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08:30-09:00 Registration

Registration desk will remain open for the duration of the conference

Location: 2.40
09:00-09:20 Welcoming Remarks

Welcoming remarks

Location: Room A | 2.56
09:30-11:30 Session 1A: Texts and Their Interpretation
Location: Room A | 2.56
The Complexity of Textual Research: A Case Study of Guo Pu and Hao Yixing’s Commentaries on Shanhaijing (on-site)

ABSTRACT. The ancient Chinese text Shanhaijing has ignited extensive scholarly debate for over 2000 years due to its intricate blending of fiction and reality across domains such as mythology, geography, culture, and the natural world. Two particularly influential commentators, Guo Pu and Hao Yixing, put forth seminal perspectives on comprehending this enigmatic text through their foundational scholarly work. These early scholars provided earliest and systematic commentaries on the Shanhaijing before modern times. Their pioneering commentaries offer historical insight into how Chinese scholars studied and interpreted their own classical texts. However, while serving as a basis for interpretation, their commentaries also catalysed contentious debates and even critiques regarding potential misconceptions or misinterpretations.

This presentation provides an analysis focused exclusively on key examples from the Shanjing text itself, as examined in the commentaries of Guo Pu and Hao Yixing. This is done to demonstrate the inherent challenges and intricacies involved in accurately analysing and deciphering the multifaceted Shanhaijing. Their unique lenses reflect the historical and philosophical influences of their eras, further illuminating the complexity of ancient Chinese worldviews encoded within this text. Despite major advances in research approaches and techniques over the millennia, comprehensively and definitively understanding Shanjing and Haijing still confounds scholars today. A multifaceted, interdisciplinary approach examining facets like language, history, culture, geography and mythology is required to elucidate this nuanced work.

By centering examination on the pivotal early work of Guo Pu and Hao Yixing, this presentation aims to highlight the significant challenges that have long pervaded attempts to decipher Shanhaijing. Examples from their commentaries focused on the Shajing text will reveal how interpretations have shifted across history based on scholars' perspectives. This underscores the necessity of an integrated scholarly approach to properly comprehend this text and ancient Chinese representations within it.

Perceiving and Enlightenment: An Interpretation of the Chapter "Zunshouzhang" from Shitao's Art Theoretical Treatise "Huayulu" (on-site)

ABSTRACT. The art theoretical treatise "Huayulu 画语录" or "Enlightening Remarks on Painting" by the painter Shitao 石涛 (1642-1707) from the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) is one of the most important theoretical works in the history of Chinese art theory and aesthetics. As one of the most complicated chapters, the fourth chapter, "Zunshouzhang 尊受章", or "Valuing Perception," has remained controversial in its interpretation. The complexity of this chapter lies first in the fact that, despite its relatively short extent - a mere 162 Chinese characters - it covers and integrates a series of core concepts and important theories from Buddhism, Daoism, and the “Yijing 易经” or “Book of Changes“. Therefore, diverse understandings of these concepts and theories will lead to different interpretations of the chapter itself and even of Shitao's thoughts on painting. Thus, while this chapter poses difficulties and challenges for modern interpretations, it also offers great interpretive space and potential. The chapter is mainly concerned with the question of the relationship between subjectivity and objectivity, i.e., how artists deal with the external world. It also introduces an essential concept, shou 受 (perceive/perception), which plays a significant role in Shitao's theory of art. For this reason, most modern interpretations of the chapter focus only on the interpretation of this concept, breaking the original order of the sentences without considering the logical structure of the whole text. However, this actually leads to some confusion or even misunderstand in comprehension of the concept itself. In addition, there are difficulties related to punctuation and paragraphing of the chapter. Because in accordance with the ancient Chinese writing tradition, there is neither punctuation nor paragraphing in the original writing. Therefore, in this chapter, punctuation and especially paragraphing are also worth discussing because they are important for the logical arrangement of the text and the interpretation of some core concepts. However, this problem has not been carefully studied in previous research. The aim of this thesis is therefore to examine the fourth chapter in its entirety, whereby the focus will not be limited to the interpretation of the term shou exclusively. A possible paragraphing will also be proposed to clarify the logical arrangement of the chapter. Based on this, the concept shou and other core terms and formulations will then be reinterpreted by retracing their origins in Buddhism, Daoism, and in the “Book of Changes”, as well as in light of various modern readings. Finally, a translation of the author's own will be presented.

A Discussion of Problems in Interpreting Ci 詞 Poetry in the Qing Era (online)

ABSTRACT. In the Song dynasty, ci poetry has formed a unique tradition in form, styles, subject matter, and language. While it is generally assumed that ci, written and performed during banquets and gatherings, are not interpreted as related to the author’s personal events or political views, not all works can be read in such a straight forward way. When reviewing the Song ci poems, Qing dynasty critics have encountered difficulties in interpretation, especially of the works of Jiang Kui姜夔, Wu Wenying 吳文英and some other Southern Song ci poets. The difficulties in interpretation these works have led to extensive discussions of how ci poems can be and should be read (differently from its shi counterpart). Some even question the need of interpretation, proposing that it might be more appropriate not trying deduce any concrete meaning from ci. These critics argue that the uniqueness of ci lies squarely in its nature of being “uninterpretable”. The article aims at surveying the problems being explored and discussed by the Qing critics in their reading of Song ci poems. By evaluating issues in the interpretation of ci, it is hoped to shed light on the characteristics of this genre and the development of its criticism in the pre-modern period.

Evidential learning without objects? Revisiting the Epistemological Perspectives of Wang Fuzhi and Fang Yizhi (on-site)

ABSTRACT. This paper aims to challenge conventional scholarly views regarding the philosophical orientations of prominent 17th-century Chinese philosophers, Wang Fuzhi (1619-1692) and Fang Yizhi (1611-1671). It seeks to refute the prevailing notion that these philosophers were materialists and argues that labeling their intellectual framework as materialism is a misinterpretation. Instead, this paper demonstrates that their rejection of substance ontology and emphasis on processual-functional systematicity represent a consistent intellectual project that transcends the idealistic-materialistic divide. By reconceptualizing the universe as a totality of processes and functions, these philosophers advocated for existential, metaphysical, and spatiotemporal orders fundamentally distinct from those based on substances and material objects. In this processual perspective, the parameters associated with substantial permanence dissolve, as they are viewed as phases or derivatives of processes rather than independent realities. Notably, these scholars made systematic efforts to eliminate substance-oriented concepts and tendencies in concept formation and usage, thereby avoiding the categorical separation of "material." Significantly, these endeavors extended beyond abstract concepts like the Dao or Heaven and encompassed the interpretation of individual things in terms of functions. According to these philosophers, both "real" objects and substance-related conceptual abstractions originate from the human cognitive and perceptual faculties, emphasizing their constructive nature rather than reflecting the functioning of the world. The findings presented in this paper prompt a substantial reassessment of prevailing research perspectives on the intellectual history of the transition from the Ming to the Qing Dynasty. They challenge existing narratives of evidential learning (kaozhengxue) and the general epistemological orientation as an exploration of material phenomena in the external world. By shedding new light on the intellectual landscape of these Chinese scholars, this paper contributes to a more nuanced understanding of their philosophical positions and fosters broader discussions on the complex interplay between metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology in Chinese intellectual history.

09:30-11:30 Session 1B: Gender and Feminism
Location: Room B | 2.43
South Korea's gender conflict and its impact on the 2022 Presidential elections (on-site)

ABSTRACT. Gender conflict has been a growing issue in South Korea in recent years, and it played a significant role in the 2022 presidential election. The two main candidates, Yoon Suk-yeol and Lee Jae-myung, both made appeals to young male voters who felt that women were getting preferential treatment in society. This led to a surge in anti-feminist sentiment, and arguably helped Yoon to win the election. There are a number of factors that have contributed to the rise of gender conflict in South Korea in recent years. One is the country's rapidly changing demographics. The population is aging, and the birth rate is declining. This has led to increased competition for jobs and resources, and some young men feel that they are being left behind. Another factor is the country's history of patriarchy. South Korea is a Confucian society, and traditional Confucian values place a high value on male authority. This has led to a culture in which women are often seen as inferior to men. The rise of social media has also played a role in the spread of anti-feminist sentiment. Online platforms have made it easier for people to share and spread hateful messages, and this has contributed to the polarization of gender relations in South Korea. The 2022 presidential election was a watershed moment in South Korea's gender conflict. The election of Yoon Suk-yeol, who has made anti-feminism a central part of his platform, has given a boost to the anti-feminist movement. During the election campaign, we saw this gender conflict reaching its peak, which, among other things, can be observed in electoral language. Derogatory and offensive names and terms such as ‘이대남’ (‘Men in their 20s’), ‘이찍남’ (‘Men who vote for the number two candidate (Conservative Yoon Suk-yeol) during the presidential election’), ‘개딸’ (‘Daughters of the revolution’), and others were created and profoundly used not only by specific online platforms and communities but also by the regular mass media outlets. In this paper, we look into this phenomenon in more detail and try to understand how exactly the gender conflict helped the conservative candidate win the election.

Representation of Feminism in South Korean Popular Culture (online)

ABSTRACT. South Korea experienced rapid economic and technological development, making the country one of the most technologically developed countries in a short time. However, some argue that this has not been accompanied by similarly rapid development in gender equality as historical discourse promoted the masculinity ethos, which reinforced patriarchal traditions (Moon, 2002; Palley, 1990; Smiatacz, 2019).

Nonetheless, in recent years, the feminist movement and demands for gender equality have been growing in significance. The terms feminism and feminist might still have pejorative connotations and feminists are often portrayed as man-haters and extremists, but numerous South Korean women and men have started to redefine feminism and challenge the stigmatization of being a feminist. Feminism also gets more representation in popular culture. Depending on the artists, writers, directors, and most importantly general population feminism and its postulates can be interpreted positively or negatively.

Thus, this paper focuses on the interpretation and discussion surrounding the representation of feminism in modern popular South Korean culture by analyzing mostly the movies, which were named feminist movies, and the general discussion and interpretation of those artistic pieces.

Reference Moon, S. (2002). Carving Out Space : Civil Society and the Women’s Movement in South Korea. The Journal of Asian Studies, 61(2), 473–500. Palley, M. L. (1990). Women’s Status in South Korea: Tradition and Change. Asian Survey, 30(12), 1136–1153. Smiatacz, A. (2019). Kobieta – obywatelka, obrończyni kraju: metamorfozy wizerunku historiograficznego w dobie zimnowojennej mobilizacji w Korei Południowej (1961–1979) [Woman as the Citizen and the Country Defender: Shift s in the Historiographic Images of Femininity during the Cold War Mobilization Era in the Republic of Korea (1961–1979)]. In R. Huszcza, J. Najbar-Miller & A. Wojakowska-Kurowska (Eds.), Koreańskie Światy Kobiet. Między dziedzictwem konfucjanizmu a wyzwaniami współczesności (pp. 141-164). Warszawa, Poland: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego.

