2018 Activity Report

March Activity Report

31 March 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Daniel Phan

Seminar season is upon us

In the month of March, members of the University of Melbourne’s Japanese studies and language fraternity – students, academics, staff and those simply interested in the goings-on in Japan – came together for a day-long celebration of all-things Japanese. This was preceded by a PhD workshop featuring special guest Professor Miranda Schreurs of the Technical University of Munich who was on hand to provide comments to three postgraduate students whose dissertations cover: (1) civil society’s role in driving alternative energy dialogues; (2) perceptions of media credibility in the context of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster; and (3) the risk perception and reduction of migrant mothers in its ensuing aftermath.

[Prof. Miranda Schreurs, Prof. Akihiro Ogawa and the Japan Foundation’s Elicia O’Reilly ahead of the PhD workshop]
[Ms Akina Mikami presenting her PhD progress report]

Prof. Schreurs headlined Part 1 of the 7th Inagaki Seminar, named after Moshi Inagaki who pioneered Japanese language study at the University a century ago, with her speech ‘Reinventing Fukushima: Post-Disaster Recovery and the Japanese Energy Transition’ in which she explored the energy transition following on from the March 11 catastrophe in 2011.

[Prof. Schreurs’ keynote speech to open the Inagaki seminar]

Her presentation, on the recovery efforts after the nuclear catastrophe and subsequent designs to establish Fukushima as a pioneer for low-carbon, nuclear-free energy transition, also highlighted the disaster’s facilitation and galvanising of an increasingly assertive civil society vis-à-vis nuclear power that had previously been earmarked and hailed as a key post-Kyoto Protocol carbon reduction energy source. And with sentiments shifting away from nuclear technology for domestic energy provision, renewables were becoming the preferred energy source by community members owing to their relative affordability (and not to mention the potentially exportable knowledge and insights).

Between the Inagaki seminar sessions was Unimelb’s official Welcome Event for the Japanese studies and language program, organised by Dr. Claire Maree. Following the welcoming remarks from Professor Akihiro Ogawa was the announcement of the 2018 Japan Foundation Video Matsuri awards winners and cordial greetings from staff, the Melbourne University Japanese Club and Asia Institute Director, Professor Vedi Hadiz.

[Video Matsuri awards winners Nicole Shen, Thomas Martinello and Emma Cui]
[Pak Vedi Hadiz workimg the crowd with his effortless charm and wisdom]

Part 2 of the seminar featured a film screening of ‘I want to go home’. Translated by Miki Hawkinson, a teaching associate with the University, the film follows a man’s search for his missing wife after the tsunami. And on this occasion, it certainly did not fail in tugging at the heart strings!

[Opening remarks by translator Miki Hawkinson at the film screening]

As of last week, as part of the Asian Civil Society Research Cluster at the Asia Institute, an international workshop titled ‘Embedding the Apology in the Media: How Civil Society Contributes to Reconciliation’, was organised by Cluster leader Professor Ogawa. The speakers/delegates hailed from both the University and abroad and came together to discuss the role of civil society in post-war reconciliation, namely in the context of World War II antagonists, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. It was a most engaging and illuminating experience as the discourses ranged from the effectiveness of institutionalised memory of war crimes to how media portrayed history in the respective societies.

[Associate Professor Allan Patience, knower of all-things Japan, being his exceptional self!]

Also on the agenda this month was the updating of the respective study areas for the Asia Institute website that, of course, includes Japanese Studies among others (Asian, Arabic, Islamic, Chinese and Indonesian with Korean to be added soon). With a marked emphasis on Asian capabilities (languages, cultural awareness and skills et al), a free trade agreement in place between Canberra and Tokyo and the increased diversifying of Japanese foreign investment in Australia, there is no better time for Unimelb students to consider taking up Japanese language and studies! With enrolments for Japanese ahead of all other Asian and non-Asian languages in the LOTE category across all proficiency levels, the dedicated teaching staff certainly deserve their hard-earned kudos!

[Group photo from the Welcome to Japanese studies event]
[The real heroes of the Japanese language program – the tutors!]

In the month of April we will be looking forward to the eighth installment of the Inagaki Seminar series. Titled ‘Women’s challenges at work in Japan’, it will feature a speech from Dr Emma Dalton of RMIT University who most recently published Womenomics, ‘Equality’ and Abe’s Neo-liberal Strategy to Make Japanese Women Shine in the Social Science Japan Journal (Vol. 20). Can’t wait!

February Activity Report

28 February 2019
Global Japan Office Coordinator
Daniel Phan

Great to be on board

G’day fellow GJOers! This month’s is the first submission of many from the Global Japan Office at the University of Melbourne in (usually) sunny Australia! And yes, our campus is only a few tram stops from the central business district – not far from where global tennis superstar and Japan’s very own Naomi Osaka claimed the Australian Open Grand Slam title to shoot right atop the world rankings and be crowned the world’s best female tennis player!

Tram line from campus into Melbourne’s central business district
Sidney Myer Asia Centre, home to GJO’s Unimelb office

GJO on-campus room

Our working space is underway and almost completed, with a room located in the Sidney Myer Asia Centre (which houses the Asia Institute under which the Japanese and Japan Studies academic and administrative staff operate) currently being used for administrative duties.

Room 305 from where GJO’s Melbourne-based support and admin duties are carried out

A name plate has been procured and awaiting framing before it officially goes up on the door of the shared room which is also the administrative centre of the Centre of Contemporary Chinese Studies and the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies. So we cannot wait to see the GJO brand sitting aside our friendly neighbours up on level 3 of this beautiful building – from where we are treated to skyline views (weather permitting, of course!).

View from level three of the Sidney Myer Asia Centre

Welcome to Semester one

As the semester has only commenced this week, much of our focus has been on preparing for an upcoming medley of events – a PhD workshop, seminar and film screening – that we are excited to report about in next month’s installment of the GJO Activity Report. Given the University’ reputation, we are hopeful that the engaged student population, many of whom taking a keen interest in in the Asia-Pacific region (including students majoring/minoring in Japanese or Japan studies), will be drawn to the public event that will be featuring a keynote address from Professor Miranda Schreurs of the Technical University of Munich.

Poster advertising an upcoming Japan and Japanese Studies PhD workshop

Until then, please feel welcome to marvel at the beautiful architecture and campus grounds that hosts a most vibrant and multicultural student population!