A conference for high school students to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the United States– Japan Relations was held on October 26th at La Salle University.
The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia with the support of The Japan Foundation Center sponsored this Conference for Global Partnership. Japan is a nation in transition. Its changing dynamics present a challenge both within Japanese society and to the rest of the world, including young audiences. With this in mind, the Council organized this full-day conference.
Students heard from leading scholars who have been observing Japan for many years and engaged in informed discussion of current issues that are both confronting and enriching Japan. Participants learned about the US-Japan relationship, the most important bi-lateral relationship for the US according to former Ambassador Mike Mansfield. They were also introduced to today’s Japan, including the place of anime and manga in Japanese youth culture.
Keynote addresses included:
- Unmasking Japan Today: Continuity and Change
G. Cameron Hurst III, Professor of Japanese and Korean Studies and Director of the Center for East Asian Studies of the University of Pennsylvania
- The U.S.-Japan Relationship – 150 Years and Counting
Dr. George R. Packard, President of the U.S.-Japan Foundation
- Learning about Japan through Popular Culture: the Role of Anime, Manga and the World of Otaku Lewis Harrington, Adjunct Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania
Discussion Group topics included:
Japan, China, Korea; Japanese Literature – Haiku and Renga; Japanese Theater – video presentation and discussion; Tea Ceremony and traditional Japanese society; Japan’s Constitution – how does a nation change its Constitution; and Japan’s Pop Culture Power.