Toward a Global Social Science グローバル社会科学への道

Shujiro YAZAWA

The 13th East Asian Sociologist’s Network Conference

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We are going to hold the 13th East Asian Sociologist’s Network Conference, 14-15, November at YOKOHAMA National University ((Social Science Research Building Ⅲ Lecture Hall 1 Faculty of Business Administration ). The program of the conference js as follows.

Program

<14th of November, 2015>

<9:45-10:00>
Opening Ceremony (Room 105)

  Shujiro Yazawa (Seijo University)
  Shin Kwang Yeong (Chung-Ang University)
  Chen Guangjn (Institute of CASS)

<10:00-12:00>

The First Session: Risk and Surveillance (Room 104)

1. Dialectics of Risk and Surveillance, and Prospect of Democracy
Muncho Kim (Korea University)
2. Beyond Fukushima: Japan and East Asia after the Fukushima Disaster
Koichi Hasegawa (Tohoku University)
3. Chinese Western Problem under the Background of China’s Easternism: A Perspective Based on Attachment Theory
Wenjiang Chen (Lanzhou University)
4. Rising of Authoritarian Capitalism and Threat of Democracy in East Asia
Lim Wootaek (Keimyung University)

Discussant: Wang Tianfu (Tsinghua University)
Chair: Seung Kuk Kim (Pusan National University)

The Second Session: Migration (Room 105)

1. Controlling the Refugee Flows: A Case Study of Japanese Refugee Policy since 2000
Yasuhiro Hitomi (Nagoya Gakuin University)
2. Kick down the Ladder? Socioeconomic Status and Attitudes towards Equality for Migrant Workers in Urban China.
Yaping Zhou (Lanzhou University)
3. Local Management of Migration from the East Asian Perspective
Hideki Tarumoto (Hokkaido University)

Discussant: Chika Shinohara (Saint Andrew’s University)
Chair: Kazuhisa Nishihara (Seijo University)
<12:00-13:30>
Lunch

<13:30-15:30>

The Third Session: Urban Sociology (Room 104)

1. The Glocalizing Dynamics of the Korean Wave
Jang Wonho (Seoul City University)
2. Urban Planners and Architects in Inner City Restoration: The Case of Shanghai and Beijing
Wang Tianfu (Tsinghua University)
3. China’s Urbanization Practice Mechanism and Theory Path
Bin Li (Central South University)
4. Yasuma Takata’s Theory on Declining Birthrates: Standing on the Shoulder of a Japanese Giant of Sociology.
Manabu Akagawa (University of Tokyo)

Discussant: Meng Chen (Shanghai University)
Chair: Wenjiang Chen (Lanzhou University)

The Fourth Session: Development and Stratification (Room 105)

1. Coordinating the Urban-Rural Development in China: Construction Land Quota, Upstairs Villagers and Outside Capitals
Zhou Feizhou (Peking University)
2. Growing Economic Power of Chaebols in Relationship with the Government
Kuk Min-ho (Chonnam National University)
3. Social Stratification and Inequality of Consumption in Chinese Society
Chen Guagjin (Institute of CASS)
4. Double Jeopardy
Kwang Yeong Shin (Chung-Ang University) and Ju Kong (Chung-Ang University)

Discussant: Hideki Tarumoto (Hokkaido University)
Chair: Shin-pyo Kang (Inje University)

<15:30-15:45>
Recess

<15:45-17:45>
The Fifth Session: Culture (Room 105)

1. East Asian Individualism: From the Social to the Individuals.
Seung Kuk Kim (Pusan National University), Sung Chul Lee (Changwon National University) and Dong-il Lee (Changwon National University)
2. Bridging and Criticizing Western Sociologies: In the case of Social Movement Studies
Eiji Hamanishi (Notre Dame Seishin University)
3. The Influence of Subjective Social Status of Self-rated health and Its Differences: Evidence of China
Zequan Pan (Central South University)
4. “Dae-dae” Cultural Grammar in the East Asian Societies
Kang Shin-Pyo (Inje University)

Discussant: Manabu Akagawa (University of Tokyo)
Chair: Xie Lizhong (Pekin University)

<18:30-20:00>

Welcome Party
Welcome speech: Dean of Faculty of Management, Yokohama National University

<15th of November>

<10:00-12:00>

The Sixth Session: Research and Innovation (Room 104)

1. Examining a Methodological Problem of Social Surveys in Multilingual Societies: Response Patterns and the Language Gap between Respondents and Interviewers
Taisuke Fujita (Nagasaki University)
2. Heterogeneous Returns to College in the Korean Context: Assessing Mechanisms of Effect Heterogeneity of College Completion on Economic Outcome
Doo Hwan Kim (Duksung Women’s University) and Choi Yool (Hanyang University)
3. The Transformation of Job Structure in Japan during the 1990s: Testing the Polarization Thesis
Hirohisa Takenoshita (Sophia University)

Discussant: Masayuki Kanai (Senshu University)
Chair: Byong-je Jon (Yonsei University)

The Seventh Session: Labor and Mobility (Room 105)

1. Japanese Equal Employment Opportunity Law and Its Effect: From the perspective of bureaucratic decision making process, gender wage gap, and women’s employment
Han Hee Yoo (Seoul National University)
2. Sociology of Labor Market in Japan: An Institutionalist Approach
Shinichi Ogawa (Yokohama National University)
3. Possibility of Volunteer Associations in Medical System
Ken Takenaka (Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin University)
4. Does Social Mobility affect the Perception of Fairness?
Meng Chen (Shanghai University)

