Michigan Talks Japan
UM Center for Japanese Studies
Jul 02, 2020 46 min
In this episode, Allison Alexy talks with Prof. Michael Strausz, whose research focuses on Japanese politics, particularly Japan’s immigration policy, as well as the role of norms in international politics. The conversation centers on his new book "Help (Not) Wanted: Immigration Politics in Japan" exploring why Japan’s immigration policy has remained so restrictive, especially in light of economic, demographic, and international political forces that are pushing Japan to admit more immigrants. Topics of discussion include: immigration statistics, the aging population, policy changes, the Abe administrations, qualitative and quantitative research methods, attitudes toward foreigners in Japan, Nikkeijin “returnees,” and voting patterns.
Jun 18, 2020 1 hr 0 min
In this episode, Allison Alexy talks with Prof. Marié Abe, whose research focuses on space, sound, and popular performing arts, in Japan as well as many other topics. The conversation centers on her new book "Resonances of Chindon-ya: Sounding Space and Sociality in Contemporary Japan," exploring a popular type of musical street performance and advertising. Topics of discussion include: popular music, protests and activism, labor, social class, doing ethnographic fieldwork, the work of writing and academic book, and Ethiopian jazz. Content warning: This episode include detailed conversation about stalking and other violent threats directed at women and fieldworkers. That part of the conversation begins at minute 35 and lasts for about 7 minutes.
Jun 10, 2020 59 min
In this episode, Allison Alexy talks with Prof. Levi McLaughlin, whose research focuses on religion in contemporary Japan. The conversation centers on his new book "Soka Gakkai's Human Revolution: The Rise of a Mimetic Nation in Modern Japan," exploring Buddhist practices and beliefs among within the Soka Gakkai religious sect. Topics of discussion include: the history of Soka Gakkai, attitudes toward religion in Japan, social class and classism, stigma and prejudice, and doing ethnographic fieldwork.