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The 4th Tokyo Seminar on Border Studies occurred at the Surugadai Memorial Hall of Chuo University on July 2, 2016. The event was organized by Fuminori Kawakubo, Assistant Professor at Chuo Gakuin University and Officer of the Association of Borderlands Studies Japan Chapter (ABSJ). Approximately 40 people participated in the seminar.
The seminar kicked off with the opening remarks of Naomi Chi (Graduate School of Public Policy, Hokkaido University and Chair of ABSJ), who gave a brief introduction to the founding of ABSJ and the cooperation occurring among the various border studies communities around the world. It was followed by a keynote speech from Akihiro Iwashita (SRC, Hokkaido University) who talked about the motivation and objectives behind his book Introduction to Border Studies (currently available only in Japanese, entitled Nyumon Kokkyogaku and published by the Chuko Shinsho Publishing Company, 2015). A second presentation was given by Yuko Maeda (Soka University) about the birth of international society, the effects of industrial 'hollowing out' and the possibility for reconstructing political geography in Japan.
During the discussion, questions were asked by students from Chuo University and Chuo Gakuin University who participated in the seminar regarding the challenge of territorial issues in Japan, how to think about migration in terms of border studies and issues of home grown terror. Many thanks to Fujimori Kawakubo, Akihiro Iwashita and Yukio Maeda for their efforts. (Written by: Naomi Chi)
On Friday, June 10, Serghei Golunov and Edward Boyle of KUBS were privileged to welcome Dean Siriporn Wajjwalku and Professors Wanwalee Inpin, Vorawan Wannalak and Pathompong Manohan of the School of Social Innovation from Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The topic was future cooperation between our two institutions, and we look forward to some border-based exchanges later in the year!
As informed before, the Border Studies Module in the Center for Asia-Pacific Future Studies, Kyushu University (KUBS), opened its website in April, where now we can download two types of publications, the full-on "Border Studies Briefings" and the shorter (mainly, essayes) "Border Bites." Now the essey on the trip across the U.S.-Mexico border was uploaded as "Border Bites" No. 2, co-authored by Akihiro Iwashita (UBRJ, Unit Leader) and Mikhail Alexeev (San Diego State University). The essey is titled: "Blended Sovereignty: Experiencing the US‐Mexico Border Bridge." Also, we can download the very first issue of "Border Bites" by Serghei Golunov (CAFS/KUBS), titled "Russian Tourism to Japan: The Impact of the Visa Barrier." Please click the liks and enjoy!
UBRJ member, Naomi Chi, who is also a project member of the "People and Community in the Arctic: Possibility of Sustainable Development" (Theme 7) of the "Arctic Challenges for Sustainability (ArCs)" project organized a joint workshop on "Challenges for a Sustainable Arctic" with the University of Victoria, Canada, on April 11, 2016. The summary of the workshop can be found at the ArCs blog at: http://blog.arcs-pro.jp/en/2016/06/theme7JW.html
The Kyushu University Border Studies module was established in April 2016, and their new website is up and running, at http://cafs.kyushu-u.ac.jp/borders/. It provides details of various projects they are involved with. There are also two publications running at the moment, the full-on Border Briefings and less-intense Border Bites, and are always looking for contributors. You can also find them twitting at @BorderstudiesRM and their very own Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KUBSResearch/ We look forward to your contribution!
The National Institutes for the Humanities "Northeast Asia Area Studies Project" which involves 5 institutions including the National Museum of Ethnology (MINPAKU), Center for Northeast Asian Studies of Tohoku University, Center for Far Eastern Studies of Toyama University, Institute for North East Asian Research (NEAR) of the University of Shimane Prefecture and the Slavic-Eurasian Research Center (SRC) of Hokkaido University. Within this project team, the SRC is responsible for the "international relations for the construction of inter-regional cooperation in Northeast Asia"
On May 28-29, the kick off conference titled "Challenges to the Northeast Asia Regional Studies" for the SRC project unit took place in cooperation with the NEAR at the University of Shimane Prefecture. The two day conference started off with the keynote speech by Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo, Haruki Wada, titled "Prospects and Challenges to Northeast Asia Regional Studies". Professor Wada touched upon the positionality of the Northeast Asian region and touched upon how the region itself was constructed in history. The presentation looked at the obstacles that hinder further cooperation in this region which include the North Korean issue, rise of China and traditional bilateral security regimes. Furthermore, the unhealed scars of the past and other historical issues including the comfort women and reconciliation and territorial issues are issues that remain to be resolved. However, there is a glimmer of hope in which the countries of Northeast Asia could and should cooperate on, such as emergency response to natural and man-made disasters, environmental issues as well as economic institutions.