Discussant: Nobuko Hosogaya (Sophia University)
Chair: Chen Guangin (Institute of CASS)

<12:00-13:30>
Lunch

<13:30-15:30>

The Eighth Session: Theory (Room 104)

1. Games (Agone), Selection, and Culture: Salvaging the Theoretical Legacies of Max Weber and Peter Winch
Yoshiro Yano (Chuo University)

2. Max Weber on Buddhism, Sociological Analysis of Buddhism and Buddhist Interpretation of Sociology
Jon Byon-je (Yonsei University),

3. Toward a General Theory of Sociology in the 21st Century:
How Are the Contributions from the East Asia Possible?
Saburo Akahori (Tokyo Women’s Christian University)

4. Post-sociology (or “Pluralistic Discourse Analysis”): A New Path of Social Research
Xie Lizhong (Peking University)

Discussant: Kwang Yeong Shin(Chung-Ang University)
Chair: Muncho Kim (Korea University)

The Ninth Session: Comparative Investigation (Room 105)

1. What Means of Protests are allowed?: International Comparison of Protest Norms among Japan, South Korea, and Germany
Hidehiro Yamamoto (Yamagata University),
2. A Comparison on Government Performance across OECD Countries: Why We Stagnate
Dukjin Chang (Seoul National University)
3. Chinese Social Trait and Social Quality: from the view of International Comparison
Zhang Haidong(Shanghai University)

Discussant: Zhou Feizhou (Peking University)
Chair: Koichi Hasegawa (Tohoku University)

<15:30-15:45>
Recess

<15:45-17:45>

The Tenth Session: Internationalization of Sociology (Room 105)

1. Introduction
Shujiro Yazawa (Seijo University) 
2. The Challenge for East Asian Sociology
Chen Lixing (Kwansei Gakuin University)
3. International Mobility and the Position of East Asia in the World Sociology
Hidehiro Yamamoto (Yamagata University)
4. Perception of Internationalization of Sociology by East Asian Sociologists
Masayuki Kanai (Senshu University)
5. Globalization and Career Paths of International Sociologists: Cohort Analyses of the 2014 ISA World Congress Participants
Chika Shinohara (Saint Andrew’s University), Nobuko Hosogaya (Sophia University), Saeko Kikuzawa (Hosei University),

Discussant: Dukjin Chang (Seoul National University)
Chair: Zhang Haidong (Shanghai University)

<17:45-18:30>

Concluding Discussion and Celebration
(Room 105)

Written by s.yazawa

11月 3rd, 2015 at 10:17 pm

Quest for East Asian Sociologies

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East Asian Sociologist Network Conference (EASNC) Book, Quest for East Asian Sociologies, published by Seoul National University Press, 2014 was selected as the excellent book of 2014 by the Korean Academy of Sciences, the most honourable academic institution in Korea. Four other books written by Korean sociologist are together recommended. They say it is very rare that an edited book in English like ours has the chance.

Written by s.yazawa

8月 6th, 2015 at 7:56 pm

Posted in Books and Papers

The Crisis of Democracy in Japan

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I wrote “The Crisis of Democracy in Japan” article which was published in Open Democracy, July 16th of 2015.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/shujiro-yazawa/crisis-of-democracy-in-japan

The following is the original version of the article. The article in Open Democracy is a shorter version of original version. I cut about 500 words from original version due to space constraint. I would like to express my appreciation to Open Democracy and  Geoffrey Pleyer for his comment.

The Crisis of Democracy in Japan

                 Shujiro Yazawa

 

Japan at a critical crossroad

What do you know about Japan? Answers to this question vary, depending on where people live, their social characteristics, and so on—but I can guess how familiar someone is with Japan by paying attention to the Japanese loanwords he or she uses. I am sure you know the following words: sukiyaki, tofu, tempura, sushi (foods), karaoke, bonsai, manga, otaku (cultural terms), kaizen, kanban, karoshi (business terms), and various other words such as tsunami, kamikaze, and hikikomori. Japan’s delicious foods, interesting culture, management, hard work, and sometimes even its disasters and discord are the main components of its image in other countries.

 

Unfortunately democracy and social movements in Japan have rarely been under close international scrutiny. Now we have the time and an indispensable chance to do so, because today, Japan is on the brink of changing from a pacifist state to one prepared to go to war if necessary.

 

Abe government, the Liberal Democratic Party, and their allies have maintained close and intimate relationships with nationalist right-wing movements and organizations such as the Japan Conference (Nihonkaigi) and the Shinto Association of Spiritual Leadership (Shinto Seiji Renmei). They feel that in order to revitalise Japan, it must be perceived as a beautiful country not only in the natural and geographical senses, but also in the social, cultural, and historical senses. Japan’s ‘true, original characteristics’ such as the emperor system are beautiful. They do not wish to discuss painful issues connected to World War Two such as Comfort Women or the Shanghai massacre, and they do not want to accept Japan’s defeat in the Pacific War, preferring to think of Japan as having liberated Asia from Western imperialism. They feel that education should not teach imported notions of Western human rights, but should instead stress the Japanese people’s duties to the state and to the emperor.

