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Abstract

The People’s Republic of China and Japan have been at odds with each other for over a century. Their modern relationship was shaped by imperialism, territorial disputes, and two wars. With the end of the bipolar power structure of the Cold War, both nations are vying for regional leadership. The unresolved territorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diàoyú Islands (Senkaku shotō 尖閣諸島/ Diàoyúdǎo jí qí fùshǔ dǎoyǔ 钓岛及其附属岛屿) in the East China Sea serves as a constant catalyst for clashes between both powers and seems to be pushing towards a violent eruption. Thus, this paper assesses the risk of an interstate war between China and Japan in the twenty-first century. By employing the Steps to War theory, each step nations usually take before engaging in war, it will be analysed in order to see how far the brewing Sino-Japanese conflict has developed. This paper aims at answering the questions of the current risk of war, whether there is a palpable shift towards conflict escalation during the twenty-first century, and if so, identifying the main drivers for this development and ascertaining whether threats to stability are currently increasing or decreasing.

Abstract

In 2007, China overtook the US to become the largest emitter of CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere. China’s vital role in global efforts to combat climate change creates a pressing challenge to explore the unique characteristics of Chinese environmental values and policy processes, and to identify the frames that are employed to understand climate change and related environmental issues domestically. This paper investigates a) how the political context, as well as differing political agendas and policy goals within which actors operate, affects and sometimes constrains the frames they generally employ; and b) the specific frames used to understand and discuss climate change by interview subjects and in written documents. It finds that different frames are employed by those supporting the current regime and its attendant official discourses on climate change and the environment (mainly government officials) and those challenging or in opposition to such dominant framings (particularly NGOs).

Abstract

This paper examines overseas Chinese identity construction in Austria by focusing on Europe Weekly, the biggest Chinese language newspaper in Vienna. The study adopts a quantitative and qualitative content analysis, with the latter focusing on Europe Weekly’s reporting of the 2008 Tibet unrest and a comparison of the newspaper’s coverage of the event to the media portrayals in the Austrian daily Die Presse and the Chinese People’s Daily. Findings show that the Weekly in general promotes a pluralistic view for its readers and, thus, provides a narrative of a hybrid Chinese identity that encompasses Austria, China, the local Chinese community in Austria, as well as transnational spaces of the Chinese diaspora. Yet, while the Weekly normally promotes plurilocal attachments and flexible self-assurances of the Chinese in Austria, the study also reveals how the process of Chinese immigrant identity formation might change when the country of residence and the home country find themselves in antagonistic positions. The findings demonstrate both the difficulties of maintaining transnational attitudes in times of a crisis and strategies of Chinese immigrants to somehow remain open towards the host society while simultaneously promoting the rhetoric of solidarity with the Chinese nation state.

Abstract

This paper discusses the debate in Chinese online media on both climate change policy and the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15). Based on the results of a discourse analysis of Chinese language weblogs, the paper argues that at the time of COP15 there was a dominant single discourse coalition, while also identifying alternative discourse formations. The main reasons for this discursive structure seem to be the ways in which actors are participating in the political process, the sensitivity of the topic of climate change in the Chinese discussion, and the influence of foreign debates.

Abstract

This research aims at reviewing the coherence of rhetoric and behaviour of Japanese and South Korean aid policy. By using the theoretical framework of role theory, the role conceptions of Japanese and South Korean policymakers are compared with the actual role performances of the countries. A four step methodological approach is chosen. First, the aid-related rhetoric of policymakers between 2005 and 2012 is analysed. By using qualitative content analysis, six role conceptions are identified (“Bridge”, “Model”, “Respected Member of the International Community”, “Responsible Leader”, “Partner”, “Newcomer”). Second, commitment indicators found in the role conceptions are compared to aid disbursement data from the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System. Third, two case studies-an Asian and an African recipient country (Vietnam and Tanzania)- are presented to provide additional information on qualitative indicators. Finally, role performances are set in the context of the previously derived role conceptions. As a result, role gaps are identified for both donors, whereas in two instances respectively role performance is coherent with role conception. Japan acts as a “Bridge” and “Partner”, while South Korea is a “Newcomer” and to some extent a “Partner”. This research shows that the reliability of aid related commitments of Japan and South Korea is overall quite weak, thereby contributing to a deeper understanding of the two countries’ roles in the international aid community by linking the fields of Foreign Policy Analysis, role theory, and Official Development Assistance.

