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[I-House Academy] Foreigners in Japan: A Case of Cultural Homogeneity versus Civil Society


[An edited version of this lecture is available in the IHJ Bulletin, Vol.29, No.2, 2009.]

  • Speaker: Harumi Befu, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University
  • Moderator: Koichi Iwabuchi, Professor, Waseda University
  • Date & Time: Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 7:00 pm
  • Venue: Iwasaki Koyata Memorial Hall, International House of Japan
  • Admission: 1,500 yen (Students: 1,000 yen, IHJ Members: Free)
  • Language: English/Japanese (with simultaneous translation)

In this lecture, Prof. Befu will consider the ideology of cultural homogeneity prevalent especially among power-holders against the backdrop of increasing application of the “civil society” concept at the grassroots level. His talk will examine this conflictual situation in the context of the undeniable presence of foreigners in Japan.

Harumi Befu

Harumi BefuHaving received his Ph.D. from The University of Wisconsin, Dr. Befu joined the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University in 1965. Since then, he has played an important role in spearheading Japanese studies as an anthropologist in the United States and at the same time fostering as an educator a new generation of American scholars in area studies on Japan. In particular, he is a respected authority in the analysis of Japan’s cultural identity in the form of Nihonjinron or Nihonbunkaron from an anthropological perspective. His research interests include the social and cultural aspects of Japan’s globalization, the search for Japanese national identity, and the history of Japanese-American s (Nikkei). He has written numerous papers and books including Japan: An Anthropological Introduction (Chandler Publishing Company, 1971), Hegemony of Homogeneity: An Anthropological Analysis of Nihonjinron (Trans Pacific Press, 2001), and Globalizing Japan: Ethnography of the Japanese Presence in Asia, Europe, and America (Co-editor, Curzon, 2003).