Mutual Images 8th International Workshop, Ryukoku University 2020

Christopher Hayes's picture
Call for Papers
June 5, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Area Studies, Asian History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Religious Studies and Theology

Dear colleagues,

Apologies for the usual cross-posting. Please see below for details of the 8th Mutual Images International Workshop, to be held at Ryukoku University, Japan, between 5 and 8 June 2020.


Dr Christopher J. Hayes

Communications Officer, MIRA





5-8 June 2020, Ryukoku University

Pilgrimages are a phenomenon as old as humanity with relevant consequences in the social, economic and cultural lives of countries and regions. On an individual level, there are many motivations behind the pilgrim experience where identity aspects such as religious affiliation, spiritual beliefs, tradition or mere curiosity play an important role. In recent years, the cultural industries and tourism industries have also developed sophisticated strategies in order to reach new audiences and gain market share. Content producers have obtained the sponsorship of national agencies in order to develop their products as a way of reinforcing National Branding. National agencies focused on tourism and development have found that representations of cultural heritage through fictional media positively impacts tourism through these Media Pilgrimages (also referred to as Content Tourism or Media Tourism), and media representations become a relevant tool for regional development. 

The aim of the symposium was born from two ideas which correspond with relevant pillars of modern East Asian economies but also to many post-industrial societies. The first is the common cultural background of East Asian countries like Japan, Korea or China. These commonalities have made possible the rise of economic and cultural transnational flows which include as a main vortex pilgrimage destinations. The second, corresponding to a more contemporary shared meaning, is the consequence of the relevance of creative and cultural industries and their influence on the collective global imagination.

Conference Themes/Topics:

Graduate students, scholars, independent researchers, and industry practitioners are invited to submit papers and presentations for this workshop. Contributions on the following topics or related areas will be specially considered:

  • Popular Culture and Contents Industries as vehicles for self-representation (manga, anime, games, pop music, film, tv series and more)

  • Interaction, Overlap and Competition between Cultural Heritage and Popular Culture appeal

  • Religion, spirituality, and superstition: temples, shrines, religious figures, animism, yokai and fox spirits

  • Political Communication and Media Culture. The “popular” response to social or natural crises (natural disasters, political transitions, etc)

  • Contents and institutional strategies such as “Soft Power”, from Japan but also other from East Asian Cultures

  • Assessing the concrete (economical, political, cultural) value derived from the international and national markets. Differences in strategies for appealing to each of these audiences.

  • The role of destination image and national branding in impacting tourists’ perception and attitudes toward a culture or nation. Positive (emotional bonds, affect, popularization…)  and negative effects (stereotyping, infantilization...) of the creation and dissemination of these images. 

  • Fictionality vs ‘authenticity’: finding manga, anime, and game settings

  • Media consumption and cultural exchange

  • Media representations and national stereotypes in Japan and other East Asian Cultures in relation to cultural and religious tourism

  • Games and Big Narratives i.e. Pokémon Go for the world traveler: seeking nests all over Asia

  • Comparing media contents tourism among East Asian markets or with other countries

  • The relationship between pop-culture, new media, globalization and tourism trends

We are delighted to confirm that Dr Craig Norris (University of Tasmania) and Dr Eriko Kawanishi (Kyoto University) will be keynote speakers for the Workshop.

More suggestions in relation to these contents or different discussion boards related to these topics, will be welcome.

The deadline for proposals is 30 November 2019. Proposals must be submitted using the webform on the conference webpage:

Contact Info: 

Questions about the event can be directly addressed to the Organising Committee at 

Organising Committee: 

Dr Manuel Hernandez-Perez

School of The Arts, University of Hull


Dr Aurore Yamagata-Montoya

Mutual Images Research Association

Prof Jessica Bauwens-Sugimoto

School of International Studies, Ryukoku University, Kyoto