AJJ Fall Meeting 2016

Reinvention, Redefinition and Reconfiguration of Japan

26 – 27 November
University of Tsukuba

Official website is here.

Conference Theme / 大会要旨

Reinvention, Redefinition and Reconfiguration of JapanYou are invited to participate in a Fall Meeting of Anthropology of Japan in Japan (AJJ) to be held at University of Tsukuba, Japan from 26th to 27th November 2016. AJJ has organized series of meetings about Japanese studies and Japan in the discourse of globalization and localization, centers and periphery, and in the context of transformation of identities and the challenges and developments of its landscapes. In the direction of these discussions, this meeting asks how Japan has been reinvented, redefined and reconfigured accompanied by the emergence of new social-cultural ideologies, practices, organizational forms, and political spaces.

Beyond merely describing instances, this meeting aims to conceptualize the relationship between poli-economic change and social change as one of mutual conditioning. How, for instance, are political developments in Japan part of, or responses to, larger global processes or world systems? How does Japan aim to develop its status as cultural superpower through the consumption and representation of its subculture, cuisine and customer service? How do the gender identities and relations have been redefined and how does the masculinity and femininity have been reformed in this process? How has employment restructured in response to the decreasing number of labor force and adaptation to the globalized environment?

With these questions in mind, this meeting aims to stimulate critical dialogues about the transformation of Japan and provides a platform for scholars to foster intercultural exchange. The sub-themes of this meeting include, but are not limited to reinvention, redefinition and reconfiguration of:

  1. National-cultural identity (such as 「日本を取り戻す」Retrieving Japan);
  2. Student movements (such as anti-war protests);
  3. Japanese values and aesthetics (omotenashi, etc.);
  4. Japanese business;
  5. Work and self (diversity of employment patterns, etc.);
  6. Gendered practices (such as same-sex marriage);
  7. Education (Super Global High Schools, Super Global Universities, etc.);
  8. Subculture (such as “Cool Japan”);
  9. Care for the elderly (new institutions, practices, etc.).

Participants are very welcome to submit paper proposals on other related themes.




  • 国民文化的アイデンティティ(例えば、「日本を取り戻す」);
  • 学生運動(例えば、反戦争運動);
  • 日本的価値と美観(おもてなし、など);
  • 日本のビジネス;
  • 仕事と自己(仕事形態の多様化、など);
  • 性差を表した実践(例えば、同性結婚);
  • 教育(例えば、スーパーグローバル高校やスーパーグローバル大学など);
  • サブカル(Cool Japanなど);
  • 高齢者へのケア(新しい施設、実践、など)。

Organizing Committee / 大会組織委員会

  • Prof. Keiji Maegawa, University of Tsukuba (Head)
  • Prof. Hisao Sekine, University of Tsukuba
  • Assc.Prof. Nobutaka Suzuki, University of Tsukuba
  • Dr. Toru Yamada, University of Tsukuba
  • Dr. Shuhei Kimura, University of Tsukuba
  • Dr. Grant Otsuki, University of Tsukuba
  • Dr. Yi Zhu, University of Tsukuba
  • 前川 啓治(筑波大学)委員長
  • 関根 久雄(筑波大学)
  • 鈴木 伸隆(筑波大学)
  • 山田 亨(筑波大学)
  • オオツキ グラント(筑波大学)
  • 木村 周平(筑波大学)
  • 朱 藝(筑波大学)

American Anthropological Associationで発表しました

Panel title: Selective Evidence: Legitimating and Affirming Identities in Asia-Pacific

Presentation title: Corporate system and its implementation: Lessons from a Japanese company

Key words: system, hospitality, customer service, manual, Japaneseness


This presentation anthropologically examines the implementation process of a corporate system and its effects on employee behaviors at a Japanese fashion giant, here called it Ichi, in Hong Kong. As the largest Asian fashion retailer in 2015, Ichi expanded its business aggressively overseas. With the aim of becoming a real global company, Ichi started a unique campaign that aims to disseminate the Japanese spirits, in particular the Japanese hospitality or “omotenashi” spirit. Serving customers with traditional Japanese hospitality has been regarded as ideal and Ichi embodies this into the written form, a Customer Service Manual as well as in a promotional system so as to ensure and to facilitate the progress. Field data I collected through a one and a half year participant observation at Ichi stores shows a unique picture. Employees who did not share the corporate ideology have been largely influenced by the act of memorizing and repeating the Customer Service Manual in their daily work life and started to serve customers as the way company expected. However, the field data also shows that many of their performances were manipulated so that they could satisfy their own interests, which was to get promotion. We may conclude that the company has succeeded in achieving their goals, but employees may not have to compromise their interests to get what they want. This implies that the conflict discourse within the organization could be interpreted differently in the various local contexts.