The keynote speech was followed by two commentaries by the Director of NEAR, Atsushi Inoue and SRC's very own Akihiro Iwashita. Atsushi Inoue touched upon the creation of modern space and identity in the Northeast Asian region and how that could be new perspective in approaching the region, and Akihiro Iwashita's posed a rather provocative comments on the possibility of a breakthrough within the Northeast Asian region through a bilateral security alliance between Japan and Korea.
In the discussion, issues such as strategic partnership, the fluidity within the Northeast Asian region, as well as the network of the Korean diaspora were brought up by members of the project unit. All of the issues raised by the project members pose as keywords and possible directions for the project at hand. The next project conference is scheduled to take place in Kokura in Kita-Kyushu in December. (Written by: Naomi Chi)
Border Regions in Transition 15 Conference
@Hamburg, Germany and Sonderburg, Denmark
The 15th Border Regions in Transition (BRIT), "Cities, States and Borders: From the Local to the Global" took place in cooperation with the University of Southern Denmark and the University of Hamburg and the HafenCity University Hamburg. One of the objectives of the conference was to rethink the complicated relationships that bind cities and state borders, and promoted the unique opportunity to explore the collaborative or competitive strategies of this odd couple under the current circumstances of globalization.
UBRJ members including Akihiro Iwashita, David Wolff and Testuro Chida attended the conference, along with Yasunori Hanamatsu (Kyushu Univ.) and Takuo Iwata (Ritsumeikan Univ.) from Japan.
On the first day of the panel, Akihiro Iwashita presented at a panel titled, "Perspective on Japanese Cities and Border Politics" where he introduced the border tourism project between Wakkanai City, Japan and Sakhalin, Russia. David Wolff also participated in this panel and presented his work on the history of urban planning of Harbin, China as the "Paris of the East", while Yasunori Hanamatsu presented his work on the border tourism project between Tsushima, Japan and Pusan, South Korea.
On the second day, Testuro Chida presented his work on the disaster of the Aral Sea and how the various actors that represent the geographical scale of the Aral Sea are hindering the resolution of this serious environmental issue.
The conference invited Tony Payan (Rice Univ.), Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly (Univ. of Victoria) and Beatrice Heissenberger (Univ. of Vienna) as keynote speakers of the conference.
On the third day as tradition has it, the participants crossed the physical border between Germany and Denmark and moved the venue to the Univ. of Southern Denmark, where participants enjoyed an excursion to the local communities at the border.
It was announced that BRIT 16 (2018) will be held in Nigeria at University of Ibadan (150km from Lagos) and participants will be crossing the Nigerian- Benin border, the first ever BRIT conference to take place in Africa.
As informed on our website before, Prof. Akihiro Iwashita (UBRJ Leader) joined the Brookings Institute Seminar "The emerging China-Russia axis: The return of geopolitics?" on March 26, 2016, the transcript of which is now uploaded at the website of the Institute. Please download it from here.
Geoffrey C. Gunn's Review of
Akihiro Iwashita's Japan's Border Issues: Pitfalls and Prospects
Geoffrey C. Gunn's review of UBRJ member, Akihiro Iwashita's new book titled Japan's Border Issues: Pitfalls and Prospects (Routledge, 2015) has been published in the Journal of Contemporary Asia (2016). You can find the full text at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00472336.2016.1148189#.Vxm9Oo9OJ9A
Founding of the ABS Japan Chapter!
The Japan Chapter for Border Studies, which was established in Kyushu University in November 2015, was officially recognized by the Board of the Association of Borderlands Studies during the ABS annual conference which took place in Reno, Nevada on April 13-16, 2016.
The ABS Japan Chapter will consist of ABS members residing in Japan which will be a forum for border studies in Japan by supporting conferences, workshops and publications. The Chair and Executive Secretary of the Chapter is Naomi Chi (UBRJ member, Hokkaido University), and its officers are Fuminori Kawakubo (Chuo Gakuin University), Yasunori Hanamatsu and Edward Boyle (both Kyushu University). The secretariat of the ABS Japan Chapter will be located at the Center for Asia Pacific Future Studies (CAFS) at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan.
The ABS Japan Chapter is planning three events for this year, which include the Border Studies Summer School jointly held by the Graduate School of Public Policy and the Slavic Eurasian Research Center at Hokkaido University from July 25-29, 2016, border studies conference in the beginning of November which will take place in Tokyo, and the Border Studies Spring School which will be held by CAFS at Kyushu University in February 2017.