Contemporary Japanese Gender-Neutral Names from the Perspective of Their Bearers (on-site)

ABSTRACT. This paper presents the findings of qualitative research, which is part of a larger project investigating a recent phenomenon of non-gender-specific names in Japan, its particular manifestations, and also its social implications. Japanese names of the last several decades display a much greater variety of sound and structure patterns than earlier in the twentieth century (e.g., Makino 2012, Ogihara 2015) and increasingly lack gender-distinctive features (e.g., Satō, 2007, Barešová 2020). While the majority of Japanese names are gender-specific, recent baby name rankings (e.g., Meiji Yasuda) indicate a growing popularity of names that are given to children of both sexes. One of the objectives of our project and the goal of this present study is to gain insight into how such names are actually perceived by their bearers, what experience they have with their own name, and how this experience has shaped their perception of and identification with their name. We used a method of thematic analysis of interviews, which we conducted with 35 university students aged 18–26, who had a name given to both males and females. The preliminary findings available at the time of submitting this proposal suggest that the perception of one’s name and its interpretation as gender-specific or gender-neutral is strongly influenced by one’s personal experience with the name. Many of the interviewees described a similar development: from not particularly liking or even disliking one’s own name in childhood for not being enough feminine/masculine to appreciating it later for the very same reason and for being different and special. Those who had ever thought of having a different name stated reasons related to issues other than gender. Finally, despite accepting and being fond of one’s own gender-neutral name, the participants did not necessarily consider this type of name a good option for their future child.

References: Barešová, I. 2019. Boy or Girl? The Rise of Non-Gender-Specific Names in Japan. Silva Iaponicarum 56–59: 26–41. doi: 10.12775/sijp.2020.56-59.2. Makino, K. 2012. Kodomo no namae ga abunai [Endangered children’s names]. Tōkyō: Besuto serāzu. Meiji Yasuda Seimei. Ogihara Y., Fujita H., Tominaga H., Ishigaki S., Kashimoto T., Takahashi A., Toyohara K. and Uchida Y. 2015. Are common names becoming less common? The rise in uniqueness and individualism in Japan. Frontiers in Psychology 6:1490. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01490. Satō, M. 2007. Yominikui namae wa naze fueta ka [Why we see more hard-to-read names]. Tōkyō: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan.

Rehabilitating femininity: Discourse struggles and linguistic reclamation of stigmatised feminine internet slang (online)

ABSTRACT. The paper presents a discourse struggle carried out on social media to refashion stigmatised feminine terms and devalued femininity. While digital space is regarded as an asylum and a platform for marginalised groups including women to express themselves, it, at the same time, provides a fertile environment for the rampancy of femmephobia and misogyny which manifest in the form of discourses (Wang & Driscoll, 2018; Yang, 2009; Hsieh and Wu, 2011). Numerous internet slang carrying discrimination, hatred, and misunderstanding toward women and femininity is created and explosively spread through networks and even beyond cyberspace. To confront these slang terms, a linguistic strategy – reclamation – is employed, aiming to subvert the derogatory connotations of these terms and, more importantly, retrieve the ownership and power of defining, interpreting, and representing women and femininity.

In addition to feminists, there is another noteworthy group – young female fans of popular subcultures who also actively participate in this discourse struggles action. In my PhD project, I explore this group of people’s engagement with Chinese gender issues and feminism on social media, Weibo, in particular their discourse engagements in challenging the conventional and patriarchal gender norms and order obscured behind the Chinese language by wordplay. And in this paper, by illustrating two terms,  "sissy boy" (in Chinese, 娘炮 niang pao), I demonstrate and analyse how female fan informants appropriate the reclamation strategy to re-interpret the pejorative label through different paths and then digest, internalise, and transform them to generic and even positive ones.

09:30-11:30 Session 1C: Transfer of Knowledge
Location: Room C | 2.44
A Primary Source Based Study on the Relationship between China’s Reviving Nationalism and Mao-era Young People’s War-Preparing Experiences (online)

ABSTRACT. Today’s China is witnessing a trend in young people’s military training. On Douyin (Chinese version of Tiktok), China’s prevalent platform for short videos creation and sharing, by May 2023, more than 1,000 videos had been uploaded and well-received in the last 12 months with the keywords like “students’ military training (xuesheng junxun).” This result does not include another almost 300 titled “kindergarten military training (youeryuan junxun).” Most trainees in these videos, from college students to kindergarten children, indulged in youngsters’ burning passion and self-delusion that they were glorious soldiers fighting for the nation.

Paralleling youngsters’ fervor of military training, there is the revival of militarism-based nationalism among not only today’s youth but also China’s older generations, those born in the 1950s, for example. It is undoubtedly triggered by the latest tensions between China and the West, especially the U.S. Furthermore, the transgenerational resonance reminds the need of reexamining the legacies of Mao Zedong’s campaign of mass mobilization and militarization, which kept shaping Mao-era people’s lives under the Cold War context.

As an early-career researcher focusing on the history of Communist China and its legacies living in China today, I am interested in exploring the correlations between Mao-era young people’s mobilized and militarized experiences and today’s reviving nationalism that is closely associated with militarism. The result of the study can help understand the current international tensions between China and the West, which are tightened as the CCP’s recent challenges to the international order and security.

By the early 1960s, despite the famine causing tens of millions of deaths in the countryside, the whole nation was celebrating that China’s militia had maintained a scale of over two hundred million. This number almost overlapped the totality of Chinese youngsters during those years. From the grassroots and personal perspectives, it is of great interest to identify if the war-preparing experiences characterized the generational youthful lives in Mao’s China and if good memories related to them keep alive and vitalize the nationalist trend in today’s China.

While the reexamination, especially the work based on the bottom-up angle, has yet to be conducted by Chinese or international researchers, my study relies on large numbers of primary and old sources which have been collected from China and have not been explored by researchers. They include archives, gazetteers, old newspapers and magazines, internal brochures, documents, study materials, and conference records, and personal diaries, work notes, letters, and interviews with local dwellers.

The result of this study will not only add to the existing scholarship focusing on modern and contemporary China. Paying strong attention to the revival of nationalism in this country, which has been weaponized by the CCP to solve its crisis in legitimacy, the research can also assist observers and policy-makers dealing with issues of security in Asia and worldwide.

To what extent does the evolution of civil service recruitment requirements in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs represent a change in China’s foreign policy after 2019? (online)

ABSTRACT. Abstract: Since assuming power in 2012, Xi Jinping has ushered in a progressively aggressive diplomatic approach for China, which some scholars have dubbed the "new assertive diplomacy." Under Xi's leadership, the Chinese Communist Party has amalgamated the concept of the 'Chinese Dream' with the aspiration for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. This vision, rooted in the nationalist sentiment of the 'century of humiliation,' has placed national security concerns at the core of China's diplomatic polices. Notably, since 2019, there have been discernible changes in the recruitment process for civil servants in the Chinese Foreign Ministry. A significant development is an increasing reliance on individuals with backgrounds in public security disciplines, including public security, investigation, and foreign-related policing, who now constitute a valuable source of expertise for cadre recruitment. These specialized police majors are typically offered by institutions like the Chinese People's Public Security University and the Chinese Criminal Police Academy, which are dedicated to training China's people's police force. Additionally, the recruitment of Chinese nationals who have studied abroad has become subject to various restrictions. For instance, the state must publicly sponsor prospective candidates to pursue overseas education. At the same time, those who self-finance their studies are ineligible to apply for party cardres’ positions.

Through archival analysis and interviews, this study explores the evolving requirements for civil service recruitment in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs after 2019. It aims to shed light on the shifting priorities of China's foreign policy and further examine how the "overall international security concept" proposed by the Chinese government since 2012 has been put into practice within the realm of foreign affairs. Adopting a microscopic perspective on civil service recruitment in China, this research seeks to deepen China watchers’ understanding of Chinese foreign policy and enhance transparency within the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The dissemination of the 64-hexagram diagram of Yijing in Europe and the world map "Kunyu wanguo quantu" in China in the 17th century (on-site)

ABSTRACT. The dissemination of the 64-hexagram diagram of Yijing (Book of Changes) in Europe and the world map "Kunyu wanguo quantu" ("Map of the countless countries of the world") in China during the 17th century had a significant impact on knowledge transmission and cultural exchange in the world history.

The 64-hexagram diagram of Yijing found its way to Europe through the efforts of European missionaries and scholars since the 17th century. An exemplary case illustrating the influence of the 64-hexagram diagram on European intellectual thought is that of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1649-1716). Leibniz drew inspiration from the profound wisdom contained within the diagram, particularly in relation to the binary system. The engagement with this ancient Chinese diagram transcended cultural boundaries, fostering a deeper appreciation for Chinese philosophy and thought.

Meanwhile, in China, a remarkable cartographic achievement emerged at the beginning of the 17th century known as the "Kunyu wanguo quantu" by Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) and Chinese cartographers. This map provided a comprehensive depiction of Chinese territory and showcased other countries and regions worldwide. This map significantly contributed to the expansion of geographical knowledge in China, promoting cultural exchange and shaping Chinese perceptions of the world.

The paper highlights the interconnectedness of knowledge transmission during the 17th century, emphasizing how these cultural artifacts fostered cross-cultural dialogue and the exchange of ideas between East and West. The dissemination of these artifacts enriched intellectual landscapes and promoted a more interconnected and worldview. By shedding light on the impact of interpretation and misinterpretation of these artifacts, this research contributes to a broader understanding of how cultural exchange shape world history. It underscores the significance of such exchanges in shaping intellectual thought and promoting a more interconnected and culturally diverse global community. Ultimately, the dissemination of the 64-hexagram diagram and the "Kunyu wanguo quantu" map played significant roles in the transmission of knowledge and the promotion of cultural exchange, leaving a lasting impact on the intellectual and cultural landscape of the 17th century and beyond.

Misinterpretation of Evidence on the Origin of Cultural Plants: the Case of Brassica rapa in China (on-site)

ABSTRACT. Abstract The present study utilises a multidisciplinary approach towards revealing new insights into the study of Brassica rapa’s domestication history in China. A critical analysis of the current state-of-the-art research reveals a considerable distortion of data stemming from misinterpreted excavation reports of various archaeological sights discovered in China at the beginning of the first half of the twentieth century. The network of sources is untangled and brought to light while considering secondary linguistic evidence concerning the terminologies for the cultivated varieties of Brassica rapas utilised in the Chinese written histories. An in-depth study of phonetic reconstructions of the earliest attestations of terms connected with varieties of Brassica rapa (var. rapa, chinensis and pekinensis) reveals a potential link with non-Sinitic languages. A meta-analysis of contemporary assemblages of floral macro remains in mainland China conducted within this study does not support verifiable evidence of Brassica rapa varieties’ cultivation in the Neolithic times.


