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Contemporary Chinese Oil Painting Between Iconography and Iconology: A Case Study from the People’s Republic of China’s 60th Anniversary Exhibition

Abstract

This paper seeks to analyse the iconographic and iconological significance of the 2009 exhibition Art Project concerning Important Historical Issues of the Country (Guójiā zhòngdà lìshǐ tícái měishù chuàngzuò gōngchéng). The exhibition was set up on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China and was part of a series of cultural, artistic and literary activities at that time. Created and promoted by the Ministry of Finance, Culture and Propaganda, the exhibition set out the artists’ mission as the presentation of the great history and ‘great national spirit’ (wěidà mínzú jīngshén) of the people of China and ‘the cultivation and spreading of the national spirit’ (péiyǎng hé hóngyáng mínzú jīngshén). This was realised through the media of oil painting, sculpture and traditional Chinese painting, with oil paintings, as the traditional tool of representation, taking up the biggest part of the exhibition. Based on Erwin Panofsky’s arthistorical method of the three-stage model, the text explores and displays the iconographical and iconological meaning of one representative painting: The March of the Volunteers.

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Fantastic Realities: Magical Realism in Contemporary Okinawan Fiction

Abstract

This paper examines magical realism in Okinawa bungaku (Okinawan literature) with a special focus on the literary works of Medoruma Shun. The central research questions are what kind of Okinawan realities these magical-realistic texts point towards and which real problems thus become obvious. Against the theoretical background regarding the discussions on magical realism in literary science, qualitative analyses of the two short stories ‘Akai yashi no ha’ (1992) and ‘Umukaji tō chiritei’ (1999) are conducted. The findings of these analyses show that the narrative mode of magical realism is used to point towards post-colonial power relations and to express a political critique of contemporary relationships with mainland Japan and the United States from an Okinawan point of view.

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For Body, Mind and the Nation: An Archaeology of Modern Japanese Psychiatry

Abstract

This paper reassesses the history of psychiatry in Japan through application of the theory of disciplinary power by Michel Foucault. The society of the early Meiji era (1868-1912) is defined as a disciplinary society within the scope of discourses on punishment and general social reforms. By focussing on a close reading of both canonical and marginalised fragments of psychiatric texts, this analysis reveals their constitutive character for the establishment of psychiatric discourses. These texts, rooted in biological psychiatry, are shown to stress the hazard that mental illness presented to the nation. Recourse to juridical problems, which derive from enacting a European model of law, provides an explanation for the necessity of psychiatry as a social institution. The key point is to identify a discursive break between two major legal acts dealing with the confinement of the mentally ill: the Mental Patients Custody Act of 1900 and the Mental Hospital Act of 1919. The first deals mainly with administrative issues, while the latter was formed under the influence of an emerging psychiatric power. The Mental Hospital Act refines the disciplinary network operating in the social space, while blurring the discursive fissure between traditional care and psychiatric techniques.

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Social Networks of Homeless People under the Influence of Homeless Self-Sufficiency Support Centres in Japan

Abstract

Since the end of the 1990s the Japanese government and local authorities have made a series of efforts to reduce the number of homeless people in Japan, which had dramatically increased in public places. The Special Law on Temporary Measures to Support the Self-Sufficiency of Homeless People, enacted in 2002, became the foundation for nationwide countermeasures, and switched the aim of homeless support towards a self-sufficient life. This research focuses on homeless self-sufficiency support centres in Ōsaka city, which help homeless individuals to find a way back into a self-sufficient life through job assistance. It aims to establish if this kind of welfare facility is capable of rebuilding social networks or providing clients with the necessary skills to do so. This question is addressed through a detailed description of the facility, the support it offers and an analysis of the social networks of former clients based on qualitative interviews and a quantitative survey. The results show that in the support offered by the facility, social networks are not considered to be a crucial factor for escaping homelessness and are therefore not targeted. Although some former clients are able to rebuild social networks around the workplace, these networks have only a minor role in mutual support.

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The Theory and Empirics of Financial Development in the East Asian Bond Markets

Abstract

The Asian financial crisis marked a turning point in financial development in East Asia that brought the development of bond markets within the focus of policy-makers. This paper tracks the benefits of an advanced bond market, the current state of the East Asian corporate and government bond markets and their rapid evolution since the Asian crisis. Subsequently, a multivariate model is used to determine the endogenous economic and institutional factors that drove growth in the region’s bond markets. The following findings may be noted: (1) growth in the government bond market was driven by the monetary sterilisation efforts of East Asian central banks in order to cope with excessive liquidity, (2) the government bond market may crowd out the corporate bond market, and (3) the corporate bond market grew particularly strongly during the global financial crisis.

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Why is the Geisha Hitting the Westerner? The Japanese Woodblock Print Genre of awate-e

Abstract

This paper attempts to bring to light a little-known genre of ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints), the awate-e (hysteria pictures). This genre of polychrome ukiyo-e (nishiki-e) belongs among caricatures because it treats current events in a satirical way. The Namamugi incident (September 14, 1862), when samurai of the Satsuma domain killed one British merchant and injured two, led to the emergence of the awate-e. The British Crown demanded reparations for those killed. While the shogunate postponed payment, British warships gathered in the Bay of Edo to exert pressure. The danger of war was real and the cities of Yokohama and Edo were considered the main targets of a British attack. Many people moved to rural areas or at least sent their families and belongings away. This led to an increased demand for transport, houses, and land in the countryside. Hardly anybody remaining in the cities spent time in the pleasure quarters or bought luxury goods. The results were dramatic for people in those trades. This situation is satirised in the awate-e. Starting with the question ‘Why is the Geisha hitting the Westerner?’, this paper explores the genre of awate-e and its relevance for historical and ukiyo-e research by studying 21 awate-e as primary sources. It reveals a negative appraisal of Westerners, of people leaving the danger zone, and of professions in high demand. The producers of awate-e are biased towards people staying in areas become dangerous, professions suddenly grown poor, and the foreigners-out policy of the Emperor.

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Chinese Migration and Settlement in Austria

Abstract

Chinese migration to Austria displays some characteristics of the new Chinese migration order facilitated by, among other factors, globalisation and the open-door policies of the People’s Republic of China. This paper offers a historical account of Chinese migration to Austria against a broader background of Chinese migration to Europe, illustrating both the active and the passive roles of Austria in various historical periods. Moreover, through delineating and analysing the distribution by subgroups and the characteristics of the Chinese community in Austria since the 1980s, it elaborates how Austria has shifted from being a temporary transit point to becoming home for the new non-qiáoxiāng Chinese migrants.

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Comparative Psychological Research in East Asia: An Opportunity for East Asian Studies Scholars

Abstract

East Asian cultures are often labelled as ‘collectivistic’, ‘dialectical’ or ‘Confucian’ in comparative psychological research. This tendency is used to justify the generalisation of results found in one East Asian culture to all East Asian cultures and leads to an absence of psychological research comparing different East Asian cultures. In this paper I first show two examples of illdefined psychological constructs-Geert Hofstede’s individualism and collectivism, and Richard E. Nisbett’s and Peng Kaiping’s dialectical thinking. Then I review the content of two main psychological journals with a focus on how often results from one East Asian culture are generalised to all East Asian cultures. Finally I offer a solution to the problem of neglected research comparing psychological differences among East Asian cultures. I state that lack of diversity in research teams and the under-representation of scholars from other than English-speaking countries in teams undertaking psychological research about East Asia contribute to this process. I suggest that East Asian scholars from non-English speaking countries should persuade psychologists from their universities to engage with East Asia.

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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.

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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.

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