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The Facilitation of Child Development in a Japanese Nursery School

Abstract

This paper aims to explore the topic of facilitating children’s development in a Japanese day-care centre (hoikuen). The research is based on a case study with participant observation in the daycare facility Minami Ōsawa Nursery School in Tōkyō. After a short overview on preschool education in Japan and an introduction to Minami Ōsawa Nursery School, the three main topics of child development around the age of five years-cognitive, social-emotional and motor development- will be further explored. These three areas will be defined more precisely in the context of the selfproclaimed aims and daily routine of the hoikuen team. Furthermore the importance of a child’s autonomy is addressed.

Open access
The Japanese School Sports Day. The Socio-Cultural Role of a Ritualistic School Event in Contemporary Japan

Abstract

This paper provides a thorough socio-cultural analysis of Sports Day in Japanese education. Basing myself on contemporary ritual research and Gerard Genette’s notion of intertextuality, I describe the ritual ‘Sports Day’ as a ‘cultural palimpsest’, a form of practice where new meanings are constantly inscribed or rewritten without the former meanings being completely lost. This allows me to provide a detailed analysis of this school event by incorporating its ever-changing cultural dimensions. Since the introduction of the event into Japanese education in the early Meiji period, the most prominent discourses inscribed in Sports Day are elemental questions such as the relationship between the central national authorities and local practices or the problem of individualism and competitiveness in Japanese education. In an ethnographic account of a junior high school Sports Day which is based on my own fieldwork, I show how these discourses provide the framework in which Sports Day is still operated and experienced today.

Open access
‘The Millenarian Dream Continued’: Foundation Day, Vision 2020 and the Post-Mun Unification Movement

Abstract

Drawing on a variety of primary sources and numerous interviews and personal conversations with adherents from East Asia, Europe and the United States, this paper sheds light on the latest historical and doctrinal developments in the South Korean Unification Movement, following the passing of its founder and self-proclaimed Saviour, Mun Sŏn-myŏng, in September 2012. Recent personnel changes resulting in the uncontested leadership of Mun’s wife, Han Hak-cha, as well as the two key events of 2012 and 2013-Mun’s funeral and Foundation Day-will be briefly outlined. Concomitant doctrinal alterations in the interpretation of the movement’s integral millenarian vision, fleshing out as ‘Cheon Il Guk 2.0’ and entailing a revised notion of Foundation Day and the newly launched Vision 2020 scheme, will also be discussed. Ultimately, this paper shows how the Unification Movement has rendered its executive and theological base apt to preserve its systemically constitutive millenarian agenda for a post-Mun and post-Foundation Day era.

Open access
On the Way to a Sustainable Energy Policy in Japan and South Korea

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to examine the sustainability of Japan’s and South Korea’s energy policies. For the analysis, categories framed by Holgar Rogall for identifying a sustainable energy policy were used. Using official data from the UN and government authorities of both countries as well as secondary literature, a comparison of international goals and legal norms and an analysis of developments in energy policy since 1990 were conducted. Their results show that Japan and South Korea pursue quite different energy policies. In more than half of the criteria, Japan can be seen as having a sustainable energy policy. The country still has to improve its use of energy sources, as it is too dependent on fossil fuels and thus needs to accelerate the development of renewable energies. South Korea’s energy policy, however, cannot yet be classified as sustainable. The government still rejects international commitments regarding climate change, a conclusion that is reflected in development since 1990: greenhouse gases rising at a high speed, coupled with low energy efficiency and dependence on fossil fuels. Despite sharing the same basic conditions, the energy policies of Japan and South Korea differ fundamentally.

Open access
Privatisation in East Asia: Comparison of Causes, Processes and Results

Abstract

Causes of privatisation examined in this paper include the level of economic development, business cycles, fiscal constraints, national debt and external influences. Privatisation can be centralised, decentralised, rapid or gradual or it can be conducted through a privatisation programme or in an improvised, ad hoc manner. The most common privatisation methods include share issue privatisation, direct sale, leasing and privatisation from below. The outcomes of privatisation are viewed in the light of privatisation proceeds and profitability.

