Sa-kwa

Korean Film Nights

7pm February 28, 2013

Multi Purpose Hall

Sa-kwa

After seven years, Hyeon-jeong is dumped by Min-Seok. Broken and teetering on the brink of and emotional collapse she dedicates herself to finding a new suitor and to get married as soon as possible. She meets Sang-hoo, an awkward man, who Hyeon-jeong is attracted by his shy demeanour, and makes the conscious decision to marry him-until Min-Seok decides he’s made a mistake and wants to get back together with her.

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The Korean Peninsula Tensions and the Role of Other Powers

26 February 2013

6:00 – 7:45pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:45pm

13/14 Cornwall Terrace, London, NW1 4QP

 

After the “successful” launch on 12 December 2012 of yet another rocket in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874, the threat posed by North Korea appears ever more real. The stability of the Korean peninsula is not just a regional concern but also an issue for Europe, given the proliferation relationship between North Korea and Iran. How have political developments in the peninsula affected recent relations between the two Koreas? Can there be any easing of tensions between them under the new South Korean leader, Park Geun-hye? There are various reasons why multilateral engagement with, and coercion of, North Korea have failed to promote denuclearisation. Thomas Plant of ICSA, King’s College London, will consider if there is potential for progress, and look at Japan’s likely contribution under new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Noriyuki Shikata, Political Minister at the Japanese Embassy in London, will discuss Japan’s perspective on the recent situation in the Korean Peninsula and explore the collaboration among Japan, the US, the UK, South Korea and China aimed at tackling the issue. The seminar will be chaired by Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Noriyuki Shikata

Noriyuki Shikata is Political Minister at the Embassy of Japan in UK.  He was Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs, Director of Global Communications at Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of Japan (2010-2012). He was international media spokesperson at PMO, always accompanying the Prime Ministers’ trips overseas. He was the recipient of 2011 Gold Standard Award for Political Communications, at awards hosted by Public Affairs Asia. He graduated from the Law Department of Kyoto University in 1986. After entering MOFA in 1986, he worked at the Korea desk, and graduated from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, completing its Masters in Public Policy Program (International Affairs/Security) in 1989. His previous overseas postings include the Embassy in Washington, D.C.(1989 – 91), and the Delegation to the OECD in Paris(1999-2002). Between 2004 and 2010, he was Director of Status of U.S. Forces Agreement Division, Director of International Press Division, Director in Charge of Economic Relations with North America, and Director of Economic Treaties Division, International Legal Affairs, Bureau of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). His publications includeEnergy Policy of the Republic of Korea (2002: IEA; contributor), amongst others.

Thomas Plant

Thomas Plant is Research Fellow at the International Centre for Security Analysis (ICSA), King’s College London.  His main research interest is in North Korean issues, though he also works on wider regional security in East Asia and, more broadly, on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.  He joined ICSA on secondment from the Ministry of Defence; he has also spent time at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he worked on proliferation issues in the Middle East and East Asia.

Mark Fitzpatrick

Mark Fitzpatrick (Chair)  is Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. His programme focuses on nuclear and missile challenges posed by Iran, North Korea and other outlier states, and on nuclear security and nuclear disarmament issues. He is the editor of North Korean Security Challenges (July 2011) and of five other IISS Strategic Dossiers on countries and regions of proliferation concern. He has lectured throughout the world and is a frequent media commentator on proliferation topics. He joined the IISS in October 2005 after a 26-year career in the US Department of State, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Non-Proliferation (acting). He earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and he attended a one-year post-graduate study programme (1990-1991) at the Japanese National Institute of Defence, where his dissertation on Korean unification was published in journals in Japan and South Korea.

 

Factional Politics: How Dominant Parties Implode or Stabilize

5 February 2013

6:00 – 7:30pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:00pm

13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle, London, NW1 4QP

Margaret Thatcher was thrown out of office in 1990 but the British Conservatives still won a fourth term in office in 1992. Academics claimed that the British political system was ‘turning Japanese’. Within a year, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was voted out for the first time in 38 years just as Italy’s Christian Democratic Party (DC) was imploding after four decades of hegemony. The Conservatives’ aura as the natural party of government was shattered in 1997 by Tony Blair’s New Labour but it took another 12 years for Japanese voters to vote out the LDP. Meanwhile, Canada’s Liberal Party had been in charge for some 80 years but came third in a 2011 election. Particular circumstances differed in each country but internal dissent and disorder were common. Particular circumstances differed in each country but internal dissent and disorder were common. In her book, Françoise Boucek explains how this factionalism precipitates the downfall of many political leaders but can also prolong office by containing conflict and hanging onto dissidents. In a survey of the British Conservative Party, the Liberal Party of Canada, the Christian Democratic Party of Italy and the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, Dr Boucek explores this paradox and the potential dangers of factional politics for dominant political parties.

Dr Françoise Boucek

Dr Françoise Boucek is Teaching Fellow in European politics and policy in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London, Visiting Professor at the University of Witten Herdecke (Germany) and Research Associate of the London School of Economics’ (LSE) Public Policy Group. She grew up in France, graduated in business administration (1973) and moved to London and then Canada where she worked as a research analyst for an investment bank. She gained her BA (1988) in political science from the University of Toronto and gained her MSc (1991) and PhD (2002) from the LSE. She was Lecturer in the Department of Politics and Modern History at London Metropolitan University (1991-93) and LSE (1994-97 and 2001-03). She has written widely about political parties, representative democracy and one-party dominance including in Japan and is co-editor of Dominant Political Parties and Democracy: Concepts, Measures, Cases and Comparisons (London: Routledge, 2010).

Professor Kensuke Takayasu

Professer Kensuke Takayasu (discussant) is Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Law, Seikei University in Tokyo. He received his BA (1994) and MA (1996) both in political science from Waseda University. He read his doctorate at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), gaining his PhD from the University of London in 2003. He became a research fellow at Hokkaido University in 2004, before joining Seikei University as associate professor in 2006. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Department of Government, LSE. Professor Takayasu has written widely on both British and Japanese politics, and has published a book in 2009 titled The Power of Prime Ministers in Japan and Britain – Dynamics of their Relationships with the Governing Party (Tokyo: Sobunsha). His articles appear regularly in Sekai. In 2011, his paper ‘New Conventions Required: Ideas to Re-invigorate Japanese Party Politics’ was published in Asia-Pacific Review (Vol.18 Issue 2), while the website Japan Echo Web (No.7 August-September) carried his article ‘In Need of New Rules of the Game.’

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Director Talk: Isshin Inudo

4 February 2013 from 6.30pm

The Japan Foundation, London

Isshin Inudo is a Japanese director with a very colourful career. Renowned for his genre-spanning cinema, Inudo has been engaged with both art-house and larger-scale productions and shifting back and forth between the two, as well as directing a number of television commercials in Japan. Inudo’s films have stretched from films tackling social issues such as coping with disabilities in Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (2003), homosexuality in La maison de Himiko (2005), in addition to a number of blockbuster films, including Inudo’s recent co-directed period drama epic The Floating Castle (2012).

Complementing the UK premiere of Inudo’s 1950s-set crime thriller Zero Focus (2009) as part of this year’s Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme, Once Upon a Time in Japan, the Japan Foundation has invited Isshin Inudo to introduce his work and filmmaking style in this special talk. With Inudo’s Zero Focus being an adaptation of Seicho Matsumoto’s novel previously imagined in Yoshitaro Nomura’s 1961 film, Inudo will discuss the process constructing his world using an ever-popular source, creating his own interpretation and envisaging a period beyond one’s own experiences. In a discussion to follow, Inudo, joined by James Bell, Features Editor for Sight & Sound, will also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of directing and writing for art-house, mainstream cinema and even television commercials in Japan, regarding a variety of themes and sources, including manga and horror; sources which Inudo is very fond of.

A pair of tickets to the screening of Zero Focus on February 5th
will be awarded to one lucky guest!

This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To reserve a place, please email your name and the title of the event you would like to attend to event@jpf.org.uk

sshin Inudo’s film Zero Focus will be screened at the ICA on February 3rd (Sunday) at 5.00pm and again on February 5th (Tuesday) at 6.10pm, before touring at five further regional venues across the UK.

Art, events and bodies in 1960s Japan Talk by Peter Eckersall

30 January 2013 from 6.30pm, at the Japan Foundation, London

Through public and social events such as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the 1970 Osaka Expo and the radicalisation of the student protest movement, the 1960s in Japan can be considered an era of embodied cultural acts; events all engaging with experience of the body, whether it be athletics, the crowds who gathered at Expo, and mass rallies that took over the city streets and railway stations.  So too can a relationship with the body be identified in the arts of the 1960s, ranging from its use in stage performance, art events and the fascination with the body in cinema.

From Nagisa Oshima’s films about the protest movement to the Black Flag stage performance art events, Peter Eckersall, Associate Professor of Theatre Studies in the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne and Research Fellow at the Centre for Interweaving Performance Cultures, Freie Universität Berlin, will discuss the various connections between the body, politics and action in the 1960s in the broader cultural context and look into how the era can be considered a decade of embodied gestures and events.  This event will give an insight to the state of arts and culture in the 1960s, an era marking a milestone in Japan.

 

Grilled Rats Are a Tasty Snack

Rat

Grilled Rats Are a Tasty Snack In Phitsanulok

In the winter, Phitsanulok locals like to eat “grilled field rats.” The prices of cooked rats then increase to 250 THB per kg. Popular rat dishes include fried field rats, curry field rat, and fried field rats with garlic. Residents believe that eating rats warms the body

PHITSANULOK – January 24, 2013 [PDN]; on a winter’s day, a reporter driving in Phitsanulok province noticed a big poster on the side of the road, which said “Grilled Rats.” The sign was on the roadside along the route going from Sukhothai to Pitsanulok in Tambon Phaikhordorn, about 10 km from Phitsanulok.

The reporter stopped and talked to the rat-selling owner, Mrs. Somboon Yuyen, age 50, who lives on Tharmmul road, Amphur Meuang, Chainart province.