 

 

Five important contexts for understanding social movements in Japan today

  1. Shifts in national hegemony and power
  2. Shinzo Abe and the Liberal Democratic Party face a fundamental paradox. They would like to follow and assist US military power in the world, but they hate Japan’s present Constitution and democratic education system, which were heavily influenced by the US. The government is now hurrying to relocate the American military base in Futenma to Henoko, in Nago City, against the will of the majority of the Okinawan people. The will of the people of Okinawa is crystal clear: Okinawan people ould like to relocate the Futenma base to somewhere else outside of Okinawa prefecture, hopefully outside Japan. All of the members elected in the last election for the House of Representatives are opposed to relocation to Henoko, and an opponent of relocation was re-elected as the mayor of Nago. Takeshi Onaga, also an opponent of relocation, was elected as governor of Okinawa. But the Abe government has been accelerating preparations for building a new base in Henoko. Many Okinawans are protesting these relocation preparation activities by staging sit-ins at the construction site.
  3. The USA’s power and hegemony are in decline while China’s are rising; therefore the USA needs all kinds of help from its allies. Especially in East Asia, it is essential for the USA to strengthen its ties with and get assistance from Japan, not only politically and militarily but also economically and ideologically.
  4. The immediate goal of the current government is to create a ‘normal country’

The current administration has been trying to make Japan a ‘normal country’ by that they mean one capable of engaging in war. It has enacted the State Secrets Law that stiffens penalties for leaking classified information that could jeopardize national security, and made it possible to export arms.

 

The coalition government of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party and the centre-right Clean Party is trying to enact Security-related Bills which will allow Japan’s military to fight abroad for the first time since World War Two. This is a drastic shift in security policy. Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet already adopted a resolution last July, reinterpreting the pacifist Constitution to drop the self-imposed ban on exercising the right of collective self-defence and providing military support to a friendly country under attack.

 

The government and National Diet have changed the interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution—and its meaning and content—without going through the formal procedure of amending it in order to allow Japan’s Self-Defence Forces to actively participate in military self-defence activities. These Security-related Bills, however, allow Japan’s Self-Defence Forces to exercise the right of collective self-defence, thus clearly violating the Constitution[i]. Approximately 200 constitutional law scholars have declared that these bills are unconstitutional, and the media surmise that only 10 constitutional law scholars support the assertion that these bills are constitutional. Nevertheless, the government is trying to persuade Parliament to pass the bills.

 

While the majority of people either oppose these bills or are still asking for more explanation and information in order to judge whether they are unconstitutional, why is the government rushing to have the bills approved? There are at least three reasons. Firstly, the Japanese government has already agreed to the US request that the Self-Defence Forces help US military action elsewhere in the world, based on the US-Japan Security Treaty. The Japanese government thinks that US-Japan military cooperation is essential to deal with increasing international tensions in East Asia and beyond. Secondly, the Japanese government and the Liberal Democratic Party would like to change the pacifist Constitution as soon as possible. If these Safety-related Bills are approved by Parliament, it will violate several Articles of the pacifist Constitution, particularly 9 (the renunciation of war) and 13 (fundamental human rights), and it will make it easier to change the Constitution. Thirdly, the government seems to think that this is its best opportunity to change Japan from a pacifist state to a ‘normal’ war-ready state; if they do not seize this opportunity, it might be impossible to make such a change in the foreseeable future.

 

  1. A strategy to revitalise Japan

Japan’s government, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and the leaders of big corporations consider that implementing neo-liberal economic policies and innovations based on the Silicon Valley model is the way to escape from economic stagnation over two decades and revitalize Japan

. In today’s world, globalization and individuation are opposite sides of the same coin: people are deprived of social necessities and obliged to rely on the state. In the age of globalization, however, many things function without mediation by the state. The relative power of the state is declining, but people have no choice but to rely on it. The state remains a powerful force.

 

Prior to the issue of collective self-defence, there were heated debates over and movements protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) promoted by the US government. It is estimated that the TPP would generate USD$5 billion in economic benefits in the US in 2015, and $14 billion by 2025, but the treaty was negotiated in secret. Organised labour, farmers, professionals, activists, environmentalists, intellectuals, and elected officials have all criticised and protested the treaty. As Noam Chomsky warned, the TPP is ‘designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximise profit and domination’ of giant corporations.”[ii] In Japan, many people fear that giant American corporations will be able to exploit the Japanese new markets[iii]. Japanese agriculture in particular would be damaged by giant US agribusinesses. However, the Liberal Democratic Party is trying to reform the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations into a new organization designed to increase agricultural productivity and enhance the international competitiveness of Japan’s agriculture.

 

Some people might think that Abe’s policy to revitalise Japan is new and will solve some of Japan’s problems. For example, Hillary Clinton sent a letter to Mr. Abe to congratulate him on his policy of encouraging women to take active roles in Japanese society. In reality, however, he does not include a particular gender perspective in his policy to revitalise Japan—on the contrary, his policy uses women arbitrarily rather than aiming for a gender-equal society.

