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Japan on the Record

Author: Tristan Grunow

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The podcast where scholars of Japanese studies bring their expertise to bear on issues in the news. Hosted and produced by Tristan R. Grunow, Visiting Assistant Professor of Modern Japanese History at Pacific University.
56 Episodes
Read Roméo's latest article on Japanese opposition parties in Tokyo Review at:
View Dr. Gordon and Dr. Reich's co-authored article, "The Puzzle of Vaccine Hesitancy in Japan" in the Journal of Japanese Studies here:
In this episode, Dr. Gwyn McClelland (UNE) discusses Japan's refusal to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons despite outspoken criticism from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, before introducing the complex history of anti-nuclear movements in Nagasaki and touching on local responses to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
In this episode, Dr. Tom Le (Pomona) responds to recent news coverage of Japan's security position towards Taiwan, counters media narratives about resurgent Japanese militarism by emphasizing demographic barriers and the postwar peace culture that limit the government and Self Defense Forces, and offers Japan as a new model of international relations focused on human welfare rather than military might.
In this episode, Dr. Schieder discusses the impacts of Japan's COVID-related border closures on foreign students, scholars, and researchers waiting to enter Japan, introduces actions taken by community members in the form of an open letter, online petition, and press conference to raise awareness of this issue, and cautions what border closures could mean for Japanese attitudes to foreign residents and for universities that rely on foreign students.
In this episode, Dr. Patrick Galbraith (Senshu) reacts to the global popularity of Demon Slayer before explaining why it has become so popular so quickly, how Demon Slayer marks a major shift in anime production away from directors like Miyazaki Hayao, and what online distribution platforms mean for the future of anime around the world.
In this episode, Dr. Jules Boykoff (Pacific) outlines the many scandals and health concerns plaguing the Tokyo 2020 Olympics before explaining why organizers went ahead with the Games and gauging how Tokyo 2020 might impact the future of the Olympics.
In this episode, Dr. Sheila A. Smith (CFR) places recent Japanese arms export deals with East-Asian neighbors into the context of changing security concerns and Japan's larger Indo-Pacific strategies, before discussing how new administrations in both Japan and the United States might impact military policy.
In this episode, Dr. Krauss (UCSD) traces the development of the US-Japanese military alliance and Japanese re-militarization under former Prime Ministers Nakasone, Koizumi, and Abe, contrasts Japanese and German pacifism, and discusses how a new US administration might impact the alliance.
In this episode, Dr. Gene Park (LMU) outlines the state of the Japanese economy prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, detailing how former Prime Minister Abe Shinzō was able to reinflate the economy and achieve one of Japan's longest periods of postwar economic growth, and gauging what economic policies Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide will pursue.
In this episode, Dr. Saadia Pekkanen (UW) places the recent launch of JAXA astronaut Noguchi Sōichi aboard the SpaceX Resilience into the longer history of Japanese space exploration and collaborations with NASA and other organizations, and highlights the importance of space policy amidst the emergence of a new space race.
In this episode, Dr. Helen Macnaughtan (SOAS) places Naomi Osaka's recent accomplishments into the longer historical context of Japanese women's sports champions, including the gold-medal volleyball team at the Tokyo 1964 Olympics and the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup champions, pointing out how women's sports shape gender norms in Japan and promote gender equality.
In this episode, Shawn De Haven (IUHW) explains why the passing of famous comedian Shimura Ken in late March had such a profound impact on Japan, along with discussing the importance of television comedy in Japan and highlighting the recent emergence of political comedians in Japanese society.
In this episode, Dr. Curtis (Yale) discusses the "rebirth" of Japanese Studies in light of recent challenges confronting academia around the world and offers thoughts on how scholars can work together to rebuild a more inclusive academic environment.
In this episode, Dr. Michael Kim (Yonsei) responds to controversial claims that Japan's higher "mindo" (level of culture) explains its successful response to the coronavirus pandemic, providing historical context about how rhetoric of "mindo" fit into Japanese colonial rule in Korea.
In this episode, Dr. Katada (USC) discusses how the recent change in Japanese administrations might impact foreign trade in the Asia-Pacific, outlining how Japan has taken advantage of competition between China and the USA to reposition itself over the last two decades into a more active role shaping geoeconomics in the region.
In this episode, Dr. Helen Hardacre (Harvard) discusses the impacts of Prime Minister Abe's resignation on the future of the constitutional revision debate in Japan, explaining why constitutional revision was such an important policy goal for Abe and why it was always unlikely to succeed.
In this episode, AAS President Dr. Christine Yano (Hawaii) talks about how recent developments including COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement have presented an opportunity for scholars to tear down the traditional hierarchies and rigid structures that have propped up the Ivory Tower for so long and to rebuild a new academic environment.
In this episode, Dr. Masako Egawa (Hitotsubashi) discusses her involvement in debates at the University of Tokyo about changing the start of the Japanese school year to September, laying out arguments both for and against adopting the September start date before talking about how COVID-19 has impacted ongoing discussions about September enrollment.
In this episode, Dr. Sonja Petrovic (Melbourne) details how the 3/11 Tōhoku Triple Disaster in 2011 caused a decline in public trust in media and government information, changed media consumption habits in Japan, and shaped popular reception of the Japanese government response to COVID-19.
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