09:30-11:30 Session 1D: Literacy and Literariness in Korea (organized panel)

Zoom link D: 

Parameters of Literacy and Literariness in Modern Korea: Hermeneutics as Textual Technics

This panel investigates literacy and literariness as broadly constituted by reading, writing, criticism, and machine-mediated analysis while moving between national borders, linguistic/generic modes, and the human and the non-human. Hwang shows how a renowned South Korean critic’s unorthodox interpretation of D.H. Lawrence’s survey of American literature in the 1980s allowed him to advocate for anti-American resistance while critiquing the literature of minjung. Chung explores the aesthetics of recursivity in fabulist postmillennial novels that interpret writing as a form of sociogenetic elaboration overturning the economic reduction of life by neoliberalism. Berthelier compares North and South Korean literary language by leveraging the Large Language Models’ tendency to prefer low perplexity to measure deviations from the generic. Shin develops the idea of elasticity to show how the operations of ChatGPT uncannily mirror the ways humans have already been interpreting and performing in a culture of hyperconnectivity. Taken together, we understand these hermeneutics as relational forms of thinking and embodying language through interpretation and misinterpretation — a textual technics of becoming — while navigating between creation and criticism, fabulism and verisimilitude, the generic and the uncommon, and canon and popular culture.

Location: Room D | 2.64
Literary Praxis Against Identity Politics: Paik Nak-chung’s Reading of D.H. Lawrence in 1980s’ South Korea (online)

ABSTRACT. In 1982 Paik Nak-chung published “The American Dream and the Burden of American Literature,” in which the literary critic performs a close reading of D.H. Lawrence’s Studies of Classic American Literature (1923). Drawing out key moments from Lawrence’s analyses of American literature from the earliest writings up to the late nineteenth-century poetry, Paik traces a lineage of what he diagnoses as America’s long-entrenched imperialist impulses that came to dominate the world stage in the twentieth century. Discussing Paik’s reading of Lawrence’s Studies in Classic American Literature in the context of intensifying anti-Americanism in 1980s’ South Korea, this paper examines how Paik utilized specific strategies as a reader to simultaneously advocate South Korea’s resistance to American neoimperialism and criticize the growing prominence of identity-based politics in minjung [the (oppressed) people] discourse. This instance of literary criticism via literary criticism in Paik’s work invites us to explore how the practice of multilayered, cross-cultural readings can animate the indeterminacy of the literary over-prescribed modes of interpretation.

Recursivity as Sociogenetic Elaboration: Hermeneutics of Repetition in Hwang Jung-eun’s Novels of Neoliberal Ennui (on-site)

ABSTRACT. Like many South Korean authors of the postmillennial generation, Hwang Jung-eun often blurs the boundary between fabulism and realism. But when compared to contemporaries like Pyun Hye-young, Yun I-hyeong, and Han Yujoo, Hwang’s relentless serenity stands out. While not entirely free of postmodern contrivances, her narratives are not heavily plotted, sensorially burdensome, or formally overwrought. The dominant mood of her fiction is a kind of enchanted ennui. This paper focuses on the recursivity of her quiet style, where words, names, questions, or statements are repeated with small variations. Drawing from Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s reformulation of debt as “a means of socialization” or an opportunity for “elaboration,” I interpret Hwang’s style of recursivity as bearing sociogenetic significance. Specifically, I argue that its reiterative quality has reparative effects (Eve Sedgwick). First, it reimagines the temporality of becoming as a process not held captive by trauma or bound by progressive time. Second, it locates sociogenetic elaboration outside of the normative relations of economic exchange or the patriarchal family.

Generative Writing Degree Zero: Exploring Differences in Literary Values between North and South Korea through Large Language Models (on-site)

ABSTRACT. This paper looks at the use of large language models (LLMs) as tools of literary analysis, focusing on the connections between LLM evaluation mechanisms and practices of literary creation. A fundamental, yet often overlooked aspect of LLM-driven text generation, is its reliance on a selection process that sifts through and identifies the most probable combinations of lexemes from a multitude of potential outcomes. This process is evaluated by measuring the model's predictive uncertainty, usually via a metric known as perplexity. With their design focused on minimizing perplexity, LLMs tend to generate text that leans towards the common and generic, echoing Barthes' concept of “writing degree zero” as "a neutral and inert state of form." This research employs LLMs to illuminate this degree zero and to quantify deviations from it across different writing genres in North and South Korea. Such an approach offers a comparative perspective on the relationships of contemporary North and South Korean literatures to convention, tropes, and signifiers of literariness, offering a nuanced lens through which creative practices in these two distinct literary cultures can be viewed and understood.

Elastic Literacy and Compression Culture: Meaning Making in the Wake of chatGPT (online)

ABSTRACT. The release of chatGPT brought forth a seismic shift in the mediasphere and human culture (or rather, what we have long believed to be the defining faculties of humanity and its culture) at large. While such developments may seem sudden, however, I claim that they are demonstrative of a cumulatively built practice that has been the driving principle behind the electronically networked media ecology, pointing to a surprising development that showcases the elasticity of human literacy. Aside from the fact that the fundamental mechanism behind chatGPT is little more than “applied statistics” (Ted Chiang), its workings serve as an uncanny mirror dynamic of the manner in which we humans have come to interpret, perform, and inhabit reading and writing through key interfaces of the contemporary mediascape across social media, streaming platforms, and search engines. Focusing on the idea of “elasticity” as a double entendre to illuminate both the hermeneutic and performative implications of nonhuman literacy in the wake of chat GPT, this essay explores the mechanism of meaning-making through six keywords that map out the praxis of contemporary media: prompts, distraction, short form, speed, information overload, and compression.

09:30-11:30 Session 1E: Japanese Literature
Location: Room E | 2.65
Interpreting Ichijō Kaneyoshi's Shōdanchiyō (on-site)

ABSTRACT. Ichijō Kaneyoshi (June 7, 1402 – April 30, 1481) was a Japanese court noble who lived during the Ōnin war period, a member of the large Fujiwara clan, he even served as the kampaku regent. However, perhaps even more importantly, he was known as a great scholar. He has written many treatises on classical works of literature such as Genji Monogatari, but also works of a more political nature such as his Shōdanchiyō. Shōdanchiyō is a rather short text but filled with interesting topics including the role of women in politics. Without context it can be difficult to interpret, but using detailed knowledge of the period and his own life, it becomes a surprisingly personal account, and a unique opportunity to look into the mind of noble losing the status his family has been accustomed for centuries. This paper will elucidate these fascinating details, and it will focus on the issues of class, political power and gender, drawing not only on the text itself, but also on the ample sources of the period, predominantly on various diaries and commentaries both in Japanese and Chinese.

Regional Tales in the Mōsōbiwa Tradition of Kyushu - Facts and Fiction in Kikuchi Kuzure and Miyako Gassen Chikushi Kudari (on-site)

ABSTRACT. In Japan, periods of political turmoil and incidents of significant importance were often followed by the literary production of tales. Such tales based on or at least reflecting actual historical realities were created and performed for various reasons: to amuse the audiences, educate or inform people about recent events, or, in some cases, appease the spirits of those who suffered or died as a result of such events. A body of literature, the so-called chinkon no bungaku, was purportedly produced for the latter purpose and included such a prominent work of Japanese literature as the Tale of the Heike. Around the end of the 16th century, most biwa hōshi who previously performed such tales and rituals found new sources to support their living, such as massage and acupuncture. Some of them gave up the biwa for shamisen or koto instruments. After the Edo period, it was only in Kyushu that the biwa continued to be a part of the folk tradition, and the biwa hōshi maintained both their function as entertainers and their role in the religious practices of the rural community. The repertory of the biwa hōshi of Kyushu includes several tales related to historical events and occurrences of Kyushu. Such tales as Kikuchi Kuzure, Miyako Gassen Chikushi Kudari, Shimabara Junrei, Tenryūgawa, and Yanagawa Sōdō are included in this category. In this paper, I will attempt to determine the actual historical facts and fictional elements depicted in these tales, focusing on two tales, Kikuchi Kuzure and Miyako Gassen Chikushi Kudari, based on the comparative analysis of the narrative material and historical sources. Secondly, I will discuss the role and function of the above-mentioned tales in the history and culture of the local community.

A Map of Misreading from Fin-de-Siècle Japan: Ōgai and "Literature" (online)

ABSTRACT. In the beginning of 1889, one Japanese medical doctor wrote a "prescription." It was, however, not to prescribe drugs but to explain how to write a novel. Addressing writers and writers-to-be in fin-de-siècle Japan, the doctor first contradicted Émile Zola's theory ("The Experimental Novel," 1880) and argued that "nature qua fact" acquired through "scientific" methodologies of "observation and experimentation" should not constitute the novel itself. The prescription was entitled "Shōsetsuron" ("The Theory of the Novel"), prepared by "Medical Doctor, Mori Rintarō," who is now best remembered as fiction writer "Mori Ōgai." Ōgai resubmitted his prescription for the novel a few months later when he, again self-identified as a medical doctor, challenged a contemporary intellectual Iwamoto Yoshiharu's opinion essay entitled "Bungaku to shizen" ("Literature and Nature"). Framed anew as a theory of the constitutive quality of aesthetic literature, Ōgai's writing combatively negated Iwamoto's view—the inevitable correlation between "literature" and "nature"—and invited an immediate response from Iwamoto. The exchange between Iwamoto and Ōgai unfolded oddly, involving various disconnects on the contextual, semantic, and stylistic levels. Ōgai read Iwamoto's key term, "nature" (shizen), in a way that was violently divergent from Iwamoto's usage. Moreover, Ōgai continued to dismiss Iwamoto’s explanation of the term. As such, even as the dispute revolved around "nature," Ōgai's "nature" had little to do with Iwamoto's. I consider Ōgai's handling of Iwamoto's "nature" to be an instance of deliberate misreading, one that reminds us of Harold Bloom's note on creative misreading (A Map of Misreading, 1975). I contend that through his misreading of Iwamoto, Ōgai creatively mapped out the stakes of his own discourse: the necessity of restructuring the order of knowledge, dividing "science" from "aesthetics" in particular, in the context of late nineteenth-century Japan.

