middle class families may migrate to accompany their children who pursue educational pathways overseas.

The above four strands linking children, family and migration illustrate the critical impact that family circumstances and migration contexts have on children’s lives, regardless of whether the children move or stay. We are particularly interested in the way these strands develop in the context of intra-regional migrations in East Asia, primarily because the East Asian arena has been given less attention compared to the larger vein of work exploring issues related to children of Asian migrants in the global North. This conference takes children, family and migration in East Asia as its focus, and addresses the following key issues:

  • How do children shape family migration decisions?
  • How does migration impact the well-being, identity and subjectivity of children who move and children who stay?
  • How do structural factors such as gender and class intersect with migration to shape children’s lives?
  • What strategies are mobilized to cope with the challenges stemming from migration that affect children’s well-being?
  • How do these strategies converge and diverge across different cultural and social contexts and among different groups of children bearing different gender, class and citizenship status?

We hope to bring together theoretically informed, empirically grounded papers which reflect the wide range of issues and experiences relating to children, family and migration in the context of East Asia. The conference is open to analyses using qualitative and/or quantitative methods. Papers focusing on Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Burma, and Cambodia are particularly welcome.


Prof Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo | Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California, USA


Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (300 words maximum) and a brief personal biography of 150 words. Please send all proposals in MS word document format to Ms Valerie Yeo at, no later than 1 March 2016. Late submissions will not be considered.

The abstract should address one or more of the key issues listed above in an East Asian context. It should also clarify the substantive issues which the full paper will address and include information on objectives, methods, and findings. Please also explain the original contribution the research makes to the field of study. As selected papers (after the appropriate revision) will be included in a collective publication (such as a journal special issue), papers should be based on unpublished material and should not be already committed elsewhere.

Successful applicants will be notified by end March 2016. Those selected will have to submit full-length papers, of around 6,000 words in length, by 10 June 2016.

Limited funding is available for a small number of presenters and will be awarded on a by-case basis.


Professor Brenda S.A. Yeoh 
Asia Research Institute & Department of Geography, NUS
E |

Professor Susanne Choi
Department of Sociology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
E |

Ms Theodora Lam
Asia Research Institute, NUS
E |

Contact Info:

Ms Valerie Yeo
Asia Research Institute
National University of Singapore
E |

Contact Email:





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Book Announcement: Nonformal Education and Civil Society in Japan

educationNonformal Education and Civil Society in Japan

edited by Kaori H. Okano
Critical Studies in Asian Education series
About the Book

Nonformal Education and Civil Society in Japan critically examines an aspect of education that has received little attention to date: intentional teaching and learning activities that occur outside formal schooling.

In the last two decades nonformal education has rapidly increased in extent and significance. This is because individual needs for education have become so diverse and rapidly changing that formal education alone is unable to satisfy them. Increasingly diverse demands on education resulted from a combination of transnational migration, heightened human rights awareness, the aging population, and competition in the globalised labour market. Some in the private sector saw this situation as a business opportunity. Others in the civil society volunteered to assist the vulnerable. The rise in nonformal education has also been facilitated by national policy developments since the 1990s.

Drawing on case studies, this book illuminates a diverse range of nonformal education activities; and suggests that the nature of the relationship between nonformal education and mainstream schooling has changed. Not only have the two sectors become more interdependent, but the formal education sector increasingly acknowledges nonformal education’s important and necessary roles. These changes signal a significant departure from the past in the overall functioning of Japanese education. The case studies include: neighbourhood homework clubs for migrant children, community-based literacy classes, after-school care programs, sport clubs, alternative schools for long-term absent students, schools for foreigners, training in intercultural competence at universities and corporations, kōminkan (community halls), and lifelong learning for the seniors. This book will appeal to both scholars of Japanese Studies/Asian Studies, and those of comparative education and sociology/anthropology of education.

Table of Contents

  1. Nonformal education in Japan: Its interface with formal schools, Kaori Okano 2. The homework club and beyond: A civil society group’s quest to build a place for learning and belonging in a time of migration,Tomoko Nakamatsu 3. The importance of nonformal education in the success of Dôwa Education, June A. Gordon 4. Community based after-school care programs in Japan: Potential of non-formal education for children and residents, Eiji Tsuda 5. Homo Athleticus: The Educational Roles of Extracurricular Clubs in Japanese Schools, Thomas Blackwood 6. Alternative Schools: An Educational Safety-net for Long-term Absent Students, Hideki Ito 7. The changing relationship between ‘schools for foreigners’ and formal schools, Kaori Okano 8. Education and training for the intercultural competence of Japanese university graduates: Policy, practice and markets in informal education, Jeremy Breaden 9. Kōminkan: Its Roles in Education and Community-Building, Chizu Sato 10. Lifelong learning universities in the ageing society: Empowering the elderly, Koji Maeda


This volume provides an integrated view of how learning in Japan occurs outside of schools, from kindergarten to universities for the elderly. It explores how migrants and indigenous minorities cope with public schooling through non-formal means, and offers a rare look at the role that religious organizations sometimes play in Japanese society. — Professor Gerald Le Tendre, Pennsylvania State University

