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 intended 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 between Mongolia and Tibet,” held in July 2017.1
In the last decade, discourses of non-conforming masculinities have become increasingly prominent in Japanese mass media. In particular, the so-called “herbivore men” have been made infamous by Japanese newspapers and were accused of being responsible for sinking birth rates and economic stagnation in Japan (Schad-Seifert 2016). In this article, I explore the discourse on the “herbivore men” in Japanese love advice books which are meant to guide and inform the (female) reader’s assessment of potential romantic partners. Utilising Siegfried Jäger’s methodological approach (2015), this discursive analysis focuses on the line of discourse that implicitly criticises the “herbivore men” and rejects their turn away from hegemonic images of masculinity. The analysis yields that the “herbivore man” is constructed as an ‘unnatural’ form of masculinity in these publications, which allegedly causes women to become sexually active and career-driven “carnivores.” Japanese women’s empowerment from hegemonic gender ideals is thereby misrepresented as a symptom of psychological distress due to changing masculinities. By perpetuating ideas of biological determinism linked to the backlash against the “gender-free” movement in the early 2000s, this line of discourse propagates problematic relations of gender and power in Japanese society.
This article describes the similarities and differences of Japanese and South Korean technical cooperation 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.
In this article, I deal with the historical development of the Japanese language by applying a multi-disciplinary approach that uses data from a variety of fields. My research indicates that the home-land of the Japonic language family may have been in the lower Yangtze River Valley, from where its speakers moved to the Korean Peninsula and eventually to Japan during the Yayoi period. This spread is associated with the dispersal of wet rice agriculture from the area south of the Yangtze River via the northeastern Asian mainland, where it was in contact with cultures cultivating millet. Old Japanese mythology and genealogical data suggests that the earliest known ethnic group that spoke Japonic may have been the Hayato people of southern Kyūshū.1
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.
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.
The Second World War ended with Japan’s capitulation after the disastrous nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Subsequently, approximately 700,000 Japanese soldiers were selected as captives to undertake physical labour in Soviet prison camps. After returning to Japan, some of them wrote about their lives in the Soviet Union, drew pictures about their experiences, or wrote about their favourite songs that they had sung during their imprisonment.
My study of various reports of Japanese prisoners of war (POWs) after the Second World War surprisingly revealed that not only traumatic conditions during forced labour were published, but also social interactions in the form of joint artistic activities such as making music, producing theatre plays, and staging sports competitions. The prisoners have often retrospectively described these as strikingly positive events during their years of internment in the Soviet Union. This article analyses a total of thirty-four songs sung and composed by Japanese POWs during captivity on a lyrical level (text analysis). In doing so, I adopt a new approach to interpreting the social conditions during the imprisonment of Japanese soldiers in the Soviet Union.
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.
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.