Program: Mutual Images 9th International Workshop


2nd-3rd December 2021

Medievalism in East Asia – I: From Printed Story-Worlds to Digital Role-Playing Games



Due to Covid-19, this workshop is being held as an online one, via the institutional virtual platform (Blackboard Collaborate). Access details will be provided in due time.

Please be reminded that the workshop will follow the UK time-zone.

If you have any inquiries regarding the organisation, please, feel free to contact us.


Images of the European Middle Ages, refashioned through the lens of fantasy or not, are massively present in our contemporary imagination and can be seen everywhere around the World. Such an ubiquity has pushed Academia to finally give the field of Medievalism Studies the recognition it deserves, ensuring that the phenomenon of medievalism, from its early beginnings to its neo forms, manifestations and impacts, can be scrutinised with much attention. Surprisingly though, one cultural area remains either under-appreciated or marginal at best in research on medievalism, despite becoming one of the most remarkable providers of neo-medieval creations: that is, East Asia, and in particular, Japan.

In facts, altered representations of the European Middle Ages have long been present in Japan – on the front cover of the first issue of children’s magazine Akai Tori (1918), in the manga Nazo no kurōbā (1934) by Matsumoto Katsuji, or via the surprising fact that the Japanese translation of The Hobbit (1937) by J.R.R. Tolkien was one of the earliest (1965). Nowadays, neo-medieval images and narratives enjoy colossal success in Japan, and can be found across a great variety of genres, media and fields – manga, anime, games, light novels, movies, even radio drama and architecture; it has come to a point where their presence can hardly be missed in daily life, and where leading a “neo-medievalist life” through adventuring and socialising every day in neo-medieval MMORPGs has become normal.

And through the successful reception of Japanese popular culture overseas, neo-medieval images “made in Japan” have been seeping into foreign contemporary imaginations, from Europe to the USA and East Asia, to such an extent that they have heavily altered the flow of circulation of Medievalism as a whole: today, Japan has become one of its main driving forces. This process is gaining even more momentum if we consider the massive success of the neo-medieval MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, which in 2020 reached the most impressive number of 20 million users world-wide. With the rise of such a global community, Japan’s neo-medievalism confirms its change of status: it is not just a cultural entity capable of crossing borders anymore; it now transcends them, creating a new sense of belonging and shared images way beyond local differences.

Meanwhile in East Asia, China and South Korea have been narrowing the gap with Japan, establishing themselves as strong receptors and providers of medievalism. One has only to look so far as their numerous trendy neo-medieval manhua, manhwa, and (web)novels (i.e. Overgeared by Park Saenai, or Only I level up by Chugong), or the success of both local and foreign games pertaining to medievalism there, from League of Legends and World of Warcraft,to the recent Genshin Impact.

But, how, and when did altered Japanese representations of the European Middle Ages emerge, and come to be ubiquitous? What are the European medieval texts and images that have been, or are being transferred in East Asia? How deep is the influence of modern fantasy authors (e.g. J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, Robert E. Howard)? What of the role-playing game Dungeon & Dragons? How do Japanese Middle Ages images and folklore co-exist with the European Middle Ages in neo-medieval story-worlds? What are the characteristics, the internal movements of Japanese Medievalism? How do other East Asian Medievalisms differ? What part has Japan’s mangaesque and digital culture played in the rise and success of its neomedievalism, locally and globally?

Never before in the history of Medievalism, has a culture outside of the European and US-American spheres been able to challenge in such a way the essentialist presumption that the European Middle Ages is “theirs”. In what ways Japanese Medievalism, and East Asian Medievalisms in general, are shaping contemporary Europeans’ reception of the European Middle Ages, their relationship to its heritage, and to the notion of “Middle Ages” itself? Medievalism is commonly understood as “the reception, interpretation or recreation of the European Middle Ages in post-medieval cultures” (Louise D’Arcens 2016). If so, how, then, should we theoretically address works that play with the “Japanese Middle Ages”? Should they be kept under notions such as jidai shōsetsu (“Period fictions”) and rekishi shōsetsu (“Historical fictions”)? What about Chinese works categorised as Xianxia, which often involves local medieval elements? Should the notion of “Medievalism” encompass any “medieval” period – if such wording can be applied to another cultural area to begin with –, or should it be used only when it involves the European Middle Ages?

December 2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of the cinema’s release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, directed by the New Zealander film director, writer and producer, Peter Jackson; an adaptation that rekindled the flame of Medievalism all over the world. What better occasion, then, to look at Tolkien’s influence in East Asia, as well as extend our observations to the general state of Medievalism in, and from East Asia, and particularly in, and from Japan? Moreover, with the dramatic passing of Miura Kentarō – author of the manga Berserk, one of the most iconic and influential neo-medieval manga – in May, such a research endeavour appears even more necessary than before.

As such, we, at Mutual Images Research Association, have decided this year to start a sub-series of our annual International Workshop, dedicated to Medievalism in East Asia. This first edition, done in co-operation with, and hosted by the Digital Curation Lab at the University of Salford (Manchester), aims to explore the reception, interpretations and refashionings of the European Middle Ages across all genres and media in East Asia, from early to most contemporary creations, from printed story-worlds to digital role-playing games. Participants are asked to consider the cultural, ideological, or theoretical implications of such recreations of the European Middle Ages.

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers. We encourage submissions characterized by interdisciplinary approaches and based on frameworks coming from all disciplines of humanities and social sciences. This workshop is open to PhD students and academics at any stage of their career. Papers for this workshop can fall into, but are not limited to, the precedent questions and the following categories:

  • Historical evolution of Medievalism in East Asia (e.g. Japan, South Korea, China)
  • The reception and legacy of Tolkien in East Asia
  • The influence of Dungeons & Dragons in East Asia
  • Adaptation of European medieval texts, folklore, mythology and/or medieval history
  • (Neo)medievalism in serial narratives (anime, manga/manhwa/manhua, novels)
  • The isekai phenomenon in Japanese neomedievalism
  • East Asian game industries and neomedievalism
  • The impact of digital technology on medievalism in East Asia
  • The reception of Japanese, South Korean or Chinese (neo)medievalism in Europe
  • Musical (neo)medievalism in East Asia
  • Eco-medievalism in East Asia
  • Theoretical approaches of Medievalism when applied to an East Asian context


Maxime DANESINMIRA Vice-President & Independent Researcher, France

Manuel HERNÁNDEZ-PÉREZ Salford University, UK

Juan HIRIART VERASalford University, UK


Björn-Ole KAMMKyoto University, Japan


Raúl FORTES-GUERREROUniversity of Valencia (Spain)

Ice Sorcerers, Magic Swords, and Enchanted Maidens: (Neo)medievalism in Isao Takahata’s Little Norse Prince Valiant

Tōei Animation movie The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun [太陽の王子 ホルスの大冒険 (Taiyō no Ōji Horusu no daibōken)], also known as Hols, Prince of the Sun, was the directorial feature film debut of Isao Takahata, and still remains one of the most perfect examples of (neo)medievalism in Japanese anime. The story follows Horus/Hols, a boy with a mythical sword that wants to protect a village from an evil ice wizard and his minions —who destroyed his family’s village—, despite the distrust of the villagers and the dark secret of Hilda, a mysterious girl who befriends him. The plot is based on Kazuo Fukazawa’s puppet play The Sun Above Chikisani [チキサニの太陽 (Chikisani no taiyō)], which in turn is a reinterpretation of an epic from Yukar, the oral tradition of the Ainu people, the indigenous people of the island of Hokkaidō. The Japanese language title of the originally Ainu epic is オキクルミと悪魔の子 (Okikurumi to Akuma no ko). However, in order to avoid any controversy due to depiction of the Ainu people, the setting was changed to medieval Scandinavia, which explains the following alternative title for the film: Little Norse Prince Valiant.  My paper deals precisely with the influence of traditional Norse iconography and Germanic music —specifically, the tradition of the Minnesänger— in this work, released in 1968, nine years after the first performance of The Sun Above Chikisani and just three years after the Japanese translation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937), which resulted in a boom of (pseudo-)European (neo)medieval images in Japanese manga and anime, Hols, Prince of the Sun being one of the earliest and paradigmatic examples of that.

Heike HOFFERThe Ohio State University (USA)

Medievalism in Anime Music: The Enduring Chant of Kajiura Yuki, Part 1 – Composer Kajiura Yuki and Neo-Medievalist Anime Soundtracks: The Early Years

Kajiura Yuki’s music for anime is easily recognized by its eclectic mix of sounds and styles gathered from across the globe. Her early scores employed a compositional method practiced in Japanese popular music since the 1990s, which treated the creative act as a process of musical curation or “domestication,” to borrow Tobin’s term. Composers took inspiration from a wide variety of musical genres, embracing their personal artistic preferences to generate unexpected musical combinations without concern for the original context of their models. This technique is evident in Kajiura’s handling of medieval Gregorian chant, which – as she has explained in interviews – she did not learn from a music history class but rather from the German band Enigma and their hit album MCMXC a.D. from 1990, where samples of chant were mixed with Euro dance pop and French rap. Kajiura emulated Enigma’s process of looping chant and dance rhythms to make music that was, in her words, “trippy” and “hypnotic,” bringing this feeling into her scores. The anime Noir from 2001 contains an excellent example of her approach, combining chant-based vocal tracks with energetic dance rhythms. Enigma used chant to call on modern neo-medievalist tropes that highlight the pleasures of mysticism, religious devotion, and sexuality freed from morality, and Kajiura has replicated this imagery in Noir, making chant the symbol of an ancient criminal order that both worships and overtly sexualizes the main female characters. In Noir, Kajiura perfected one of her most recognizable musical hallmarks, a pair of female singers performing a slow-moving, chant-like melody in tightly interconnected harmonies over a propulsive electronic accompaniment. This sound is prominent in her other scores of the same time period (Mai-Hime, .hack//Sign, etc.), now using her created language of Kajiurago instead of Noir’s Latin and Italian.

Stacey JOCOY Texas Tech University (USA)

Medievalism in Anime Music: The Enduring Chant of Kajiura Yuki, Part 2 – Kajiura Yuki, Medievalism, and the Reimagining of the Past: Recent developments

Kajiura Yuki is known for her many successful anime soundtracks that musically create modernized reimaginings of past soundscapes. Although she has commented on her perceived musical eclecticism, critics recognize a prevalent style in, “her blend of synth, choral, and orchestral music” (Anime Instrumentality, 2011). Additionally, the use of female voices, often in imitation of chant that vacillates between the timbre of Bulgarian women’s choirs and traditional Filipino chant, is an element that Kajiura favors. The latter is the expanded expression of the Gregorian chant-influenced sound she developed in her earlier works: shifting away from Latin lyrics to her created language of Kajiurago, her ethereal chant has a pronounced focus on female voices. This is partially due to her collaboration with FictionJunction (since 2008) and is also a reflection of the strong female anime protagonists.Kajiura delivers aspects of her signature sound in the blockbuster soundtrack for Demon Slayer. The track “Brace up and run!” opens each episode highlighting female voices chanting Kajiurago as a musically-haunting reminder of the otherness of the past. Another piece, “Survive and get the blade, boy,” is a rock-influenced, orchestral work featuring shakuhachi solo. The largely orchestral nature of the soundtrack creates an overarching epic tone that suits the dark, historicized fantasy of this story. Though she has been criticized as “consistent,” her soundscapes have come to aurally signify emerging anime genres, especially fantasy and isekai. Kajiura has created a genre-defining sound that blends orchestra with high, strident chorus, often incorporating hōgaku instruments that strike a note of exoticism—neither past nor future, but capable of conveying both the fantastical and the folkloric. This presentation considers Kajiura’s soundtracks for Fate/Stay Night and Demon Slayer to semiotically interrogate the historical imaginary evinced in the medievalist topoi of these popular anime.

Simon James BYTHEWAYNihon University (Japan)

Fantasy and Funding: on the reception of Jackson’s LOTR in 1990s Japan 

Many people, including the Beatles, had dreamed of turning J. R. R. Tolkien’s beloved novels into theatrical films for worldwide release. Throughout 1995 and 1996, Peter Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh (and Phillip Boyens too) believed that they, with the Weta Workshop, knew how to make the movies, and began to pitch their ideas to the executives of Hollywood’s largest studios. Despite diverse and complex ownership to the film rights of Tolkien’s works, Miramax was able to win the rights to the Lord of the Rings (LOTR), but being unable to fund it, the project passed by Disney and others, before New Line Cinema agreed to fund the production of a trilogy of films in 1998. The scale and complexity of the LOTR project required production (read, investment) partners all across the globe. It was not just about raising capital so that all three movies could be made essentially in one mammoth shoot, but also about locking LOTR into the largest possible regional distribution, and crucially providing effective marketing and subtitles services to each national audience. Almost a decade after the heady days of Japan’s bubble economy, New Line Cinema was thus searching for a large media organization – preferably with television, print, and distribution networks – to become its Japanese partner. Here, for the first time, is an [anonymous] inside story of an up-and-coming executive at the front lines of Japanese film deciding whether or to invest in Jackson’s LOTR in the late 1990s.

Maxime DANESIN – MIRA Independent Researcher (France)

Mangaesque neo-Medievalism: the Japanese’s path to Global Medievalism, Part 1


Manuel HERNÁNDEZ-PÉREZ Salford University (UK)

Mangaesque neo-Medievalism: the Japanese’s path to Global Medievalism, Part 2


Mujeeb KHAN – University of Utah (USA)

European Medievalism and Fantasy in the Construction of Islam in Japanese Manga

Japanese manga, which has been used to develop complex, fantasy worlds, also educates individuals both through fictional and nonfictional accounts of historical and cultural events. Taken as such, manga provides ample evidence for the presence of European medievalism within the conceptualization of Islam in Japan. The depiction of Islam, treated as ‘Eastern’ in the Euro-American mind but geographically western to Japan, is often biased. This is especially true in the retelling or representation of Islam in a Japan disconnected from the multileveled cross-cultural connections of premodern Asia, in which Islam and the Islamicate world played a major role. This paper will take multiple examples from manga for a detailed examination of this European medievalism. For example, in One Piece, the long-running and most popular manga of Japan, European medievalist imagery of Islam is present in the Kingdom of Arabusuta, whose name supposedly derives from alabaster but whose Japanese phonetic representation invokes ‘Arab.’ It is no wonder then that the denizens of this desert region don clothes representative of the European medieval imagination and much of the Arabustan culture is similarly Middle Eastern with obvious ancient Egyptian iconography. Muslim naming, on the other hand, is only employed in a later arc for the two backstabbing, uncouth individuals whose lack of moral compass is their only characteristic more outstanding than their decrepit facial expressions. Similarly, the world of Magi (pronounced with a voiced g in Japanese), along with its prequel Sindobado (Sinbad), is almost entirely constructed in the world of Islamic myth, whose mythology is a rendering of European medievalism more than it is a depiction of anything Islamic if any objective lens is applied. With these two case studies, the paper will also gloss manga such as Satoko to Nada and Allah-kun, which offer greater insight into the role of medievalism in manga authors’ depiction of Islam. The paper also hopes to shed light on the reason this European medievalism dominates in the popular imagination of a country whose encounters with and academic study of Islam has a history dating back over 1200 years.

Andrea MARIUCCI – Independent Researcher (Italy)

From Dungeons&Dragons to Dragon Quest: material shifts and cultural dialogue

Arguably one of the most popular genres in today’s video game market is the Japanese role-playing game (JRPG). The distinguishing traits of the genre are often matter of debate. The final decision on whether something is a JRPG usually relies more on general feelings, than on rigid criteria (Mallindine 2016). However, one shared trait among the exponents of the genre is that they find its roots in Western tabletop role-playing games, such as Dungeons&Dragons (1974). As a matter of fact, Dungeons&Dragons served as an inspiration for many other role-playing games (RPGs). One such example is Wizardry (1981), which, together with Ultima (1981), was among the most successful computer role-playing games of its time(Barton & Stacks 2008). The two games served as the beginning for long-spanning series, which enjoyed wide success in Japan (Adams 1985), where the RPG genre as a whole was soon integrated, through various platforms, into the local media ecology (Steinberg 2015). Wizardry in particular was also among the games which influenced Horii Yūji (Horii 2018a. 2018b) to create Dragon Quest (1986), one of the earliest examples of JRPG. This paper seeks to draw a connection between Dungeons&Dragons and the early JRPGs. First, I compare Dungeons&Dragons, a tabletop RPG, to its most well-known digital counterparts of the time, Wizardry and Ultima. By doing this, I expose the differences between ‘pen and paper’ and ‘screen and software.’ Then, I observe the differences between Wizardry, Ultima, and Dragon Quest in terms of both aesthetics and gameplay, in order to understand how Japanese developers and distributors negotiated the concept of RPG for the Japanese market. In both comparisons I consider how characters, avatar, gameplay, and narrative are mediated by the platform and the cultural milieu hosting them.

Gerard ALMEIDA – Independent Researcher (Spain)

A new neo-medievalist paradigm? Japan as seen through Genshin Impact’s Inazuma

The launch of Genshin Impact on the 28th September 2020, a free-to-play, gacha game for android, PC and PlayStation 4 has caused a big commotion among the members of the gamers’ community. The possibility of exploring many regions, each one based on an ancient or actual real-world country or region, but with a medieval setting, has stolen the heart and captured the interest of many players. After many patches bringing no new regions to explore at all, on July 20th 2021 Chinese developer MiHoYo has finally launched version 2.0, featuring the region of Inazuma, consisting of an archipelago based off real-world Japan. Set in the Edo period, its shogun has decreed a sakoku ruling, closing the country to external influences and interferences. Not only its setting and landscape disposition is a nod to actual Japan, but the region’s plot, quests and side-quests also relate to Japanese Edo period’s actual history, politics, culture, social atmosphere and even folklore. The following patches are scheduled to be released every six weeks and will only delve further into the Inazuman secrets by adding up more islands to explore lore, width and variety story-wise, characters, enemies and bosses. Thus, the neo medieval Japan recreated through Genshin Impact’s Inazuma will expand and reveal more clearly the sources behind this gaming experience. The aim of this paper is to analyse the representations and recreation of the neo medievalist Japan featured in the videogame in the matter of (1) politics; (2) social atmosphere; (3) folklore, myths and mythical creatures (ayakashi or yôkai) and (4) NPC’s, playable characters and enemies.  The results of this study will show if it is just a ‘’neo copy’’ of medieval Japan or if Genshin Impact has created a new paradigm of how a neo-medieval Japan should be represented from now on in pop culture.

