Reinventing Japan Research Focus Group

Kate Saltzman-Li, East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies
ksaltzli@eastasin.ucsb.edu

Kate McDonald, History
kmcdonald@history.ucsb.edu

We have come together as an interdisciplinary group of graduate students and faculty members from the departments of History, East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies, Religious Studies, Music, and Film & Media Studies to examine, discuss and analyze a singular topic: the reinvention of Japan. “Reinvention” and “renewal” are prominent themes in  Japanese religion and philosophy but have also repeatedly got hold of public discourse at various moments throughout history, ranging from the Edo period to world renewal movements, a complex of carnivalesque religious celebrations and communal activities that were often fashioned as social or political protests, to Japan’s late nineteenth-century dramatic turn to the West, the quasi-fascist imperialist program of the 1930s and early  1940s, the rise from the ashes of the Asia Pacific War in the 1950s, the revolutionary era of the 1960s and 1970s, up to the current call to renew Japan after the 2011 disaster in Northeastern Japan.