Abstract

Does the allocation of transboundary water strengthen cooperation among states or cause international conflicts? This is a question that is highly disputed among several scholars, whereas the arguments of both sides seem equally rational. An analogous dissent can be seen in the research area of the Mekong River. For that reason, it is rational to avoid engaging in this everlasting disagreement and rather look at the problematic question from another viewpoint. This article deals with the Mekong case from a relatively new angle by combining the concepts of power, hydro-hegemony, and coexistence of conflict and cooperation as proposed by the London Water Research Group for analysing the impacts of hydro-hegemony on water allocation. This approach enables us to observe that the power asymmetry deriving from four types of power (geographic, material, bargaining, and ideational power) gives China the position of the hydro-hegemon that is followed by five weaker non-hegemons in the following order: Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Despite the great number of collaborative groups, the non-hegemons have not been able to resist the hydro-hegemony of China effectively, as the unity of non-hegemons is mostly hampered by different national interests. Therefore, the bilateral relations of China with the other riparian states individually-especially with Laos and Cambodia-have been stronger than on the multilateral basis with the Mekong River Commission.

Abstract

Kirino Natsuo, arguably one of the most popular contemporary Japanese authors in Western markets (a number of her novels having been translated into English, German, French, Italian, Dutch or Spanish, among other languages) who is often being recognised as a mystery writer, only enjoys limited acknowledgment for the thematic breadth and genre diversity of her work. Such description is not only inaccurate (Kirino published her last true mystery novel in 2002), but also manifests itself in the limited and underdeveloped treatment of her work in Western academic writing. This paper deals with Kirino Natsuo’s 2011 novel Poritikon (Politikon) and its analysis within the greater context of Kirino’s work. A focus is put upon introducing the novel as utopian fiction with the aim to illustrate ways in which Kirino Natsuo utilises utopian genre patterns as well as how her utopia works to provide a commentary on contemporary Japan. The utopian theme present in Poritikon makes the novel a rather untypical entry in Kirino’s oeuvre (although not a unique one, since her novels Tōkyō-jima [Tokyo Island, 2008 1 ] and Yasashii otona [Gentle Adults, 2010] also work with elements of utopian/dystopian fiction) as well as within the Japanese literary scene in general, and provides an interesting argument for Kirino Natsuo as more than ‘just’ a mystery writer.

Abstract

This paper introduces the results of a two-stage analysis of one Japanese mainstream and one women’s pornographic film from the Internet, asking whether any differences between the gender representations of both sexes can be observed, and whether these differences correspond to the films’ Western counterparts. In the first stage, the films are being analysed regarding their correspondence to characteristics of mainstream pornography and, respectively, criteria of women’s pornography, which were developed through Western feminists’ debates. The detailed case studies of the two films that were selected as examples deal with their general and sexual contents, aesthetic elements, dialogues, and the appearance of the characters. In the second stage, the gender roles are being examined. The analysis firstly confirms that both films correspond to their Western counterparts and that they contain substantial differences concerning contents, aesthetic elements, dialogues, and the quality of the displayed relationship of the characters. Secondly, the paper shows that the gender representations in the mainstream pornographic film stick to conventional gender roles related to this genre, with an emphasis on male-centered sexual practices, which are linked to the female body’s objectification. By contrast, the women’s pornographic film features-besides female-friendly sexual practices-non-sexual aspects of the relationship between the characters and introduces an alternative male role model.

Abstract

This paper presents an attempt to critically investigate the literary work of Japanese artist Kusama Yayoi (b. 1929). It takes as its object two of Kusama’s early prose texts and, by reading them through a feminist account of identity as fetishism, shows that the two novels presented in this paper-Kurisutofā danshō kutsu (1984) and Rijin kāten no shūjin (1984)-can be understood as a critical engagement with a potentially non-normative feminine self and, in a broader sense, as a negotiation of the state of being a woman in a patriarchal/androcentric society. These features can be traced back to her 1960s sculptural work and her Infinity Net Paintings. By not only situating Kusama’s literary work in a socio-historical context but also demonstrating that it constitutes an intertextual continuum with the rest of her artistic oeuvre, this paper offers an understanding of Kusama’s work besides the dominant narrative of her mental illness and lays the ground for further investigations into her literary texts.

Abstract

The end of the 1980s was marked by a general interest in Japan because of the country’s ongoing economic boom. Shortly after, in 1990, Japan was guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair and, in 1994, Ōe Kenzaburō was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. All of this led to the establishment of a good number of Japanese literature series being published in German-speaking countries and a considerable increase in the translation of Japanese literature. Furthermore, the dispute over a novel by Murakami Haruki on the TV show Das Literarische Quartett (The Literary Quartet) in the year 2000 had a remarkable influence on these developments. This dispute triggered the tremendous popularity of the author in German-speaking countries and simultaneously led to a change of attitude towards the translation of Japanese works in publishing houses. Against this backdrop, this paper investigates the image of Japanese literature portrayed in review articles of German language newspapers at the beginning of the 21st century. The main themes of these review articles will be presented in 12 categories that constitute the image of Japanese literature in the German book market. These categories will be presented and described in detail before conclusions about the tendencies of reviewing Japanese literature and about what influence these tendencies have on the image of Japanese literature are drawn.