Under the umbrella name of “play/playing“ this symposium aims at exploring how a dialogue with Game Studies may contribute to studying Japanese language, literature and visual culture under contemporary conditions, that is, in digital environments which foreground texts as sites for an “ecology of playthings” (Sicart, Play Matters, 2017).

The scope ranges from games in the strict sense to the role of play (Jp. asobi) in Japan’s literary and visual culture (with a special focus on entertaining fiction and serialized as ‘gamified’ narratives) to Japanese language education (which occupies 75% of all courses offered by the Japanese section at Stockholm University). The study of “play” in Japan has been advanced primarily within anthropological research based on methodologically traditional, retrospective and national-cultural models (cf. Linhart, 1998; Hendry and Ravieri, 2005; Daliot-Bul, 2014).

In contrast, this symposium highlights media-aesthetic playfulness, understood as the capacity to afford playful behaviour as related to textual forms and their sensory experience, participatory and performative practices within whole media ecologies. Going beyond the technology-based conceptual hierarchy of old and new media (or art forms), the focus on “play/playing“ is expected to conceptually interrelate traditional Japanology with recent media developments without promoting, for example, a facile equation of early modern commercial prose and contemporary graphic narratives.

Speakers: [due to the time-lag between Japan and Sweden in the following order]

13:00–13:10 — Introduction by Jaqueline Berndt (Stockholm University; Manga Studies, Media Aesthetics)

13:10–14:00 Dr. Hiroshi Yoshida (The University of Tokyo; Aesthetics, Game Studies): Japanese Digital Games in the Tradition of Toys — discussant: Dr. Martin Roth (Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto; Game Studies)

14:10–15:00 — Dr. Björn-Ole Kamm (Kyoto University; Transcultural Studies, Game/Play Studies): Gaming the Classroom: A Material-Semiotic Approach to Teaching Japanese Studies through Game Design — discussant: Luca Paolo Bruno (Leipzig University; Game Studies, Japanese Studies)

15:10–16:00 — Dr. Laura Moretti (Cambridge University; Early Modern Japanese Popular Literature): Play Spaces: Books and Playful Reading in Early Modern Japan — discussant: Dr. Selen Çalic Bedir (Beykoz University, Istanbul; Narratology, Anime/Game Studies)

16:10–17:00 — Dr. Mitsuyo Kuwano Lidén (Stockholm University; Linguistics, Japanese Language Education) Play and Japanese Language Education in JFL setting — discussant: Jaqueline Berndt (Stockholm University; Media Aesthetics, Manga/Anime Studies)

Program Playing Japan 200923 (146 Kb)

Organized by Jaqueline Berndt (jberndt@su.se) as part of:

  • Collaboration with The University of Tokyo in 2020, SU FV-5.1.2-0300-18 (Playing Japan: Game Studies, Anime Research, and Language Education; Hiroshi Yoshida, Jaqueline Berndt, Mitsuyo Kuwano Lidén, Ida Kirkegaard)
  • Cambridge-Stockholm Collaborative Research (Invitations to Playful Reading: towards a New Paradigm for the Study of Graphic Fiction from Early Modern to Contemporary Japan; Cambridge PI: Dr. Laura Moretti; Stockholm PI: Prof. Dr. Jaqueline Berndt)

Please pre-register with the organizer at jberndt@su.se, and receive your Zoom invitation on Mon, 21 September 2020. [Students who are enrolled in Introduction to Japanese Studies (JKA111/DK26) and Japanese Popular Culture (JKA932) are not required to register individually.]