Japan Anthropology Workshop

Home of the JAWS conference members and committee.

CFP for AJJ 2013 Autumn Meeting

Posted on | September 5, 2013 | Comments Off

CFP for AJJ (Anthropologist of Japan in Japan) 2013 Autumn Meeting
November 9-10 at International Christian University, Tokyo

“People, Places, and Practices Redux: Border Crossing and
Questioning Boundaries in Anthropology and the Study of Japan”

Dates:  Saturday, November 9 & Sunday, November 10, 2013
Place: International Christian University (ICU) Mitaka, Tokyo

To submit an abstract, please send an email with your name, affiliation, a title, and abstract of 300 words in English (1,000 letters in Japanese) to the organizers below.
The deadline for abstracts is: Sunday, September 15

Registration 3,000 yen
Optional Reception 2,000 yen

*Please indicate in your email if you will “ATTEND” or “NOT ATTEND” the reception.

Conference Organizers:
Etsuko Kato (katoets@icu.ac.jp)
Gavin Whitelaw (whitelaw@icu.ac.jp)


Within everyday life and academic spheres, the effectiveness of borders is said to be receding. Scholars argue that the hallmark of globalization’s current phase is cultural hybridity, an intensified awareness of “the world”, and more rapid forms of exchange between groups and individuals across the globe. Within the study of Japan, researchers readily borrow methods and share ideas in an attempt to keep up with emerging cultural phenomena. At the same time, qualitative research may still reify disciplinary distinctions by emphasizing certain kinds of knowledge. Although boundaries and borders may be in flux, people, places, and practices remain critical components to understanding the issues that interest us.

The following conference seeks to bring together a wide range of papers that explore – empirically and/or theoretically – these tendencies and trends within the study of Japan. In what ways does the study of culture(s) in Japan today contribute to the blurring or remaking of disciplinary boundaries? What kinds of approaches are being undertaken to situate the study of Japan in broader, more global contexts? Is the study of Japan the vanguard or stagnant backwater of ethnographic inquiry into contemporary life?

AJJ welcomes scholars from a range of disciplines and backgrounds to present papers that explore these topics through theoretical and fieldwork-driven research. Papers may be given in English or Japanese in hopes of encouraging a robust discussion about new directions in anthropology and Japan studies. Papers and panels that combine several disciplinary perspectives and transverse Japan’s geographic borders are especially encouraged.

Further information about AJJ and a CFP version in Japan can be found on the AJJ website blog:

JAWS Website Maintenance

Posted on | July 24, 2013 | Comments Off

The website upgrade has been completed as of 1830 hrs Austin time on Thursday, 25 July. If you encounter any difficulties, please try the following, in the order shown:

  1. Refresh your cache. Each browser is different, but most will provide a button to accomplish this, somewhere in the Settings. (On most Windows-based browsers it can be accomplished by pressing CTRL-F5.)

  2. If this does not fix the problem, drop me a line at the email address below; in your email please include as much information as possible:
    • your OS (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.),
    • your browser and version number (e.g., Chrome v.28.0.1500.72m, Firefox v.22.0, Safari, MSIE v.8.0, etc.),
    • the nature of the error you encountered, and what you were doing just before it happened, and
    • any other pertinent information.

This website will be offline for a software upgrade for an hour or two on 25 June 2013. We will make a follow-up announcement when the work has been completed.

Chris Feldman, Web Manager


Posted on | January 4, 2013 | Comments Off

The Ninth NAJS Conference on the Study of Contemporary Japanese Society, March 14-15, 2013, Aarhus, Denmark.

You are most welcome to the Ninth Annual NAJS Conference. The conference will take place at the Institute of Culture and Society, Aarhus University.

There is no particular theme for the conference, but we especially invite abstracts on Japan and global networks (art-related, diplomatic, religious, economic, political, social or any other kind).

Registration forms and more information about the conference can be found on the NAJS website: www.najs.jp/?page_id=239

Please read the guide for participation (also on the website) before registering and sending your abstract.

Deadline for abstracts: January 10, 2013 (Thurs)
Deadline for full papers: February 25, 2013 (Mon)

Please submit abstracts and papers to:
martin.nordeborg@gu.se or ostash@hum.au.dk

You will be notified by January 25 if your abstract has been accepted.

