Organized Panel Session
Race has not always been an obvious topic of research in Japanese studies. Going beyond claims about Japan’s supposed racial and cultural homogeneity, research in the 1990s has brought attention to the experiences of minoritized groups in Japan. Race is however not simply about the study of ‘others’ but needs to be considered as an integral aspect of society and history, which contributes to processes of differentiation on various levels. This panel explores the concept of race as an analytical approach which offers new insights into a broad range of topics. Yukiko Koshiro examines race in the context of US-Japan relations and the development of television in Japan, showing how exchanges in technology and a trans-Pacific television culture failed to overcome racial stereotypes and an East-West divide. Aya Ezawa portrays race as a central aspect of the history and memory of the Japanese occupation within the Dutch Indo-European community, and its impact on the ability of children born of war to come to terms with having been fathered by a Japanese man. John Davis Jr.’s analysis of Zainichi director Kim Sungwoon’s buraku documentary presents the director’s approach, which draws on minority sensibilities beyond the buraku experience, as a method that allows for a deeper understanding of minority subjectivities. Grace Ting’s analysis of the writing of Li Kotomi explores questions of sexuality and race in the context of queer Asian literary expression. Together, this panel aims to engage in a broader discussion on the meaning of race in Japanese studies.