The Asia Association for Global Studies:

AAGS 2009 Research Forum

Date: Saturday, October 31st, 2009 Time: 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Speaker: Hans Peter Liederbach and Miguelangel Verde

The Asia Association for Global Studies (AAGS) ( is pleased to invite members and non-members interested in global issues to attend its Annual Research Forum, an event which showcases recent research by AAGS members and guests. The details of this year's Forum are as follows:
Title: The Nail that Sticks Out Gets Hammered Down: Problems of Translation and Interpretation of Individuality and Society in Modern and Contemporary Japanese Political Culture
Speakers: Hans Peter Liederbach (Kwansei Gakuin University) and Miguelángel Verde (Kyoto University)
Abstract: In our presentation, we wish to discuss the question of which problems might occur if the concept of universally valid human rights is implemented into a certain historical and cultural context - in our case, modern Japan.

In the first half of our presentation, we will develop the thesis that Japanese culture and society are lacking a presupposition necessary for the implementation of this concept: that is, the notion of the free individual in contradistinction to society. Instead, we find the notions of seken (the world) and ningen (man-within-the-world). We will underpin our thesis by giving an account of the pains it took Japanese translators and political thinkers to find equivalents for the terms "individual" and "society."

In the second half of our presentation, so as to shed light on Japanese contemporary political culture, we will look into several post-war educational reforms and policies that embody the ambivalent and tense relation between the notions of "individuality" and "society." We will indicate why the development of the "individual" is considered detrimental to "society," and sketch out the manner in which some normative constructs about "society" lead to stunt the political role of civil society.

Organization: The Asia Association for Global Studies

Cost: AAGS Members: free
Non-members: 500 yen

Venue: Kwansei Gkuin University, Osaka-Omeda Campus, 10th Floor, Room, 1005

Location: Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan


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Derrick Nault
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