Live Performances

“Shrouded Blossoms”

Friday, June 24, 2:40 pm – 3:10 pm, Hardy Hall, Kambaikan

“Shrouded Blossoms” is a music performance based on poems written by survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Written in the aftermath of the triple calamities (earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear disaster), these tanka verses capture the magnitude of experience.

The tanka poems were selected from the Voices from Japan, an anthology collected by Isao and Kyoko Tsujimoto of The Studio for Cultural Exchange (SCE), and were translated by Joan E. Ericson, Professor of Japanese at Colorado College, Boulder; Amy V. Heinrich, former Director of C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University; and Laurel R. Rodd, Professor of Japanese at the University of Colorado.


Donna Tatsuki

Donna Tatsuki

Professor, Kobe City University of Foreign Studies

Chiaki Noda

Chiaki Noda

graduate of the Kunitachi College of Music and soloist with major orchestras, including the Osaka Philharmonic

Kanji Wakiyama
piano, composer

Kanji Wakiyama

graduate in composition from Osaka College of Music. One of his other works was commissioned in 2015 for the 20-year memorial of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake.

Benshi Performance

Friday, June 24, 5:45 pm – 6:30 pm, Hardy Hall, Kambaikan

Benshi: Ichirō Kataoka

Musical Accompaniment: Ayumi Kamiya
Introduction by Markus Nornes, Professor of Asian Cinema, University of Michigan


Blood’s Up in Takadanobaba (Chikemuri Takadanobaba, Ito Daisuke, 1928, 10 mins.)
It’s a Gift (Norman McLeod, 1934, 10 mins.)
Removing the Lump (Kubotori, Murata Yasuji, 1929, 10 mins.)

Ichirō Kataoka

Ichirō Kataoka

Ichirō Kataoka graduated from the Nihon University College of Art and began training under the most famous veteran benshi in Japan, Midori Sawato, in 2002. Kataoka is the most well known benshi of his generation, renowned not only for performing with the more “traditional” benshi accompaniment of a small musical ensemble, but also for working with experimental or electronic music.

Ayumi Kamiya

Ayumi Kamiya

Ayumi Kamiya graduated from Toho Gakuen Graduate school of Music. Since 2012, Kamiya has collaborated with Benshi performer, Ichiro Kataoka, accompanying him on the piano. She also composes and arranges music for silent films. In 2015, she performed for the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Italy in 2015, and the Beijing International Film Festival in 2016.

Cultural Performance by Korean School Students in Kyoto

Saturday, June 25, 12:30pm—12:50pm, Shikokan SK112(Social Space 5)

The Korean population in Japan, or so-called “Zainichi Koreans,” are mainly the descendants of the Korean migrants who began coming into Japan in large numbers after the annexation of Korea in 1910. At present they number approximately one million, half of whom retain their foreign nationality. To differing extents, they have striven to preserve their national identity even after living in Japan for, in some cases, five generations. Among the important agents for preserving Zainichi cultural identity are the Chōsen Gakkō, or Korean schools, which are administered by and for Zainichi Koreans. There are more than fifty primary and secondary Korean schools throughout Japan, and one university, located in Tokyo, where students study Korean language and history along with Japanese and the other standard school subjects. While Korean schools have been negatively affected by the recent surge in anti-Korean feeling in Japan, their students continue to grow up to serve as cultural bridges between Japan and Korea, as well as a “Horizon of Hope” in East Asia. AAS-in-ASIA is proud to present a cultural performance by the students of Kyoto Chōsen Junior and Senior High School.

Film Screenings

“Islands—Across And Between”

Sunday, June 26, 10:00 am –12:30 pm, 1:00 pm– 3:00 pm, Clover Hall, Kambaikan

Organized by Alex Zahlten (Harvard University) and Yuka Kanno (Doshisha University)

“These two screenings present work made more than forty years apart – one by a single female artist, one by a collective; one in the medium of video, one on film; one as conceptual art, the other as documentary. Yet they both relentlessly and inventively explore the legacies left by colonialism and war, of spaces floating in-between, with unclear borders and heterogeneous memories. Centering on Okinawa but pointing far beyond it, these two programs produce a unique parallax view on East Asian history.