Juan HIRIART VERA – Salford University, UK

Design Workshop Experiences Communicating Chinese Medieval History and Heritage Through Game Design

In many ways, the process of designing historical games can be seen as an adaptation from one or more historical sources (academic texts, simulations, spreadsheets and so on) to ludic forms of interaction. As such, this process can be compared to the translation between different languages (Hutcheon, 2006). However, in the same way that no linguistic translation can be completely perfect, no adaptation between two different mediums can fully preserve the original source’s meaning. In this presentation, I would like to analyse three design workshop experiences, where teams of undergraduate students from the China Academy of Arts designed physical and digital games to communicate Chinese history and heritage. The first project centres on translating “The Classic of Mountains and Seas” or Shan Hai Jing to a board game prototype. Second, I will continue with the presentation of a digital game where students imagined how different the Ming and Qing dynasties would have been if China at that time would have opened to the West, adopting foreign ideologies and technological innovations. Finally, I will close the presentation with a project centred on the beginning of the Land Silk Road, the legendary story of Zhang Qian’s journey to the western regions around 138 B.C.



THURSDAY, 2nd of December 2021

13.00 Opening: Toni Sant, Digital Curation Lab Director (Salford University, UK)
13.10 Keynote speaker: Björn-Ole Kamm (Kyoto University, Japan)
“Of Castles and Ninjas: Snapshots of a History of Analog Role-Playing in Japan”

14.00 – Break

Panel 1 – Medievalism in East Asia – Animation & Cinema

14.10 Raúl Fortes-Guerrero (University of Valencia, Spain)
“Ice Sorcerers, Magic Swords, and Enchanted Maidens: (Neo)medievalism in Isao Takahata’s Little Norse Prince Valiant
14.30 Heike Hoffer (Ohio State University, USA)
“Medievalism in Anime Music: The Enduring Chant of Kajiura Yuki, Part 1 – Composer Kajiura Yuki and Neo-Medievalist Anime Soundtracks: The Early Years”

14.50 – Break

15.00 Stacey Jocoy (Texas Tech University, USA)
“Medievalism in Anime Music: The Enduring Chant of Kajiura Yuki, Part 2 – Kajiura Yuki, Medievalism, and the Reimagining of the Past: Recent developments”
15.20 Simon James Bytheway (Nihon University, Japan)
“Fantasy and Funding: on the reception of Jackson’s LOTR in 1990s Japan”

15.40 – Panel Discussion

FRIDAY, 3rd of December 2021

Panel 2 – Mangaesque Medievalism in Japan

13.30 Maxime Danesin (MIRA Independent Researcher, France)
“Mangaesque neo-Medievalism: the Japanese’s path to Global Medievalism, Part 1”
13.50 Manuel Hernández-Pérez (Salford University, UK)
“Mangaesque neo-Medievalism: the Japanese’s path to Global Medievalism, Part 2”
14.10 Mujeeb Khan (University of Utah, USA)
European Medievalism and Fantasy in the Construction of Islam in Japanese Manga”

14.30 – Break

Panel 3 – Medievalism in East Asia – Analog and Digital Games

14.40 Andrea Mariucci (Independent Researcher, Italy)
“From Dungeons&Dragons to Dragon Quest: material shifts and cultural dialogue”
15.00 Gerard Almeida (Independent Researcher, Spain)
“A new neo-medievalist paradigm? Japan as seen through Genshin Impact‘s Inazuma”
15.20 Juan Hiriart Vera (Salford University, UK)
“Design Workshop Experiences Communicating Chinese Medieval History and Heritage Through Game Design”

15.40 – Panels 2 & 3 Discussion

16.00 Closing roundtable and remarks:
Dr. Maxime Danesin & Dr. Manuel Hernández-Pérez


Announcement: On Mutual Images 9th International Workshop


2nd-3rd December 2021

Medievalism in East Asia – I: From Printed Story-Worlds to Digital Role-Playing Games


In order to make full use of our annual international workshop, MIRA has decided to extend the deadline for submissions related to the “Medievalism in East Asia” workshop.

The new deadline to send your submission is the 27th of September.

  • All the information related to this event and its organisation can be found here.
  • As a reminder, due to Covid-19, we are expecting to hold this workshop at best as a hybrid event with in-person as well as online participation, with the option of having it fully online. More details will be announced, later on, on this particular point.We will use the institutional virtual platform (Blackboard Collaborate). Access details will be provided in due time.

If you have any inqueries regarding the organisation, please, feel free to contact us.

The Mutual Images Research Association Board

Program: Mutual Images 8th International Workshop


22-24th January 2021

Japanese Pilgrimages: Experiences and motivations behind cultural and spiritual peregrinations from and to East Asia

We are pleased to announce the program of our 8th International workshop, “Japanese Pilgrimages”, that has been delayed due to the Pandemic. As mentioned previously, this workshop will be mainly online, via Zoom – more details on that matter below. To view the detailed program, click on the link below, or at the bottom of this page.


Access by Zoom: Instructions will be available here in due course.

It is difficult to plan normally the workshop without knowing the evolution of the Coronavirus crisis in the next months, weeks, even days. We both wish to make this workshop as humanly as possible, but also avoid any risk; and this, of course, while following every sanitary protocols from the Japanese government and Ryukoku’s University. This is why we have no choice but to make this workshop almost fully Virtual:

  • Researchers outside of the Kansai area – meaning not affiliated to Kansai’s universities – will have no choice but to participate via the Zoom Conference system of Ryukoku University.
  • Researchers from the Kansai area will be invited to attend physically at Ryukoku University, as they probably won’t be restricted to move around at that time, considering the distance. If the Coronavirus crisis evolves negatively in January, to the point of having to quarantine, researchers living in Kansai will be, of course, asked to use the Zoom Conference system of Ryukoku University.

This evolution (from a normal workshop, to a semi-virtual, then almost fully virtual one) has required us to considerably adapt the program, especially as we have participants from all over the World, with time-zones that range from Canada to Japan. This makes having traditional panels and panels’ discussions impossible, as well as having everyone being able to assist at every presentation. Despite this, we have tried our best to make coherent groups of presentations, while taking into account each participant’s time-zone; we sincerely hope that you will understand the restrictions that we have been facing, and that the result will be satisfactory nonetheless to everyone.

That being said, every participant will have 20 mins to present their paper, then 10 mins of questioning immediately following – since panel’s discussion would be often problematic due to time-zones. Considering how the program has been tightly done to respect everyone’s time-zones, we kindly ask you to follow the time-limit. If you are not confident about your internet connexion, we also advise you to record a video of your presentation beforehand and share it with us, so that we can display it as a last-resort.

Please be reminded that the workshop will follow the Japanese time-zone: GTM+9.

If you have any inquiries regarding the organisation, please, feel free to contact us.


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.

With this purpose, 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.

Indicative Bibliography about this topic could include:

Anholt, Simon. “Beyond the Nation Brand: The Role of Image and Identity in International Relations.” Exchange: The Journal of Public Diplomacy, vol. 2, no. 1, 2013, pp. 6-12.

Crouch, David et al. “Introduction: The Media and the Tourist Imagination.” The Media and the Tourist Imagination: Converging Cultures, edited by David Crouch et al., Routledge, 2005, pp. 1-13.

Hernández-Pérez, Manuel. “Thinking of Spain in a Flat Way’: Spanish Tangible and Intangible Heritage through Contemporary Japanese Anime.” Mutual Images, vol. 3, 2017, pp. 43-69.

Kawanishi, Eriko. “Two Types of Japanese Pilgrimage to Britain ” EASA2018: Staying, Moving, Settling, 2018.

Norris, Craig. “A Japanese Media Pilgrimage to a Tasmanian Bakery.” 1, vol. 14, 2013, doi:10.3983/twc.2013.0470.

Okamoto, Takeshi. “Otaku Tourism and the Anime Pilgrimage Phenomenon in Japan.” Japan Forum, vol. 27, no. 1, 2015, pp. 12–36, doi:10.1080/09555803.2014.962565.

Sabre, Clothilde. “French Anime and Manga Fans in Japan : Pop Culture Tourism, Media Pilgrimage, Imaginary.” International Journal of Contents Tourism, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1-19.

Seaton, Philip and Takayoshi Yamamura. “Japanese Popular Culture and Contents Tourism – Introduction.” Japan Forum, vol. 27, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1–11, doi:10.1080/09555803.2014.962564.

Yamamura, Takayoshi. “Anime Pilgrimage and Local Tourism Promotion: An Experience of Washimiya Town, the Sacred Place for Anime “Lucky Star” Fans.” Journal of Tourism and Cultural Studies, no. 14, 2009, pp. 1-9.


Jessica BAUWENS-SUGIMOTORyukoku University, Japan


Manuel HERNÁNDEZ-PÉREZ Hull University/Salford University, UK


Maxime DANESINMIRA Vice-President & Independent Researcher, France


MITANI MazumiDean of the Faculty of International Studies, Ryukoku University, Japan


Craig NORRISUniversity of Tasmania, Australia


KAWANISHI ErikoProfessional Institute of International Fashion, Japan




Stacey JOCOY Texas Tech University (USA)

ClassicLoid, Musical Pilgrimage, and Japanese Intercultural Classicism

The anime series ClassicLoid (2016) featuring the cloned reincarnations of some of the most famous European composers of all time: Beethoven/Beets, Mozart/Motz, and more, intersects with the idea of pilgrimage on several levels. Self-consciously merging anime with Classical music, NHK’s magical-musical boys have the ability to control affective powers of music, using their powers at character-defining moments. Modern artists including Tomoyasu Hotei and tofubeats were enlisted to represent each of the composers, reinterpreting Classical works through modern pop-rock. Apart from references to modern Japan, however, there is no actual place in ClassicLoid that fans can visit, but this is where the Media Mix of modern anime franchising exerts influence. In addition to releasing the ClassicLoid soundtrack, NHK renegotiated rights to original pieces, as well. Global fandom on social media began mentioning their new-found passion for Classical works, derived from their exposure to the series. Audiences visited the only place they could—the music itself. Nick Couldry’s concept of media pilgrimage is essential to negotiate the cultural travel embodied within this musical fandom, guiding the survey of virtual field work to interrogate the concept of intermedia pilgrimage: between anime and pre-existing musics. Additionally, comparative audio-visual analysis of the series highlights its role as scaffolding to the intercultural world of Classicism. What does it mean to venerate and adopt the music of a distinctly different culture? And how might these modern musical pilgrimages into the world of Classical music illuminate patterns of intercultural exchange across the potent medium of anime.

Heike HOFFERThe Ohio State University (USA)

Intersections of Popular Culture and the Musical Past: Animated Representations of Japan’s Mysterious Biwa Hoshi

The world of anime is populated by a dazzling variety of unusual characters, including modernized versions of figures derived from traditional Japanese culture. One such case is animated representations of the biwa hōshi, a group of blind Buddhist monks that traveled Japan on foot during the samurai era playing their biwas and dispensing demons by means of mysterious supernatural powers. For modern Japanese, the unmistakable “twang” of the biwa, combined with the biwa hōshi’s bold recitation style, calls up a sense of rich cultural heritage that allows anime viewers to engage in a form of aural pilgrimage to a bygone era of Japanese history. The biwa often underscores Japanese samurai films viewed abroad, leading international viewers to recognize its sound as an apparatus of cultural nostalgia as well. This presentation briefly examines the daily lives and distinctive performance traditions of the biwa hōshi, drawing on Japanese scholars Hugh De Ferranti, William Malm, Helen McCullough, Barbara Ruch, and Alison Tokita. With a historical model in place, we can examine how anime directors and character designers have re-imagined the biwa hōshi visually and musically to conform to the demands of modern popular culture by constructing an interaction between authentic historical characteristics and narrative-driven fictional traits. Examples include the character “Shige” from the 2004 series Samurai Champloo, who controls a group of zombies in a quest to find buried treasure, and “Biwamaru,” an enigmatic sage and fearsome demon killer from Osamu Tezuka’s 1969 series Dororo and its successful remake from 2019.