Best regards,

Annette Skovsted Hansen
On behalf of the Steering Committee of NAJS
(Nordic Association for the Study of Contemporary Japanese Society)

Changes at ‘Asian Anthropology’

Posted on | November 8, 2012 | Comments Off

This is to announce that the journal Asian Anthropology will shortly be changing editors and publishers. Asian Anthropology has been published by Chinese University Press for the last eleven years, but is now moving to Routledge, and will be published twice a year in 2013, three times a year in 2014, and four times a year beginning 2015. The journal will no longer be linked only to Chinese University: the new chief editors are Gordon Mathews (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Liu Shao-hua (Academia Sinica), Nawa Katsuo (Tokyo University), and Sidney Cheung (Chinese University of Hong Kong). We are excited about having a truly pan-East-Asian journal now! The last issue of Asian Anthropology with CUHK Press will come out next week, and I will then announce its contents on this list, but I wanted to get this message out to you all first.

We thought long and hard about going open access with Asian Anthropology, especially in light of the debate that took place on EASIANTH several months ago. We decided not to in the end, just because actually running the journal would take great effort if there was no institutional or financial support, and also because we would run the risk of vanishing in cyberspace unnoticed. Routledge is working diligently to boost the publicity for and visibility of Asian Anthropology, to make it one of the foremost journals in the field, and is offering thorough production help, something we much need. At the end of our five-year contract with Routledge, we will again consider our options. I realize that some may disagree with the move to a large corporate publisher–and I, frankly, have had very mixed feeling myself–but this does seem to be the best path to follow, given the circumstances of the journal. Thus far, it has been a pleasure working with Routledge, and I trust that will continue.

Our first Routledge issue will be coming out in late spring 2013; our next issue will come out in fall 2013. We are anxious to have the best possible submissions we can get. The on-line submission system will be up and running in several months. For now, if you, or any of your colleagues or advanced graduate students has a paper to be considered for publishing in this new incarnation of Asian Anthropology, we’d love to see it. We are very eager to see papers providing solid ethnography, clearly and persuasively presented, about any Asian society. Please drop a line or send a manuscript to one or all of us: Gordon Mathews [cmgordon@cuhk.edu.hk], Liu Shao-hua [shaohua@gate.sinica.edu.tw], Nawa Katsuo [nawa@ioc.u-tokyo.ac.jp], and Sidney Cheung [sidneycheung@cuhk.edu.hk]. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Best regards,

JAWS Conference CFP Deadline Extended

Posted on | October 31, 2012 | Comments Off

Due to the issues on the East Coast of the US with the weather disaster, we are extending the deadline for submission to the JAWS 2013 conference in Pittsburgh to 7 January 2013. As of 1 December 2012 or earlier, we will begin assessing the submissions we have and will respond to those who have put in proposals on a rolling basis from December 1st onward.

We are looking forward to a great conference in Pittsburgh!


John Traphagan, Ph.D
Secretary General, Japan Anthropology Workshop

R.I.P. Arne Kalland

Posted on | October 23, 2012 | Comments Off

It is with great regret that I pass on the news that, after a long illness, my one-time colleague, co-author, and stubborn comrade-at-arms, Arne Kalland, died on October 18th. He was 67 years old.

Many of you will know Arne only by name through his exemplary work on fishing, whaling, and the environment. Those of us who were fortunate enough to have met him will also remember his piercing gaze, his wicked humour, and his uncompromising stance towards scholarship. He was the best fieldworker I have ever come across and it was both a pleasure and a challenge to work with him. Most importantly, he instilled in me – and I’m sure in many of you who knew him – a desire and determination to learn, and learn more. To say that we shall miss him, as I do, is a banality, perhaps, but the anthropology of Japan is the poorer for his being no longer among us.

Brian Moeran

New JAWS Newsletter now available

Posted on | October 2, 2012 | Comments Off

The August 2012 issue of the JAWS Newsletter is now available from the Newsletter page. This edition contains a report on the upcoming 2013 conference, as well as reports from the JAWS officers, a review of recent Ph.D. projects, a listing of current JAWS membership, and more.

The JAWS Newsletter submission guidelines document is available from the Newsletter page as well.

