Lunch Seminar on Japanese Economy and Society, 2017 Nov. 17, Maison Franco-Japonaise

French Research Institute on Japan at Maison franco-japonaise's picture

Friday 17 November 2017 / 12:30 - 14:00 / Room 601
at Maison franco-japonaise (Ebisu)


Japan's Soft Power Politics
WATANABE Yasushi (University Keio)

During the G7 summit in May 2016, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President François Hollande agreed to hold a large-scale event showcasing Japanese culture in Paris and other French cities in 2018, a year that marks the 160th anniversary of Japan-France diplomatic relations.

Entitled Japonismes 2018, this major event will take place around France, with a concentration in Paris, from July 2018 to February 2019. Planned exhibitions include: art from the Jomon period, seen as representing the origins of Japanese culture; works by the painter Ito Jakuchu; Rinpa School paintings; and the latest media art, anime and games. Performing arts will range from Kabuki, Noh, Kyogen and Gagaku to contemporary theater and Hatsune Miku. There will also be many cultural exchange programs highlighting Japanese life and culture, including cuisine, traditional festivals, Zen, martial arts, tea ceremony, and ikebana.

 Nevertheless, this kind of cultural event represents only a fragment of Japan’s current engagements with soft power. This presentation aims to address the wider historical, political and geopolitical milieu in which Japan’s soft power is defined and projected, along with other recent initiatives.


Watanabe Yasushi is a professor of anthropology at the Graduate School of Media and Governance at Keio University. Highly interested in the relationship between culture and politics, he has published several books and articles, including Rethinking of “Culture”: On the Concept of Cultural Security (Iwanami Shoten, 2015), Culture and Diplomacy: The Age of Public Diplomacy (Chuokoron-Shinsha, 2011), and Soft Power Superpowers: Cultural and National Assets of Japan and the United States (University of Michigan Press). He has served on the Advisory Committee on Public Diplomacy at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International House of Japan. He was also chair of the Advisory Panel on NHK World and co-chair of the Japan Advisory Council of the Salzburg Global Seminar. He received the Japan Academy Prize in 2005.

Org.: Bureau français de la MFJ
Co-org.: CCIFJ
For more details:
3-9-25, Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0013 Japon
Tel. +81-3-5421-7641 / Fax +81-3-5421-7651