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2) You have taught popular culture in many different locations such as Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. What are the differences between teaching in one place and the other? Do the students share similar responses towards Japanese popular culture in class?

The biggest difference in my experience is with regards to familiarity with Japanese popular culture. Hong Kong students are probably most aware of and immersed in Japanese popular culture, followed by Singapore students. Among Australian students, there are differences between those of Asian background and those of Anglo/European background. Asian-Australian students tend to be a lot more aware of trends in Japanese (and Korean) popular culture. Among male Anglo-Australian students, some are interested in martial arts (judo, kendo) while others tend to be otaku-type computer geeks.Hence, in terms of teaching, I would need to spend more time providing contextualize background information to students in Australia. If I play a clip of AKB48 in HK or Singapore, I wouldn't need to explain much about their background as much as I do in Australia.


3) In the abstract of your paper for this upcoming Teaching Japanese Popular Culture Conference, you have noted a shift in focus in the teaching of Japanese Studies from an emphasis on ‘macro’ institutions to “micro” everyday institutions and practices, including popular culture over the last decade or so. How did you arrive at this observation? What are the future trends you foresee in the teaching of Japanese Studies, especially with regards to popular culture, in the next 10 years?


It is difficult to foresee future trends, but I can imagine that the March 11 Tohoku Earthquake will prove to be something of a watershed in Japanese Studies. The nuclear crisis and anti-nuclear movements may bring wider attention to environmental issues and the ways they are played out through popular culture. However, this is just a personal hunch & speculation, so do not be surprised if I am proven wrong :)!


4) With regards to the popular culture, your field of interest has been primarily focused on the constructions of genders and sexualities, as well as the negotiations of “in-between” identities. How did you become interested in researching about the various forms of gendered identities of Japan, especially the “salarymen”?