Nathan Revere

The Pursuit of Language

My name is Nathan Revere and I am currently a senior at the college of William and Mary. A linguist by training, I am fascinated by the intersection of language and human experience. My love for language, however, did not start academically – as a high school student I had the opportunity to live for a year in Kumamoto, Japan. Ever since, culture and language have been inextricably bound for me. The pursuit of understanding how these balance is the focus of my research.

Japan has been central to this passion of mine, and as such I have worked as a Japanese TA, worked to provide translations for the Future Shock art exhibit which visited William and Mary in 2009, and participated in summer research under Professor Hamada Connolly where I combined looking at food culture and communicative practices.

I hope to continue with these interests by becoming a professor of Linguistic Anthropology.

Christopher Drake Barnewolt

Christopher is an International Relations major, with a strong interest in history.  Born in California and raised in Massachusetts, he came to William and Mary seeking some famous Southern hospitality, and likes what he sees.  Christopher began studying Uechi-Ryu Karate, an Okinawan martial art, when he was six years old and holds the rank of a First-Degree Black Belt, or shodan.

Uechi-Ryu

Uechi-Ryu

Growing up, Christopher initially resisted the Pokemon craze that swept through his peers like wildfire through tall grass, but was ultimately sucked in through peer pressure.  Later in high school Christopher and his friends took part in a memorable viewing of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, an aesthetically breathtaking film he remembers one of his friends appropriately describing as “stoner-ific.”  Simultaneously intrigued by and wary of modern Japanese pop-culture, Christopher kept his distance from most of its manifestations until being blessed with a quirky college girlfriend with a love for anime.  Through her, Christopher was reintroduced to the works of Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, and Satoshi Kon.

These new interests were eventually integrated into Christopher’s love of history.  While taking a class on Modern Japanese History, Christopher became more aware of the unique cultural position of Japan, it’s long and varied history, and the ongoing identity crisis Japan has been experiencing since Commodore Perry forced her to accommodate the Western powers.  Christopher is particularly interested in the transformation of Japanese society since Japan’s defeat in the Second World War, and how activists on both the left and right have attempted to re-shape Japan’s modern identity in their own image.  He is especially interested in the sociopolitical messages of the great anime master Hayao Miyazaki and the semiotics present in his work, and sees him as emblematic of post-war Japanese pacifism, which may be on the decline.

Localization vs Censorship: Fansubbing and the Search for a “Real Japan”

Adapting multimedia works from one culture to another is by no means a simple task. Beyond the obvious considerations of how best to deal with linguistic differences, the translator must engage with disparities in cultural norms. This can be anything from how a story constructs meaning and is represented visually, to the moral sensibilities of the viewing audience.  This process has been termed localization, and is defined by the Localization Institute as:

The process of creating or adapting a product to a specific locale, i.e., to the language, cultural context, conventions and market requirements of a specific target market. With a properly localized product a user can interact with this product using his/her own language and cultural conventions. It also means that all user-visible text strings and all user documentation (printed and electronic) use the language and cultural conventions of the user. Finally, the properly localized product meets all regulatory and other requirements of the user’s country/region. [Read more…]

Environment

Japanese

I am researching Japan’s environmental problems. In Japan, during the period of rapid financial growth following WWII, there was large-scale industrialization. Various factories were built, and so, the economy changed for the better. However, at the same time, the amount of environmental pollution in Japan also rose. At first, factory directors ignored the problem of environmental pollution. But, starting in the 1990s, environmental protection became an important part of Japanese society.

When I went to Japan, I immediately understood that environmental protection was an important aspect of society. For example, in the Japanese airport, places with trash cans all have five receptacles. That is different from airports in America. One trashcan was for paper, there was another for bottles, and yet another for glass. In the tiny kitchens of Japanese people, there are also 5 different trash receptacles. I went to Japan and did a home-stay, so now, I understand the importance of environmental protection to Japanese people. Therefore, I am researching Japan’s environmental problems.

