Japan’s Continuing Sakoku

I have been very critical of the Japanese government’s handling of COVID and its (relatively) closed borders and isolation (sakoku) in the past few months. In the last week alone I have written a post (Nothing Splendid About Japan’s Isolation) about the topic and a further post with details about a letter than I sent…

Nothing Splendid About Japan’s Isolation

In the early seventeenth century Japan entered a period of self-imposed isolation known as sakoku. In reality, the level of isolation probably wasn’t as strict as is sometimes made out, but it was strong enough that it allowed Japan to develop many aspects of what we know think of as Japan’s traditional culture with limited…

The Need for Physical Books

Earlier this week I made a trip to Sheffield, where I had lived for nine years and did both my undergraduate degree and doctorate. I managed to combine many things into the visit, including meeting up with friends and colleagues to discuss a wide range of things. One of the reasons for going up related…

England and Japan’s Early Interactions – BAJS Podcast 5

It is ironic that on the day that flights between the UK and Japan became even more difficult (apparently 16 hour plus direct flights will start at the weekend) that I have just finished listening to the latest episode of the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS) podcast about the early interactions between England and…

Interview for Voices in Japanese Studies Podcast

I was interviewed for the final episode of this season of Voices in Japanese Studies (VIJS). I spoke with the hosts, Anna Vittinghoff and Matt Loten, about my life in Japanese Studies, how I got here, why I chose Japanese Studies, and how I balances my roles at Cardiff and the British Association for Japanese…

British Association for Japanese Studies Podcast 3

The latest episode of the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS) podcast is out. The homepage for the podcast can be found here, and the link to the latest episode can be found here. The episode features the host, Oliver Moxham, speaking with Graham Healey and Joy Hendry. I particularly enjoyed this episode as Graham…

British Association for Japanese Studies Podcast 2

The latest episode of the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS) podcast is out. The homepage for the podcast can be found here, and the link to the latest episode can be found here. The episode features the host, Oliver Moxham, speaking with Robert Aspinall about BAJS’s Japan Chapter. I suspect many BAJS members aren’t…

Book Review: “An Affair with a Village” by Joy Hendry

Back in the relatively early days of COVID-19 lockdowns, I attended a webinar by Joy Hendry on her ‘affair with a village’. It was not that the webinar was based on a book that would be coming out. The book came out earlier in 2021 and I have just finished reading it. As I have…

Wrapping Culture – Surrounding Much of My Research

In my recent post Reporting and Responding to Disasters, I not only pointed to the significance of the idea of important/unimportant lives in the media (and the public) that is discussed in the novel Kuraimazu Hai (‘Climber’s High’/’Seventeen’) by Hideo Yokoyama, but also pointed to how influential Mileti’s idea of a disaster being designed (as…

The Sixteenth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students

Recently I took part, as one of the judges, in The Sixteenth Japanese Speech Contest for University Students. Of the things that I am regularly involved with as President of the British Association for Japanese Studies, this is one of the most enjoyable. It’s wonderful to see so many students putting their Japanese language skills…