Chikako Yamashiro Special
Chikako Yamashiro in attendance

Chikako Yamashiro

Yamashiro Chikako’s fascinating work focuses on channeling the complex situation of Okinawa as postcolonial in-between space through a bridge between her corporeality and the medium of video.

One of the most accomplished video artists in Japan, Yamashiro has been honored with exhibitions in the Mori Art Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, and the National Museum of Modern Art. This program showcases her compelling and complex video works, along with a discussion of her work with the artist herself.

Photo by Ryudai Takano

Asia is One (Japan Documentarist Union, 1973) (with English subtitles)
Roland Domenig, Meiji Gakuin University, guest speaker

This legendary film was believed lost until a negative resurfaced in the 2000s and was screened at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. Shot surreptitiously by a crew operating without visas (then necessary for travel to Okinawa), this provocative film traces the legacy of Japanese colonialism, documenting Taiwanese laborers in Okinawa and then moving southward to Tayal village in Taiwan, where the anti-Japanese uprising known as the Musha Incident took place.

The Japan Documentarist Union (NDU) was a collective of filmmakers with a strong sense of international inter-connections. Shooting films across East and South-East Asia at a time when the rest of the Japanese documentary world was shifting to an inward-looking view, NDU was excluded from many of the canonical histories of Japanese documentary. Asia is One stands as a fascinating example of fiercely political cinema. This is a rare opportunity to view one of the most extraordinary works of Asian documentary history.

“Wonder” (2013, 8 Mins.)

Saturday, June 25, in the Banquet at Hyatt Regency Kyoto

“Wonder” is an exuberant, award-winning short animation by famed director Mirai Mizue. The film was made as part of a project in which Mizue uploaded one second of animation to the internet per day for one year. The resulting 8,760 images were then reworked into an exhilarating short film that was shown at major film festivals all over the world. The film will be presented on the Hyatt’s stunning “Surround Projection System”, a state of art 360-degree visual system that combines into the largest screen in Japan.

Mirai Mizue is one of the best known animation directors in Japan, with activities stretching to illustration, design, and contemporary art. Mizue’s animation focuses on abstract animation shorts using “cell” and “geometric patterns” as motifs, and his works have been nominated at all four major animation festivals – Annecy, Ottawa, Zagreb and Hiroshima. His work “DEVOUR DINNER” won semi-Grand Prize at Animadrid 2009 (Spain). Also, “MODERN No.2” was nominated for the Orizzonti section of the 68th Venice International Film Festival (2011), and also received SACEM Award (an award for best music) at Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2012

AEMS Film Expo

Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26, SK 201, Shikokan

Saturday, June 25, 9:00am - 5:15pm

9:00 am Playing with Fire: Women Actors of Afghanistan Afghanistan
10:05 am Calling and Recalling: The Sentiments of Women's Script China
11:30 pm Threads Bangladesh
12:10 pm Mearsheimer vs. Nye on the Rise of China China / USA
12:40 pm All Eyes and Ears China / USA
2:20 pm Fall Seven Times, Get up Eight: The Japanese War Brides Japan / USA
2:55 pm Okinawa: The Afterburn Japan (Okinawa)

Sunday, June 26, 9:00am - 6:30pm

9:00 am Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1 Marshall Islands
10:05 am Honor & Sacrifice Japan / USA
10:45 am War for Guam Guam
11:55 am Cocktail Party Japan (Okinawa)
2:05 pm India's Daughter India
3:15 pm Where is the Spirit of the Vietnamese People? Philippines
3:40 pm Sunset House: Language as the House of Being Japan
4:35 pm Memory as Resistance Malaysia
5:10 pm My Life In China China / USA

Environmental Video Project

Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26 Ongoing in Shikokan

This project explores new forms of scholarship by bringing audiovisual materials into the conference space. By projecting short film essays on a variety of topics onto walls, floors, and strategically placed screens, it not only makes the environment of the conference itself into part of the display of scholarly research, it also helps represent the intense media environment that has developed in urban East Asia.

