Submission by: Assoc. Prof. David Chapman
In 2007, Assoc. Prof. David Chapman led a project highly successful symposium held at the University of Queensland entitled “Japan in Australia“. The symposium sought to investigate a curious gap in the literature on Japan-Australia relations. While previous discourse on the two countries had focused primarily on the relationship between Japan and Australia, there had been little focus “on Japan’s place within Australia and within the nation’s social, cultural and historical landscape”. Furthermore, “with the changing dynamic of Australia’s relationship with Asia [particularly with Australia’s increasing focus on Chinese and South Korean relations] there is a need for a fresh look at Japan within Australia and how Japan has been understood and conceptualised”.
From the research presented at the symposium, Assoc. Prof. David Chapman and Assoc. Prof. Carol Hayes (ANU) edited the newly published collection: Japan in Australia: Culture, Context and Connection. This collection is “a work of cultural history that focuses on context and connection between two nations. It examines how Japan has been imagined, represented and experienced in the Australian context through a variety of settings, historical periods and circumstances”.
As the publisher notes: “Beginning with the first recorded contacts between Australians and Japanese in the nineteenth century, the chapters focus on ‘people to people’ narratives and the myriad multi-dimensional ways the two countries are interconnected: from sporting diplomacy to woodblock printing, from artistic metaphors to iconic pop imagery, from the tragedy of war to engagement in peace movements, from technology transfer to community arts. Tracing the trajectory of this 150-year relationship provides an example of how history can turn from fear, enmity and misunderstanding through war, foreign encroachment and the legacy of conflict, to close and intimate connections that result in cultural enrichment and diversification.”
Japan in Australia: Culture, Context and Connections thus “explores notions of Australia and ‘Australianness’ and Japan and ‘Japaneseness’, to better reflect on the cultural fusion that is contemporary Australia and build the narrative of the Japan-Australia relationship.” This collection features several chapters from our team of academics who research cultures out of the School of Languages and Cultures at The University of Queensland who have previously submitted posts to this blog including Assoc. Prof. Tomoko Aoyama, Dr Lucy Fraser, and Rebecca Hausler. Japan in Australia: Culture, Context and Connections is currently available through Routledge via e-book, with a hardback edition. It will be of particular interest to academics in the field of Asian, Japanese, and Japanese-Pacific studies.