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Timeline:

  • 1878-1912: Environmental pollution first becomes a concern with the modernization and industrialization associated with the Meiji period
  • 1956: Drainage from chemical factory causes methyl mercury poisoning, or Minamata Disease
  • 1967: Basic Law on Environmental Pollution Control
  • 1971: Environment Agency established
  • 1972: Nature Conservation Law passed
  • 1992: Rio Summit- UN conference on environment and development
  • 1993: Basic Environment Law enacted. Goal: assure good environment for future generations
  • 1997: Kyoto Protocol- international environmental protection agreement made by UN
  • 2001: Environment Agency is promoted to Ministry of the Environment- has more governmental influence
  • Present: Current major issues include- global warming, preservation of the ozone layer, water and soil, waste management and recycling, conservation of the natural environment, and participation in international cooperation

Linkography:

Japanese Reaction to Global Warming

They say the earth is changing and becoming warmer right now. If we do nothing, the earth’s temperature will rise by 2 degrees by the year 2100. And, unfortunately, the water level of the sea will also rise by about 50 cm. Because of this, how to prevent warming has become a world-wide problem. Every year since 1992, international meetings have been held to discuss this problem. In 1997, Japan also had one of these types of meetings.

There are various causes for warming, but about 64% can be attributed to carbon dioxide. In a 1994 investigation, Japan was the world’s 4th largest contributor of carbon dioxide. And, from 1992-1994 in Japan, the amount of carbon dioxide rose 7%.

This increase in carbon dioxide was the reason that Japanese people changed their lifestyle. Before, refrigerators and televisions were widely used; people using ovens, dryers, and other types of electrical appliances were numerous. Moreover, at supermarkets and department stores, when people bought vegetables, fruits, meat or other such items, people wrapped them in plastic and put them in plastic bags. In reality, within our lives, it seems as if the carbon dioxide we give off is 45% of the total amount of pollution-causing carbon dioxide. In order to prevent warming, countries, factories, large companies and so on are not helpless. We must change our individual lives one-by-one in order to affect change. You may say it is convenient and comfortable (to continue on as we have been) but we should aim to not overuse cars and electric appliances. If we do not do this, we will not be able to protect the world.

A Brief History of Japanese Environment

  • Article describing history of government involvement in environmental protection.
  • 環境庁が環境保護の法律をした記事です。

Japan Environmental Problems

  • Main environmental problems in Japan’s society
  • 日本社会について、一番大切な環境問題。

World Environmental Problems

  • Summary of basic environmental problems facing the world
  • 地球の環境問題の要約。

Entry contributed by Cara Ferraro

Rock Music

日本語

Rock music in Japan began in the 1960s. With influences from bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Japanese kayoukyoku evolved into rock. Although rock music has been in Japan for long time, during the post-bubble recession, its popularity suddenly skyrocketed. On top of that, during this period music in general made its way into various other media. For instance, music appeared as theme songs for anime and drama. Because of this, much of Japanese entertainment culture is affected by music.

To young people, music is a reflection of one’s own self. Thus, music is a part of many subcultures. For example, anime otaku listen to the theme songs of their favorite anime. Naturally, idol otaku will listen to their idol’s songs, and imitate their idol’s style. From migrant workers to hikikomori, everyone listens to music, thus making music so important to culture as a whole.

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年表:

  • 1960s – Inspired by Western acts such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Group Sounds represented a confluence of genres, evolving Japanese kayoukyoku pop of the 50s into Japan’s first rock genre.
  • 1967 – Public Company Oricon formed. Oricon provides information on the Japanese music industry, and its charts are a definitive measure of popularity.
  • 1970s – Progressive rock movement moves away from original psychadelic rock movement.
  • 1978 – Yellow Magic Orchestra formed, pioneering the electropop genre in Japanese that will later heavily influence modern Japanese pop and dance.
  • 1980s – Japanese alternative and noise rock genres flourish. Japanese rock diverges into a myriad of styles including underground, punk, metal, and hardcore.
  • 1982 – X Japan founded, pioneering visual kei and popularizing power metal.
  • 1990s – Popular music sees rising use in other media such as film, anime, TV, drama, games, etc. Some bands that took root in the 80s achieve wild commercial success.
  • 1997 – The first Fuji Rock Festival held. It is followed by the openings of several other rock festivals.
  • 1999 – Glay holds a concert with 200,000 people in attendance: the largest ever in Japan.