Dennis YEONanyang Technological University (Singapore)

Kubo and the two strings as Japanese pilgrimage

The impact of animated movies in shaping the contents tourism (kontentsu tsurizumu) of the next generation cannot be underestimated. While the main studios, Disney, Dreamworks and Pixar, have tapped on different national and ethnic cultures to develop their narratives, only Mulan (1998) and Kung Fu Panda (2008, 2011, 2016) have ventured to the East. Laika Studios’ Kubo and the Two Strings (Knight, 2016) is, however, the first time Japan is prominently featured in the oeuvre. Kubo offers its viewers a veritable media pilgrimage through Japanese culture, history and aesthetics. While the export of ‘Japanese popular culture’ conventionally consists of J-pop, manga, anime, Hello Kitty and Pokemon, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has admitted forms of ‘culture produced in the everyday lives of ordinary people’ (ippan shimin ni yoru nichijo no katsudo de seiritsu shite iru bunka) in their redefinition of ‘pop culture’ (poppu karucha) (Seaton & Yamamura, 2015). Kubo does precisely this by introducing the viewer into a world that borrows from origami, Noh theater, Kiyoyoshi Saito drawings, Issey Miyake fashion designs, shamisen music, obon rituals and Japanese symbolism, philosophy and mythology. This Japanese fusion of both traditional and popular culture, coupled with Kubo’s Western three-act quest journey structure, makes its narrative accessible to a global audience. The resulting pastiche is a constructed diorama that is as transnational and postmodern as it is authentic and indigenous. This paper argues that the movie itself is a form of film-induced tourism and the viewer thus becomes a cultural tourist of Japan.

Krisztina ROSNERMeiji University (Japan)

The Case of the Standing Monkey and the Walkman: Reconsidering a commercial 

Sony Walkman was launched in 1979, celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019. One of their emblematic commercial campaigns, released in Japan in 1980, featured Choro the monkey. At that time Choro was a real monkey-celebrity, on the peak of his popularity as a current star of the traditional Japanese animal performance genre “monkey dance” (sarumawashi). This special commercial is in the focus of my paper. In my presentation I look at this commercial as an interplay between cultural heritage and popular culture. I consider it a prism of layers of Japanese culture: I analyze the “monkey dance” tradition in its social context, its revival from the Japanese avant-garde, and its contemporary situation, based on the interviews I conducted with Yōichi Murasaki, the director of the Kawaguchiko Monkey Theatre. In parallel, I take a look at how the Walkman as a product has shaped the concept of mobility, emphasizing both the entertainment factor and the luxury of disconnected privacy, in the act of urban pilgrimage. Through the example of this commercial I analyze how the current theories in nonhuman performativity, animal studies, performing arts studies are in interplay with popular culture, and cultural studies. The questionable optimism, the irony, the connection, the contradiction of the visual and performative representations of the walking man and the standing monkey..

Dalma KALOVICS – Yokote Masuda Manga Museum (Japan)

Breaking Panel Structures: Adapting Manga from Rental Comics to Mainstream Magazines as Seen through Kojima Goseki’s Period Dramas

Kojima Gōseki is best known for providing the unique artwork of the samurai epos Lone Wolf and Cub, a classic both in Japan and overseas, written by Koike Kazuo. However, Kojima is considered to be a master of historical narratives in his own right, working almost exclusively in this thematic genre since his debut, producing numerous jidaigeki, historical manga both for the rental and the mainstream magazine market, often inspired by novels and popular movies. Kojima Gōseki was a prolific artist: in the 1960s he produced 120-160 pages long rental comic books nearly every month, regularly contributed to monthly rental anthologies, and starting the second half of the 60s he simultaneously worked for mainstream magazines. In light of this workload it is no surprise that Kojima recycled his narratives over the years: he adapted his historical manga from small sized rental paperbacks to big manga magazines, but this required thorough editing of the original material. To adjust to a different publishing format and manga layout, Kojima either cut his original manuscripts and rearranged the panels, or he completely redrew his manga with updated paneling. Using several examples from rental comic books, magazines and genga, original manuscripts, I will examine how Kojima Gōseki adapted manga between the two different media of rental comics and mainstream magazines, and how this relates to prevalent ideas about manga layout and manga making. Instead of artistic and narrative considerations, Kojima Gōseki’s edited manga might suggest a materiality oriented approach of a craftsman..

Olga ANTONONOKA – Kwansei Gakuin University (Japan)

Undermining the Gendered Genre: Kabuki in Manga

According to Jaqueline Berndt, Thomas LaMarre, and other critics, manga is a highly participatory media. Narratives with vibrant characters and creative inconsistences in the plotline encourage the reader to recontextualise the text, create new contents and unfold activities which go beyond reading (such as fan art and CosPlay). Recent popularity of manga about Japanese traditional arts – for example, Kabuki – further expanded the potential interaction with manga and other popular media to include (re)discovering traditional Japanese culture. Examples, such as Kabukumon by Tanaka Akio and David Miyahara (Morning 2008-2011), or Kunisaki Izumo no jijō by Hirakawa Aya (Weekly Shōnen Sunday 2010-2014) and a variety of other manga, anime and light novels exemplify this tendency. Consequently, influential franchises, such as Naruto and One Piece boast adaptations as Super Kabuki stage-plays. Furthermore, Jessica Bauwens-Sugimoto observes how thematic and stylistic overreaching in contemporary manga further distort the notions of the gendered genre that lays at the foundation of the manga industry. In this case, Kabuki theatre as a theme employs a variety of gender fluid characters and situations. For this purpose, Kabuki manga utilise cross-genre narrative and stylistic tropes, from overtly parodying borrowed tropes, to homage, and covert inclusions. On the example of Kabuki-manga I will explore a larger trend in manga to employ elements of female genres in male narratives, thus expanding the target readership. My paper explores specific mechanism that facilitates reading manga cross-genre, I also inquire what novel critical potential thematic and stylistic exchange between audiences may entail.

Daniel MILNE – Kyoto University (Japan)

Selling a City in Crisis: Self-Orientialism in the First Guidebook to Kyoto

As we have seen in post-Fukushima Japan, crises help shape tourist images and branding efforts. In the early 1870s, Kyoto was similarly facing a crisis: over half the city had recently been destroyed, and the capital, imperial family, and court—and all they represented—had been lost to Tokyo. As part of a wave of modernization and revitalization measures, city leaders attempted to attract foreign tourists, and in 1873 published the first English-language guidebook to a Japanese destination. This paper explores the context out of which this text emerged, analyzes its unusual merging of Japanese and Western forms of travel media, and examines how the city sought to portray Kyoto at this time of crisis and modernizing vigor. Through this, it demonstrates Japan’s early attempts to use tourism as a tool of “Soft Power,” and to revive and transform economies and regional identities.

