Dear JAG members,

For the 2015-2016 year, we are welcoming another new JAG member institution, The Ohio State University, whose faculty includes longtime JAG alumnus Namiko Kunimoto and new member Kerim Yasar. We have also received new multi-year commitments of support, and are on the way to sustainable funding, in part thanks to the seed money from the Japan Foundation’s previous institutional grant.

This year’s upcoming JAG activities include our participation in sponsoring the visit to UCLA of Kristin Ross and Harry Harootunian. Ross will be giving an open seminar on April 28 in the Experimental Critical Theory program (see for further details and registration). Harootunian will be giving a public lecture the same week; details TBA.

Second, we will be hosting our fourth annual Works In Progress weekend at UCLA’s Lake Arrowhead conference facility on June 12-14. The CFP was sent to JAG members last month; please contact me if you need a copy. Applications are due by April 5, though I would appreciate early notifications of interest via email to facilitate better planning. This event has proven to be extremely successful as an exercise in intensive engagement and scholarly exchange, and has had substantial benefits for all participants, graduate students and faculty alike. Graduate students in particular will find this an invaluable chance to get helpful, informed, attentive commentary on your work from a variety of perspectives—as indeed will faculty. We once again anticipate having a balanced mix of graduate students and faculty for the event, which will feature intensive discussions of each other’s works. Peers will be primarily responsibility for responding to each other’s papers, but all will be welcome to comment. And as always, the goal will be to create an atmosphere of constructive support and interchange among the groups.

In the fall, we had a JAG affiliate event at the University of Washington on November 12-14, 2015: the UW-JSPS Joint Symposium, “Socially Engaged Art in Japan.” The details are posted below, and on the website,

William Marotti,
Director, JAG

The Lighthouses - 3.11 Project ©Tsubasa Kato (all rights reserved). Lighthouse raising at Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, 2011 Photo: Kei Miyajima

Socially Engaged Art in Japan
A UW-JSPS Joint Symposium
November 12-14, 2015
University of Washington, Seattle

The past two decades have seen a surge in practices that cross the boundaries between art and social activism. Nowhere has the social turn been more deeply felt than in Japan, where the art world has seen a massive shift towards socially engaged art and artists increasingly finds a role in rebuilding struggling communities, helping disadvantaged populations, and connecting people with local history and culture. As many have noted, socially engaged art has emerged at a time when social services wither, civic space disappears, and visions of a shared future falter, all trends which register with particular intensity in contemporary Japan. This symposium will explore how to understand the field of socially engaged practice in a global context and how Japan’s experience can inform that understanding.

  • Keynote addresses by Kitagawa Fram and Sharon Daniel
  • Artist talk by Tanaka Kōki
  • Confirmed panelists Kawashima Nobuko, Kuresawa Takemi, Yoshimoto Mitsuhiro, Adrian Favell, Kumakura Sumiko, Fukuzumi Ren, Sasha Su-Ling Welland, Ueda Kanayo, Sumitomo Fumihiko, Makiko Hara, Xiaojin Wu, Reiko Tomii, William Marotti, Mōri Yoshitaka, Tad Hirsch, Igarashi Taro, Takehisa Yu, Miwako Tezuka, and Marilyn Ivy

For full details please visit the website:

This symposium is organized by Justin Jesty.

Generous support has been provided by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, the Japan Faculty in Humanities and Arts, the UW Japan Program, and the UW Department of Asian Languages and Literature.