Interpreting the Sokushinbutsu in Rumiko Takahashi’s Inuyasha (online)

ABSTRACT. Rumiko Takahashi’s Inuyasha manga maintained a high degree of popularity throughout its initial run in Shogakukan’s manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday from November 1996 to June 2008 and were later brought out in book format and as an anime series. The story begins with Kagome Higurashi, a fifteen-year-old middle school girl from modern day Tokyo, being transported to Japan’s “Warring States Period” (1467-1615) after falling into a well in her family shrine. In this semi-familiar “other world” she encounters the half-dog demon, half-human Inuyasha and embarks on a series of adventures in which the award-winning Takahashi blends dark and serious themes with the lighter hearted material typical of her previous work. The proposed presentation analyzes the character Hakushin Sokushinbutsu, who appears from Vol.26 Ch.10 Sokushinbutsu to Vol.28 Ch.4 Seiiki no Shōmetsu (“Sanctuary’s End”) in the manga and episodes 113-114 and 118-120 of the anime series. He is an ambiguous character who first enters the storyline as a threat to the heroes, but later sees the light and helps them. Hakushin is of great interest as one of a limited number of fictional representations of the sokushinbutsu mummified “buddhas in this very body” of Japan’s Tohoku region, closely associated with Mt. Yudono. After fading from view somewhat due to legal, cultural and institutional changes in the late 19th century, the sokushinbutsu were “rediscovered” by journalists and scholars of various disciplines in the mid 20th century. The presentation of such remarkable and mysterious cultural phenomena as sokushinbutsu in the positive and largely secular frameworks offered by modern academia was part of a long process of re-envisioning the Tohoku region as an essential part of the Japanese state, as opposed to a benighted and impoverished hinterland, or even “internal foreign land”, as has been suggested in Nathan Hopson’s research (‘Ennobling Japan’s Savage Northeast,’ Harvard University Asia Center, 2017). Their post-war reception and subsequent fictional representation were also influenced by the “occult boom” which occurred from the 1960s onward. Exploring the interpretations found in Japanese and English medium fandom and drawing comparisons with other fictionalized sokushinbutsu in Japanese subculture, this presentation provides analysis of Hakushin in the context of Japan’s own “internal foreign land” and familiar but mysterious past of the Warring States Period.

11:30-13:00Lunch Break
13:00-14:30 Session 2A: China and the Media
Location: Room A | 2.56
Rivalry on Human Rights: How do the U.S. and China Portray Each Other in Annual Human Rights Reports? (on-site)

ABSTRACT. The human rights issue has escalated into one of the most contentious disputes in US-China relations. Every year, both countries issue “Human Rights Reports” to showcase the other’s perceived poor human rights records. Previous studies of China’s human rights record either criticize that nation’s practices through a universalist lens or explains away China’s human rights abuses using a cultural relativist approach. Other scholars highlight how China handles international pressure on its human rights abuses but pays less attention to how China rhetorically reacts to global criticism. It extends the discussion around human rights from human rights practices to the discursive competition around human rights, putting it in the ongoing China-U.S. geopolitical rivalry. Through thematic, cluster, and linguistic analysis of the U.S.’ “2021 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: China (Includes Hong Kong, Macau, and Tibet)” of China’s “The Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2021”, this study uncovers divergent strategies in which both powers delegitimize the rival political institution for domestic and international audiences. This study shows that human rights matter not only in practical terms but also in discursive and rhetorical terms. Meanwhile, it suggests that human rights matter not only in the domestic realm of authoritarian regimes but in the global context amid the heightened competition between democracies and autocracies.

Interpretation and Misinterpretation: A Comparative Analysis of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics' Framing in Chinese and Czech Online News Outlets (online)

ABSTRACT. This paper presents a comparative analysis of the interpretation and misinterpretation of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in Chinese and Czech online news outlets. Focusing on framing techniques employed by two heavily state-controlled Chinese language online news websites (Xinhua News and China Daily) and two popular Czech online news providers (Seznam Zprávy and Novinky), the analysis examines how these outlets framed the Olympic Games and how potential misinterpretations may have influenced public perception.

As one of the communication tools, framing shapes how audiences understand, and view presented events. Media outlets have the ability to influence their interpretation by offering a view through a certain lens (framing) selecting specific aspects of news to highlight, using particular language and narratives, and presenting information to support certain viewpoints. However, misinterpretations can occur when framing distorts or misrepresents the underlying reality.

A corpus of 58 Czech and 421 Chinese news articles and opinion pieces was analysed, covering the period from 1.–⁠20. 1. 2022, which included one month leading up to the Games. The results show contrasting interpretations and misinterpretations in framing the Beijing Winter Olympics. The Chinese news outlets heavily emphasized positive aspects of the Games, showcasing infrastructure development and portraying it as a globally embraced event. In contrast, the Czech news outlets adopted a more critical perspective, highlighting environmental impact, political influence, and human rights issues.

The findings of this study highlight the power of framing in shaping public perception and emphasize the importance of critical analysis of media narratives. By comparing the framing techniques used by Chinese and Czech news outlets, this research contributes to a better understanding of how interpretation and misinterpretation may influence the image and reception of major international events. Furthermore, the results also highlight the need for media literacy and critical thinking to navigate the complex media landscape and provide a more nuanced comprehension of international events.

CANCELLED! Interpreting Media Guidelines: Unraveling the Linguistic Aspects of Censorship in Mainland China (on-site)

ABSTRACT. This paper presents an in-depth investigation into the domain of 'sensitive words' (敏感词) and forbidden discourse, as documented in the 'List of Forbidden and Use-With-Caution Words in Xinhua News Agency's News Reports' in its three versions from 2015, 2016, and 2019. These guidelines offer valuable insights into the mechanisms by which censorship is enforced in (online) Chinese media (Han, 2018; Roberts, 2018; Taylor, 2022). They encompass "recommendations" ranging from restrictions on hate speech targeting vulnerable groups to combating misinformation and curbing false advertising practices.

Methodologically, the research employs Discourse Analysis, a framework that explores how language reflects social processes and examines the relationship between language and power. This approach has proven effective in scrutinizing the linguistic dimensions of Chinese censorship, as demonstrated by Vuori and Paltemaa (2019).

Examining the implementation of censorship reveals certain societal trends that the Chinese government seeks to suppress (e.g., "star chasing" 追星 for idolizing celebrities). Furthermore, the study explores the sensitization of media representations of authorities at different levels. Censorship measures extend to combating class inequality, labeling individuals based on social status or place of birth. The guidelines prohibit the use of obscenities as well as the use of cryptic language to evade obscenities. The pursuit of objectivity in news reports through the use of connotation-free ("neutral") expressions, as well as restrictions on discourse pertaining to ethnic minorities, religions, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan further demonstrate the wide-ranging impact of censorship.

It is crucial to acknowledge that even seemingly innocuous stylistic recommendations often conceal underlying political agendas that are not readily apparent. Through a meticulous analysis of these linguistic aspects, this study endeavors to shed light on the intricate nature of media and cyber censorship in Mainland China, and its far-reaching implications for the realms of freedom of expression and public discourse.


1. Han, R. (2018). Contesting Cyberspace in China: Online Expression and Authoritarian Resilience. Columbia University Press. 2. Roberts, M. E. (2018). Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China’s Great Firewall. Princeton University Press. 3. Taylor, M. (2022). China’s Digital Authoritarianism: A Governance Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan. 4. Vuori, J. A., & Paltemaa, L. (2019). Chinese Censorship of online discourse. In C. Shei (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Discourse Analysis (pp. 391–403). Routledge. 5. Xinhua Agency (2019). Xīnhuáshè xīnwén xìnxī bàodào zhōng de jìnyòngcí hé shènyòngcí 新华社新闻信息报道中的禁用词和慎用词 [List of Forbidden and Use-With-Caution Words in Xinhua News Agency's News Reports].

13:00-14:30 Session 2B: Art and Its Interpretation
Location: Room B | 2.43
New Art for the People: the “Sociological Turn” in Contemporary Chinese Art as a Threefold Interpretative Milestone (on-site)

ABSTRACT. This paper analyses a debate that animated Sinophone critical art circles during the early 2000s and revolved around a periodizing phrase advanced by its initiators, i.e., the “sociological turn” (shehuixue zhuanxiang). In one of the essays that sparked this debate, art historian Sun Zhenhua (2003) argued that from the late 1970s Chinese art had discarded the (politically) “instrumental” approach of the socialist era in the name of an “aesthetic” approach that emphasized art for art’s sake and the artist’s elite status. Sun proposed that it was time to reject such elitism and bring art closer to society – not in the name of revolution, but for the democratization of art. Indeed, Sun maintained that since the late 1990s Chinese art had been taking such "turn” by displaying a growing awareness of societal issues. Another art historian, Li Gongming, even declared that new Chinese art should find its raison d’être in a concern for real life in the country, particularly the suffering of its most disadvantaged citizens (Li 2003).

Through a close reading of these and other significant texts from the debate on the “sociological turn”, this study argues that it represented a threefold (re-)interpretative effort: First, as an interpretation of art from the mid-1990s and early 2000s that placed it in relation to contemporaneous currents of Chinese intellectual politics; Second, as promoting a new interpretation of the idea of socially-engaged art in contrast to both Mao’s politicization of art and its rejection in the post-Mao years; And finally, as implicitly countering Western (mis-)interpretations of post-Mao Chinese art that centered perceived critiques of the party-state and its ideology – by valorizing, instead, art that addressed China’s socio-economic issues. As a result, this paper sheds light on an important, yet overlooked moment in the contemporary history of Sinophone art criticism.


Li, Gongming (2003), ‘Lun dangdai yishu zai gonggong lingyu zhong de shehuixue zhuanxiang’ (‘On contemporary art’s sociological turn in the public sphere’), in Pi Daojian and Lu Hong (eds), Yishu xin shijie: 26 wei zhuming pipingjia tan Zhongguo dangdai meishu de zoushi (‘New artistic horizons: 26 famous critics discuss trends in contemporary Chinese art’), Changsha: Hunan meishu chubanshe, pp. 121–31.

Sun, Zhenhua (2003), ‘Dangdai yishu de shehuixue zhuanxing’ (‘The sociological transformation of contemporary art’), in Pi Daojian and Lu Hong (eds), Yishu xin shijie: 26 wei zhuming pipingjia tan Zhongguo dangdai meishu de zoushi (‘New artistic horizons: 26 famous critics discuss trends in contemporary Chinese art’), Changsha: Hunan meishu chubanshe, pp. 107–18.

CANCELLED! Contemporary Blue-green landscape painting: Various modes of reinterpretation (on-site)

ABSTRACT. In the realm of Chinese painting, the past has always served as a great source of artistic inspiration. The concept of imitating the preceding authors’ masterpieces, and the manners that draw inspiration from history, are equally relevant in modern and contemporary Chinese art. This renewed interest in tradition is frequently accompanied by the reevaluation of historical aesthetic concepts and the attempt to redefine them in accordance with contemporaneity, resulting in changes in stylistic features and interpretation of traditional art forms. Such revitalization of archaic styles and motifs also applies to the blue-green landscape painting, a significant but long-time disregarded manner of landscape depiction. This study aims to analyze contemporary approaches towards the blue-green landscape painting and its artistic manifestation. The objective is to compare the techniques, methods and philosophical context typical for historical blue-green landscape paintings, with those of contemporary artists, determine how is this archaizing style represented in contemporary Chinese art, and clarify whether and to what extent contemporary authors modify visual aspects as well as the meaning of the blue-green manner.

Diasporic artisans in 17th Century Japan: Exploring the stylistic impacts of mainland Asian metalsmiths on Japanese arms and armor (online)

ABSTRACT. This paper deals with the diasporic activities of mainland Asian metalsmiths who migrated or were forcibly brought from Ming Chinese or Joseon Korean territories to Japan during the 16th and 17th centuries. Focusing on their lives as craftspeople, this study examines the intersection of cultural identity, craftsmanship, and diaspora, shedding light on the vibrant cultural landscape of Japanese arts and crafts during the formative stage of the Tokugawa shogunate.

The 17th century witnessed a political and economic transformative era in Japan characterized by the policy of national isolation (sakoku 鎖国), the continued urbanization and the controlled trade and import of foreign goods. Against these difficulties, Korean descendants and Chinese immigrants successfully established themselves in the arts and crafts market producing armors and sword fittings for the warrior elite. With their unconventional designs, motifs and forms the foreign artisans were able to cultivate a dedicated clientele.

Moreover, this research examines the cultural exchanges and impacts that occurred between these craftspeople and their Japanese counterparts. It analyzes the synthesis of mainland Asian techniques, designs, and aesthetics with Japanese metalwork practices. Utilizing historical records and materials, as well as examples of armors and sword fittings, this study reconstructs the narratives of these artisans, highlighting their contributions to Japanese artistic traditions.

By examining the diasporic lives of mainland Asian metalsmiths in 17th century Japan, this paper enhances our understanding of the experiences of artisans in a multicultural context. Their stories testify to their resilience, adaptability, and creativity as they transcended borders, crossed cultural boundaries, and left an enduring legacy in the heritage of Japanese arms and armor.

13:00-14:30 Session 2C: Churches and Missionaries
Location: Room C | 2.44
Skulls and idols: Interpretations of the Asian religions in the Early 20th Century Missionary collections in Slovenia (online)

ABSTRACT. In the first half of the 20th century, missionary collecting practices became an important part of the missionary project of the Catholic Church, with missionary exhibitions and missionary museums becoming a new way of representing and interpreting the missionary work as well as the non-European societies and cultures. Missionary exhibitions and museums were established followed the example of the 1925 Vatican Missionary Exhibition, and the missionaries-collectors also became significant providers of objects for the secular museum institutions. Non-European and non-Catholic religions became a central theme in these displays, with implicit and explicit (mis) interpretations provided in the accompanying text and labelling, in taxonomy, in structure of the display and – first and foremost – in the choice of the objects themselves. Paper analyses how Asian religions were interpreted via all these means in the missionary collections, exhibitions, and museums of the early 20th century Slovenia. By analysing several most prominent examples – Franciscan missionary Peter Turk's collection of »Chinese idols« (1910s) in Slovenian Ethnographic Museum, pre-WWII Ljubljana trade fair missionary exhibitions (1930s), and the Ljubljana Museum of the Jesuit Bengal mission (1930s), the paper aims to recognize the interpretation strategies and methods of the missionary collections, while also trying to identify the references that the missionary collectors and exhibitors possibly drew their interpretations from. It seeks to distinguish between different levels of the interpretations of Asian religions, textual, visual, taxonomical, structural etc. to see which different interpretations were at play at each of these cases and how they intertwined and/or collided. To reconstruct the representations and interpretations, the paper uses the existing collections (when still preserved), scarce visual archive (photographs, drawings), and missionary and secular publications of that time.

CANCELLED! "Far away from home". Selected aspects of the activities of the Polish Mission to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission on the Korean Peninsula from 1953 to 1990 (on-site)

ABSTRACT. The primary purpose of the Korean War Armistice was to end the armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula and establish a truce until a final peace settlement is reached. In order to achieve this, the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission was set up to supervise and inspect places where violations of the Armistice Agreement were suspected. The NNSC was made up of representatives of four neutral countries, two designated by the Commander-in-Chief of the Korean People's Army and the commander of the Chinese People's Volunteers (Poland and Czechoslovakia) and two designated by the Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations Forces (Switzerland and Sweden). During the Cold War, the members of the Polish Mission to the NNSC analyzed the facts, compiled reports and reacted immediately to any signals indicating a possible threat to the truce. The preserved reports and notes show us the clash of two ‘different worlds’, where representatives of Western culture (Poles, Czechs, among others) had to cooperate with people of a different culture. As a result of the activities, the members of the Polish Mission operating on the Korean Peninsula established contacts with the People's Republic of China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. They also constituted a communication channel for development of future relations with the Republic of Korea. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the commission's role was reduced to an absolute minimum. Despite this, Poland still remains an active member of this body. Currently, the NNSC already includes representatives from three countries: Poland, Sweden, Switzerland. After the division of Czechoslovakia into two separate states, the Czech Mission withdrew. Even after the collapse of the USSR and the transformations on the Korean Peninsula, the main task of the NNSC remains unchanged - supervising the ceasefire between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea. How was the cooperation between members of the Polish and Czechoslovak Missions? How the NNSC was perceived by Koreans in the past and how their approach to the commission has changed until now? How did the members of the Polish Mission perceive Korea and its problems? What information does the IPN Archives hide about the Commission's activities? During the presentation, the author will provide answers to the above-mentioned questions and present unpublished materials from the Archives of the Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw.

The pros and cons of the legal status of Vietnamese Protestant churches (on-site)

ABSTRACT. In Vietnam, religious groups must be registered with the government in order to operate legally. Until 2020, while nine Protestant groups were officially recognized by the Vietnamese government, and some groups are underway applying for legal status (semi-legal status), numerous groups, known as house churches, operated underground. Interestingly, our fieldwork data suggests that house churches thrived in the context of religious restriction, but they tended to be undeveloped when the Vietnamese state relaxed religious policies. The article aims to highlight the pros and cons of the legal status of Vietnamese Protestant churches. Based on in-depth interviews, we try to answer questions of how and why legal status is important to the growth of Protestant churches. We argue that although the legal status is important to Vietnamese Protestant churches, it is not a vital issue for the growth of these churches. Protestant churches have flexible strategies based on considering the pros and cons of the legal status to obtain their purpose.

13:00-14:30 Session 2D: Language and Society
Location: Room D | 2.64
Aboriginal Languages in Taiwan – victims of modernization? (on-site)

ABSTRACT. Aboriginal languages in Taiwan saw inclusion in school curriculum in current millennium, which was a marked change compared to the decades of their political and social marginalization in the second half of the 20th century. While in the 1970s students were punished and belittled for using their mother tongue at school, in current schooling system mastering of the very same language provides benefits in terms of advancing to the next school level. Author conducted interviews in Taitung County in Taiwan on the role of aboriginal languages in current, predominantly Han society in Taiwan. While there seems to be desire both by the authorities and by members of aboriginal communities to keep aboriginal languages alive, there is also remarkable skepticism among the latter regarding achievability of this goal. Current paper argues that the exclusion of aboriginal languages from public as well private sphere was a process related to modernization of aboriginal communities and their inclusion in the larger modernization project driven primarily by the Han in Taiwan, or what Chang (2010) describes as “broad civilizational transformation”, which included fundamental and rapid changes of various aspects of national, communal and individual life.

Chang, K.-S. (2010). East Asia’s Condensed Transition to Second Modernity. Soziale Welt, 61(3/4), 319–328.

Inference and inter-cultural awareness in Italian-Chinese healthcare interpreting (on-site)

ABSTRACT. Taking into account Wadensjö’s theory of “interpretation as interaction”, my idea is to demonstrate that the inferential ability and the inter-cultural awareness of a human professional interpreter is the kingpin of healthcare interpreting. The aim of the contribution is to bring out the translation problems on which doctor-patient communication either reaches an empasse, or gives rise to mis-understandings, of both communicative and technical order, from a lexical, pragmatic or cultural point of view. Among Chinese-Italian community interpreting practices, those in the medical fields are the most common in Italy. Hospitals often resort to the use of a language mediator for communication with patients and families from China. In the absence of a professionally run language mediation service, the person who acts as an informal interpreter is often an acquaintance or a relative of the patient. In these cases we speak of natural translators (Harris, Sherwood 1978), or familial interpreters (Valdés 2003). This form of language brokering (Tse 1995) often involves children, who, more often than not, are unable to handle the complexity not only of the language, but also specific to this communicative setting. More often, Machine Translation (MT) tools such as Google Translate (studied by Turner et al., 2019) or other Chinese apps are used. As demonstrated in other language pairs, none of these MT tools have reached a sufficient accuracy in healthcare interpreting. Khoong et al. (2019 “cautiously support” the use of MT tools in clinical practices, while other studies, such as Downie and Dickson (2019) tend to discourage it quite strongly. Here I will examine some cases of interpretation and misinterpretation drawn from in-person and MT mediation services in some Italian healthcare centers.


Harris, B., Sherwood, B., Translating as an Innate Skill, Gerver, D., Sinaiko, H.W. (eds) Language Interpretation and Communication, NATO Conference Series, vol 6, Springer, Boston, MA (1978),

Khoong, Steinbrook, Brown, Fernandez “Assessing the use of Google translate for Spanish and Chinese translations of emergency department discharge instructions”, JAMA Internal Medicine 179 (4): 580 (2019).

Tse, L., Language Brokering in Linguistic Minority Communities: the Case of Chinese and Vietnamese – American Students, “Bilingual Research Journal”, vol. 20, 485–98 (1996).

Valdés, G., Expanding Definitions of Giftedness: The Case of Young Interpreters from Immigrant Communities, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates, 2003.

Publications of the North Korea’s Foreign Language Press in Arabic in the 1980s (online)

ABSTRACT. The relations between Egypt and North Korea, in terms of military exchanges, were very active since the 1960s. In contrast, this period did not witness a lot of cultural exchanges between the two countries. While we find that cultural activity was active during a very short period later during the 1980s. In this research, I intend to discuss aspects of what we can call cultural activity, and what it represents mainly focusing on North Korean Publications in Arabic. This research will focus on most is a rare collection of books that North Korea translated into Arabic at the beginning of the 1980s that was published in Egypt. It seems that North Korea, at that time, followed the method of China in publishing what promoted its regime in other languages, and Egypt was among them. It is known that the China Foreign Language Press played an important role in disseminating cultural, historical, political, and other information about China abroad. North Korea used the same method by establishing the Foreign Language Press - the same name used in China - to publish books about it in foreign languages abroad. The share of the Arabic language was within the range of ten books, including “A Great Teacher for Journalists”, which is a translation of a group of articles published in the Rodong newspaper, and “A Song of Reverence for the Great Love of Kim Jong Il and the People”, which is a translation of a book with the same title by the Japanese journalist Nada Takashi. These books are not a kind of cultural export, but they are one of the few attempts North Korea has made to define itself and promote its regime to the Egyptians. Through this short research paper, I intend to present those publications and their content in a simplified manner, in an attempt to understand what North Korea intended to export through it, and what might be the reasons for its failure as well later on, due to the disappearance of this type of promotion abroad.

13:00-14:30 Session 2E: Linguistics
Location: Room E | 2.65
When personal pronouns behave like interactional particles in Japanese conversational interaction (on-site)

ABSTRACT. Japanese is traditionally regarded as a predicate-final language, however, in actual conversational interactions, various patterns of turn-constructional unit continuation are common (Couper-Kuhlen and Ono 2007). In this paper, I focus on utterance constructions that involve the so-called personal pronouns expressing first- and second-person subjects produced in the post-predicate position within a single intonation contour as the predicate which precedes them.

These utterance constructions are clearly planned as non-predicate-final from the start and the personal pronouns appear to serve affective rather than referential or discourse-pragmatic function. In other words, what these prosodically integrated first- and second-person pronouns produced in the post-predicate position recurrently do is contribute to the construction of affective stance displays, that is, the speakers’ displays of emotions, feelings, moods, and attitudes.

Consequently, both in their function and position, they strongly resemble elements that are generally classified as interactional (or ‘sentence final’) particles. In fact, according to Fujiwara’s (1986) large-scale study of Japanese dialects, the diachronic development of first- and second-person pronouns into interactional particles seems quite common. When we pay close attention to actual conversational interactions, we further notice that in addition to the personal pronouns that I discuss in this paper, there are various other linguistic elements that also appear to be presently undergoing the process of recategorization into the utterance-final interactional particles.

The paper draws on interactional linguistics and is based on the analysis of my own collection of recordings of spontaneous face-to-face conversational interactions between Japanese young adult friends, telephone conversations from the TalkBank Japanese CallFriend Corpus, and excerpts of written conversational interactions from social media.


Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth, and Tsuyoshi Ono. 2007. ‘Incrementing’ in conversation. A comparison of practices in English, German and Japanese. Pragmatics 17(4): 513–552.

Fujiwara, Yōichi. 1986. Hōgen Bunmatsushi (Bunmatsujoshi) no Kenkyū, Ge. Shōwa Nihongo Hōgen no Sōgōteki Kenkyū, Daisankan. Tōkyō: Shun’yōdō.

Tokenization and part-of-speech tagging in written Cantonese data (on-site)

ABSTRACT. Introduction Cantonese is a low resource language with limited annotated data (Lau et al., 2022) Most of the existing corpora research in Cantonese deals with spoken language data (Lee, 2011; Luke & Wong, 2015; Wong, 2006). There is a lack of written Cantonese data, as well as lack of suitable POS (part-of-speech) schemes. Existing Cantonese POS-schemes include Luke & Wong (2015) and Wong (2006). Due to a lack of training data, even the tools created specifically for Cantonese do not work properly. In this paper, we compare two POS-tagging tools, Universal Dependencies (De Marneffe et al., 2021; Petrov et al., 2011) and HKCanCor (Luke & Wong, 2015), and discuss their problems, including incorrect tokenization and part-of-speech tagging, or lack of certain part-of-speech categories.

Methodology Universal Dependencies has 17 POS-categories and HKCanCor (Hong Kong Cantonese Corpus) has 46 POS-categories. Both tools are incorporated in PyCantonese, an open-source Python library for Cantonese linguistics trained on Cantonese corpus data (Lee et al., 2022), likely the most advanced tool for Cantonese corpus linguistics and natural language processing. These tools were tested on a sample of 10 stories (3840 Chinese characters) by Hambaanglaang (Lau & et. al., 2023), an open source with a CC-BY licence.

Results In terms of tokenization, one notable issue is the inaccurate distinction of boundaries between different items; for instance, HKCanCor tokenizer tends to create nonsensical three- or four-character tokens, while UD tokenizer does not segment transitive verbs onto verb + object, e.g., 剪頭髮 zin2 tau4 faat3 ‘have a haircut’ is tokenized and tagged as one verb. In general, HKCanCor tokenizer tends to segment bigger units (2069 tokens) compared to Universal Dependencies tokenizer (2954 tokens). Another problem arises from the lack of certain functional categories in the Universal Dependencies tagset, e.g., classifier, sentence-final particle. Such items are usually incorrectly tagged as a noun or a verb. Both tools often fail to tokenize and tag Cantonese-specific items, e.g., sentence-final particles and classifiers. Our study aims to address these challenges.

References De Marneffe, M.-C., Manning, C. D., Nivre, J., & Zeman, D. (2021). Universal dependencies. Computational Linguistics, 47(2), 255–308. Lau, C. M., Chan, G. W., Tse, R. K., & Chan, L. S. (2022). Words. hk: A comprehensive Cantonese dictionary dataset with definitions, translations and transliterated examples. Proceedings of the Workshop on Dataset Creation for Lower-Resourced Languages within the 13th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference, 53–62. Lau, C.-M., & et. al. (2023). 冚唪唥粵文讀本 Hambaanglaang Cantonese Graded Readers [Data set]. Lee, J., Chen, L., Lam, C., Lau, C. M., & Tsui, T.-H. (2022). PyCantonese: Cantonese linguistics and NLP in python. Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference, 6607–6611. Lee, J. S. (2011). Toward a parallel corpus of spoken Cantonese and written Chinese. Proceedings of 5th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, 1462–1466. Luke, K.-K., & Wong, M. L. (2015). The Hong Kong Cantonese corpus: Design and uses. Journal of Chinese Linguistics Monograph Series, 25, 312–333. Petrov, S., Das, D., & McDonald, R. (2011). A universal part-of-speech tagset. ArXiv Preprint ArXiv:1104.2086. Wong, P.-W. (2006). The specification of POS tagging of the Hong Kong University Cantonese corpus. International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction, 2(1), 21–38.

CANCELLED! The Part of the Axiosphere of Ancient Chinese Dictionary “Shuo wen jie zi”: A Matter of Hermeneutic Semiotics (online)

ABSTRACT. The theoretical and practical study of the ancient Chinese dictionary “Shuo wen” has allowed us to reveal the following points:

Chinese hieroglyphic units formed a writing system for which the function of translating/transmitting ideas, meanings, or concepts through visual-graphic elements prevails over the function of conveying a single meaning or reading.

The ancient Chinese dictionary “Shuo wen” is the constitutive source and stage in the development of the national linguo-semiotics of Chinese writing.

Interpretation of a hieroglyph in “Shuo wen” is disclosed first of all through its graphic sense-making form, graphic components and the system of grapho-logical, ideo-graphic relations with other signs, subordinated to Chinese philosophical-cultural matrices/ideas. Besides that, the signs of the dictionary are interpreted through the prism of ethico-political problems, predominantly in a practical-pragmatic way as a means of conveying the prescription for action necessary in moral-political practice.

Macro-structure of the dictionary “Shuo wen” (chapter division (juan卷), the sequence of signs and their classification according to bushou 部首rubrics) represents a certain coherent, integral, complex system, revealing the meaning of relations in Chinese culture and the model of universe (correlations of spatial, temporal characteristics, properties of things, people, various entities, etc.)

In this article within the framework of the general philosophic theory of axiosphere, axiologically oriented linguistic areas - ethnolinguistics, critical analysis of discourse, cognitive linguistics (theory of concepts, their prototypical characteristics, categorization), on the one hand, and the aspects of linguistic-semiotics (F. de Saussure, Ch. S. Peirce, Ch. W. Morris, Fr. L. G. Frege, L. Tr. Hjelmslev), on the other hand, the ideo-grapho-logical dictionary “Shuo wen” is considered as a source containing the basic value characteristics of the world of the ancient Chinese people of the Han era. The characteristics of Chinese hermeneutic semiotics are studied on the example of the second chapter juan: the structural relationships of the whole set of key and derivative signs are systematically described on the grapho-logical level, connotative continuum of metaphysical, philosophical, cultural, social-political, natural phenomena and their corresponding value meanings is revealed on the ideo-graphic level. As a result, the features of the Chinese hieroglyphic sign as an axiologema (axiological meanings within the sign), which is disclosed in its moduses: as logo-episteme (the element of knowledge within the sign), culturema (cultural phenomenon within the sign), behaviorema (behavioral unit within the sign), ideologema (social-political element within the sign), are demonstrated.

14:30-15:00Coffee Break
15:00-16:30 Session 3A: Japanese Cultural Texts (organized panel)

Zoom link A:

The Pitfalls of Universalism: Japanese Cultural Texts Interpreted and Misinterpreted Under the Western Eye

Any cultural text is destined to be brought out of the milieu of its origin to be received by the alien recipients. Naturally, it is highly prone to misinterpretation as the receiver may very well lack the knowledge of linguistic/cultural paradigm that the text has sprung from. The Japanese cultural texts which have been quite favorably received by foreign readers have also been interpreted and badly misinterpreted. While this is a common reality of any socio-cultural encounter, the problem arises when the interpretation is done on the basis of (false) universalism which domesticates the alien cultural phenomena as expressions of the universal, thus common, human sentiments and cultural practice. Such universalism is a gesture to contain the other to one's own familiar paradigm. This panel attempts to explore the function of universalist conceptions that has standardized misinterpretation as (true) interpretation in a few cases of the kind in the history of the dissemination of Japanese cultural texts in the West.

Location: Room A | 2.56
Music as an Instance of Postcoloniality: Rethinking the Relationship between Music and Literature as a Point of Resistance (on-site)

ABSTRACT. Yokota-Murakami Takayuki in his "Music as an Instance of Postcoloniality: Rethinking the Relationship between Music and Literature as a Point of Resistance" challenges the universalist notion that music is a common language by exploring the case of Lev Tolstoy's reception of Japanese "songs." The journalist Tokutomi Soho visited Yasnaya Polyana in 1896 and sang "songs." Tolstoy relates this incident in his treatise of art and insists that he was moved as he could understand the profound grief expressed in the songs without any knowledge of Japanese language. According to Tokutomi's travelogue, however, the Tolstoys, including the writer himself, could not refrain from chuckling at the songs that sounded exotic and weird. In fact, it is open to question whether it was singing or the recitation of poems that Tokutomi performed. And the verses were neither grievous or hilarious, but solemn as they were about Japan's victory at war. Tolstoy's universalist incorrect interpretation clearly reveals the pitfall of Orientalistic assimilation of alien paradigms.

The Lineage of the "Little Japanese Woman": Do Stereotype Parodies Resonate with Audiences? (on-site)

ABSTRACT. Hiraishi Noriko' paper "The Lineage of the "Little Japanese Woman": Do Stereotype Parodies Resonate with Audiences?" discuss the changing images of Japanese women over the century and across various media. Rina Sawayama's "STFU!" (2019) is a song that tackles the theme of microaggressions and its music video sheds light on the stereotypes faced by Asian women, drawing from Sawayama's personal experiences. In the video, her date tells her, "I'm currently writing like a fan-fiction piece. But from the perspective of a little Japanese woman. It's kind of a new-age Memoirs of a Geisha, which is kinda cool, but with more action. I mean, I'm obviously indebted culturally to Kill Bill, number one." It is, she argues, well-known that the origins of the stereotypes surrounding Japanese women, as perceived by white men, can be traced back to Pierre Loti's Madame Chrysanthème (1888) and John Luther Long's Madame Butterfly (1898). These works gained an air of authenticity due to the authors' personal experiences. Long's work was adapted into the opera Madama Butterfly by Puccini in 1904, which continues to enjoy immense popularity and is performed worldwide every year. The focus of the paper is to address the situation where these images that spread as stereotypes not only of Japanese women but also of Asian women, although parodied since the 1970s, have not always conveyed their irony effectively. Through the analysis of works such as Brian Ferry's "Tokyo Joe" released in 1977, the collaboration between Iggy Pop and David Bowie in "China Girl" in the same year, Bowie's music video for the song in 1983, and David Henry Hwang's play M. Butterfly published in 1988, the paper will examine the structure and functioning of the parody of Japanese (Asian) female stereotypes, shedding light on its mechanisms.

Laughter as Collective Mis/interpretation: Ariyoshi Sawako’s Furu Amerika ni Sode wa Nurasaji in Kabuki Format (online)

ABSTRACT. The misinterpretation not solely originates in the Orientalistic gaze of the West, but possibly within the Japanese horizon of interpretation, which is the topic for Raj Lakhi Sen's paper "Laughter as Collective Mis/interpretation: Ariyoshi Sawako’s Furu Amerika ni Sode wa Nurasaji in Kabuki Format” reveal the misinterpretation within Japan and within one medium of theater. Ariyoshi Sawako's Furu Amerika (1970) is a well known script set in Yokohama pleasure quarters in the bakumatsu period. It tells the story of a historical Geisha figure ‘Kiyu’ who was in love with a young aspiring doctor/interpreter and commited suicide in her resistance against providing service to a foreigner. However, her act of suicide was mis/interpreted as a political development which resulted in marginalizing her ‘voice’. The character ‘Kiyu’ is a dream character which many leading actors of Japan have wanted to play including the legendary Kabuki’s Onnagata performer Bando Tamasaburo. This paper will conduct a comparative examination of the performance of Tamasaburo with other actors while presenting an argument on how the audience’s laughter was neither inspired by the collective consciousness nor was the part of the process of self-awareness, as also argued by Andre Bazin, instead, the audience’s laughter was self-imposed and misinterpreted from the Tamasaburo’s Form Kata and illuminated as a meta-narrative, and it limits the access to the construction of the “truth” for contemporary audience. With these four papers covering a diverse range of media and a wide span of time the panel attempts to explore the history/specificity/significance of interpretation and misinterpretation of modern Japanese cultural texts.

15:00-16:30 Session 3B: Interpreting the Past
Location: Room B | 2.43
Discourse on the location of Wanggŏm-sŏng in North Korea (online)

ABSTRACT. The question of the location of Wanggŏm-sŏng, the putative capital of the Old Chosŏn state, is still debatable and has not yet found its unambiguous solution. The paper analyzes the gradual transformation of the discourse on the location of Wanggŏm-sŏng in North Korean Academia. In order to carry out this study I analyzed three types of sources: 1) historiographical sources of scientific history, 2) official publications of national history, 3) dictionaries and other reference literature, 4) works of North Korea's leaders Kim Il-sung and Kin Jung-il. Through my analysis, I identified four main stages in the transformation of the discourse on the location of Wanggŏm-sŏng as following: In the first stage, during the 1950s, North Korean scientists freely debated Wanggŏm-sŏng’s location, leading to the establishment of two dominant theories: the Liaohe River Valley location theory and the Taedong River Valley location theory. Scholars leaned towards either theory based on their preference for chronicle or archaeological evidence. The 1960ss witnessed the most diverse range of viewpoints regarding the location of Wanggŏm-sŏng. The so-called archaeological perspective persisted and evolved, proposing that Wanggŏm-sŏng was located in the present-day P'yŏngyang. Another group works suggests the existence of the different centers of the Old Chosŏn chronologically and the transition from one to another through the time. Liaohe river velley location theory evolved in to directions: the Liaoyang location theory and the Lower Reaches of the Liaohe River location theory. The latter, developed by Lee Ji-rin, became dominant in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1993, following the discovery of Tangun's tomb, P'yŏngyang was proclaimed the only true capital of Old Chosŏn. This proclamation generated a contradiction between the ideological impossibility of a Chinese conquest of P'yŏngyang area that time and written evidence suggesting that Wanggŏm-sŏng was conquered. Therefore, contemporary North Korean scientific studies bifurcate the concept of Wanggŏm-sŏng into a secondary capital (Liaodong Peninsula) and a main capital (P'yŏngyang area).

Interpretation vs. Misinterpretation of History: The Evolution of the Idea of India in K.M. Panikkar (online)

ABSTRACT. The contribution investigates aspects in the career of Kavalam Madhava Panikkar, a renown Indian historian, statesman and diplomat, throughout the transition from the British Empire to the Nehruvian era. We intend to show 1) that the elaboration of the idea of India was a most important common thread and 2) that the idea of India was subject to an evolution closely connected to Panikkar’s own experience in politics and diplomacy. Panikkar investigated the issue of India’s supposed political immaturity in 1917 with a series of articles titled ‘The Illusions of Anglo-India’. He denied that India was a mere geographical expression inhabited by conflict-fraught societies without a common rationale. This orientalist view was the product of an incapacity of considering diversity as a fertile. The early emphasis on diversity as a constituent element of ‘Indian-ness’ was subject to a shift once independence had been achieved. In A Survey of Indian History, Panikkar’s adhesion to the theory of ‘unity in diversity’ tended to skew towards the first of the two elements. India was still described as a nation characterised by a peculiar mixture of elements of variety and cohesion, but the fundamental continuity in its history was now the continuity of Hindu civilisation itself. Panikkar further developed the focus on the category of ‘civilisation’ in his most famous book, Asia and Western Dominance. Here, he investigated unitarily the problem of contact between Asia and Europe, emphasizing Asia’s sense of unity and the existence of a common history of Asian nations. India and China were the protagonists of this history, but in different ways. The gradual process of reform and adaptation, as had happened in India in contrast to the Maoist revolution, was certainly, for Panikkar, the best solution, even if it had not been possible everywhere.

Interpreting the Khmer Republic (1970-1975): A question of sources and archives? (online)

ABSTRACT. It was a coup. No, it was not. It was a civil war. No, it was not. Depending on the interlocutor, interpretations of the deposition of Cambodia’s head of state Norodom Sihanouk in March 1970 and the ensuing conflict (which ended with the Khmer Rouge takeover of Phnom Penh in April 1975) vary greatly. If there is a period in Cambodian recent history which has been overlooked and disparaged, it is undeniably the republican one. At best, the Khmer Republic is considered as an interregnum between the ‘Golden Age’ of the Sangkum (post-independence) era and the Democratic Kampuchea terror. Its harsher critics see it as an illegitimate and from the start doomed-to-failure American puppet which brought about Cambodia’s collapse. My current research project seeks to challenge these longstanding views and to produce a critical historiography of the republican period. The presentation will discuss a key interpretive tool – sources and archives – with a focus on the 18 March ‘coup’ and changes in the republican perception of the enemy (Vietnamese or Khmer? external or internal?). The materials produced by and about the Khmer Republic are limited and scattered. Moreover, American intelligence records, easily accessible for many of them, have often been favoured as historiographic resource. Using materials collected during fieldwork, I will try to bring to the fore other archives, including the materials of local and regional state and non-state actors. I will also go beyond textual archives and integrate visual and material sources. Last but not least, I will explore the idea of ‘archiving’ the undocumented through stories and recollections. So doing, I hope to contribute to a rethink of that period at the intersection of the Global Vietnam War, the ‘indigenisation’ of the Cold War, and a longue durée perspective on Southeast Asia’s decolonisation.

15:00-16:30 Session 3C: Society and Politics
Location: Room C | 2.44
Scandal Made in Japan: An Anthropological Interpretation (on-site)

ABSTRACT. In the past, research on scandals was conducted from various academic perspectives. The fields of study worth mentioning are sociology, history, rhetorical linguistics, comparative law, political science and media studies. In my talk, I aim to take a novel, anthropological approach by connecting the theory of performance and ritual to a broader conception of scandal.

Anthropological interpretation is used here as a means of understanding patterns of behavior and sociocultural norms/values tied to media scandals in Japan. By analyzing these patterns, I illuminate the ritualized means of public apology and the cultural realities of public shaming in Japan. This is important because most scandal denouements in Japan do not get by without a punitive ritual of emotional confession, temporary exclusion, and eventual reintegration. This practice, as I will argue, can be paralleled to the punitive ritual of Japanese ‘civil religion’ (shimin shūkyō) which teaches about the act of becoming impure (kegare) and the necessity of the sacred (hare) to purify itself (misogi) from the pollution.

My focus will be on the main transgressor and his/her public performance, i.e. a complex series of words and actions that produce a valuable result in scandal. I will illustrate how the sociocultural act of confession, apology and exclusion is turned into an orchestrated pseudo-event with a high degree of ritualization. By doing so, I hope to offer an opportunity to see how scandals play out in a liberal democratic system that differs in many respects from the United States and Europe.

Consumer motivations for buycotting national brands: A case study of the “wild consumption” of ERKE products in China (online)

ABSTRACT. Most research on political consumerism is limited to boycotts (avoid buying products for political or ethical reasons) and unequally distributed in North American and European countries (Wicks et al., 2014; Neilson, 2010; Baek, 2010; Copeland, 2013; Katz, 2019). Very limited research sketches the buycott phenomenon in Asian countries. Grounded in political consumerism and consumer nationalism literature, this paper aims to explore what motivates people to buycott national products in China. Specifically, I selected the “wild consumption” of sportswear brand ERKE case and conducted 15 semi-structured interviews to investigate individuals’ motivations of purchasing national products. The qualitative findings present that Chinese consumer buycotts of national products are driven by three types of factors: political values (patriotism, ethnocentrism, political trust and political efficacy), ethical values (altruism, general trust, and social justice), and instrumental considerations (product quality, perceived costs and benefits, susceptibility to normative influence, and clout-chasing). While political and/or ethical values can drive people to buycott national brands, instrumental considerations play a significant role in mediating consumers’ purchasing decision of national products. Overall, this study advances the understanding of political consumerism in the Chinese context. It also provides an insight into a new theoretical framework of studying motivations for consumer buycotts of national products.

Interpretation and Misinterpretation: The Assimilation and Erroneous Approaches of the Concept of Civil Society in Japan (online)

ABSTRACT. This presentation aims to explore the assimilation and inherent misunderstandings associated with the usage of the concept of "civil society" in the Japanese context. Originating from Western thought, the term "civil society" has been adopted as an analytical tool in a variety of international contexts, including Japan. However, its transposition and adaptation to the Japanese environment have led to misinterpretations and conceptual errors.

Firstly, the talk will unravel the evolution of the construct of "civil society" in Japan, its assimilation, and subsequent iterations. Cultural, social, and political factors that have guided this assimilation and have shaped the local conceptualization of the notion will be analyzed.

Secondly, erroneous interpretations and malpractices in the application of the concept of "civil society" within the Japanese context will be explored. It will be posited that these errors mainly stem from attempts to directly apply Western theories and concepts to a culturally different context, without duly taking into account Japan's unique cultural differences and singularities.

Finally, this presentation will reflect on the repercussions of these misunderstandings and suggests ways to optimize the application of the concept of "civil society" in Japan and in other non-Western contexts.