JAWS 2013 Conference now accepting presentation proposals

Posted on | September 3, 2012 | Comments Off

The 23rd Conference of the Japan Anthropology Workshop (JAWS) will be held from Thursday 07 March 2013 through Saturday 09 March 2013, at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA, USA. The website for the conference is now live and can be viewed here.

The conference theme is “Mobility in Japan” although proposal topics may focus on any topic related to the anthropology of Japan. The organizers call for panel and individual paper proposals that represent Japanese contexts within the broad scope of anthropological research. Scholars also working in areas outside of but related to the anthropology of Japan are encouraged to submit either individual paper proposals or panel proposal.

Abstracts must be received no later than 1 November 2012 to be considered for inclusion in the conference program.

Individual Paper Proposals
For individual paper proposals, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words.

Panel Proposals
Panel proposals must include a 250 word abstract for the entire panel, a list of all participants with their role in the panel and affiliations, and 250 word abstracts for each of the papers presented in the panel.

To submit paper and panel proposals and register for the conference, please go to the JAWS 2013 website.

‘Understanding Japanese Society’ – 4th Ed. now available

Posted on | August 1, 2012 | Comments Off

In case you have students who need an introductory text, and you are not too bored with it, I thought you might like to know that my book Understanding Japanese Society comes out today in its 4th edtion. I was in Japan updating it during the disaster period so that gets some coverage, including a revitalised interest in politics, and this time I asked 6 of my students and ex-students living in Japan to make suggestions and help so we could cover a range of age groups and not just me and my cronies as we move towards the senior end of the life cycle! Recession, unemployment and the shortage of kiddies gets some coverage again, as they did in the 3rd. edition, but newer issues include the enthusiasm of ikumen caring for their babes, a few interesting new approaches to spiritual sources of support, a kind of reversal in family make-up between town and country, and an assessment of the apparent turn away from the international. I hope it still makes a good general introduction to Japanese Society, so do take a look — I expect Routledge will be giving out free copies to teachers and reviewers. Thanks!
Joy Hendry

Kyoto Lecture: “Ecological Ghosts”

Posted on | July 6, 2012 | Comments Off

Kyoto Lecture Series presents:

Ecological Ghosts: An Anthropological Approach to Occult Experiences in Contemporary Japan
by Andrea De Antoni

Wednesday, July 11th, 18:00h

co-hosted by the International Research Center (Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University)

This lecture will be held at the Institute for Research in Humanities (IRH), Kyoto University (seminar room 1, 1st floor).

The supernatural and the occult have long been a subject of study in anthropology. Most authors have proposed interpretations of beliefs in the occult as a symbolic framework for critiques of colonialism, capitalism, modernization, or globalization. However, they tend not to take into consideration personal experiences, nor their interrelational features. On the other hand, experiences related to ghosts and the occult in contemporary Japan have mainly been a subject of study in folklore, whereas an anthropological approach is nearly missing.

This talk will analyze personal experiences in places haunted by ghosts by focussing on how these are constructed through interaction among human and non-human actors. Drawing on ethnographic data gathered through fieldwork, processes of creation of haunted places in the media will be first presented, with a particular focus on the internet. Secondly, people’s experiences will be taken into consideration, arguing that a specific attention on the interrelation with the environment is fundamental for understanding haunted places as networks of relationships.

Andrea De Antoni is a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Research in Humanities at Kyoto University, Research Associate at the Italian School of East Asian Studies (ISEAS), and Research and Development Manager at the Organization for Intra-Cultural Development (OICD). His current research project relates to ghosts and haunted places in contemporary Japan, with a particular focus on ghost tours in Kyoto. His research interests include Japanese religions, the anthropology of religion and magic, tourism studies, as well as the anthropology of identity. He is co-editor of two forthcoming works on death symbols and practices: Death and Desire in Modern and Contemporary Japan (co-edited with Massimo Raveri, expected 2013) and Death Rituals in Contemporary Japan (working title, co-edited with Chris Feldman and John Traphagan, expected 2012).

For detailed directions:


Italian School of East Asian Studies (ISEAS)
Phone: 075-751-8132
Fax: 075-751-8221
e-mail: iseas@iseas-kyoto.org

École Francaise d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO)
Phone: 075-761-3946
Fax: 075-761-3947
e-mail: efeo.kyoto@gmail.com

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