Today, amid a rapidly changing global world order, Japan lacks both a map and a compass to define itself and its future direction. The country has constructed its definition of the world and itself based on its impressive successes in modernization. As Japan’s self-definition has been constructed in relation to Asia, Japan’s redefinition of self also needs to be done alongside a redefinition of Asia. This presentation proposes a new framework for situating Japan and Asia in the world. The argument in this presentation is based on the chapters included in the Sage Major Work on “Asian Families and Intimacies” the outcome of our project to collect and share key texts in Asian academia in order to construct a foundation for direct academic collaboration in the Asian region. The new framework emerging from this attempt lets us move away from the dichotomy generated by the Western gaze, allowing us to see that Asia is not one single entity, nor a collection of several great civilizations, but a place of multi-layered diversity. We can redefine Japan as a society that incorporates this multi-layered Asian diversity. Collaboration with its Asian neighbours will open a way for Japan to better understand itself.
OCHIAI Emiko (落合恵美子) is a Japanese sociologist and is Professor of Sociology at Kyoto University, Japan.
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Professor Roger Goodman
Professor Takehiko Kariya
Dr Natalia Doan