In October 2013, Xí Jìnpíng presented not only an ambitious infrastructure project but a strategic initiative that promoted connections in many regards: the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). One in-tended strategic value of this initiative is the improvement of relations between China and its neigh-bours as well as the improvement of dialogue among different civilizations. Emphasis is placed on the importance of the shared historical cultural heritage of the involved ethnic groups, while the idea of a ‘harmonious society’ is promoted at the same time. The aim of this article is to shed light on how China expands its soft power through civilizational connections along the Sino-Mongolian-Russian Economic Corridor by referring to the Silk Road Academic Belt. This article is based on ethnographic field research in Hénán Mongol Autonomous County in the Sino-Tibetan borderlands of Qīnghǎi Province during an international conference titled “Historical and Cultural Links be-tween Mongolia and Tibet,” held in July 2017.1
Academic research regarding cross-cultural management has gained fundamental importance in today’s globalised business world. Within this field, this paper examines cultural synergy and friction of Austrian and Korean business culture. Austrian companies have a high export orientation and have shown strong interest in doing business with Korea, which has been identified as an exceptionally attractive location for subsidiaries of foreign MNEs. Applying the Analytical Hierarchy Process, Korean employees in Korean subsidiaries of Austrian companies were surveyed regarding their satisfaction levels in different job aspects as well as their preferences regarding alternatives in the criteria leadership style, work teams, and tasks and responsibilities. The study found synergy between the preferences of Korean employees and Austrian management in the importance placed on challenging projects and chances for personal achievements at work, as well as the lack of desire for close personal relations with superiors and colleagues. The latter represents a unique finding, contrary to what had been suggested by the relevant literature. Additionally, the research found areas of cultural friction regarding the importance assigned to consultative decision-making, a relaxed use of time, and freedom when performing work tasks. Overall good satisfaction levels of Korean employees in the subsidiaries were reported.
In this day and age a continuous flow of ideas and culture takes place, which is part of the globalisation process. These exchanges influence the development of a transcultural literature. Murakami Haruki is not only a transcultural writer, but one of the most popular and internationally acclaimed authors of contemporary Japanese literature who has changed the literary scene in Japan since the publication of his debut novel Kaze no uta o kike (Hear the Wind Sing). Murakami has experimented with postmodern expressions and eventually developed his own writing style, which integrates elements of Western cultures into his works. This paper focuses on the author’s transcultural strategy, which is often reflected in his choice of the setting and time frame, the frequent mentioning of cultural consumer goods and linguistic features such as the utilisation of loanwords. In particular, references to music and literature play a major role in Murakami’s publications. This paper analyses how and to what extent transculturality influences the characters, their actions, and the storyline on the basis of the short story “Nemuri” (Sleep) published in 1989. In the process it is concluded that, above all, these references underpin aspects such as the search for identity, the escape into ‘another world’, and the rejection of societal norms and values.
This paper aims to analyse a possible connection between the renovation of imperial tombs in the Bunkyū era (1861-1864) and the restoration of imperial power in 1868. While there is no direct continuity between these two events, a connection certainly exists. In a time when Japan faced foreign threats and domestic turmoil, certain groups and persons felt it was time to elevate the institution of the emperor to the-supposed-former glory. One way of doing this was the restoration of the imperial tombs that had fallen into disrepair and the renewal of imperial ancestor worship. The Bunkyū Restoration can be seen as one of the many puzzle pieces that together formed the process that led to the Meiji Restoration.
In autumn 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping presented his Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe play an important role in this ambitious infrastructure and connectivity project. The analysis of the 16+1 cooperation format, established by Beijing in 2012, shows that Beijing is able to establish new regional groupings that have the potential to undermine the unity of a larger regional bloc. Yet, it also demonstrates that China lacks a coherent BRI master plan. Rather, it pragmatically adapts its strategies to challenges and external criticism. The European Union (EU), notably the European Parliament (EP), became since 2015 more critical of the strategic impacts of BRI on Europe. Austria, which recognised the economic opportunities offered by BRI only recently, supports a common EU position. While Austria plays a strong-if not a leading-role in two Central and Eastern European cooperation mechanisms that may in the future also address BRI, that is, the Salzburg Forum and the Central European Defense Cooperation (CEDC), 16+1 remains the key institution for multi- and bilateral agreements on the New Silk Roads in this region. Austria, however, will remain only an observer and thus an ‘X’ in the 16+1+X format, reducing Vienna’s influence.
