Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien nav lang search
Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
What is the ‘local’?<br>Rethinking the politics of subnational spaces in Japan



Supported by



What is the ‘local’?
Rethinking the politics of subnational spaces in Japan

October 18 - October 20, 2018

This symposium aimed to enhance the discussion of the “local” as unit of analysis – a discussion that is vital to avoid under-complex approaches to multilayered socio-economic and political phenomena. The focus was on contemporary Japan, which provides a particularly interesting case in this respect, not least due to the massive reorganization of the local administrative landscape in the mid-2000s. The symposium has brought together researchers who link different conceptions of the “local” to concrete social, economic, and political problems. More than twenty talks and presentations illuminated how analyzing the (re)configuration and interaction of formal and informal, spatial and social sub-national boundaries from various disciplinary vantage points advances the understanding of socio-economic and political organization in and beyond Japan.


Day 1         October 18th (Thursday)

6:30 P.M.
DIJ Forum: “The Politics of subnational spaces in Japan and China”

Franz Waldenberger
German Institute for Japanese Studies

Carolyn Cartier
University of Technology, Sydney

8 P.M.

Day 2         October 19th (Friday)

10 A.M.
Panel I: Introduction

What is the ‘local’ in Japan?

Sonja Ganseforth
German Institute for Japanese Studies

Hanno Jentzsch
German Institute for Japanese Studies

Locality as container, field, and horizon: Does the concept help us to understand rural Japan?

William Kelly
Yale University

11:15 A.M.
Coffee Break

11:30 A.M.
Panel II: (Re)Negotiating local communities

Localized, yet deterritorialized lives in rural Japan: ‘Non-local’ locals, ascriptions of ‘locality’ and negotiations between success and alienation

Susanne Klien
Hokkaido University

Rural relating: Assemblage and cosmopolitics in central Hokkaido

Paul Hansen
Hokkaido University

Home is where the hatred is: Rendering ‘the local’ through proximity and affect

Florian Purkarthofer
German Institute for Japanese Studies

1 P.M.
Lunch Break

2:30 P.M.
Panel III: Commodifying the Local

“Are we embracing our terroir or just branding our own piles of dirt?”: Negotiating definitions of locality in the Yamanashi wine cluster

Aaron Kingsbury
Maine Maritime Academy

Regional brands and local identities – Tensions in tourism development in the Seto Inland Sea Area

Carolin Funck
Hiroshima University

Differentiating the layers of agri-food locality: The politics of Geographical Indications in Japanese high-grade beef

Hart Feuer
Kyoto University

Sekine Kae
Aichi Gakuin University

4 P.M.
Coffee Break

4:30 P.M.
Panel IV: The cooperative dimension

Contesting multi-dimensional boundaries in fishery cooperatives

Sonja Ganseforth
German Institute for Japanese Studies

Boundary change: The impact of municipal and cooperative mergers on agricultural reform in Japan

Hanno Jentzsch
German Institute for Japanese Studies

6:30 P.M.
Speakers’ dinner (location tba)

Day 3         October 20th (Saturday)

10 A.M.
Panel V: Local economic development

The possibility of regional economy as a unit of development in the knowledge-based economy: Evidence from a comparative regional institutional analysis (canceled)

Endo Akira
Yokohama National University

Clusters, the “Local”, and findings from med-tech partnerships

Susanne Brucksch
German Institute for Japanese Studies

Dissolving boundaries: The case of regional innovation clusters in Yamagata and their cooperation with German counterparts

Benjamin Rabe
University of Duisburg-Essen

11 A.M.
Coffee Break

11.30 A.M.
Panel VI: Layers of local governance

What happens when there are not even taxis anymore? Alternative concepts of local public transport, their possibilities and limitations

Timo Thelen
Duesseldorf University

Oguma Hitoshi
Takasaki City University Of Economics

Village groups and their local embeddedness (canceled)

Johannes Wilhelm
Keio University

Tapping or draining local resources? Looking at Japanese urban rural relations from the viewpoint of energy and sustainability

Daniel Kremers
German Institute for Japanese Studies

12:30 P.M.
Lunch Break

2 P.M.
Panel VII: The Local in politics

The furusato nozei tax: Local place in national tax policy

Anthony Rausch
Hirosaki University

Competing conceptions of local democracy reform

Ken Hijino
Kyoto University

3 P.M.
Coffee Break

3:30 P.M.
Panel VIII: Local identities and place-making

Mapping local moral worlds: Social welfare and volunteerism in local communities

Isaac Gagné
German Institute for Japanese Studies

What is local? A contribution from the standpoint of globalization theory

Sanada Kie
Tübingen University

The meaning of local community for happiness and selfhood

Barbara Holthus

German Institute for Japanese Studies

Wolfram Manzenreiter
University of Vienna

5 P.M.
Coffee Break

5:15 P.M. - 6 P.M.
Final discussion

Discussant: Peter Matanle, Sheffield University

Related Research Projects

What is the "local"? - Rethinking the politics of subnational spaces in Japan