Organizer: Van C. Gessel, Brigham Young University
Chair: James L. Huffman, Wittenburg University
Information Technology and Political Economy: Japan's Response to America's
Stephen J. Anderson, GLOCOM, International University of Japan
America's Internet-related technologies are challenging countries such as Japan. Information technology related to communications and computers will force changes in advanced industrial societies due to the mixing of the businesses of telephones, broadcasting, computers, print media, and software. As the world's second largest economy and a challenger for global technological leadership, Japan and its responses call for serious study.
In the political economy, the new information technologies will force policy changes and affect economic competitiveness. As a question for research, how will information technologies, such as the Internet that arose to connect networks in the United States, cause changes in Japanese public policies and its political economy? For public policy, what will be needed for reviving over-regulated sectors and encouraging innovations? And in the economic realm, what changes will result in industrial organization and overall competitiveness?
The proposed paper will consider the impacts of information technologies in Japan across a series of selected industries. It begins with the new technologies that are emerging on the Internet, and starts with the common ties of digital standards in electronics that are connecting formerly independent industries. The approach draws on the study of political economy, considers the impacts among related industrial sectors, and accounts for Japanese experience with a specific set of digital technologies. The "technologies of freedom" first analyzed by Ithiel de Sola Pool in the United States are already having cross-national impacts, and research is needed to explain the affects on key countries such as Japan.
Building a Healthy Population Through Education in Postwar Japan
Gail Honda, University of Chicago
In the aftermath of the Pacific War, Japan was devastated, its leading industrial cities were leveled, and its people suffered from malnutrition and rampant disease. Public health and welfare programs were minimal during the first half of the twentieth century so that by 1945 nutritional intake reached dangerously low levels, and epidemics of diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, and other communicable diseases threatened the population.
Fifty years later, Japan is a model of health for all countries. Average life expectancy is 79.5 years, the highest in the world. The average height of Japanese youths is rapidly approaching that of Western countries. Japan is wealthy, and its citizens are benefiting by living longer, healthier lives.
How was this rapid improvement in health achieved in such a short period of time? This paper focuses on one important institution for improving the nation's health: the national school system. Whereas the military in prewar years was the primary body through which the Japanese government measured the health of the Japanese people, school children in the postwar years became the important vehicle by which new standards of health and nutrition and the means to achieve them were disseminated. In classrooms and through school lunch programs, school children were taught what to eat and how to eat, and through them, parents were also educated. Children's bodies were measured and provided sensitive gauges of the country's health. In this way, education contributed to Japan's rapid rise in health and laid the foundation for a robust labor force.
A Study of Taiyo: Through Observations of the USA and Kanda Naibu's Work
Michiko Oda, Tohoku Gakuin University
The comprehensive journal Taiyo is regarded as important for us to observe the trends in ideas and culture during the Meiji period. It was first published in January 1895 with its last issue in February 1928. It was published for approximately 33 years during which time there were 445 volumes of regular issues, and 86 volumes of special issues, a total of 531 volumes.
Hakubunkan, the publisher, started to publish Taiyo right after Japan's victory in the Sino-Japanese War. They aimed at publishing a comprehensive journal like the Review of Review, with lots of information and variety, and yet inexpensive, for the general public. And they drew huge subscriptions according to their advertisements, although the exact figures are unknown.
Kanda Naibu contributed English articles especially to the earlier issues of Taiyo. In 1871, at the age of fourteen, he began his eight-year education in the USA, and thus became one of the "English experts" of Meiji Japan. He wrote the English sections and the news-from-abroad sections of the earlier issues. This was to meet the publisher's hope for their Japanese readers in and out of the country to learn about themselves and acquire advanced knowledge from abroad.
The present paper has two goals. One is to show the observations of the USA as they appear in Taiyo articles in the Meiji period. The other is an attempt to show the functions Kanda Naibu played in Taiyo and in English education during the Meiji period of Japan.
The Soma Incident: Medicine, Madness, and the State in Meiji Japan
Susan Burns, University of Texas, Austin
From 1883 to 1895 Japanese newspapers were filled with reports of the "Soma Incident." At the center of this controversy was Soma Tomotane, the last daimyo of Nakamura-han, who at the age of twenty-five was diagnosed as insane by the most prominent physicians of Meiji Japan and confined by his family, first in their Tokyo mansion, later in the new public and private asylums of Japan's capital. The plight of Soma Tomotane became public when, in 1887, a former retainer named Nishigori Takekiyo went to court charging that Soma was being unlawfully confined. For the next eight years, Nishigori attempted to prove that the charges of madness were a ruse concocted by members of the Soma family who, with the aid of the medical establishment, the police, and the courts, were trying to gain control of the family fortune. Nishigori lost his legal battle and was convicted of libel, but he won in the battle for public opinion. His account of the Soma saga went through seventeen printings in 1892 and it was followed by more than twenty other books, all of which portrayed Tomotane as a tragic hero and Nishigori as a loyal vassal. In this paper, I will explore the popular discourse on the Soma Incident as a set of reactions to the new understanding of "madness" authorized by the formation of the psychiatric discipline, the institution of the asylum, and the regime of public health.
Ritual Politics or State Ritual? Blurring the Japanese Constitution at Yasukuni
Shrine for the Military Dead
John K. Nelson, University of Texas, Austin
July 30, 1996 marked the first official visit of a Japanese Prime Minister to Yasukuni Shrine (repository of the spirits of Japan's war dead) since August 1985. Eleven years earlier, countries in both northeast and southeast Asia erupted in protest when then PM Nakasone and his cabinet formally worshipped at the shrine. In 1996, however, only China and Korea raised formal but oddly polite objections. What explains this change in international reactions and, more specifically, what does it mean for Japan to now have a Prime Minister who once again openly challenges specific constitutional restrictions on state visits to Yasukuni Shrine? This presentation, based on first-hand fieldwork at the shrine, first documents the Shinto commemoration rituals for the military dead held at Yasukuni each August. These rituals in 1995 provided a convenient vehicle for the transition of Hashimoto Ryutaro from Cabinet Minister and Head of the Association of Bereaved Families to Prime Minister. Through an astute sense of framing and performative occasion gained by the "habitus" of Hashimoto's tenure in public life, the Prime Minister's 1996 visit highlights a tightly-ordered yet constantly shifting array of symbols, gestures, religious practices, and audience-sensitive posturings that blur the constitutional separation of state and religion. Theories of religious ritual and political theater must be combined with a deep reading of history if we are to grasp the subtle yet far-reaching domestic and international implications of the Prime Minister's visit. The talk will be accompanied by video.