Busy Spring for Japan Studies

Obayashi Chigumi, Michael Cronin, Obayashi Nobuhiko

A steady stream of eminent visitors and special events greatly enriched Japanese studies at William and Mary this Spring. To recap:

In late January, as part of W&M’s Global Film Festival, the leading authority on anime, Professor Susan Napier of Tufts University, visited campus to speak on trauma and fantasy in the work of Japan’s master of animation, Miyazaki Hayao. Professor Napier also introduced a special screening of Miyazaki’s masterwork, The Princess Mononoke.

In mid-February, the Film Festival hosted the celebrated film director Ōbayashi Nobuhiko and his daughter, the writer and film specialist Ōbayashi Chigumi. While here, the Ōbayashis met with student filmmakers, judged a contest of student filmmakers’ work, and attended a screening of their own recently restored 1977 cult classic film, Hausu (House), which was enthusiastically received.

At the end of February Professor Steven Chung, of Princeton University, spoke on Korean filmmaking under Japanese occupation and introduced a rare screening of a classic Korean film of the colonial period, “Homeless Angels” (aka “Angels on the Street,” 1941) directed by Choi In-gyu.

Early March brought Professor Julia Thomas, of Notre Dame, to campus to speak on photography in post-war Japan. Her talk, “Intimate Trauma, Cool Distance,” focused on two of the most renowned photographers of the 20th century, Domon Ken and Kimura Ihei.

Later in March, the historian Gavan McCormack, emeritus professor at the Australian National University, traveled to William and Mary to deliver the Art Matsu Memorial Lecture. Dr. McCormack spoke on Okinawa and the popular activism that has developed there in resistance to plans for a new military base.

And in early April, we hosted Professor Tomiko Yoda, of Harvard University, who delivered a fascinating talk on the Women’s Liberation movement in 1970s Japan and evolving images of women in popular media at the time.

Our sincere thanks again to all our visitors for the excitement they brought to the program!

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