The historical development and future of cultural studies in Japan
YOSHIMI Shunya (Translated by David C. BUIST)
When considering the development of cultural studies in Asia, we must first focus careful attention on the timing of its diffusion among the countries of the region. It might be argued that cultural studies in the U.K. underwent its most productive development during the 1970s and 80s. The same, however, is not true of Asia. It was only in the 1990s, especially the later 90s, that cultural studies became established as a transnational field of intellectual endeavour in Asia.
In the case of Japan, the generalization of interest in cultural studies can be traced back to a specific series of events in 1996. One of these events was an international four-day conference held at the University of Tokyo in March, which I organized along with my then colleague Tatsuro Hanada. Held under the joint auspices of the University of Tokyo and the British Council, this conference involved the participation of major cultural-studies researchers from the UK, including Stuart Hall, David Morley, Ali Rattansi, Angela McRobbie, Charlotte Brown and Colin Sparks, along with prominent Japanese scholars, such as Kouhei Hanasaki, Ryuuichi Narita, Ichiro Tomiyama, Chizuko Ueno and Youichi Komori. Attendance at the keynote lectures by Stuart Hall and others exceeded 600 people, making this event a major turning point in the development of cultural studies in Japan.
Yoshimi Shunya is Professor in the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, The Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, Tokyo University, Japan.
David C. Buist is Project Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, The Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, Tokyo University, Japan.