Michigan Talks Japan
UM Center for Japanese Studies
Aug 14, 2020 3 min
Season 2 Trailer
This short episode is the trailer for our second season. Rather than talking with a scholar, Allison Alexy briefly explains changes the production team has made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and newly public conversations about racism, inequity, and exclusion in Japanese Studies (as a discipline), in the academy more generally, in the US, and in Japan. We are grateful to all of our listeners, welcome your reactions, and look forward to sharing upcoming episodes.
Jul 29, 2020 50 min
In this episode, Allison Alexy talks with Prof. Morgan Pitelka, whose research examines late medieval and early modern Japan, with a focus on the samurai, tea culture, ceramics, cities, and material culture. The conversation centers on a new book he is writing centered on Ichijōdani, the headquarters of the Asakura warlord family. Topics of discussion include: the Sengoku or Warring States period; the destruction of Ichijōdani; material culture and political history; kawarake, simple pinched bowls; collaboration and archaeology and history; ceramics and everyday culture; lacuna surrounding violence in Japanese history; students' interests in Japanese Studies; and popular culture and video games about history. Dr. Pitelka is professor of History and Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina. He is the chair of the Department of Asian studies and co-editor of the Journal of Japanese Studies. You can find him on twitter @mpitelka. Content warning: This episode includes a brief, general description of sexual violence at minute 33 of the recording.
Jul 17, 2020 40 min
In this episode, Allison Alexy talks with Prof. Meghen Jones, whose research focuses on the history of ceramics, modern art, and craft theory in Japan and in international perspective. The conversation centers on her new book "Ceramics and Modernity in Japan" co-edited with Louise Allison Cort and an exhibition she is co-curating about the tea bowl in Japan and beyond. Topics of discussion include: genres and styles of Japanese ceramics such as raku, shino, and oribe; wabi aesthetics; tea bowls in art and use; the influence of Japanese ceramics globally and in the US; Dr. Jones' visit to the studio of artist Tsujimura Shirō; and finding and using digital media in art history. Dr. Jones is an associate professor and Division Chair of Art History within the School of Art and Design at Alfred University. You can find her on twitter @MeghenJones and on instagram @meghen_jones. Please check out the image gallery of pieces mentioned in this episode on the podcast homepage.
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.