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Between Mainland and Island: Causes for Migration and the Way of Life of Chinese Mainland Migrant Workers in Bó’áo

Abstract

This article presents the results of a case study conducted in Bó’áo, a small town on Hǎinán Island currently undergoing rapid transformation. Triggered by the founding of the Boao Forum for Asia, an unknown fishing village has turned into an important location for conferences and tourism. On the basis of Grounded Theory this case study focuses on migrant workers from mainland China, using qualitative semi-structured interviews in order to explore the causes behind this migration influx to Bó’áo. In addition, this paper investigates the way these migrants organise their lives in this small town by raising the question of social integration within the local society—a topic largely neglected in the general academic discourse in and on China. The results of this study show that the level of education determines both reasons for migration as well as the way the migrant workers organise their everyday lives and the way in which they interact with locals. This paper also scrutinises common concepts of integration, e.g. the need to acquire the language spoken by the majority.

Open access
Domestic Climate Change Governance in East Asia: A Comparative Analysis of Japan, China and South Korea

Abstract

This article deals with domestic climate change governance in Japan, China and South Korea between 1997 and 2010. It examines whether the modes of governance of these three states show congruencies. In order to test this, the thesis uses a model of analysis by Treib, Bähr and Falkner, which examines seven categories within the three dimensions of polity, politics and policy. In each category, corresponding modes of governance are located on a spectrum between state intervention and societal autonomy. As the results of the analysis show, the hypothesis of congruent modes of governance in all three East Asian states cannot be confirmed. However, Japan and China show strong similarities in six out of seven categories. Modes in both states can be located on the traditional side of the spectrum tending towards state intervention. South Korea’s modes of governance differ as they are hybrid in most of the categories. However, since the enforcement of the Korean Low Carbon, Green Growth Strategy in April 2010, Korea seems to be moving towards Japan’s and China’s so-called traditional modes of governance.

Open access
Museum Culture of Remembrance: The Depiction of World War II in Japanese, German and Austrian Museums

Abstract

As one component of cultural memory, museums have the potential to co-form the remembrance of an entire society. They try to minimise the experience deficiency of their visitors and help them further to know and understand history in an interesting and vivid way. The present paper will show how and to what extent important museums in Japan, Germany and Austria try to shape the historical consciousness of their visitors. With the Yūshūkan in Tōkyō, the Heiwa Kinen Shiryōkan in Hiroshima, the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin and the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna, four representative institutions will be taken as indicators of the national efforts to re-appraise the history of World War II. Analyses of the different exhibitions, together with an international comparison, will document the individual position of each museum as well as its political intention. In addition, legal and cultural backgrounds that can lead to a country-specific, ideologically biased museum-based depiction of World War II will also be taken into consideration.

Open access
The Role of Participation in Urban Landscape Planning in Yokohama: The Success of the Takashima Central Park Project

Abstract

In Japan, citizens’ participation in urban planning is called machizukuri. This kind of cooperation between citizens and city administration in urban planning appeared in the 1970s, as a countermovement to the traditional top-down urban planning called toshikeikaku of the 1960s. Municipal city planning increasingly encouraged machizukuri projects, allowing citizens to participate in planning activities. The City of Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture promoted innovative methods of participation. From the ‘Letters to the Mayor’ in the late 1960s to current programmes, the City of Yokohama established many support measures for machizukuri activities and in the 1990s the administration approved the engagement of citizens as an important management tool, as seen in the City Construction Project for the Citizens of Yokohama. One contribution to this project is the Takashima Central Park Project, which started in 2008 and which is considered by many critics as a very successful participation project.

This paper focuses on the questions of how far the Takashima Central Park Project was successful and what the reasons for success or unspoken failure were by referring to the theories of the German political scientist Angelika Vetter and the German political sociologist Brigitte Geißel. The research is based on qualitative interviews with some of the people involved, such as citizens, planners and administrative personnel. The article will identify the various aspects of the complex variable ‘success’ and their interdependence.

Open access
Tolerance and Human Resources in Science and Technology in East Asia

Abstract

This article tries to pursue three goals: first, how can a hard-to-define cultural concept such as tolerance in society be measured? Second, is it possible to draw conclusions about the tolerance level of a nation on the basis of an analysis of web search behaviour? And third, is there a relationship between the tolerance level in East Asian societies and their ability to attract highly qualified knowledge workers? Taking as its starting point Richard Florida’s claim that a high tolerance level in society represents an essential pull factor for attracting the most sought-after people in the world, this article analyses and interprets web search behaviour among Google users residing in Japan, Korea and China in order to identify issues related to tolerance in East Asia.

Open access