These video essays point out themes, raise questions, and provide areas of discussion concerning research in Asian Studies. They also provide opportunities for exchange among conference attendees. Each of the essays focuses on different aspects of Asian media culture and beyond. From the musical afterlife of Japanese colonialism to the connection of state violence and gender in 1960s Indonesia, from the trope of directly addressing the camera in East Asian cinema to mapping the connection of isolation in public spaces and mobile devices in China, the essays explore new ways of “writing” and circulating research.
These essays, ranging from five to fifteen minutes in length, will run in parallel in continuous loops.


Marié Abe, Boston University
Chindon-ya: Musical Advertisement Practice on the Japanese Streets
Chindon-ya, which dates back to the 1850s, refers to groups of outlandishly costumed street musicians in Japan who are hired to publicize an employer’s business. Chindon-ya parade through the streets, not to sell products themselves, but to draw customers to an establishment by playing an assortment of instruments. During its heyday in the 1930s and again in the 1950s, chindon-ya’s ubiquitous presence became closely associated with the everyday soundscape, the popular masses, and the dynamic sociality that characterized small neighborhood streets—their extraordinary presence has historically been an ordinary part of everyday life in urban Japan. This piece weaves together previously unreleased archival footages of chindon-ya with contemporary fieldwork material, showcasing the resilience of a practice that is often considered obsolete and chindon-ya’s relations to the shifting geographies of modernity.

Michaela Lola Abrera, Free University of Berlin
Great Expectations: The Incubation and Proliferation of the Sex Tourism Industry in Olongapo City, Philippines
Filmed inside “girly bars” in Olongapo City, Philippines, “Children of Neon” is a hard look at an aspect of tourism that is simultaneously admonished but also encouraged by society. The film explores the various complex and often-concealed realities and expectations between the sex tourists and “bar girls.” This film is the first installment of a participatory film documentary, also called “Children of Neon,” which is a collaborative film project conducted with the vulnerable children of Olongapo City. Keywords: exploitation, Philippines, Olongapo City, prostitution, sex tourism, Southeast Asia

Andrew Campana, Harvard University
Lines in the Concrete: Poetry and Intermedia in Postwar Japan

This video essay considers the role of poetry within the context of “intermedia” in postwar Japan—that is, within the widespread experimental artistic practices by individuals and collectives that aimed to actively break down the distinctions between film, theatre, painting, music, sculpture, photography, and everyday life. Looking at the poetic works of figures such as Yoko Ono, Niikuni Seiichi, Shiomi Mieko, Matsumoto Toshio, Yoshimasu Gōzō, Manabe Hiroshi and Akiyama Kuniharu, as well as groups like Fluxus, Jikken Kōbō, Gutai, and Group Ongaku, the film considers the diversity and centrality of “poetry” broadly considered in 1950s and 1960s experimental art scenes in Japan and abroad, and what such an exploration might reveal about the horizons of literary expression in an era of intense social and technological change.

Ryan Cook, Emory University
Girls Are Not Bound by Thermodynamics: Anime in the Anthropocene
World crisis is a common theme in recent anime, and often a gendered one. Gaia theory postulates a self-regulating Earth figured as feminine and maternal, but the notion of Mother Nature as a force of equilibrium looks naive in the context of the Anthropocene. Is it possible to see in magical girls an anime ecofeminism that complicates the idealism of a maternal Nature? This essay explores how the magical girl may bridge the space between the media ecology of anime and “dark ecology,” or ecological thought without Nature.

Erin Huang, Princeton University
Industrial Heterotopias: The Spaces of Socialist and Capitalist Industrial Modernities
This film essay features a collection of “industrial heterotopias”—a species of space produced in the capitalist and socialist cinematic imaginations of industrialization. From factory and science lab to street lighting and electrical grid, the cinematic spaces of industrialization represent the psychological extensions of the dreams and nightmares of advanced mechanized societies. Exceeding the ideological dichotomy of socialism and capitalism, industrial heterotopias feature a conceptual third space beyond West and East.

Phil Kaffen, New York University
A Mere Confrontation?