 

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report (2014) ranked Japan 104 out of 142 countries with regard to gender equality, and Japan has long had a strong tradition of discrimination against women. Since the 1980s, persistent women’s liberation movements have emerged in the areas of employment, family, local community, and politics. Japan’s low ranking is mainly due to the low performances of political empowerment and economic participation and opportunity. In July 2014, the Abe government announced its ‘Japan revitalization strategy’, which included the establishment of a legal framework designed to achieve the goal of women holding 30 percent of leadership positions by 2020. Based on this grand design, the Abe administration launched a series of promotion policies for women. However, these policies focus on improving the national economy and taking measures to reverse the decline of birth rate; in practice, it does not concern itself with the issue of gender inequality. Therefore, it is doubtful that law and policy alone will change the situations of the majority of working women[iv]. They may help elite women, but it is uncertain how they could improve the problems of irregular employment. Irregular workers (3 years contract maximum) and temporary workers (less than year contract) are increasing rapidly since 1990’s. Many female workers belong to irregular and temporary categories[v]. The Revised Dispatch Worker Bill now at House of Councillor will probably worsen the working conditions of them.

 

  1. Recovery from disasterThere are of course many strong and persistent anti-nuclear movements, but the problem is that the local communities among which nuclear power plants are located receive so much money from the power companies that they now find it difficult to live without this money. It is very hard for anti-nuclear environmental movements to break this local power structure. The Nuclear Power Safety Commission, the national government, and relevant local and prefectural governments can all approve a company’s request to reopen a nuclear power plant.
  2. Four years have passed since a severe earthquake and tsunami struck the northern coast of Honshu on March, 11, 2011. Due to the combination of the natural disaster and the manmade Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, Japan has experienced unprecedented suffering. Despite Abe’s promise to do his best to achieve a quick and full recovery from the disaster, 2,576 people are still missing and more than 2,100,000 remain displaced. After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, all nuclear power plants stopped operation and several old nuclear power plants were decommissioned, but the nuclear accident itself was not brought under control. Even so, the Liberal Democratic Party’s attitude to nuclear power plant has shifted from opposition to support, because nuclear energy is inexpensive and no alternative to it has been found to support Japan’s revival. The Abe government has even been working to export Japan’s nuclear power plant abroad. Several proposals for reopening the nuclear power plants have already been presented. The Kushu Electric Company’s proposal to revive the Sendai nuclear power plant was processed favourably without regard to the lessons of the disaster, and the plant will restart operation this fall.
  3. The political process in Japan
  4. The origin of the present political situation was the failure of the Democratic Party’s government in 2009-2011. Since the 1990s people had become increasingly unsatisfied with the traditional politics of the Liberal Democratic Party and its governments, which relied on traditional state bureaucracy ruled by special interests and intra-party factions. The Japanese people therefore chose the Democratic Party as the ruling party in the 2009 general election. It was the first time the Liberal Democratic Party had been out of power since the end of World War Two, but people soon realised that the Democratic Party could not provide new political processes to solve so many problems. The party was composed of politicians whose political and ideological backgrounds were so diverse, ranging from conservatives to social democrats, that it was difficult to get a consensus even on basic policies. The Democratic Party did not have a specific policy, nor the means to achieve its campaign promises. They did not deal with international questions, particularly the conflicts with China and the East Japan Great Earthquake and Tsunami disaster. The Liberal Democratic Party therefore won a landslide victory in the next election in 2011. The pendulum had swung too far in the opposite direction. As a result, the House of Representatives is now dominated by big ruling party members; opposition parties’ members make up about one-third of the House of Representative. This political structure has allowed the ruling party and its allies to initiate an amendment to the Constitution.Many newly elected members of the Lower House in the Liberal Democratic Party are very conservative, even right-wing, because they need support from active and conservative organizations such as the Japan Conference. Therefore the number of liberal members of parliament has decreased while that of conservative members has dramatically increased. Ideologically the Liberal Democratic Party has been moving to the right, even the ultra-right.

Shinzo Abe became prime minister on the strength of his promise to revitalise Japan through strong leadership and taking swift political decisions. His policies have created a false economic boom that is far from the real economic situation, creating big profits for global corporations based on a weaker yen and the monetary policy of the Central Bank of Japan. ‘Abenomics’ relies on the trickle-down theory that financial benefits given to big business will in turn pass down to smaller businesses and consumers (Merriam-Webster). Even the World Bank is reluctant to endorse[vi] But Abe’s economic policy is sticking to this theory, while cutting social, welfare, cultural, and educational spending.

 

 

The present situation of social movements in Japan

A great many groups and organizations have been formed since the Security-related Bills were presented to the House of Representatives May, 15. Almost every day demonstrations or meetings to protest the Security-related Bills happen somewhere in Japan. The Committee of Anti-war 1000  has been organizing meetings and demonstrations. It has gained the signatures of more than 1,650,000 to oppose security legislation. The Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-Related Bills set up a website and collected over 10,000 signatures within short time. Various women’s liberation groups and organizations have held meetings and demonstrated against the bills. Students’ Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs) organises meetings and demonstrations every Friday and Saturday just outside the Parliament building, attracting an increasing number of participants every week. This is a very important move. The student movement had been a leading part of the democracy movement until the late 1960s, but since then it has become unpopular in Japan. Many people appreciate the current movement as open, fresh, lacking an ideological bent, and featuring a sophisticated youth culture. The movement’s purpose is to show that ‘this is what democracy looks like’. Namely democracy means for them that political participation and creating their own future by inputting student’s voices into  political process. It always calls for the participation of the students’ families, friends, and lovers.

