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グローバルな日本文化受容 「文学部」の視点

The Challenge of Japan?

The Global Reception of Japanese Culture: Perspectives from the Humanities


世話役: 阿部公彦、ローレンス・ウィリアムズ
(東京大学 英語英米文学研究室)
Organizers: Masahiko Abe and Laurence Williams
(Department of English, Faculty of
Letters, University of Tokyo)




How does Japan “challenge” outsiders? This symposium, organized by the University of Tokyo Faculty of Letters (Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology) aims to rethink the recent tendency towards straightforward praise for cultural globalization, and to debate the barriers created by the reception of Japanese culture overseas, and by the reception of foreign cultures in Japan. International exchange is always accompanied by obstacles and misunderstandings, but the humanities – and in particular the various fields of literature – seem particularly sensitive in their responses to these difficulties. How has Japan been seen, and experienced, by others at the moment of cultural encounter? How is the “image of Japan” received abroad, and what occurs at the moment of translation? How can literature imagine ways to reshape and transcend these barriers? And how is this intertwined with issues of education within humanities departments? By shedding light on these various questions, we plan to think again about Japan’s position in cultural globalization.


Our key words in this symposium are the contrasting ideas of the “challenge” in English, and the “wall” (kabe) in Japanese. Reflecting the transformations and ambiguities inherent in the act of translation, the two words have deliberately different emphases. The “wall” suggests the way in which the linguistic and cultural difference of Japan has often led to it being regarded as an “Other”. Efforts to promote understanding from inside and outside Japan-notably the “Cool Japan” movement-have not only assumed the existence of the “wall”, but arguably often reinforced it through exoticism and the circulation of stereotypical views. The word “challenge”, by contrast, implies the difficulties associated with the “wall”, but also implies the possibility of traversing it through a process of introspection, effort, and mutual co-operation.


The participants in this symposium range from authors, poets, and translators to university professors and journalists, all specializing in aspects of the cultural relationship between Japan and other countries. Our keynote speech is by the acclaimed Japanese novelist Yoko Tawada, winner of the Akutagawa Prize, the Tanizaki Prize, and the Goethe Medal.


主な話題・Main topics

  • バブル期以降の英米小説における日本のイメージ
  • 文学作品に見られる日欧間の相互関係
  • 英語教育に「文学」は必要か?
  • 日本文学の翻訳
  • 文学作品の相互関係から見た中国と日本
  • The post-Bubble image of Japan in Anglo-American fiction
  • The historical relationship between Japan and Europe in literature
  • Is “literature” essential in English education?
  • The translation of Japanese literature
  • The literary relationship between China and Japan