Alison Tokita's picture
Call for Papers
July 15, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Japanese History / Studies, Australian and New Zealand History / Studies, Asian History / Studies

International Symposium, November 4th, 2019




Japanese Studies Centre, Monash University 

Melbourne, Australia


2019 is a highly significant year for Japan, marking the beginning of the Reiwa era, and offering a new definition of the “postwar”. The Heisei Emperor Akihito on April 30 abdicated in favour of his son Crown Prince Naruhito, who will be formally enthroned as Emperor in November. This changeover opens the possibility for change in the role of the Emperor, change within Japanese society, and change for Japan’s international relations.


This symposium aims to explore

  • the nature of the Japanese and international media coverage of the reign change and accompanying rituals
  • changing Japanese attitudes to the Emperor system
  • the significance of the rituals surrounding the accession and enthronement and how that significance has changed in this fifth enthronement in the modern era
  • the recent law excluding female succession and the impact of this exclusion on the status and morale of Japanese women, and how it reflects the status quo of Japanese women’s position
  • the reactions of other countries to this momentous changeover, particularly those of China and Korea
  • the extent to which the imperial succession provides a chance to reassess Australia-Japan relations


Papers are invited that address any of these themes, or other topics relating to the significance of the imperial accession.


Confirmed speakers

Professor John Breen, International Research Centre for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, whose topic “Ritual Interventions: Emperor-making in Meiji, Taisho and Showa Japan” will offer a historical perspective on the rituals and politics of the imperial succession.

Professor Ayuu Ishida, Momoyama Gakuin University, Osaka, will argue that Japanese news reports on the imperial succession cannot be understood without regard to a gender perspective. She will analyse Japanese media coverage of the ongoing imperial succession controversy to reveal stereotypes surrounding women fulfilling public roles.


To submit a proposal

We invite abstracts of approximately 250-300 words (MS-Word format) which should be sent by email to the Project Convenor:


We would like to receive abstracts by July 15, 2019. Acceptance will be confirmed by July 31, and the Symposium program will be finalized by August 15.


Contact Info: 

Alison Tokita

Adjunct Researcher

Japanese Studies Centre

Monash University

Clayton, Australia 3800

Contact Email: