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My Japan Journey

The Untold Stories Behind the Cultural Encounters That Transform Our Lives

My Japan Journey is a new podcast series by the Japan Society of Boston.  Our podcast aims to demonstrate how exploring a new culture (in these stories, Japanese culture) can enrich one's life, but the same mentality of open-mindedness and adaptability can apply to just about anything. We believe a single moment of curiosity can lead to a lifelong pursuit, or simply allow us to realize the unexpected opportunities life presents and help us make more meaningful connections along the way.  We hope our listeners hear these stories and feel inspired to embrace what is unfamiliar.

Each episode will include an interview by Executive Director, Yuko Handa and a guest speaker whose life has been shaped by his or her connection to Japan. Please read below to learn about our first three  speakers!

Find us on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcast, and Soundcloud!

Visit our podcast website for transcripts and more information.

Susan Napier
Goldthwaite Professor of Rhetoric, Tufts University

Professor Napier has taught at Tufts University since 2006 and is the author of five books on Japanese culture and anime, most recently Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art, focusing on the films of Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of the famed Studio Ghibli. Professor Napier's research interests include history and theory of animation, Japanese animation (anime) and comics (manga), modern Japanese literature, and popular culture, especially science fiction and fantasy.

Selected Works:

Miyazaki World: A Life in Art (Yale University Press, 2018).

From Impressionism to Anime: Japan as Fantasy and Fan Cult in the Mind of the West (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). 

Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation (St. Martin's Griffin, 2005).

Andrew Gordon

Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History, Harvard University

Professor Gordon teaches courses on modern Japanese history with a primary research interest in labor, class and the social and political history of modern Japan. His most recent book, Fabricating Consumers, examines the making of the modern consumer in 20th century Japan, with a particular focus on the sewing machine.  He is currently working with colleagues in Japan and the United States to create a digital archive of Japan’s March 2011 disasters. Professor Gordon is also winner of the second NIHU International Prize in Japanese Studies.

Selected Works:

"New and Enduring Dual Structures of Employment in Japan: The Rise of Non-Regular Labor, 1980s - 2010s" in Social Sciences Japan Journal 20, no. 1 (2017): 9-36.

Fabricating Consumers: The Sewing Machine in Modern Japan (University of California Press, 2011).

Nihonjin ga shiranai Matsuzaka mejaa kakumei [Matsuzaka's Unknown Major League Revolution] (Asahi Shinsho, 2007).

A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2002) - 3rd edition published in 2013

Gennifer Weisenfeld

Professor in the Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies

Gennifer Weisenfeld received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in Japanese Art History. Her field of research is modern and contemporary Japanese art history, design, and visual culture. Her work explores the impact of Japan's modern sociopolitical transformations on artistic production and practice; the cultural formations of nation and empire building; Japanese modernism; the politics of the avant-garde; the visual culture of disaster; commercial design; and the relationship between high art and popular culture.

Selected Works:

Imaging Disaster: Tokyo and the Visual Culture of Japan’s Great Earthquake of 1923 (University of California Press, 2012)

MAVO: Japanese Artists and the Avant-Garde, 1905-1931 (University of California Press, 2002)

Gas Mask Parade: Japan’s Anxious Modernism (Modernism/Modernity 21, no 1, 2014)

Publicity and Propaganda in 1930s Japan: Modernism as Method (Design Issues 25, no 4, 2009)


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