The Nippon Foundation
The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation


An International Conference
Japan Matters
Redefining Power, Politics and Culture in the Age of Globalisation
In Celebration of the Sasakawa Lectureship Programme

23rd January 2009

click here for Draft Programme
Time & Place: 9.00 am – 6.30 pm Birkbeck College (University of London), Clore  Management Building, Lecture Theatre B01,
Torrington Square (Click  here for Map)
Registration: Registration is free. Seating is limited and attendees are therefore requested to register early.


During the post-bubble slump and recession, Japan embarked upon a process of transformation from manufacturing superpower to cultural powerhouse while striving to strengthen its role in international politics. JapanŐs popular culture, such as games and animation, along with its design, its architecture and its new and diverse range of state-of-the-art consumer goods and brands, are capturing the imagination of people across the globe. Japanese politicians, including those with more traditionalist inclinations, are now stressing the importance of the creative industries, the information economy and the need to engage openly in international politics. This shift towards a brand image entails, it has been suggested, a greater reliance on intangible rather than tangible values, a foregrounding of the individual rather than the collective, and an accentuation on openness and flexibility in terms of the labour market and immigration control.

The conference will examine the challenges and opportunities that such a move towards a creative and open economy entails. What are the economic and geopolitical conditions and difficulties from which this discourse has emerged? What is the nature of JapanŐs cultural and political presence in comparison with that of other countries? What implications does this have for labour policy and for education which have hitherto encouraged conformity rather than individual creativity? What changes do we envisage to international economic interdependence? And is the UK, having already undergone a similar transformation, a useful case for comparison?

The conference will attempt to analyse Japan in transition and to understand this transition within the wider context of neo-liberalism and globalisation.

Registration is free. To register click here.
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