External Links:

About the Fuji Rock Festival (Translation)

In order to traverse the premises one must walk. There are no cleanly maintained and paved roads. In fact, most sites are built on dirt or gravel. Naturally, if rain falls, the premises will be muddy. There are also no locations for everyone to take shelter from rain. Further, the throngs of guidance and information clerks that one may normally expect at concerts and events will not be present, nor will such guidance services. Many of the multiple stages will hold performances simultaneously, making it impossible to see everything. Furthermore, due to this and stage entrance regulation, sometimes one may not be able to see a preferred artist. There will be times when long lines for the portable toilets persist, and sometimes there will be no toilet paper. During congestion, going from the entrance gate to the Orange Court at the deepest part of the premises may take upwards of 30 minutes.

Naturally, live events are living things, so each stage may face its own speed-ups and delays, causing peoples’ schedules to collapse at times. Since over 200 artists are to perform in a period of 3 days, please consider that an anticipated performer may hurriedly cancel. Also, when the executive office comes upon difficulties in management and judgment, management rules may be revised regardless of announcement time and method. Of course we will exhaust the best of our efforts in order to prevent such messes as rule changes and cancellations, however should they occur, there will be no compensations such as ticket refunding.

For this festival we discard the notion of coming with the ideas of “Selfish Convenience” or “Leave it to Others” and instead hold together the ideas of “Do It Yourself”, “Cooperation”, and “Respect for Nature.”

Although this festival is far removed from the city lifestyle, in the middle of nature, away from everyday life, is a place where one can freely enjoy music in one’s own style. A riveting atmosphere and passion is here: one that can only be experienced by coming, and cannot be expressed by mere words.

Despite the minimal rules, during the festival we offer a place where everyone can enjoy the festival in whatever style they please. By combining everyone’s powers, let’s greatly enjoy the festival. Naturally, we of the staff have created and now offer this to you with all our belief in the power of music.

Oricon Style Homepage

  • Japanese entertainment news, including rankings of CD albums and singles

X Japan Homepage

  • Famous speed metal band

2009 Fuji Rock Festival Homepage

  • This year’s Fuji Rock Festival

This Entry Contributed by: William He

Original Ijime Article (please click for full-size)

Women’s Issues

Japanese

I’m studying essayist Junko Sakai’s best selling essay, Howl of the Loser Dogs. I became interested in Sakai’s work five years ago, when I read about her book in an American newspaper. In her book, Sakai uses the term “loser dog” or makeinu to describe women over 30 who are unmarried and don’t have any children. This is seen as unnatural in traditional Japanese society, which brings up women to believe that their greatest happiness lies in being married and raising children. However, nowadays in Japan more and more women are continuing to work into their 30s and delay marriage, or even refrain from getting married at all. Japan’s current “childless society,” a result of its near zero-growth birth rate, is often blamed on the country’s unmarried women. In her essay, Sakai criticizes these traditional ways of thinking about women. She believes that women can be happy even if they do not get married or raise children.

I want to see past the stereotypes commonly associated with Japanese women, and find out how they are truly living their lives. Women in today’s Japan are concerned with such issues as whether it is more important to focus on marriage or a career. As Japanese society gradually changes, so too will the standing of women in society change as well. Therefore, I believe that Sakai’s essay is a pertinent topic of interest for modern Japanese society, and for anyone interested in studying it.

