Wed 25 July 2012 4-5 pm
Neal Akatsuka, Harvard University
Abstract: Since 1996 when genetically modified (GM) food and feed were first imported into Japan from the United States, Japanese consumers have grown increasingly wary of the place of such food in their diets. Yet, in 1997, the Japanese brewery and liquor manufacturer, Suntory, in collaboration with the Australian biotechnology company, Florigene, successfully launched sales of a GM blue carnation, Moondust, in Japan. In 2009, the two companies launched another GM blue flower, the SUNTORY blue rose APPLAUSE™, which became the first (and to date, only) domestically produced GM crop in Japan. And with recent announcements of the creation of other GM blue flowers by Japanese scientists – chrysanthemums in 2009, as well as moth orchids and lilies in 2012 – the rose will certainly not be the last GM flower to bloom in Japan. Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted since 2008 in Japan, I reflect upon this contradiction in attitudes toward, and possibilities for, transgenic life. Why can GM flowers bloom in Japan, but not GM food crops? What are the social and biological conditions which structure the possibilities for particular transgenic life forms to take root and flourish in Japan, to become viable objects of scientific research and development, agriculture/horticulture, and global consumption and circulation? In this way, I will trace the biopolitics of different transgenic life forms in Japan and explore the consequences for both the futures of humans and plants.
Speaker Profile: Neal is a PhD student in the Social Anthropology Program in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University. His research interests broadly include the anthropology of science, ethics, the body, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), globalization, Japan, and the United States. He received a B.A. from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in Anthropology with Highest Honors, with a Certificate in Japanese and Minor in American Studies. Hi honors thesis, “Recombinant Bodies that Matter: Tracing a Network of Associations of Genetically Modified Food in Japan,” utilized actor-network theory to explore why Japanese consumers do not desire to eat genetically modified food and how such food comes to (not) matter.
Photographs from 9 April Seminar: Securing Global Talent, A/Prof Nana Oishi
The Japanese Studies Centre was pleased to present this seminar in collaboration with MAI’s TransAsia…
Prof. Kayoko TAKEDA: Faculty Distinguished Visiting Scholar
LLCL’s Japanese Studies and Translation and Interpreting Studies will host a visit by Professor Takeda…
Seminar Series, Semester 1 2014
Welcome to the new semester! The JSC seminar series kicks off in March with a…
The Restoration of Rogan-en
The Japanese rock garden has just been refreshed for the new academic year. If you…
Japan, Australia and the global context: Connections across languages and societies
A Symposium in honour of Helen Marriott.
Presented by the Japanese Studies Centre and the Language and Society Centre –
15th March, 2014
11:00 a.m. – 5:30pm
Photos from the 23 October seminar by Dr. Jun OHASHI, Asia Institute, University of Melbourne
This seminar drew in a crowd from those interested in both Japanese Studies and Linguistics,…
Photos from the Special Seminar, 6 November 2013
The Japanese Studies Centre hosted a special presentation by Peter Eckersall, a Monash Graduate…
SPECIAL SEMINAR Friday 20 September 2013
JAPANESE STUDIES CENTRE IS PROUD TO PRESENT A SPECIAL SEMINAR ‘THOUGHTS ON THE AUSTRALIA –…
Photos from the JSC Seminar by Prof. Hiroshi OTA, Hitotsubashi University
Today’s seminar by Professor Ota was well attended despite the lure of balmy spring-like weather….
Photos from the Postgraduate Research Day at the JSC, 31 July 2013
A great turnout on a sunny winter day, including JSC board members Jim Breen…
Japanese Studies Centre Members in the Media
Emeritus Professor Jiri Vaclav Neustupný has been conferred the highly prestigious Order of the Rising…
Japanese Studies Centre Seminars, Semester 2 2013
Thanking and Politeness in Japanese: Balancing Acts in Interaction Weds 23 October 2013 12 noon…