She said that selling grilled rats is a business that provides revenues to many families in the area. In winter, many local people like to eat grilled rats and come to buy her rats. Sometimes there are so many customers, she runs out of grilled rats to sell.

Mrs. Somboon has been selling grilled field rats for about 7 years. In the decade before that, she used to mainly catch the field rats to sell to the grilled rat shops. Back then the price would be 30 THB per kg. Her revenue would total only 200 THB per day.

Then the wholesale rat prices increased to 80-100 THB per kg. However, the grilled rats had a higher price of 150 THB per kg. So Ms. Somboon and her husband began to catch the field rats to grill and sell themselves.

The rat-grilling business was going well, with a steadily increasing number of consumers. So Mrs. Somboon began to go to other provinces to buy more field rats in the lower northern and central Thailand areas.

She bought field rats from rice field owners that fetched high prices according to the demands of the sellers. Prices would average 100 THB per kg of rats, but sometimes reached 150 THB per kg. Mrs. Somboon would freeze the rats and store them, to be grilled later for hungry customers.

Mrs. Somboon said there seems to be more demand for grilled rats than in the past. So she has been traveling around and selling her rats in many lower north provinces, including Chainart province, Pijit province and Pitsanulok province. Business has been good in Phitsanulok, where she has been selling rats for five months, so she has no immediate plans to move.

The prices for her rats vary according to size. For the small size rats, the price is 200 THB per kg; the medium size rats sell for 220 THB per kg; and big rats sell for 250 THB per kg.

Although she considers the prices of rats to be expensive, the people who like to eat rats consider it a cheap price to pay. For people who want to grill their rats at home, her frozen field rats are priced at 180 THB per kg.

Some customers buy 3-5 kg of frozen rats each time to store in their refrigerators, and also buy rats for their relatives and friends. Most of her customers are local people, and some are drivers passing by who notice her shop.

Selling grilled field rats is an occupation that Mrs. Somboon is proud of, and can generate revenues up to 1 million THB a year. Mrs. Somboon averages more than 2,000-3,000 THB daily in sales. During the festivals, she can earn more than 10,000 THB daily.

Mrs. Somboon now enjoys a better financial status because of her business. She bought a pickup truck to buy more rats in many places, and can now build her own house from the money she made selling rats.

 Article and picture taken from Pattayadailynews.

Education and Social Class in the UK and Japan

29 January 2013

6:00 – 7:30pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:30pm

13/14 Cornwall Terrace (Outer Circle), London NW1 4QP

Organised by Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation

According to UNICEF, 12.1% of children in the UK are living in poverty, while the figure for Japan is 14.9% (Innocenti Report Card 10, May 2012). Since this report was produced, the economic situation has, if anything, deteriorated in both countries.  Inequality and social exclusion have become concerns again, and in a time of austerity for both the government and parents, the role of education needs reconsidering. Can education contribute to better social mobility? Are working-class groups still under-represented in higher education, and if so, why? Although higher education has become more inclusive in both countries in recent decades, if investing in education does not necessarily guarantee a job, then what is the incentive for young people to aspire to go to university? Professor Robert Cassen of LSE will look at social exclusion and education, and at government policies aimed at making life chances more equal, in pre-school, primary and secondary education. Issues of gender and ethnicity will also be explored. Professor Takehiko Kariya of Oxford University will analyse a new educational selection mechanism that has contributed to rising disparity in learning motivations after Japan’s education reforms in the 1990s, and will offer important insights for understanding similar problems in other countries.

Robert Cassen

Robert Cassen is Visiting Professor at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics. He held his first post at LSE in 1961, and subsequently was a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, and Director of Queen Elizabeth House and Professor of Development Economics at Oxford. He also served on the staff of the UK Department for International Development, the British High Commission in New Delhi, the World Bank, and the Brandt Commission. His books include Does Aid Work? (with associates, Oxford University Press, 1994); with Tim Dyson and Leela Visaria,  21st Century, India: Population, Economy, Human Development and the Environment (Oxford University Press, 2004); and with Geeta Kingdon, Tackling Low Educational Achievement: a Report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2007. In 2008 he received an OBE for services to education. He is currently working on a new book, with Anna Vignoles and Sandra McNally:Making a Difference: What Works in Education and What Doesn’t, to be published by Routledge in 2014.

Takehiko Kariya

Takehiko Kariya is a Professor in the Sociology of Japanese Society, at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies and the Department of Sociology, University of Oxford and he is a Faculty Fellow of St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. His research interests include the sociology of education, social stratification, school- to-work transition, educational and social policies, and social changes in postwar Japan. Before he joined Oxford University, he had taught sociology of education at the Graduate School of Education, University of Tokyo for 18 years. He is co-editor of Challenges to Japanese Education: Economics, Reforms, and Human Rights (Teachers College Press, 2010), the author of Education Reform and Social Class in Japan (Routledge, 2012) and Japanese Education and Society in Transition: A Sociology of Education Reforms, Opportunities and Mass Education during the Lost Decades (Routledge, forthcoming), and he has published more than 20 books in Japanese.

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