 

While the women’s liberation movement organises demonstrations and meetings for women’s issues, they are demonstrating and meeting to protest against the security-related bills at the same time, as does movement against the US military base in Okinawa. At the end of World War Two, Okinawa became the only battlefield in Japan. Many Okinawan people died, and the social infrastructure was completely destroyed. After World War Two, Okinawa was placed under US military rule, whose interests were prioritised over the freedom of the Okinawan people. The movement to return Okinawa to Japanese rule intensified, and in 1972 this goal was achieved. However, US military bases remained on the island, and the Japanese government continues to prioritise the US military over the Okinawan people. In the case of relocating the Futenma base, the Japanese government continues to give priority to US military policy over the will of the Okinawan people, and the number of people calling for Okinawa’s independence from Japan is growing. Therefore, it is essential to understand the link between the movements in Okinawa and the movements against the Safety-related Bills.

 

Some readers are undoubtedly curious about the role of the labour movement in Japan. Unfortunately, the power of the unions and the labour movement is declining steadily. The Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo, an organizational supporter of the Democratic Party) and the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren, an organizational supporter of the Communist Party) can still mobilise their members, but they have lost the power to act as umbrella organizations coordinating the movements in response to important political issues. The members of oppositional parties make up about one third of all members, and oppositional parties are now all small and divided. Therefore one of the most important problems to solve now is how to foster a confluence of protest movement and on which base. The victory of the anti-Security-related Bills movement seems to depend on a sharp decline in support for the Abe administration, which now stands around 38 percent.

 

The Security-related Bills are unconstitutional, and the process of presenting and legislating them has proved undemocratic and a violation of the Constitution. Various democratic movements are criticizing Abe government’s move. Cooperation among movement’s exercises is going to be formed. Public opinion is rapidly turning againt Security related Bills of Abe government. If the bills are passed by the Parliament, Japan will be to take a big step toward a totalitarian state.

 

. Despite this, nearly 40 percent of the Japanese people still support the Abe government, although about 60 percent oppose the Security-related Bills. The threats from foreign countries and the artificial economic boom are two factors explaining the relatively high support for S. Abe. It is also said that the Japanese people are indifferent to politics—people do not like to talk about politics or religion at social gatherings. But more than that, the government and the ruling party are using advertisements to create a good image of the system. Furthermore, they put pressure on the media (TV, newspapers, magazines, and web sites) not to say or write unfavourable things about the government. It is easier to find news and reports criticizing the Abe government in foreign media outlets, but this is still relatively rare; it is very difficult to find critical investigations of the Abe government in the Japanese media. Local newspaper, tabloid newspaper, weekly journal and social media are main media carrying critical news and commentary against Abe government. Japan’s NHK, similar to the UK’s BBC, has rarely offered critical scrutiny of the government since one of Abe’s friends was appointed its president.

 

Since the Meiji restoration, the Japanese government has been strengthening the country’s national identity through education. From the end of World War Two to the end of the 1970s, the democratization movement was strong. The government’s introduction of the concept of national identity was somewhat counter-balanced by the democratization movement; however, the impact of movement on education began to decline in the 1980s, and; the government’s efforts to strengthen national identity prevailed. Following strong economic growth, the ideology of Japan as a great power, favourable only to the Japanese people has emerged. Numerous cultural phenomena which strengthen and support Japanese nationalisms have been produced in the consumer market, cultural industries, and tourism. All of these trends have stressed Japan’s uniqueness and national identity.

 

Conclusion

Why has nationalism become so strong, to the point that it can change a pacifist state into a war-ready one, despite the endless selfless democratization movements that arose following the end of World War Two? The decisive point is which side permanent democratization or narrow and exclusive nationalism can attract more people. The democratization movements tend to present democracy with a Western, modern, and universal spirit, but I suspect that these movements may fail to reach ordinary people who are not familiar with the world’s universal spirit. Democratization movements in Japan must understand and present democracy based on Japanese history, passions, emotions, and sentiments. Even in myths of building the state, we must take advantage of thoughts and passions which are favourable for democracy. Japan is not only a particular and a unique country; the Japanese are also members of the human race.

 

We Japanese must discard the ‘leave Asia and join Europe’ attitude prevalent since the Meiji restoration, and re-position Japan once again as a part of Asia. We must also thoroughly change our colonial thinking.

 

If we can solve the problem of the fundamental cleavage or contradiction between nationalism and democracy, East and West, Japan will no longer be a mysterious country, and people will be able to understand the relationship between manga, omotenashi, kawaii, and the democratic social movement. Omotenashi, Manga and Japanese culture have been deeply rooted in Japanese people’s life and mind. But Japanese people’s life and mind have to be developed socially and politically by cooperating with other. Subjects and democratic self are constructed from this laborus process. Many people do not understand and notice the relationship between life, mind, society and politics in Japan. To establish close relationship between them has been the most important task of democracy in Japan after World War Two. Now it is clear that, role of social movements has become much more important than before in the age of globalization and individualization.

 

 

 

 

[i] The Economist, “Politics in Japan Right Side Up”

http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21653676-powerful-if-little-reported-group-claims-it-can-restore-pre-war-order-right-side-up

[ii] Zach Carter and Ryan Grim. “Noam Chomsky: Obama Trade Deal A ‘Neoliberal Assault’ To Further Corporate ‘Domination'”. The Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 January 2014.

