Born Again Yokozuna: Sports Media and National Identity

Robert  Dujarric's picture
July 6, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Communication, Japanese History / Studies


Born Again Yokozuna: Sports Media and National Identity
Date: Thursday, July 6, 2017
Time: 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Doors open at 7:00 p.m.)
Venue: Temple University Japan Campus, Azabu Hall 1F Parliament (access:
Speaker: Michael Plugh, Assistant Professor of Communication at Manhattan College
Moderator: Robert Dujarric, Director of ICAS
Admission: Free. Open to the public.
Language: English
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As scholars continue to debate the contours of globalization in the early-21st century, people around the world are forced to confront shifting experiences of connectedness, both within communities and between them. Among the many factors responsible for this shift, technology plays a central role. In particular, communication technology has given new form to our symbolic environment. With new pressures applied to traditional understandings of national and cultural identity, societies are thrust into reconsidering their terms of belonging. What does it mean to be Japanese in a world of complex connections? How do “discourses of Japaneseness” accommodate change, while reproducing important traditional associations and values?

In his talk, Dr. Plugh will discuss the field of media ecology and its intersection with globalization studies. In particular, Dr. Plugh will emphasize the role of media narratives in the negotiation of Japanese national and cultural identity. The case of Mongolian sumo Grand Champion, Hakuho, will be introduced as an example of sports media’s role in this process.


Michael Plugh is Assistant Professor of Communication at Manhattan College in New York City. His research interests include media ecology, technology and socio-cultural change, globalization, and cultural studies. He completed a PhD at Temple University’s Doctoral Program in Media and Communication in 2015, and is currently offering two summer courses at Temple University, Japan Campus. Dr. Plugh serves as the president of the New York State Communication Association and sits on the Executive Board of the Media Ecology Association. From 2004 until the end of 2012, he lived and worked in Akita Prefecture, at first teaching small children and high school students, and later as a Lecturer at Akita International University. During that time, he published work on the subject of Japanese baseball for Baseball Prospectus and Sports Illustrated, and occasionally appeared on American radio to introduce the sport to American audiences.

Robert Dujarric, Director
Kyle Cleveland, Associate Director

Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies
Temple University, Japan Campus


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