Non-formal education is often a neglected area of scholarly investigation. Yet, it occupies significant space and importance in everyday life in our contemporary society, providing all generations with alternative learning opportunities. This book will be a unique contribution that highlights the interface between formal and non-formal education and provides readers with multilayered understanding of learning in post-industrial Japan. — Professor Ryuko Kubota, University of British Columbia

For more information, please see the publisher’s website:

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Conference: Multifaceted Divinities in Japan and Beyond

call for papers [150-2]Multifaceted Divinities in Japan and Beyond

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv University

May 29-31, 2016

The Israeli Association of Japanese Studies (IAJS) is glad to announce an international workshop on Japanese medieval divinities, which will be held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv University on May 29-31, 2016. The workshop is dedicated to the memory of the Late Prof. R.J. Zwi Werblowsky (Hebrew University), a renowned scholar of comparative religion, who passed away last summer.

The workshop seeks to examine the confluence of various religious systems in medieval Japan through portraits of individual, often multifaceted or pantheon-like, divinities. While investigating the complex identity of these divinities, the presentations will look more broadly at the dialectics of Buddhism (and other imported traditions) and localism, which shaped and disseminated all aspects of Japanese religiosity.

Throughout the medieval period the pantheon was continuously shaped and re-shaped both by inner currents within the religious sphere and by social, geographical and political circumstances specific to Japan. This concurrence is manifested in the multiple and chaotic identities of individual divinities. Rather than mere objects of worship, these divinities functioned as powerful and efficacious figures that shaped reality through complex ritual systems. They were pivotal entities in the creation of notions of identity, territory and sovereignty, and their combinatory nature had impact on their social and political roles.

The examination of Buddhism and local cults in Japan calls for a broader exploration of the theme in other Asian cultures where divinities of local cults throve under Buddhist and other religious influences. The workshop will thus incorporate a panel dealing with divinities of complex nature in other Asian cultures, and will conclude with a round table discussion on the combinatory phenomenon in a comparative fashion. Our aim is to look beyond the dichotomy of Buddhism and localism with which we start and to open a theoretical discussion on the multivalent identity of Asian gods.

Keynote speaker: Bernard Faure, Columbia University

Participants: Abe Yasurō (Nagoya University); Irit Averbuch (Tel-Aviv University); Lucia Dolce (SOAS); Ehud Halperin (Tel-Aviv University); Kadoya Atsushi (Iwaki Meisei University); Sujung Kim (DePauw University); Yagi Morris (SOAS); Or Porath (UCSB); Fabio Rambelli (University of California, Santa Barbara); Gil Raz (Dartmouth College); Jacob Raz (Tel-Aviv University); Carina Roth Al Eid (University of Geneva); Saitō Hideki (Buddhist University); Gaynor Sekimori (SOAS, London); Meir Shahar (Tel-Aviv University); Eviatar Shulman (Hebrew University); Suzuki Masataka (Keio University); Mark Teeuwen (Oslo University).

We welcome scholars and students who wish to attend the workshop. Those who are interested in further details please contact the organizers Irit Averbuch ( and Yagi Morris ( The conference site will be accessible via the IAJS website (

The Organizing Committee:
Dr. Irit Averbuch (Tel Aviv University)
Ms. Yagi Morris (SOAS)

IAJS Academic Committee
Dr. Shalmit Bejarano (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Prof. Rotem Kowner (University of Haifa)

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Job Opening: one-year position in Buddhist and Asian Religious Traditions at Vanderbilt

job opening - 5Institution: Vanderbilt University, Dept. of Religious Studies
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Position: One-year (Non-Tenure-Track) Assistant Professor

The Department of Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University seeks to hire a sabbatical replacement for Buddhist Traditions and Asian Religions. The rank is Non-Tenure-Track Assistant Professor for a terminal one year appointment, for academic year 2016-17. All requirements for the Ph.D. must be met before the start of the appointment in August 2016.

The standard course load is two courses per term. The successful candidate must teach a one course survey of Buddhist Traditions and other introductory and advanced courses in Asian Religions commensurate to training in either East Asian, Tibetan and Himalayan, or South Asian regions. The area of specialization, historical period, and methodological approach are open. Command of languages appropriate to an advanced research agenda will be required.

Review of applications will begin on Thursday 25 February 2016 and will remain open
until the position is successfully filled.

To apply: Please upload the following materials to
*A letter of application that includes a statement of teaching philosophy and research interests
*Teaching evaluations (if available)
*Three confidential letters of recommendation (or standard university graduate student placement dossier)

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Fun Link Friday: A history of Japan

If you have two eyes, know someone who knows something about Japan, and are on the internet, you have probably already been linked to this viral video that’s made the rounds in the last couple days. A 9-minute summary of Japanese history from the beginning of time to the modern day, this hilarious video got us pretty bad. Sure, there are some historical inaccuracies to nit-pick, but I definitely bust a gut the whole way through. ;) Happy Friday!

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