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Timeline

• 1966: Junko Sakai is born in Tokyo
• 1985: Japanese Equal Employment Opportunity Law is passed
• 2000: Sex and the City television show begins satellite broadcast in Japan
• 2003: Sakai’s Makeinu no Toboe (Howl of the Loser Dogs) essay is published in Japan
• 2004: The word “makeinu” becomes one of the top ten winners in the annual Japanese “Prize for New and Popular Words”
• 2005: Rika Kayama’s Kekkon ga Kowai (Marriage is Frightening) book is published in Japan
• 2008: Makeinu no Toboe television drama broadcast in Japan

Linkography

from Junko Sakai’s book Howl of the Loser Dogs (pgs. 193, 197):

There is a certain stock phrase that really stabs at the heart of any unmarried woman over 30 when she hears it. No matter how beautiful, smart, stylish, rich, or successful at her career she is, if a single woman hears someone utter, “You certainly can’t be very happy as a woman,” she is unable to come up with a response to this.

Single women are considered to be unhappy as women because they are not married, myself included. They are blind to the criticism that “they are unhappy as women,” and that’s why they remain single.

As for my current lifestyle, my job is fun and I have a lot of good friends. Since I get to eat the things I like, read the books I like, and go to my favorite places, I am first of all happy as a human being. However, I sort of understand that “happiness as a human being” seems like giving up on one’s “happiness as a woman” to the rest of the world for some reasons.

“Japanese Women Live, and Like It, On Their Own” (Washington Post, 2004)

Newspaper article about Junko Sakai’s Howl of the Loser Dogs and the increase of unmarried women in Japan
酒井順子の「負け犬の遠吠え」と日本に未婚女性の増について新聞の記事

” ‘Loser Dogs’ and ‘Demon Hags’: Single Women in Japan and the Declining Birthrate ” (Oxford UP, 2006)

Review of Howl of the Loser Dogs that contrasts it with 2004’s Women who are Becoming Demon Hags
「負け犬の遠吠え」を批評して「鬼婆化する女達」(2004年)と対比したエッセイ

酒井順子著作のページ

Japanese webpage about Sakai’s various published works, including Howl of the Loser Dogs
酒井のさまざまな著作について日本のページ、「負け犬の遠吠え」を含む

Entry Contributed by Megan Locke

Ijime

Japanese

I am studying the reasons behind the recent rise in bullying in Japanese middle schools. When I was in Japan, I participated in a home stay program and I had a host sister who was in her third year of middle school. About two or three times per week, she would come home with stories of bullying incidents at her school. At first I was not so surprised to hear that bullying occurs in Japanese schools because it is also a problem in America. I was alarmed when the stories continued without any word of consequences or resolutions.

One evening during dinner, I asked my host family why the schools do not do anything to fix this problem. My host sister responded that the school authorities do not have the power to do anything about it. I found this to be an odd answer so I decided to do a bit of research on my own. What I found was shocking. Bullying in Japanese schools is actually a problem that is rooted deep in Japanese society. Starting with these social problems, I would like to analyze why bullying in Japanese middle schools has become such a problem.

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Timeline

  • 30 October 1890: The Imperial Restrict on Education was issued, outlining post-shogunate goals for Japanese education including producing students who thought alike, acted alike, and had the same store of knowledge.
  • Late 1800s- 1945: According to the Imperial Restrict on Education, Japanese students were educated in a strict system focusing on rote memorization, uniformity, and reverence to the Emperor and the Empire of Japan.,
  • 1970s (post-war Japan): Students began to rebel against this education system by acting violently against fellow students, teachers, and school property.
  • 1980s- 1990s: Japanese students who had been educated abroad began to return to Japan and became targets for bullying by both students and teachers alike for being inherently “different,” because of their foreign views and behavioral patterns.
  • 1992-1996: The number of Ijime (bullying)-related arrests fluctuated at an alarming rate.
  • 1998: The National Diet took action calling for reforms that would end “mind-numbing” and competitive examinations that students were required to take.
  • November 2006: In the span of just 4 days, a string of 5 student suicides across Japan was reported; all cases were linked to bullying.
  • Present: Abuse has taken the form of “Cyber Bullying” in an attempt to bring the bullying outside of school jurisdiction and hide it from the authorities. Methods such as text messages and internet bulletin boards are used to ridicule, torment, and harass students and teachers.