Hence, the goal of this presentation is to challenge and expand current conceptions of "civil society" in Japan, promoting greater adaptability and cultural sensitivity in the implementation of analytical constructs in diverse cultural contexts.

15:00-16:30 Session 3D: Digital Humanities (organized panel)

Zoom link D: 

Digital Humanities in Asia: A Phenomenological Approach

This panel aims at highlighting the practical dimensions of digitalization in Asia by observing three socio-cultural phenomena: the employment of artificial intelligence in assessing readers’ preferences and changing relationships to literature (Raluca Nicolae), the users’ rejection of artificial intelligence on creative platforms (Zhao Xinyi) and the tension between what artificial intelligence and the enhancement of the human organism as body and mind was imagined to be in works of visual arts and the development towards current events (Maria Grajdian). The three presenters confront theoretical ideas with real-life phenomena and construct their discourses as architectures grounded in quotidian experiences, compassionately avoiding the traps of academic absolutism: the habit of vicariously extracting facts originating in the everyday texture and emptying them of their existential vitality so that they fit the abstract purpose of yet another ingenious but sadly useless theory. 

Location: Room D | 2.64
Conversational Narration in Japanese Cell Phone Novels (online)

ABSTRACT. The cell phone novel (keitai shôsetsu) is a twenty-first-century genre that emerged at the crossroads with mobile technology, digital competence, youth culture, young females’ tastes, and the (re)discovery of self. It can easily be characterized by the slogan itsudemo, dokodemo, daredemo kakeru [whenever, wherever, whoever can write it] (Nanasawa, 2007). The novel is written chapter by chapter either on a computer or cell phone and posted afterwards on specialized sites or sent in small chunks to the subscribers by email. The cell phone novel is, thus, a cross-breed between literature and technology and features elements that can be traced back to youth culture. This presentation attempts not only to provide some insights into the advent of keitai shôsetsu in Japan, but also to identify some idiosyncratic elements that migrated from other types of discourses (email writing, wakamono kotoba, female language), into the cell phone novel. The language employed in cell phone novels is generally characterized by colloquialism which operates at phonetic, morphological, syntactical, and lexical levels and is frequently embellished with emojis. This new kawaii genre created by young female authors and targeted towards female teenagers has become a trademark of shôjo’s world as well as a pop-culture ingredient, saturating multi-media, and consumer goods and services.

Enhanced Humanness, Artificial Intelligence and Sensitive Cyborgs in “Ghost in the Shell” (online)

ABSTRACT. This presentation approaches phenomenologically the Ghost in the Shell franchise from the perspective of the annihilation of identity as soul/body dichotomy and its (re-)unification as a harmonious entity. The particular focus lies on the animation movie Ghost in the Shell from 1995 directed by Oshii Mamoru (born 1951) and the live-action movie released by DreamWorks in 2017 with Scarlet Johansson in the lead-role. The goal of the presentation is to observe critically the concept of “identity” as displayed in the Ghost in the Shell franchise, the re-formulation of the Western notion in the original Japanese script as well as its re-semantization in the Hollywood production. At the core of the analytical pursuit, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “language game” turns into “identity game”, a playful dynamization of an initially static vision of identity, enhanced by cross-cultural references and late-modern epistemological uncertainties. What had started as a cyberpunk seinen manga (cartoons for young male readers in Japan) in 1989, written and illustrated by Masamune Shirow (born as Ôta Masanori in 1961), developed gradually into typical anime franchise (anime being defined in its narrow understanding as a subcategory of Japanese animation with specific features such as “fan service”, heavy technological insinuations, a blending of temporal dimensions, ambivalent sexualization of the female body and questionable references to masculinity, individual empowerment and national supremacy, stretching historically from late-1970s until mid-1990s): the eponymous cult-movie from 1995 was followed in 2004 by Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, augmented in 2002 and 2020 by the TV animation series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex respectively Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2045 and the OVA (original video animation) product Ghost in the Shell: Arise/Alternative Architecture/The New Movie in 2015 with the simultaneous development by the video games industry since 1997.

Artificial Stroke and Real Outrage: A Study into User Responses to AI-Generated Art on NetEase Lofter (online)

ABSTRACT. This research analyzed the controversies surrounding AI-generated art on NetEase Lofter, a Chinese media-sharing platform that triggered a furor with its new AI drawing feature. It delved into the root causes of user repulsion through an examination of AI drawing mechanisms and participatory observation within the Lofter community. This study highlighted two key points of contention: allegations of plagiarism, rooted in suspicions of unauthorized use of user-uploaded artworks for AI training, and questions regarding the artistic validity of AI-generated art. Within the context of a capitalist market, this resistance was less an opposition to the new technology and more an apprehension of its potential exploitation by tech corporations. Lofter, initially viewed as a creative haven for promoting original content and hobby-sharing, was perceived to have breached its commitment to creativity and trust. The study underscored the inseparable link between ethical data collection, transparency, and a fair AI monetization strategy. Furthermore, it posited that the future of AI in art involved unique stylistic explorations based on its inherent mechanisms, presenting both challenges and opportunities that could contribute to the broader acceptance and growth of AI art.

15:00-16:30 Session 3E: Education and Values
Location: Room E | 2.65
A study of the changes regarding 'understanding' in Japanese language education policy (on-site)

ABSTRACT. This research aims to clarify the diachronic transfer of perspective on Japanese language education in Japan by comparing the Kokusai Bunka Jigyo Pamphlet 24th Edition "The Japanese Language Growing in the World" (Second Division, Cultural Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and "the Japanese Language Teaching Promotion Act" (hereafter referred to as the 'Promotion Act') promulgated by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2019. This presentation deals with the qualitative analysis of the use of the words 'rikai’ (understanding) in the two texts. It found that in “The Japanese Language Growing in the World”, the objects of understanding are 'Japanese culture' and 'Japanese spirit', both of which are strongly regarded as inherently Japanese, and that it is used with the causative form 'to make someone understand'. In the Promotion Act, on the other hand, the word 'rikai' (understanding) characteristically occurs together with the word 'kanshin' (interest). Moreover, the objects of 'rikai' and 'kanshin' can be either 'Japan' or 'Japanese language education', which are not presented as superior. The subjects of 'rikai' and 'kanshin' in the case of the object 'Japan' were 'foreign countries' and 'foreigners', while in the case of the object 'Japanese language education' the subjects ranged from 'foreigners' to 'Japanese citizens' and 'guardians of foreigners'. Since the end of the 20th century, the immigration of foreigners, including foreign workers and their families, has been a matter of national policy in Japan. The Japanese Language Education Promotion Act is an ideological law (Maruyama 2020), but we can see that Japan's current perspective is not to promote Japanese language education to show Japan's superiority over other countries, as was the case before WW II, but it is based on the thought that people's understanding of and interest in Japanese language education are crucial to creating an environment in which foreign people and the Japanese nation can have a social life in Japan, i.e. a convivial society.

Maruyama, Keisuke. 2020. ‘Nihongo kyōiku suishinhō nitsuite (About the Japanese Language Teaching Promotion Act)’ Dōshisha joshi daigaku daigakuin bungaku kenkyūka kiyō, 20. pp.1-17.

Stakeholders’ perspectives on international large-scale assessments: interpreting high-school teachers’ perspectives on PISA in Taiwan (online)

ABSTRACT. Taiwan’s participation in international large-scale assessments (ILSAs) has increased since 1999. In 2006 Taiwan was participated in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) for the first time. According to the results of International Student Assessment (PISA)from 2006 to 2018, the Taiwanese students scored higher than the OECD average in math, science and reading. The Taiwanese students perform particularly well in math. Since 2006 Taiwan has always been ranked in top five in math for PISA. Moreover, the performance gap related to socioeconomic status was similar to the average across the OECD countries. In terms of gender equity, the results show that the Taiwanese girls and boys performed similarly in math and science. Taiwan’s persistent, relatively high performance with socioeconomic and gender equity has been covered widely in the local media. However, despite the wide publicity, there is scant research on how students, parents, educators, policymakers and the media perceive. However, despite the wide publicity, there is scant research on how students, parents, educators, policymakers and the media perceive. To address the literature gap, this paper explores the Taiwanese high school teachers’ perspective on PISA. The research conducts online focused groups interviews with the high school teachers in Taiwan. Four rounds of the focused group interviews have been done from April to May 2023. Several findings can be drawn from the analysis of the interviews. First, most teachers are aware of what PISA is. The information on PISA is mainly from the media reports and the teachers’ workshops and conferences. Only two teachers were not familiar with PISA and googled what PISA was prior to our interviews. Second, the majority of the interviewees agreed that participation in PISA is positive to the development of Taiwanese education. And most teachers considered the participation in international large-scale assessment as a good training to enhance students’ global competitiveness. Third, although the majority of the interviewees considered the participation in PISA is positive, almost all of them complained about the impacts of PISA on the design of the exam questions in Taiwan. The main complain lies in the gap of traditional teaching method and the new literacy exam questions based upon PISA. Fourth, the Chinese students performed better than the Taiwanese students in PISA in the past years. Regarding this result, the majority assumed that it is unnecessary to compare the students’ competitiveness cross the Taiwan Strait as most Chinese students are pushed to attain high level of academic achievement. These preliminary findings, on the one hand, indicates the significant progress of Taiwan’s integration into the global educational standard; on the other, some contradictions occurred between the tradition and current integration.

Changing Roles on Different Stages (on-site)

ABSTRACT. Besides the numerous organisational, political and economic changes Japan went through during the Meiji period (1868–1912), the country also ‘imported’ new models of worldview and new ethical norms from the West. In the case of superficial changes this process of importing various elements of Western thought and taste was indeed very successful. The internalisation of these newly learned schemes took much longer however. This was true in various fields of Japanese culture and caused diverse tensions that, noticed or unnoticed, persisted long after the Meiji period. In our presentation by applying an interdisciplinary framework we are going to examine one of the most important examples of such tensions, i.e., the antinomy between the traditional Japanese family model rooted in Confucian filiality and the individualistic ethical norms based on Western social traditions. We will examine this problem from two different aspects in the Meiji and the Taishō (1912–1926) periods: on the one hand, in the context of the ethical arguments of Nishida Kitarō’s 西田幾多郎 period work, An Inquiry into the Good (Zen no kenkyū 善の研究, 1911), and on the other hand, the censure and prohibition of Hermann Sudermann’s drama Heimat in 1913. Nishida’s work is a treatise linking and contrasting Asian and Western philosophical traditions, reflecting on the conflict of values emerging between them. A historical example of such a conflict of values is the prohibition of a European play in Japan due to its final scene which contradicted traditional Japanese ethical norms. Our research is carried out in the fields of comparative history of philosophy and theatre reception history, and will consider both the socio-ethical changes in the background of the transformation of the Japanese concept of the family, as well as the tensions caused by the transition of societal ideals, gender roles, and women’s rights.

17:00-18:00 Guided Walking Tour of Olomouc

free, register at Registration Desk