[S2E29] 🚔 Crime & Desistance with Adam Hunt

Oliver is joined by Adam Hunt, PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield, to compare crime between Japan and the UK and how factors such as attitudes towards former convicts affects “desistance”; that is, attempts to reduce the rate of reoffending.

[S2E28] 🐫 On the Silk Road(s) with Prof Susan Whitfield

Oliver is joined by Susan Whitfield, Professor in Silk Road Studies at the Sainsbury Institute, to gain a new perspective on the mass of historic maritime and land-based routes known as the Silk Roads. Susan gives us a taste of the material and cultural impact of the enormous trade network stretching to the ends of Europe, Africa and Asia from the 2nd Century BCE, as well as highlighting the role of Japan and China in establishing the network as World Heritage.

[S2E27] 🗺️ Maps & Imagined Travel with Dr Sonia Favi

Oliver is joined by Dr Sonia Favi, researcher at the University of Turin, to discuss the history of imagined travel. Sonia’s digital exhibition, ‘Travels in Tokugawa Japan (1603-1868): A Virtual Journey’, explores how late-Edo period maps indulged the imagination of those unable to journey across the country, something all too familiar in the wake of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

[S2E26] 👩‍🦯 Infrastructure for the Blind with Maud Rowell

Oliver is joined by Maud Rowell, blind freelance journalist and author of ‘Blind Spot: Exploring and Educating on Blindness’, to discuss Infrastructure for the Blind.

[S2E25] 😸 Pets & Animal Cafés with Brittany Rapone

Oliver is joined by Brittany Rapone, PhD candidate at the School of Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes University, to discuss attitudes towards pets and animal cafes in Japan. Brittany walks us through the cultural commonality of human-animal relationships and the “rent-a-pet” model of animal cafes in Japan, providing the iyashi, or “comfort”, of animal interaction at an hourly rate.

[S2E24] 💀 Public Opinion on Capital Punishment with Dr Viviana Andreescu

Oliver is joined by Viviana Andreescu, Associate Professor of Justice Administration at the University of Louisville, to discuss public opinion on capital punishment in Japan. Viviana’s 2020 article, ‘Public opinion and the death penalty in Japan’, took a look at over 2,500 responses of the Japanese General Social Survey to gauge who supports the death penalty and who would recommend it as a member of the relatively new Citizen Judge System.

[S2E23] 👩‍🎨 Global Crafts: Woodblock Prints with Wuon-Gean Ho

This week Oliver is joined by Wuon-Gean Ho, printmaker and research associate at the University of West England’s Centre for Print Research, to discuss the place of mokuhanga, or woodblock printmaking, in the global spread of traditional crafts.

[S2E22] 👤 The Body Politic with Dr Andreas Musolff

This week we are joined by Dr Andreas Musolff, professor at the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies at the University of East Anglia, to discuss the body politic and how metaphors for nations vary across the world. Andreas shares the insights from his recent book, National Conceptualisations of the Body Politic: Cultural Experience and Political Imagination, covering an 8-year survey of over 2,000 students across 29 countries.

[S2E21] 😂 Humour in Art: Kawanabe Kyōsai with Dr Koto Sadamura

This week we are joined by Dr Koto Sadamura, Robert & Lisa Sainsbury Research Fellow at the Sainsbury Institute, to discuss the place of humour in art through the works of the eccentric 19th century painter Kawanabe Kyōsai. Kyōsai’s specialty of kyōga, or “comic pictures”, have historically been overlooked when compared with his more traditional works, despite being of equal skill and cultural significance. Koto also unpicks how comic devices such as inversion of legendary figures were used to depict humorous situations which people of all classes could relate to, much like the memes of today.

[S2E20] ⛩️ Global Shinto with Kaitlyn Ugoretz

This week we are joined by Kaitlyn Ugoretz, anthropologist of religion and a PhD candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies at UC Santa Barbara, to discuss the global appeal of Shinto in the digital era. Kaitlyn introduces us to online Shinto communities as old as the internet itself, as well as the many international faces of Shinto, from official shrines in the USA to localised rituals and Marie Kondo’s brand of spiritualism.