PTJC Webinar Series 2022-2023

Popular Culture as a Japanese National Brand: Possibilities and Challenges

Message from Mr. Takahiko Watabe, Consul-General of Japan in Calgary

Hello everyone,

It is a great pleasure for me to present this series of webinars “Popular Culture as a Japanese National Brand: Possibilities and Challenges” in collaboration with the Prince Takamado Centre at the University of Alberta. While Japanese pop culture continues to be popular, as evidenced by Otafest in Calgary, Animethon in Edmonton, and Ai-kon in Winnipeg, it could be said that there is not quite as much interest in Japanese culture in general, or a greater understanding of the socio-economic conditions in Japan that influence contemporary Japanese culture.

This year's four speakers will talk about Japanese film, Washoku(cuisine), video games, and anime, but rather than simply explaining these topics on a surface level, the research presented will deepen your understanding of the current state of Japan through these specific areas. I hope that this series will appeal to both those who are interested in Japanese anime and video games, as well as those who wish to deepen their understanding of contemporary Japan.

We look forward to your feedback.

Takahiko Watabe, Consul-General of Japan in Calgary

Webinar 1: Learning the Creation of the Global IP From Japanese ACG History

Presenter: Prof. Akinori Nakamura, Professor, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, Ritsumeikan University and President, Ritsumeikan Center for Game Studies

He received his Ph.D. at the Graduate School of International Development, Nagoya University in 2003 and specializes in International Management and Content Industry. He is a former president of the Digital Game Research Association of Japan (DiGRAJapan). Before joining academia, he was involved in trilateral trade to China and North America for an IT-related company (clients: IBM, Hewlett-Packard, etc.) In academia, he was mainly in charge of international exchange and communication. In 2019 he was the Organizing Chair for an international conference, DiGRA 2019, which brought together 438 people from 31 countries and two regions under Media Mix's theme. He is the author of the following works A History of the Chinese Game Industry (2018) ASCII Research/Why People Are Addicted to Games, Co-Authored with Shuji Watanabe (2014) Softbank Publishing/ The Life and Time of Famicom (2013) Co-Authored with Masayuki Uemura and Koichi Hosoi NTT Publishing/Tencent VS. Facebook (2010) Enterbrain/Global Game Business Full Scale Report(2008) Enterbrain
He is a regular contributor for
Akinori Nakamura's Game Industry Research Note Global Edition

Moderator: Dr. Jérémie Pelletier-Gagnon

The video will be available on demand

Webinar 2: Gender Representations in Japanese Anime: Boy Heroes and Girl Heroes

Presenter: Prof. Akiko Sugawa-Shimada, Professor, Faculty of Urban Innovation, Division of Urban Innovation, Yokohama National University

She is the author of a number of books and articles on anime, manga, and Cultural Studies, including Girls and Magic: How Have Girl Heroes Been Accepted? (2013, Won the 2014 Japan Society of Animation Studies Award, in Japanese), 2.5-dimentional Culture: Stages, Characters, Fandom (2021, in Japanese), chapters in the books Japanese Animation: East Asian Perspectives (2013), Teaching Japanese Popular Culture (2016), Shojo Across Media (2019), Women’s Manga in Asia and Beyond (2019), Contents Tourism and Pop Culture Fandom (2020), and Animating the Spiritual (2020), Idology in Transcultural Perspective (2021), War as Entertainment and Contents Tourism in Japan (2022) and as co-author, Contents Tourism in Japan (2017). Her recent work is Cultural Approaches to Studio Ghibli’s Animation (2022 in Japanese). Her website is:

Moderator: Dr. Amy Kaler

The video will be available on demand

Webinar 3: Washoku as Heritage and National Identity

Presenter: Prof. Daisuke Yasui, Associate professor, College of Gastronomy Management, Ritsumeikan University

He was born in Osaka, Japan, and grew up in Mie Prefecture. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics, Kyoto University, and studied sociology and cultural anthropology at the Graduate School of Letters, Kyoto University. After working as a JSPS Research Fellow PD and Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Meiji Gakuin University, he has been working as an associate professor in the College of Gastronomy Management at Ritsumeikan University since 2020. Dr. Yesui’s research focuses on social issues related to food and agriculture, mainly in accordance with sociology, but also with the help of cultural anthropology and economics. His specific research interests include the food culture of transnational migrants, cultural heritage of food and nationalism, based on cultural theory and social research. He is currently working on multifaceted approaches to food and social issues, including multivariate analysis of quantitative data, such as the relationship between food choices and income and education, and food policy research through the political economy of food and agriculture.

Moderator: Dr. Aya Fujiwara

The video will be available on demand

Webinar 4: J-Horror: Origins and Aesthetics

Presenter: Prof. William Carroll, Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Alberta

His first book, Suzuki Seijun and Postwar Japanese Cinema, was published in July 2022. He is currently working on a book about cinephile culture and film production in Japan from the 1980s through the present, which will incorporate J-horror.

Moderator: Dr. Christopher Lupke

The video will be available on demand