Linkography

“Sensei” a Mainichi Shimbun Editorial

Calls of complaint came on both Saturday and Sunday: “Students are smoking outside of my house.” As there were also reports of fireworks, people could not help but practice caution while wondering why their safety was in the hands of mere students. The vice-principal of the local middle school was beginning to become irritated.

Fukuoka Prefecture- middle school. The problems arose when in Spring 2007 a third-year male student transferred. Few sympathized with his situation. This is when the real trouble began.

After arriving to school late one morning, the student roamed the halls, kicking the walls and breaking glass.

“I’ll punch your face in, Ki-san!”

Upon hearing this, a teacher rushed to call the police who later arrested the student. Following the incident, the rest of the third years experienced a very hurried and sour graduation from middle school.

The Imperial Rescript on Education

  • Issued in 1890
  • 1890年に作られた教育ニ関スル勅語です。

Japanese Education Since 1945

  • A history of post-war Japanese education.
  • 戦後の日本の教育の歴史です。

Cyber Bullying

  • One of the recent methods that students are using to escape authorities.
  • 最近、警察を避けるために生徒たちはこのいじめ方法を使っています。

2007 Statistics on the Knowledge of Bullying Occurring Between Japanese Children

  • A site dedicated to making it known to the public just how serious bullying has become in Japan.
  • このサイトはいじめがこん何重い問題になってきたサイトです。

Entry contributed by Sarah Taylor

Japanese Professional Baseball

Japanese

From the establishment of the Japanese Baseball league in 1934, baseball has always been popular.  Even now, sumo is the Japanese national game, but watching baseball is more popular.  Each team has its own zealous fanbase and special cheers, so to Japanese baseball fans, baseball is not just a hobby, but a way of life.  The Japanese watch baseball as a sort of vent of emotions, so they can run away from problems of everyday life.  But, since the bursting of the Bubble Economy, professional baseball has begun to have its share of problems.  From the criticism of Japanese baseball players leaving for America to the dissolution of the Kintetsu Buffaloes and the 2004 players strike, Japanese professional sports have also seen problems appear that stem from the bad economic period.

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Timeline

  • 1872:  Introduction of baseball to Japan
  • 1908:  First baseball game played against Major League Teams
  • 1934:  Greater Japan Tokyo Baseball Club (present: Yomiuri Giants) established
  • 1935:  Osaka Baseball Club (present: Hanshin Tigers) established
  • 1936:  Japanese Baseball League Established
  • 1950:  Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Established
  • 1993:  Hideo Nomo’s departure to America
  • September 18, 2004:  NPB Player’s Strike
  • 2004:  Kintetsu Buffaloes dissolution

Linkography

Kintetsu Buffaloes History

Website about the (storied) history of the Osaka-based Kintetsu Buffaloes

What is the Cause of the First Strike in the History of Japanese Professional Baseball?

Website outlining the cause and possible solutions to the Japanese Professional Baseball Strike

From the site:

Q: What is the cause of the Professional Baseball Players Association strike?

A: The cause of the strike was the reduction of teams from 12 to 11 due to the merger of Orix and Kintestsu.  In essence, the team reduction was similar to company-internal restructuring, cutting the number of players by 8%.

Q: Is the Japanese Professional Baseball Players Association a labor union?

A: Professional baseball players are individual entrepreneurs, as opposed to company employees, but the labor union is recognized by the Tokyo High Court.  The foremost major different between this and ordinary labor unions is that all members are contract employees.

The second is the huge disparity in pay; there is no salary regulation.  Union members range from making millions of yen (tens of thousands of dollars) where even next year’s pay isn’t guaranteed, to those with multiple year contracts making several hundred million yen (millions of dollars) per year.

Japan’s First-Ever Player Strike

Article regarding the 2004 Nippon Professional Baseball Players Strike

The Ichiro Paradox

Article about Japanese baseball and its relationship to America and Major League Baseball

Happy Science

Japanese

Since the Sarin Gas Attacks in March 20th 1995, shinshinshuko (“New New Religions”) have become a taboo among contemporary Japanese society. The mere mentioning of this term can quickly end a conversation. However, the post-war phenomenon of New Religions has, if anything, been exacerbated in the post-bubble climate.