Miki Kaneda, Boston University
The Unforgettable Sounds of Empire
First released in 1938, the song “China Nights” (Shina no Yoru) was written as a Japanese colonial fantasy that romanticized a beautiful, feminized, Shanghai as the Orient. Over decades in the mid-twentieth century, the popular melody travelled from Japan to China and other parts of Asia, riding Japan’s military aggression across the continent. Americans and others also encountered the song during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. As a collage assembled from multiple versions of a song, this project invites viewers to experience how Orientalism sonically and visually builds on trans-Pacific infrastructures of power and capital. At the same time, by drawing on affective responses of individual users who may access the project through their personal devices, the miniature format of this digital video navigates contemporary processes of distracted remembering, while complicating both the agendas of empire and its critics.

Veronika Kusumaryati, Harvard University
Earthly Encounters
In West Papua, an easternmost province of Indonesia, land is not merely “the site and stake of the colonial” struggle and expansion (Elden 2013:9), but is also the terrain in which colonial violence is inscribed (Ballard 2002). The Dutch colonized West Papua until 1963, when they were forced by the United States and Indonesia through the United Nations to leave their colony. In 1967, the American mining company Freeport-McMoRan signed a contract of work with the Indonesian government for a gold and mining operation in the southern part of the region, which currently is one of the largest gold mining operations in the world. “Earthly Encounters” deals with ways in which terrains of the visible and aural worlds, such as mining sites, landscapes of tailing (mining waste) processing, rocks, mountainous terrains of the Central Highlands of West Papua, its jungle, and a variety of indigenous collective performances reflect West Papua’s long history of encounters with colonialism. The presentation is comprised of a two-channel video projection consisting of archival footage from Dutch and Indonesian sources and digital footage shot by Kusumaryati in West Papua in the period of 2015-2016.

Viola Lasmana, University of Southern California
Archival Emanations: A Video Remix in the Contrapuntal
This video essay is a work in progress that enacts an alternative mode of scholarship, fueled by a critical eye towards representation and ways of producing knowledge. Focusing on the histories of colonial and state violence, including the 1965-66 anti-Communist genocide in Indonesia, and with a particular emphasis on gender, the video juxtaposes archival footages with readings from diverse texts, as well as various soundscapes, in order to create a contrapuntal representation of word, sound, and image

Special Sessions


Meet AAS Officers

Saturday, June 25, 1:00 p.m.—4:50 p.m. Shikokan SK 202 and 203

Join in a small-group conversation about research, publishing, and the prospects for Asian Studies with one of our past or present officers, tell us how you think AAS can better serve the needs of junior scholars.

[1:00-2:50] SK 202

Katherine Bowie (In-coming President of AAS)
Discussion Topic: “Conducting Research in Southeast Asia: From Participant Observation and Interviews to Oral Histories and Archival Materials

[1:00-2:50] SK 203

Jeffrey Wasserstrom (Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies)
Discussion Topic: “How to Publish in the Journal of Asian Studies

[3:00-4:50] SK 202

Laurel Kendall (President of AAS)
Discussion Topic: “Shamans, Popular Religion, Magic and Material Things: Thoughts on Researching and Publishing”

[3:00-4:50] SK 203

Theodore Bestor (Past President of AAS, 2012-2013)
Discussion Topic: “Globalization and Studying Asia outside of Asia”

Japan Foundation

Japan Foundation Special Roundtable

Sunday, June 25, 1:00 pm – 2:50 pm, Shikokan, SK 107

“Bridging Japanese Studies between the U.S. and Asia”

Regional studies are becoming more and more borderless and interdisciplinary. By sharing the Japan Foundation's recent initiatives to enhance collective scholarship beyond regions, this roundtable will examine the current state of academic exchange and collaboration among scholars of Japanese Studies in the U.S., Japan and Southeast Asia and discuss ways to further develop collaboration that is mutually beneficial for all these regions.

Chaired by Junichi Chano, The Japan Foundation
William Bodliford, University of California, Los Angeles
Keller Kimbrough, University of Colorado, Boulder
Susy Ong, University of Indonesia, Jakarta
Hai Linh Phan, Vietnam National University, Hanoi