GRK September Seminar 2016 - Tokyo
Report from the Seminar in Tokyo
September 21–30, 2016
Jointly organized by Prof. Karen Shire and Kei Takata, Ph.D. (DFG Research Training Group 1613 Risk and East Asia, University of Duisburg-Essen) and Prof. Shigeto Sonoda and Mistook Lee, Ph.D. (GSII, University of Tokyo) entitled Research Design and Practice in Transnational and Global Studies took place in Tokyo from September 21–30, 2016.
The first week of the seminar was devoted to excursions; professors and students from Duisburg, Sheffield, Leeds and Tokyo visited a total of five institutions related to their ongoing research. On the first day, delegates visited the “Cultural Center Arirang” located at the Korean town “Shinokubo” in Tokyo. The center’s representative Mr. Chong shared with us the history of the town and his life story and struggles of the Korean residents in Japan (zainichi). In the afternoon, Prof. Ryozo Yoshino and his team welcomed us at the Institute for Statistical Mathematics. They presented their methods and results from a research survey on, national values in Japan and the world that has been carried out over a long period of time.
On the second day, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Odaiba was visited and latest Japanese technological innovations and unique urban space developed from the mid-1990s were explored. On the final day an excursion to the National Diet Library and the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI), located in the Kasumigaseki area, the heart of Japanese politics, was organized. RIETI is a policy think tank that is closely related to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. RIETI's director Prof. Mitsuhide Hoshino then introduced their overall research agenda and answered questions related to the student’s research.
The second week of the September Seminar took place at the University of Tokyo, Hongo campus as a workshop in which all participating PhD candidates and MA students presented their research projects and received valuable comments from guest speakers, professors and their fellow students. This year, three PhD candidates from the University of Duisburg-Essen (Aimi Muranaka, Benjamin Rabe and Dominique Miguel Borm) joined the seminar along with two fellows from Sheffield, a student from Leeds and six graduate students from University of Tokyo.
Research topics varied from migration, social movements, innovation, popular culture, war memory, international relations, foreign policy, language and social policies. In addition to Prof. Florian Coulmas, Prof. Karen Shire and Prof. Axel Klein from Duisburg, renowned external guests also joined the workshop, including Prof. Daishiro Nomiya (Chuo University), Prof. Reiko Ogawa (Kyushu University) and Prof. Shigeto Sonoda (University of Tokyo). They presented their own research as well as commented extensively on students’ projects. Overall, the September Seminar enabled participants to explore various research institutions in Japan, expand their networks with leading scholars and graduate fellows from other universities, and received invaluable feedback about their project before commencing their extensive fieldwork in East Asia.
Report by Kei Takata