[iii] Brock R. William., Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Countries: Comparative Trade and Economic Analysis, Congregational Research Service, 2013.

[iv] Women’s Asia 21’s, Voices from Japan, No.29, March 2015.

[v] Genda Yuji, “Japan’s Employment System in Transition” http://www.nippon.com/en/currents/d00151/

[vi] Fisher G, “Trickle down economics is wrong, says IMF” http://qz.com/429487/a-new-imf-study-debunks-trickle-down-economics/

 

 

 

 

Written by s.yazawa

7月 19th, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Posted in Books and Papers

Message to the World from Japan Consortium for Sociological Studies

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Japan Consortium for Sociological Studies has published Message to the World for participants of 18th World congress of Sociology which was held in Yokohama, July, 2014. It contains messages from 29 academic societies comprised of groups of sociological and social welfare studies researchers in Japan.  Printed and DVD version are available. Consortium has also sent printed version to major universities in Japan and abroad. Of course you can see these messages on the following website.

http://www.socconso.com/message/01Introduction.pdf

We would like to get responses as many as we can.

Written by s.yazawa

12月 6th, 2014 at 11:37 am

Book from East Asian Sociologists Network Conference

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East Asian Sociologits Network Conference has just published a book, A Quest for East Asian Sociologies edited by Kim Seung Kuk, Li Peilin and Shujiro Yazawa from Seoul National University Press. It contains 20 chapters and 2013 Sophia declaration: East Asian Sociologist’s Resolution toward an East Asian Community. More than 20 soicologists from Korea, China and Japan contributed their papers to this book. The synopsis of the book said as followws. Combining theoretical and empirical studies, this book explores the emerging theoretical work that explains East Asian identities while also investigating empirical pecurialities of East Asia. The sociological perspective of this book starts from the recognition that the rise of East Asia does not mean either negation of the West or an ethnocentrism of the East. Given a hybridized world society and a global cosmopolitanism, the distinction between the East and the West is becoming much more complicated. East Asian sociology in constrast to as well as in continuation of the Western sociology must, therefore, be a pluralist and multidimensional. This b2014-12-01 14.29.27 ook tries to illuminate the most crucial sociological issues in East Asia such as East Asian view of globalization and civilization, inequalities and multiculturalism, social movements and risks. As the era of East Asia is manifesting itself an irreversible historical trend, so East Asian sociologgies are maturing into a quest for new and better civilizations.

A Fruit of Tokyo Thinkshop

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Tokyo Thinshop book 002 Theories about and Strategies against Hegemonic Social Sciences (edied by Michael Kuhn and Shujiro Yazawa, published by Seijo University, Center for Glocal Studies, 2013, Tokyo) is a fruit of Tokyo Thinkshop. The Thinkshop was held at Seijo university, in May, 2012.

Written by s.yazawa

7月 25th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

The 10th East Asian Sociologists Network Conference and its Resolution

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The 10th East Asian Sociologists Network Conference was held at Sophia University in Tokyo from 22-23, November, 2012. The conference was a great success. It was one of the best organized conference. 6 delegates from China and 16 delegates from Korea attended at the conference. Many young new faces from Japan were also actively participated.
We would like to express our deep gratitude and appreciation to Professor Dai Nomiya of Sophia university, his team and students for their endless efforts to make this conference possible and successful.
As an important fruit of this conference, we adopted resolution or statement on importance of academic exchange and a direction of East Asian region. This statement shows the spirit of East Asian sociologists Network Conference and real success of the 10th conference of East Asian Sociologists.

The following is our resolution.

East Asian Sociologists’ Resolution towards an East Asian Community (draft)

On November 23 sociologists from China, Japan, and Korea met at Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan to hold the 10th Conference of the East Asian Sociologists’ Network. For last 10 years, we have held conferences by rotation at academic institutions in each country. Not limited only to academic exchange, we have fostered our friendship and mutual understanding. Through these mutual visits and exchanges, we have tried to develop a new sociology proper to East Asian culture and tradition, and we take pride in our considerable achievements.
We, sociologists from East Asian countries, are deeply concerned
with the recent territorial disputes between East Asian countries. These disputes have given rise to current mutual distrust and conflicts between countries and people. We are also concerned with the considerable setbacks of human and sociocultural exchanges, and economic activities between the three countries. We understand that the fundamental cause of territorial disputes in this region, as a group of conscientious Japanese citizens have correctly pointed out, originated from Japan’s domination of East Asian countries in the last century, and its insufficient post-colonial settlements. We have a common understanding that the rectification of the wrong history of colonial East Asian past is one of the most important keys in solving the territorial disputes.
Furthermore, in order to fundamentally solve the various East Asian problems, and to put forward a positive future vision, we understand that we have to go beyond the boundaries of nationalism, and pursue an East Asian-wide perspective. In pursuit of a perspective for such a post-national common interest, we have to foster and elaborate a concept of a regional community similar to the European Community.
However, for East Asian countries still in the process of building nation-states, there are a lot of differences between them in terms of social economic and political aspects that cannot be easily bridged. Therefore, the formation of an East Asian Community is not simple and easy, and will be a long process.
Nevertheless, we are not so pessimistic. We celebrated in 2012 the 40th anniversary of China-Japan diplomatic normalization and the 20th anniversary of relations between China and South Korea. During this period, the wall of the Cold War was virtually removed, the market economy began to integrate three markets, and the three countries of East Asia were incorporated into the wave of globalization. Looking back upon the past history of normalized relations, mutual exchanges and convergence have rapidly expanded and deepened. Commodities and capital now freely flow between countries, the worker migration and student exchanges have rapidly increased, tourism between the countries has massively increased, and social cultural exchange has been actively grown. The three countries of East Asia have been not only been major partners of peacemaking in the region, but have also achieved close and inseparable economic relationships. Considering the extensive exchanges and deepening convergence, the recent territorial dispute can be viewed as only a small accident that runs counter to historical development.

