The Japan Foundation 40th Anniversary Symposium: Panelist

The Japan Foundation 40th Anniversary Symposium
Transcending Borders: New Trends in International Cultural Exchange

The Japan Foundation 40th Anniversary Symposium
Transcending Borders: New Trends in International Cultural Exchange

Panelist Profile

Keynote Speech

Photo of Nanami ShionoNanami Shiono
Nanami Shiono was born in Tokyo in 1937. After graduating from Gakushuin University with a degree in philosophy, she lived in Italy studying the language and history from 1963 to 1968. Upon returning to Japan in 1968, she wrote and published her first book, Runesansu no Onna-tachi (Women of the Renaissance), in the literary magazine Chūo Kōron. In 1970, she published her second work Chēzare Borujia Aruiwa Yūganaru Reikoku (Cesare Borgia the Elegant Tyrant) which won the Mainichi Publishing Culture Award. She also won the Suntory Literary Prize in 1982 for Umi no Miyako no Monogatari (Story of the City of the Sea) and the Kikuchi Kan Prize in the following year. In 1992 she started the monumental work, Roma-jin no Monogatari (Stories of the Romans), a 15-volume series depicting the history of Roman Empire which was completed in 2006. For this work, she was awarded the Shincho Literary Prize in 1993 and the Shiba Ryotaro Prize in 1999. In 2002, she received the Grande Ufficiale Order of Merit from the Italian government for introducing Italian history and culture to Japan. In 2007 Japanese government conferred upon her Person of Cultural Merit. Her other recent books include Roma Naki Ato no Chichukai Sekai (The Mediterranean World after the Fall of the Roman Empire) (2008-2009) and Jyujigun Monogatari (Story of the Crusaders) (2010).

Session 1

Oriza HirataOriza Hirata (Moderator)
Oriza Hirata, born in Tokyo in 1962, is a playwright, director, and leader of the theatre company Seinendan. In addition, he is the artistic director of Komaba Agora Theater. He founded the Seinendan in 1983 while studying at International Christian University. His theory of “Contemporary Colloquial Theater” and the resulting new style of “quiet theater” became a leading trend of the 1990’s small theater world. He is also a noted critic on issues such as education, language, and literature. His workshop methods have been incorporated into Japanese school text books at the junior high and elementary school level. Since 2008 he has been developing the robot-human theatre project in collaboration with the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University and has attracted worldwide attention for this endeavor. In 2011 he was awarded the French Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. At present, Hirata is professor at the Osaka University’s Center of the Study of Communication-Design, president of the Japan Performing Arts Foundation, board member of the Japan Foundation for Regional Art-Activities, board member of Tokyo Arts and Culture Council, among others. His awards include the 39th Kishida Kunio Drama Award for Tokyo Notes in 1995 and the Grand Prix of the 2nd Asahi Performing Arts Awards for Sono Kawa wo Koete, Gogatsu (Across the River in May) in 2003. He is widely published; some of his other works outside of his plays are Engeki Nyumon (Introduction to Drama), Hanashikotoba no Nihongo (Colloquial Japanese) and Geijutsu Rikkoku Ron (Arts as the Basis of a Nation).

Photo of Sou FujimotoSou Fujimoto
Sou Fujimoto was born in Hokkaido in 1971. After studying architecture at the Department of Architecture in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Tokyo, he founded Sou Fujimoto Architects in 2000. He won the prestigious international Architectural Review (AR) Award in the Young Architects category for three years in a row from 2005 to 2007. In 2008, he won both the Japan Institute of Architects (JIA) Award and the grand prize in the Private House Division at the World Architectural Festival. In 2010, he was awarded the Spotlight: The Rice Design Alliance Prize. His most important works include the Children's Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation (2006) and the Musashino Art University Museum and Library (2010). His publications include Primitive Future (2008) and Sketchbook (2012). This year he participated in the exhibition entitled “Architecture: Possible here? Home-for-All” for the Japan Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, which was awarded the Gold Lion for Best National Participation.

Photo of Sayaka MurataSayaka Murata
Sayaka Murata, a laureate of The Outstanding Young Person from Junior Chamber International in 2007, is a development aid worker with vast experience. She started the Kamonohashi project while a sophomore at Ferris University, Japan. In 2001, her first exposure to a six-year-old child prostitute in Southeast would change the course of her life. With the knowledge of the severe life experiences of these prostitutes, she started efforts to lobby and raise awareness of the situation. This resulted in her participation at the Second World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children later that year. With like-minded people of her generation, she founded the Kamonohashi project in 2002, she is currently a Co-President. The Kamonohashi project’s mission is to prevent the sexual exploitation of children around the world. It first provided IT training to those given refuge at an orphanage; about 120 children have gone through the training. Another project focused on hiring 100 women from underprivileged families and provided a community factory for handicraft making so that they could earn enough to keep their children home. They now send children to school instead of work. Based on her own experience she published a book, Meeting numerous obstacles: A 19-year-old addresses eradication of child trafficking, from PHP Institute in 2009. The Kamonohashi project was awarded the Japan Foundation Prizes for Global Citizenship in 2011.

