Call for Papers: Internationalisation Interrupted

Research Workshop

Thursday 1st & Friday 2nd July 2021

The Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of East Anglia and the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures invite scholars to submit papers for a special two-day workshop event to discuss the global role of Japan in relation to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. The Olympics has historically provided an opportunity for hosting nations to showcase cultural and political strengths as well as their unity within the international community. However, Japan’s model of globalisation has been seen as more inward-looking and seeks to enhance a certain self-image rather than global ties (e.g. Iwabuchi 2015). Following this, Tokyo 2020 presents an ideal opportunity to discuss how Japan’s global role and ambitions have developed in the contemporary era.

International marketing campaigns, social media and global news reporting provide clues as to how particular images of Japan have been constructed and circulate worldwide in the lead up to Tokyo 2020. However, following the Covid-19 Pandemic and a yearlong postponement, the nation has come under new scrutiny over escalating costs, high-profile scandals and resignations, and the decision to stage the games without international spectators. For these and other reasons, Japan’s control over their international branding has weakened, and waning enthusiasm both internationally and domestically has meant Tokyo 2020 may end up causing the nation more harm than good.

Inviting scholars from a range of disciplines across the humanities, we ask, how have the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics provided new contexts for discussing Japan’s international presence? Our aim is to spark discussion on the ways by which Japan has communicated itself internationally and domestically in the run up to the games, and how this enhances our understanding of the nation’s approaches to internationalisation and globalisation. We are interested in how social, political, media and other forms of communication have circulated particular images and discourses of Japan’s global role. Furthermore, we are interested in exploring both Japan’s marketed image of itself alongside the more negative discourses that have grown since the pandemic.

We invite presenters to send abstracts of no more than 250 words that consider the role of Tokyo 2020 in relation to topics including (but not limited to):

  • Domestic and international media coverage
  • Television, news, and social media
  • Local/national responses to the Olympics
  • The Covid-19 Pandemic and its effects
  • Tourism
  • Marketing
  • Transnationalism
  • Globalisation
  • Cultural diversity
  • Soft Power and ‘Cool Japan’
  • Race, gender, and sexuality
  • Disability and ableism
  • ‘Cuteness’ in Olympic branding
  • Comparisons with Tokyo 1964 or Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics
  • Trans-Asian comparisons with Beijing 2008 or PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics
  • Celebrities and Tokyo 2020

With restrictions in England due to end on 21st June, we welcome scholars in the UK to join us in-person in Norwich. Applicants outside of the UK or otherwise unable to travel are welcome to participate online via video-conferencing.

Please submit your paper title and 250 word (maximum), along with your name, position and institution to:

The deadline for abstracts is Friday 30th April. Successful applicants will be notified of the outcome by Friday 14th May.

If you have any questions, please contact us through:  

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