On the basis of our common understanding of the current East Asian situation, we, East Asian sociologists announce the following points as our resolution.

(1) We resolve to make efforts to solve regional territorial disputes from an East Asian-wide perspective. We understand that we should not stimulate the emotion of people’s nationalism, and intensify conflicts between people.

(2) We make efforts to promote exchanges of scholars and students between East Asian universities and academic institutions, and demand our institutions to be open to East Asian countries.

(3) We promote to organize individual and collective research for building East Asian community, and promote academic discussions. In this respect, our efforts to publish our academic achievements on East Asian societies are an important cornerstone.

(4) We give special attention to promote communication among the citizens’ in East Asian countries, because such communication will lead to a basis for East Asian societal community.

(5) We try to share our concept of the East Asian community with the general public and academic communities of each country, and propose sociocultural and educational policies for gradual realization of the East Asian community.

(6) We also note, lastly but not least, that the idea of building East Asian community is not restricted to the three countries mentioned above, but is also extensively open to the neighboring countries.

November 23, 2012
Participants
The 10th East Asian Sociological Network

Tokyo Thinkshop of World SSH Net

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Agenda

International Thinkshop

Theories about and Strategies against Hegemonic Social Sciences

May 12/13, 2012

Seijo University Tokyo

An ISSC 2012 World Social Science Forum Lead-Up Event

The Thinkshop is an
event of the project “The Social Sciences and Humanities in the Era of Globalisation” funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Scientific Committee: Shujiro Yazawa, Nestor Castro, Michael Kuhn, Hebe Vessuri,
Committee Assistant: Kazumi Okamoto okamoto@worldsshnet.org
Day 1 (12th of May)

09.00 – 09.30 Welcome talks
Mitsunobu, SHINOHARA, Dean of Faculty of Social Innovation, Seijo University
Tomiyuki, UESUGI, Director at Center for Glocal Studies (CGS), Seijo University,
Shujiro Yazawa, Seijo University
Michael Kuhn (World SSH Net, Chair Gulbenkian Commission)

Section 1: Hegemonic relations in international knowledge encounters?
Chair: Shujiro Yazawa, Seijo University

09.30 – 10.15 Philosophies and ideologies of globalization: postmodernism, postcolonialism and how to go beyond them
Leon Marie Njodo, ENS of Maroua

10.15 – 10.45 Coffee break

10.45 – 11.30 The Emergence of hegemonic social sciences and strategies of non(counter) hegemonic social sciences
Kwan-Yeong Shin, Chung-Ang University

11.30 – 12.15 What is hegemonic science?
Kazumi Okamoto, World SSH Net

12.15 – 14.00 Lunch break

Section 2: Knowledges versus knowledge?
Chair: Nestor Castro

14.00 – 14.45 Individualization and the family: How to deal with global difference in social science theories?
HAN, Sang-Jin, Seoul National University, Beijing University
QIU, Zeqi, Beijing University

14.45 – 15.30 Towards Internationalism: Beyond colonial and nationalist sociologies
Sujata Patel, University of Hyderabad

15.30 – 16.00 Coffee break

16.00 – 16.45 Tackling environmental problems and consumption society:
Strategies from Japanese social sciences
Koichi Hasegawa, Tohoku University

16.45 – 17.30 Universal concept of human rights and China:
An example de-hegemonizing Western political science theorizing?
BAI, Guimei, Beijing University HAN, Sang-Jin, Seoul National University, Beijing University, YING, Zhongguo Ethan, Beijing University

Day 2 (13th of May)

Section 3: Indigenization – a strategy against hegemonic sciences?
Chair: Hebe Vessuri,

09.00 – 9.45 Lessons learned from the indigenization and liberalisation of sociology in Taiwan
Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao, Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

9.45 – 10.30 Three decades of Chinese indigenous psychology: Its contribution to international science
Doris Weidemann, University of Applied Sciences of Zwickau

10.30 – 11.00 Coffee Break

11.00 – 11.45 Hegemonic science: Critique strands, counter-strategies and
their premises
Michael Kuhn, World SSH Net

11.45 – 12.30 Concluding discussion section 1 to 3

12.30 – 14.00 Lunch break

Section 4: How to construct non-hegemonic sciences?
Chair: Michael Kuhn

14.00 – 14.45 Making social knowledge one-step outside modern sciences: Strategies from peripheries
Rajagopal Kumaran, Gandhigram Rural University Gandhigram

14.45 – 15.30 The transcencendental dimension constructing universal social sciences
Shujiro Yazawa, Seijo University

15.30 – 16.00 Coffee break

16.00 – 16.45 Challenging hegemonic social sciences: Strategies from the Phillippines
Nestor Castro, University of the Philippines Diliman; IFSSO