Prabda YoonPrabda Yoon (Panelist)
Prabda Yoon was born in Bangkok in 1973. He went to the United States at age of 14. He graduated from the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City in 1997 and worked as a graphic designer briefly in Manhattan before returning to Thailand at the age of 26. His portfolio includes short stories, novels, essays, film reviews, screenplays, and song lyrics. His 2002 story collection, Kwam Na Ja Pen (Probability), won the S.E.A. Write Award. His screenplays include Last Life in the Universe (2003) and Invisible Waves (2006). He is also the founder of Typhoon Books, a small publishing house; and co-founder of Bookmoby, a small bookstore and website for the Thai literary community. He has extensive knowledge of Japanese culture and has been to Japan on many occasions. Several of his works have been translated into Japanese.

Session 2

Yasushi WatanabeYasushi Watanabe (Moderator)
Yasushi Watanabe earned a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Harvard University in 1997. After post-doctoral research at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, he joined Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus (SFC) in 1999. He is currently a full Professor and has taught courses on Cultural Policy, Human Security, and American Studies. His books include After America: Trajectories of the Bostonians and the Politics of Culture (2004), which won a Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities and a Hiroshi Shimizu Award of the Japanese Association for American Studies; Culture and Diplomacy: The Age of Public Diplomacy (2011); and the co-edited volume Soft Power Superpowers: Cultural and National Assets of Japan and the United States (2008). He was a recipient of an Abe Fellowship and housed at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University in 2003-04. In 2005 he was awarded a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellowship and a Japan Academy Medal; he was also a Fellow at Downing College, University of Cambridge in 2007. He has served as the Executive Director of the Japanese Association for American Studies and on the Advisory Council on Public Diplomacy of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs; he is currently an editorial member of Gaiko (Diplomacy) magazine and a book reviewer for Asahi Shimbun, et al.

Photo of Andrew GordonAndrew Gordon
Andrew Gordon is the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History at Harvard University. His teaching and research focuses primarily on modern Japan; his interests also include comparative labor history. This year a Japanese translation and expanded edition of his first book, The Evolution of Labor Relations in Japan: Heavy Industry, 1853-1955 was published by Iwanami Shoten. His second, Labor and Imperial Democracy in Prewar Japan (1991) won the John King Fairbank Prize (1992) for the best book on modern East Asian history; was an Arisawa Hiromi Prize (1992) for the best book on Japan. A Modern History of Japan, (2002) is now one of the standard textbooks on the topic and has been translated into Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. His most recent publication, Fabricating Consumers: The Sewing Machine in Modern Japan (2011) examines the emergence of the modern consumer in Japan, with particular focus on women. He is working with colleagues in Japan and the U.S. to create a “Digital Archive of Japan’s March 2011 Disaster.” The aim is to collect, preserve, and make accessible digital records of the disasters to enable scholarly research of the events and the resulting impact on society. Gordon completed his PhD in History and East Asian Languages at Harvard University in 1981. He had served as chair of the Harvard History Department (2004-07) and director of the Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies (1998-2004 and 2011-2012). He has lived in Japan for a total of 9 years.

Photo of Jan MelissenJan Melissen
Jan MelissenisDirector of Research at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’, where he also supervises Clingendael Asia Studies. He is a part-time Professor of Diplomacy at Antwerp University (Belgium) and teaches at the University of Leiden. He is founding co-editor of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, editor of the Diplomatic Studies book series with Martinus Nijhoff, and is on the editorial board of various international journals. His most recent co-edited books are Public Diplomacy and Soft Power in East Asia (2011), Consular Affairs and Diplomacy (2011), and Economic Diplomacy (2011). He co-authored the Clingendael report Futures for Diplomacy: Integrative Diplomacy in the 21st Century (2012). His publication The New Public Diplomacy (2005/7) has editions in three languages. His current projects include trends and innovation in diplomatic practice, public diplomacy and foreign policy strategy in East Asia, and public diplomacy in Europe. Before joining Clingendael in 2001 he was Director of the Centre for the Study of Diplomacy at the University of Leicester (UK). He graduated from the University of Amsterdam and holds a doctorate from Groningen University.

Photo of Jung Sook ParkJung Sook Park
Jung Sook Park is the Korean representative for the leading international organization, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI). She is also an Adjunct Professor of Cultural Diplomacy at Kyung-Hee University, in Seoul, Korea teaching classes on global leadership and Hallyu as an organic power. She graduated from Seoul Women’s University with a Bachelor in Business and Management, she earned a Master’s in Foreign Affairs and Security at Yonsei University, as well as a Master’s in International Affairs at Columbia University. She is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Graduate School of Media and Governance at Keio University and was a Visiting Scholar at Keio University Law School focusing on the impact of cultural exchange between Japan and Korea. She is actively involved in various domestic and international organizations as the Honorary Ambassador for the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and as the Ambassador-at-Large for Seoul Metropolitan City. She has also hosted various TV shows in Korea and had a role in the major historic mini-series, “Jewel in the Palace.” She hopes to encourage young Asians to overcome cultural barriers by sharing her ideas on the power of Hallyu and the media, in addition to sharing her own personal experiences.

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