Christopher HAYES – Kyoto Institute, Library and Archives (Japan)

Japan’s Rugby Myth: How rugby was enshrined in Japanese tradition for the Rugby World Cup

From September to November 2019, Japan hosted the Rugby World Cup, making it the first Asian country to host the event. Almost 1.7 million people attended matches across Japan, of these approximately 400,000 were foreign visitors, and many travelled the length and breadth of Japan to see multiple games at multiple venues. While rugby has been played in Japan since the game’s creation, it is a relatively minor sport, compared to football or baseball. In hosting the Rugby World Cup, Japan had to show the world that it was a rugby playing nation. In addition to building new stadiums and renovating the old, efforts were made to justify rugby’s position in Japanese culture and history. This paper examines three sites where rugby has been historicised and made a part of traditional culture: Kyoto City, Higashiosaka and Yokohama. What were these sites’ roles in the Rugby World Cup? How did these sites achieve cultural assimilation of rugby? And is there a genuine historical precedent for the creation of a rugby heritage at these sites, or are they merely a part of local tourism strategy? The paper contextualises these questions within the context of sports tourism, Japan’s inbound tourism strategies and concepts of pilgrimage..

Donatella FAILLA – University of Genoa (Italy)

Pilgrimages and Their Imagery in Edo-period Japan

The main pilgrimage routes of Japan were established during the Heian period, but the Momoyama and the Edo period saw a remarkable increase in the popularisation of pilgrimage activities. Guidebooks published in the late 18th century to offer reliable and updated information to travellers attest to the increasing success of pilgrimages: for example, the “Illustrated Guide to the Ise Pilgrimage” of 1797 (Ise sangū meisho zue, Kansei 9) by Shitomi Kangetsu (1747-1797) and Akisato Ritō, can be regarded as a true and proper milestone. This paper analyses the iconographic, historical and economic contents of three art documents, mostly unpublished, relating to three important pilgrimage centres: A painted album depicting the Ise meisho 伊勢名所, by an 18th century Tosa-school artist; A series of thirty-three votive tablets of the Kannon Pilgrimage to Thirty-three Sites in Saigoku  西国三十三観音霊場 (Western Japan, Kansai); A series of three painted handscrolls by Nishimura Nantei 西村楠亭 (?1754 or ?1774-1834) entitled “Exploring the prosperous city of Kyōto” (Keiraku Hanjō zukan 京洛繁昌図巻), depicting the  popular pilgrimage to Kiyomizudera 清水寺on the occasion of its festival (sairei 祭礼), that was celebrated on the ninth day of the fourth lunar month.

Lindsey DeWITT – Ghent University (Belgium)

Cult as Heritage and the Cult of Heritage: Reflections on Two Japanese World Heritages Sites (Okinoshima and Mt. Omine)

What can a pair of cult pilgrimage sites reveal about the modern cult of heritage in Japan? Who or what do heritage designations privilege, and who or what is excluded? How do sacred and secular forces coexist—and clash—at heritage hotspots? This talk brings the vectors of religion, politics, cultural heritage, tourism, and gender into a critical and mutually constituting dialogue through a case study of two Japanese World Heritage Sites: the island Okinoshima (designated in 2017) and the Sanjōgatake peak of Mt. Ōmine (designated in 2004). Both sites feature rich transregional/transcultural histories and bear the symbolic and material traces of more than a millennium of pilgrimage and patronage. Religious authorities at both sites presently enforce a controversial ban on women’s access (and both sites are associated with powerful and purportedly jealous female divinities). The culture industries imagine and brand both sites as romantic repositories of an original or authentic “Japan.” The Japanese government recognizes both sites as central nodes in the nation’s patrimonial repertoire. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee affirmed the “outstanding universal value” of both sites by inscribing them on the coveted World Heritage List. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and an array of sources (historical and material records, governmental documentation, and popular culture forms such as news media, manga, and cosplay), I sketch the World Heritage stories of Okinoshima and Mt. Ōmine—articulating their fascinating commonalities, noting their key differences, and situating them within national and global imaginaries.

Ioannis DIAMANTAKOS – University of Edinburgh (UK)

Evolving motivations for Japanese pilgrimage: An analysis of pilgrim’s motivations and experiences in the 2010’s with particular reference to the Shikoku pilgrimage

The topic I will investigate revolves around the evolution of contemporary Japanese pilgrimage of the 2010’s through the study of the motivational factors and the afterthoughts of a selective group of individual pilgrims. I will endeavor to utilize contemporary means of communication like YouTube videos, vlogs, blogs and social media from 2010 to 2019 coupled with more traditional means like books and interviews I have already conducted myself via e-mail as my primary sources in hopes of demonstrating the relevance and adaptability of Japanese pilgrimage in contemporary technological reality. The essay primarily utilizes the Shikoku pilgrimage as a case study, arguably the most prominent among Japanese pilgrimage trails since its popularization in the Tokugawa (1603- 1868) period, with occasional references to other important pilgrimage trails in Japan such as the Kumano Kodo. As Ian Reader suggests most of the academic discussion revolves around the events and occurrences taking place during the practice of pilgrimage. The aim of this essay is to delve into ”the before” (motives) and ”the after” (afterthoughts/ experiences) of the pilgrimage that ultimately shape its contemporary practice and the pilgrimage community itself. Through the study of reoccurring patterns and broader themes indicated by the writings and claims of various blogger/ vlogger pilgrims as well as interviews conducted at Buddhist temples during pilgrims’ passage, I attempt to outline the evolution of a traditionally religious practice in the materialistic society of the 2010’s and deduce if contemporary attitudes towards pilgrimage correlate with those of its traditional status of asceticism and spirituality..

Martina GONZATO – Independent researcher (Italy)

Evolving Pilgrimages: Towards “This-Worldly Benefits”

In Japan, the concept of Genze Riyaku, which literally means ‘this-worldly benefits’, implies the sphere of this life in which most prayers, requests and needs of the Japanese towards the supposed power of the other world (takai) and its occupants (such as kami, Buddhas and ancestors) are directed; the notion, aside from its materialistic ethic, also aims at the attainment of peace of mind and emotional solace. As a matter of fact, shrines and temples can provide support in different ways, such as through specific rituals, prayers from priests, the personal worship of statues or other sacred objects, and through the establishment of pilgrimages. In this last case, in particular, the partaking of pilgrimages becomes a primary method to store Kudoku (“merit”), namely the positive influence which will lead to Genze Riyaku. Nevertheless, the historical changes and transformations that the country went through, deeply affected the concept, with people seeking different kinds of support; a simple example is the birth of new shrines and temples, or even deities, influenced by the appearance of certain diseases, or during principal historical events, such as wars or major catastrophes. As this lead people in seeking new types of assistance, and gradually neglecting others, how did this affect the world of pilgrimages? What kind of insight can we obtain by comparing the transformations of major pilgrimages and Japanese main historical events?.

