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The Philippines and Vietnam’s Responses to the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s Final Award on the Arbitration Case Initiated by the Philippines Against China over the South China Sea (July 2016)

Abstract

In July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) issued its final award on the South China Sea dispute between the Philippines and China that caught the attention of the international community. Since this was the first time that a claimant in the South China Sea had ever referred the case to an international juridical body in an effort to settle the dispute, the responses of both claimant and non-claimant stakeholders were awaited. Realising the relevance of the issue, I conduct a comparative study of the responses to the PCA’s final award to two major claimants with similar positions on the South China Sea—the Philippines and Vietnam. The main aim of this study is to indicate the similarities and/or differences in the way these two states responded to the final decisions of the PCA. The study finds that even though both the Philippines and Vietnam reacted to the award in a similar manner, the motives behind their responses were different. In general, the South China Sea policy of the Philippines has always been less consistent than that of Vietnam, which can be explained through each state’s foreign policy tendencies.

Open access
East Asian Technical Cooperation Initiatives in Central America: A Comparative Analysis of Japan and South Korea in Guatemala

Abstract

This article describes the similarities and differences of Japanese and South Korean technical co-operation approaches in Guatemala. The literature review illustrates the transition from an initially donor-centric results chain approach towards one that is increasingly recipient-balanced due to new cooperation principles such as horizontality and demand-drivenness. Such approaches are mainly fostered by the rise of new emerging donors on the international development cooperation horizon, such as the advocates of South-South Development Cooperation (SSDC).

An analysis based on a framework by the Network of Southern Think Tanks (NeST) concludes that Japanese and Korean technical cooperation approaches are markedly similar, most notably in regard to officially proclaimed technical cooperation standards and commitments. Differences result from the degree of related implementation: Japan achieves higher results based on relative deficiencies in reporting by Korea as well as comparatively shorter bilateral Korean-Guatemalan relations. Similarities are fostered by analogous institutional and project related structures, stemming from an argued learning and simulation approach by Korea from the long-standing experiences of Japan. Lastly, it is argued that the growing assimilation of the traditional and the SSDC concept, as well as the increasing engagement of both countries in triangular cooperation contribute to the identified similarities.

Open access
The Stranger and Others: The Life and Legacy of the Japanese Ethnologist Oka Masao

Abstract

Oka Masao (1898–1982) was a leading figure in the establishment of Japanese ethnology (cultural anthropology) since the 1930s and taught many of the next generation of ethnologists from Japan. He travelled to Vienna in 1929 to learn the methodology for studying the ethnogenesis of his own country, putting forward theories that questioned tennō-ideology of the time and became highly influential. During the war, he pushed for the establishment of an Ethnic Research Institute (Minken) to support the government in their ethnic policy in the occupied territories. Oka was also the founder of Japanese Studies at the University of Vienna in 1938. Despite these important—and at time controversial—roles, he is relatively unknown today. This article introduces recent scholarship on Oka’s life and legacy. It raises important questions about the role of ethnologists in politically sensitive times and counter-balances the Anglo-American narrative of the history of ethnology or social and cultural anthropology of Japan.

Open access
Queer desire in Japanese TV series

Abstract

This article provides an analysis of representations of sexual minorities in Japanese TV series. It outlines how homosexual and queer desire is depicted and how stereotypes and tropes are used in the construction of queer characters in this media format. The article also illuminates the ways in which TV series differentiate between depictions of same-sex romance and opposite-sex romance. The corpus of analysed TV series spans a period of twenty-five years. Thus, the analysis also sheds light on changes in the representation of sexual minorities over time. Examples from recent TV series point to a more positive and sometimes didactic approach towards the topic of homosexuality in Japanese mainstream media.

Open access
The Cultural and Educational Dimension of the “New Silk Road:” The Re-invention of Mongolness at the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands

Abstract

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

Open access
AHP Analysis of Cross-Cultural Friction and Synergy in Korean Subsidiaries of Austrian Companies

Abstract

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.

Open access
Between Jazz, Cherry Blossoms, and Baseball: Transculturality in the Publications of Murakami Haruki

Abstract

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.

Open access
The Bunkyū Restoration: The Restoration of Imperial Tombs and Re-Design of Imperial Ancestor Worship

Abstract

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.

Open access
China’s New Silk Roads. Categorising and Grouping the World: Beijing’s 16+1+X European Formula

Abstract

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.

Open access
Close Encounter of the 3D Kind: Examining Constructions of the Foreign ‘Other’ in Japanese Videogames

Abstract

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.

Open access