Alter/native Imagi/nations

Contributions to workshop 1 - Japanese Media Spaces and ‘Japan’ in Crisis

Sten-Kristian Saluveer

Reinventing Nippon: film distribution, imagination, globalization and gaze
Inquiries into Japanese cinema have historically been dominated by the qualitative bias – studies of authorship, fandom and style that neglect the practicalities of film production and dissemination. In the light of emerging production and festival studies the paper argues that the contemporary analysis of Japanese cinema should reside on the everyday realities of the film business - how strategies of production, marketing and distribution contribute to the reception of contemporary Japanese cinema.
Specifically, the work argues on the case of Sushi Typhoon, a short lived genre film label managed by Japan’s oldest film studio Nikkatsu, that marketing and distribution plays a critical role in establishing global cult fame for Japan’s horror cinema and the imagined genre of hyperviolent Japanese film. These attempts can be viewed as methods of readdressing local audiences through Western gaze, as well as attempts to reinvent Tokyo as a global media capital.
Biographical statement
Sten-Kristian Saluveer is Estonian film and audiovisual media producer, festival manager & and film researcher focusing on East-Asian cinema and film industries specifically Japan and South-Korea. He serves as the Member of the Board, Industry Director and Programmer of Asian cinema for Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival - one of the largest art house film festivals in Northern Europe, as well as develops co-productions for Estonian Film Commission. Sten Saluveer is currently based in University of Tokyo completing research on post-millennial structural changes of Japanese film industry specifically looking market internationalization and regional co-productions.

Miho Aida

Observation about Otaku culture and Gender Transgressiveness in ‘Fujoshi Manga’
This paper conducts discourse analysis to examine the categories of fujoshi and (male) otaku (male) are constructed based on gender. I argued for an understanding of gender transgressiveness, which underlies otaku culture, and draw examples from two manga, "Genshiken" and "Fudanshism."
Biographical statement
Aida Miho is a doctoral student in international studies at Hiroshima City University. Her areas of research include fujoshi, male otaku and otaku-related culture and practice. In particular, she has studied the relationship between fujoshi and (male) otaku through perspectives of gender and queer studies.

Mari Nakamura

Time of Eve: A Utopian Enclave
This presentation aims to discuss political thought through animation. As such, the presentation analyses a Japanese science fictional animation, Ivu no jikan: Gekijō-ban (Time of Eve, 2010), and investigates what alternative politics can be interpreted from this animation. I argue that this animation depicts a Utopian space, or what Fredric Jameson (2005) calls “Utopian enclave,” in which particular political ideas – i.e. domination, resistance and emancipation – are imagined and that this Utopian enclave becomes a starting point of resistance for social and political changes.
Biographical statement
Mari Nakamura is PhD student at the Leiden Institute of Area Studies (LIAS) and the Modern East Asia Research Centre (MEARC), Leiden University. Her PhD research project entitled ‘Emancipation in Postmodernity: Political Thought in Japanese Science Fictional Animation’ studies the ways in which the philosophical notion of ‘emancipation’ has been conceptualized in Japanese science fictional animation. Her fields of research interest include political thought and (Japanese) visual culture.

Carl Li

Feeling the Future: The Interaction of Character Psychology and Possible Worlds in SF Manga
This paper puts forth a method for analyzing the visual depiction of the relationship between character psychology and the science fictional elements of science fiction manga, using the 2007 science fiction manga 7 Billion Needles by Tadano Nobuaki as the basis for analysis. By framing the analysis of character psychology in terms of visual representation, this paper contributes to understanding not only how ideas are conveyed visually, but also how the very act of conveying them visually can change the properties of the ideas themselves.
Biographical statement
Carl Li is a PhD Candidate at Leiden University, specializing in the study of science fiction manga. His PhD project, “The Art of Comic Communication: Visual Interactions Between Character Psychology and Science Fictional Concepts in Science Fiction Manga,” focuses on the strong presence of character psychology and emotional empathy in Japanese comics and its effects on the portrayal of political and utopian ideas and systems in science fiction-themed manga. He also aims to create a comprehensive methodology for the study of Japanese comics by studying how ideas are conveyed through narrative as well as the visual aesthetics of manga.

love kindstrand

Social Media, Information and Political Activism in Japan's 3.11 Crisis
A new generation of protesters has taken to the streets in post-Fukushima Japan, denouncing corrupt political elites, a genocidal energy industry, and the structural violence of the capitalist state. Amidst the ruins of representative democracy, it is in the ad hoc street politics of the mass demonstration that a long marginalized language of hope and possibility is being resuscitated. This presentation considers the anti-nuclear street protest as a particular kind of mediated utopia. What subjectivities and sensibilities are imagined, what particular desires are being formulated and enacted within the collective body of the demonstration? And what opportunities are afforded or allowed by its economies of knowledge?
Biographical statement
A graduate student in Japanese studies/anthropology at Sophia University, Love Kindstrand studies emerging expressions of political subjectivity and struggles for representational space in Japan. His essay "The Politicization of Precarity: Anti-Nuke Protests in Japan since the Great Tohoku Earthquake" was featured in Cultural Anthropology’s Hot Spots: 3.11 Politics in Disaster Japan. Love will begin his PhD at the Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago in fall 2012.

martin roth

Where the narrative ends - alternative temporalities in videogames
In this paper, I explore the potentials of videogames to create temporal disruptions. Based on Paul Ricoeur’s understanding of the relation between time and narrative, I show how particular videogames confront us with temporalities that cannot be collapsed easily into narrative structures, thus potentially challenging common notions of time.
Biographical statement
Martin Roth is a Ph.D. student at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies, writing his dissertation on the political potentials of Japanese video games. From 2011 to 2012, he was a research fellow at the University of Tokyo on a one-year fellowship by the Japan Foundation

patrick w. galbraith

Bishojo Utopia? Japanese・Gaming・Futures

workshop 1 - Japanese Media Spaces and ‘Japan’ in Crisis

Bringing together diverse perspectives, “Alter/native Imagi/nations: Japanese Media Spaces and ‘Japan’ in Crisis” provided a dynamic space for producing and mediating a broad range of questions, or “gaps,” which made apparent not only the difficulty of bringing together so diverse an array of perspectives, but also the potential for a collaborative inquiry out of which new scenarios might emerge.

new media space - the technical side of workshop 1

Recognizing the search for the conditions of an alternative not only as a theoretical perspective, but also as a profoundly practical agenda, one goal of this first meeting was to actively explore the possibilities contemporary media open for global academic engagements and their dissemination to an equally global, participating audience.