16.45 – 17.30 Revisiting Knowledge, Education, and Development
Hebe Vessuri, World SSH Net

17.30 – 18.15 Concluding discussion

18.15 Farewell and end of Conference

18.30 – 19.30 Business meeting of the World SSH Net
(For network members)

Day 3 (15th May) Meeting of the Editorial Board of the Gulbenkian Commission

Discussion Forum
An online discussion forum will be available after the conference to continue discussions beyond the conference. The World SSH Net (http://worldsshnet.org/forum/) will establish such an online discussion forum.
Web-Forum
The Thinkshop will be accompanied by an online Web-Forum you can access via: (http://worldsshnet.org/forum/) To register please contact: okamoto@worldsshnet.org

Publication: The outcomes of the Thinkshop series will be published in a Report with the working title ” The social sciences and humanities in the era of globalisation”.

Written by s.yazawa

4月 17th, 2012 at 11:12 am

Sociological Imagination Today

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One of the leading French Critics, Paul Valery, pointed out the crisis of European spirit in 1919. Since then American civilization has been prevailed over the world based on technology rather than language. One of the most important tasks of American civilization must be how to solve the crisis of European spirit and to build a new civilization.
C. W. Mills’ Sociological Imagination was a kind of critique of the distorted and degenerated version of American Civilization and an attempt to show the foundation for building a new American Civilization.
Grand theory, abstract empiricism, a variety of instrumentalism, and ethos of bureaucrats are the expressions of the distorted and degenerated version of American pragmatism. To find the complex dialectic relationship between human nature and social structure, to use history, political use of knowledge, freedom, reason and democracy as permanent revolution are the foundation for building a new American Civilization which should not be a distorted and degenerated version of European Civilization. It should be a new civilization which can be achieved by successfully articulated development between culture, society, polity and economy.
As distorted and degenerated European Civilization rather than a new civilization, American Civilization is imposing basic problems on the global order like crisis of nuclear war, ecological crisis, destruction of human beings in advanced capitalist societies and so on. Let me give you one example. Japan quickly introduced the idea of peaceful use of atomic power and built nuclear power plants under the great influence of American industry-military-academic complex, although Japan had become the first victim of atomic bombs. Atom became the hero since 1950’s. Since then science and technology around atom and nuclear has become instrumental for nuclear power plants. They did not take numerous risks into account. The result of this instrumentalism was the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident this year.
According to Mills, sociological imagination means the ability to read the relationship between individual’s life history and history, and between human nature and social structure. But we have to pay attention to the fact that it has become much more difficult to have sociological imagination today. In the postmodern era, grand narrative has been lost. Therefore we cannot take for granted the classic image of men on which Mills relied. People tend to be bounded by individual’s everyday life. It is quite difficult for them to go beyond their empirical world. Therefore it is getting harder and harder to have/practice sociological imagination.
Mill’s sociological imagination offers a point of departure for our discussion and a final destination of our sociology. In what direction must we go from Mills’ sociological imagination as a starting point? First of all we have to understand the process of becoming human beings from animal. Human beings as animals become human beings as human beings by learning language and social, economic, political relations in society. Therefore we must understand human being completely from outside of human being. We must start from outside of humanism. In this sense Spinoza, Marx, Kant, Wittgenstein’s transcendental approaches to human being are very important for us.
I cannot give you a final destination of sociological imagination at this stage. It is totally up to you. But one thing is definitely certain. We need dynamic, plural, multiple self rather than static stable, persistent self. We must also examine the relationship between multiple self, economy, society, polity and culture. Nowadays we clearly understand economic, political, social and cultural contradictions of capitalism in advanced capitalist societies.

Written by s.yazawa

12月 6th, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

Beirut workshop of World SSH Net

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International Conference named as Social Sciences in Arab Countries Facing a Scientific Multi-versalism: Pathways, Challenges and Constraints was held at American university of Beirut on 8th and 9th of July, 2011.This conference was organized by mainly World Social Sciences and Humanities Net. I attended this conference. It was my first time to attend conference organized by World SSH Net.
I learned so many things through the conference. First of all. I would like to share with Hebe Vessuri’s keen proposal, that is, “social thought, social reflection and social theory need to move beyond existing theoretical framework to account adequately for the multicultural global world that is emerging.”
Based on this basic understanding, many pieces of puzzle named as Multi-versalism were presented. Internationalization of research, indigenised while internationalized social sciences in each nation state, geopolitics of flow of knowledge and knowledge creation, Western philosophy in Africa, anthropological investigation as a first step of muti-vbersalism and alternative intellectual practice among others were discussed.
But in order to understand what multi-versalism is, it is impossible to miss Michael Kuhn’s presentation, that is, “A world social science system beyond the hegemony of the Western concept of science.” He is really trying to understand western science as nationally constructed. Based on this understanding he tried to investigate characteristics of concept of discourse in western science as exclusive, un-critical and anti-discursive.
I tried to raise one issue at the conference. Until now, we do not have any universal social science. Western social sciences are analizing particular cases. They accumulates them and generalizing. Therefore we have general theories like T. parsons’ By generalizing particular cases, we cannot create universal social science. In order to create universal social science, we have to pay much attention to transcendental dimension.
Transcendental dimension is essential, particular or unique is at the same time universal at this dimension.