I’m particularly interested in the development of “Happy Science” (kofuku no kagakaku). Founded in 1986 by Ryuho Okawa, Happy Science promises spiritual healing to the alienated and disillusioned middle-class. Happy Science is a fast growing religious organization whose leader has outspokenly declared himself a reincarnation God, Buddha, Jesus Christ  (to name a few). What separates this shinshinshuko from Aum Shinrikyo or Soka Gakkai, is the conservative right wing element to their organization. With the establishment of the “Happiness Realization Party” (kofukujitsukendo) just in this past summer, the organization’s militaristic and nationalistic elements should not be overlooked. Furthermore, as a student of East Asian studies, I believe it’s important to understand the cultural significance of “Happy Science” instead of simply labeling it a taboo.

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Timeline

  • 1860s: Bakumatsu period sees founding of Tenrikyo, Kurozumikyo, Oomoto
  • 1946: Emperor Showa (Hirohito) announces Ningen-sengen (Humanity Declaration), revealing that he is not living god, ending State Shinto.
  • 1956: Ryuho Okawa is born in Tokushima, Japan
  • 1981: Through Grand Enlightenment, “El Cantare” (the syncretic idol of various religious disciplines) reveals to Ryuho Okawa the religious mission of Kofuku no Kagaku.
  • 1984: Shoko Asahara forms Aum Shinrikyo in Japan.
  • 1986: Kofuku no Kagaku forms.
  • 1994: “Nostradamus’ Horrible Revelation” releases in Japanese theaters.
  • 1995: Sarin Gas Attack in Japan by Shoko Asahara’s guidance.
  • 1997: “Hermes’ Love is like the Wind” releases in Japanese theaters.
  • 2000: “The Laws of the Sun” releases in Japanese theaters.
  • 2003: “The Golden Laws” releases in Japanese theaters.
  • 2006: “The Laws of Eternity” releases in Japanese theaters.
  • 2008: Kofuku no Kagaku changes from a romanized name to “Happy Science” in Foreign Countries.
  • 2009: The Happiness Realization Party is founded with Ryuho Okawa as Prime Minister elect. There are 32 main temples (shojas or shoshinkans) and 200 local branches across the Japanese mainland.

Linkography

From “the New Japanese National Constitution” by Ryuho Okawa, Leader and Founder of Happy Science and the Happiness Realization Party.

Preamble,

We the Japanese people—with the hearts of the gods and Buddhas, the aim of peace and prosperity on Earth in both Japan and the world, and with the sanctity as Nature’s, Buddha’s and God’s children as the foundation for humanity—hereby establish the New Japanese National Constitution.

Article III,

Under this administration, a National Referendum by the People will enforce the Presidential system. The President’s electoral process and term limitations shall be fixed by the law.

Article IV,

The President shall serve as the country’s sovereign leader as well as the Chief Executive of the Country’s National Defense. The President shall also have the political power to appoint and dismiss the Cabinet Minister.

Article V,

On behalf of the protection of our citizen’s right to life, security, and property, defense forces such as the Army, Navy, and Air Force shall be organized. Domestic order shall continue to be the responsibility of the police force.

Article VII,

In the event of a contradiction between the Executive and National Diet, the leader of the Supreme Court shall intermediate. If consensus cannot be reached within a fortnight, the President shall take precedence over matters.

Article X,

The opportunity to equality and liberty shall be extended to all citizens with respect to the Law.

“Happy Science” (Ryuho Okawa, IRH Press, 2009)

幸福の科学 公式ホームページ

Happy Science’s Homepage

“The Happiness Realization Party” (The Happiness Realization Party, 05/23/09)

幸福実現党
The Happiness Realization Party

“Happy Science of Japan Establishes a New Political Party, the Happiness Realization Party” (Happy Science USA, 07/23/2009)

幸福の科学を始めた公党「幸福実現党」
Their new party, the Happiness Realization Party.

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Entry contributed by Daniel Wolfe