As a relatively young medium, videogames have become an important part of global popular culture that cannot be underestimated. Due to rapid technological advances, the contents of today’s videogames are becoming increasingly complex. While games are publicly often denounced for causing aggression, violence, or even mental illness, game studies oppose such stereotypical views and seek possibilities to conduct research on digital games in a systematic and thorough manner. This paper draws on approaches from game studies to examine videogames from the perspective of Japanese studies. Assuming that videogames, like other mass media, take part in and shape socially relevant discourses, it will be analysed how the relation between ‘self’ and ‘other’ is constructed in Fire Emblem: Sōen no kiseki and Akatsuki no megami, Tales of Symphonia, and Zeruda no densetsu: Mujura no kamen. For this purpose, the games’ content and character design will be taken into account. Special emphasis will be placed on the question how the relationship between ‘self’ and ‘other’ becomes manifest in the relation between the player and the characters that is constructed during gameplay.
Starting with the public introduction of Kim Jong-un to the public in autumn of 2010 and ending with observations of consumerism in February 2017, this collection of 16 short research notes that were originally published at 38North discusses some of the most crucial issues, aside from the nuclear problem, that dominated the field of North Korean Studies in the past decade. Left in their original form, these short articles show the consistency of major North Korean policies as much as the development of our understanding of the new leader and his approach. Topics covered include the question of succession, economic statistics, new ideological trends such as pyŏngjin, technological developments including a review of the North Korean tablet computer Samjiyŏn, the Korean unification issue, special economic zones, foreign trade, parliamentary elections and the first ever Party congress since 1980.
“Food can be studied from the viewpoint of many disciplines” (Mennell, Murcott, and Otterloo 1992: 35), however it is rarely used to identify regionality above nation states. Talking about East Asian food or an East Asian culinary sphere however does imply this regionality. By means of ingredients used, this paper is therefore testing four Asian nations for membership in this potential culinary region. While distinctive local taste preferences are not denied, this paper draws on diverse evidence to argue for common patterns pointing towards an East Asian culinary region. In doing so, it does not define the region exclusively but rather limits its scope for feasibility, inviting future research to expand on its findings.
This paper comparatively analyses the e-waste sector in China, Japan, and Vietnam by examining progress towards the international best practice model of Integrated Sustainable Waste Management (ISWM) within each country. Through three distinct, yet interdependent dimensions of ISWM (stakeholders, waste system elements, and sustainability aspects), similarities and differences between the three East Asian countries are identified. The analysis shows that the e-waste management approaches differ substantially. The Vietnamese e-waste management approach is least consistent with the ISWM framework, while Japan complies the most with the ideals of the model and Chinese progress towards ISWM is mostly located between the two countries. However, a substantial proportion of Japanese e-waste is exported to developing countries in an uncontrolled manner. The analysis further suggests that the state of development and national characteristics have a significant impact on how the three countries approach e-waste management. In particular, the central role of the informal e-waste sectors in China and Vietnam poses a challenge to the establishment of an effective integrated sustainable e-waste management system. In light of the transnational flow of e-waste in the region, only joint actions will lead to long-term solutions to the increasing threat of e-waste to the environment and human health.
In Korea, August 15 marks both the liberation from colonialism (1945) and the promulgation of the South Korean state (1948). As a memorial day, 8.15 became to be narrated mostly as the day of liberation, while 1948 plays only a minor role. However, in the 2000s, the emergence of the New Right brought new debates on how to evaluate post-liberation history. A historical view proposing public memory on 8.15 centred on the “foundation” of South Korea emerged (kŏn’guk view). Combined with attempts to re-name 8.15 into a foundation day (kŏn’gukchŏl), an intense dispute between proponents and opponents of the re-narration was the result. This paper outlines the emergence of the New Right and traces the origins and politicisation of the kŏn’guk view and demonstrates how adopting the kŏn’guk narrative in state commemoration events led to a broad dispute in South Korean society. I trace this view’s origin to 2003 and argue that it got politicised in early 2008 during the early Lee Myung-bak administration. The politicisation resulted in a dispute in politics, civil society, and newspapers, whose progress and characteristics I analyse in detail. As a result of the 2008 Kŏn’gukchŏl Dispute, the issue of how to narrate the events of 1948 became actively discussed in academic scholarship since 2009.