Junhong MA – University of Alberta (Canada)

Tea trips from Taiwan to Japan: 1960s-2010s

In the 1960s, Li Ruihe, the founder of Tenren Tea, visited Japan multi times for tea packaging ideas. In the 1970s, Liu Hanjie, the owner of Chun Shui Tang, traveled around Japan, pursuing a better tea brewing method for the hot summertime in Taiwan.  He got inspired by the cold-brewed coffee and invented the bubble tea, an icon for Taiwan popular culture today. Since the 1980s, Li Shuyun, an influential name in contemporary Taiwan tea art, learned both chanoyu and senchadō in Japan. Her tea art school trained hundreds of students in Taiwan and Mainland China respectively. In the 2010s, Xie Zhizhang, the author of The Chinese Tea Ceremony, held a series of Oolong tea gathering in Tokyo and Kyoto, promoting Taiwan tea art as a unique aesthetic form. Today, governments enthusiastically promote their distinguish national foods and drinks for serving touristic purposes and cultural presentations, and East Asian countries are no exception. China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea…all claim that they possess a unique tea culture heritage, endowing tea the aura of ethno-commodity. By examining the cases that Taiwan tea community paid visits to Japan for different purposes in history, this research hopes to reveal the cultural ties in-between the East Asian countries that are overlooked or neglected before. The complex history endowed the Taiwanese layers of cultural legacy and at a time “invention of tradition “prevails, the Taiwan tea community has enjoyed the freedom to create new aesthetics forms, to experiment with new utensils and rituals.

Jie YAN – University of Alberta (Canada)

Root Seeking and Cultural Restoration: Pilgrims from Japan and the Revival of a Chinese Temple

The Japanese Buddhist master Enni Ben’en (1202-1280) studied in China and established close ties with the Jingshan temple, a Chan Buddhist temple in Hangzhou. After returning to Japan, Enni founded in Kyoto the Tofukuji temple, one of the most renowned Zen monasteries in Japan, and honored his Chinese teacher Wuzhun Shifan (1178-1249) as patriarch. Since 1980s, groups of Japanese Buddhists, especially the Buddhists of Tofukuji, made pilgrimages frequently to the Jingshan temple to seek their roots, and contributed greatly to the rebuilding of the temple, which had collapsed due to 20th century’s social movements. Meanwhile, the Chinese Buddhists of the Jingshan temple also made pilgrimages to the Tofukuji temple to rediscover and learn the Buddhist culture well preserved in Japan, including the temple’s history and Chan tea ceremony, which boosted the revival of the Jingshan temple. By examining the historical and contemporary interactions between the Japanese Buddhists and the Chinese temple in Hangzhou, this paper argues that both the pilgrims and the agent of the destination can be engaged in the reshaping of a place, and that the transnational cultural flows are historically mutual and dynamic, producing new cultural life.

Cody POULTON University of Victoria (Canada)

Kumano a la mode: The Kii region as a modern site of pilgrimage

 “The story is a map, the landscape a narrative.” Rebecca Solnit. In 1997, the ancient pilgrimage routes to Kumano, known as Kumano kodō, were twinned with the popular Santiago de Campostella pilgrimage in Europe and in 2004, the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” (紀伊山地の霊場と参詣) was designated a UNESCO world heritage site. For more than a millennium, the faithful have sought salvation in these mountains, people from literally all walks of life, ranging from mystic hermits to emperors, commoners, and especially women. Since its designation as a world heritage site, tens of thousands of hikers a year, many from abroad, walk stretches of Kumano kodō, the Nakahechi, from Tanabe to Hongu, being the most popular route. With reference to a number of trips to this region over the years, most of them on foot, my paper will focus on the recent history of pilgrimage in this region and the reasons behind the resurgence in hiking as a means to reconnect one with one’s own physical essence and its place in the natural world. Here geography became sacred in what Alan Grappard has called the “mandalization of space.”

Giovanni RUSCICAFudan University (China)

A pilgrimage from China to India, from Japan to the world

The Journey to the West, also translated as The Pilgrimage to the West, is one of Chinese ancient literature’s masterpieces. Published anonymously by Wu Cheng’en in the late 16th century, the novel traces in broad outline the journey taken by the monk, Tripitaka, in 629 to India to acquire Buddhist scriptures. In this fiction, Wu Cheng’en moves away from the authenticity of the traditional pilgrimage: here the monk is escorted by sinful-followers (i.e. a dragon-horse, a pig, a demon, and a monkey) capable of removing malevolent beings throughout the journey. Sun Wukong, the wild and skillful monkey, ascends to Buddhahood becoming the Victorious Fighting Buddha at the end of the work. Later on, the Chinese fiction is used as a source of inspiration for the creation of Dragon Ball, a Japanese martial arts manga. Published in 1984 as a manga and then adapted into an anime, Dragon Ball follows the Chinese fiction. After coming across Bulma, the awesome Son Goku decides to escort the girl in her quest to collect the seven dragon balls. The series’s success allowed the manga’s author, Akira Toriyama, to continue the story arc and in 2015 to launch a new series. Since 1986, several consoles, PC, and mobile videogames with a monkey character have entered the market. The purpose of this research is at first to highlight the main affinities between Sun Wukong and his successor Son Goku, and then try to explain how the monkey character could have become a world-famous symbol.

Nongnut SUPPAWANNational Museum Bangkok (Thailand)

Nine-tailed Fox: A Journey of the Fox Spirit from East Asia to Thailand and Backward 

Story of the nine-tailed fox arrived Thailand, probably, in four waves; the first wave nearly 200 years ago, from a Chinese literature Fengshen Yanyi – Investiture of the Gods that widely held in the Siamese elites. The oldest elaborated and a unique nine-tailed fox found at the mural painting of a Chinese shrine inside the National Museum Bangkok premise. After that, more than two centuries the Chinese soap opera named The Legend of Lady Chung in 1985 hit the second wave and disseminated the story to the wider awareness of Thais. Until 1992, the third wave of manga called Ushio to Tora published in Thailand. And lastly, one that makes repeat impact to Thai society once more, the manga named Uzumaki Naruto was published in Thailand in 1999 and remains popular among Thais in the present day. Interestingly, it has never been found any religious figure that related to the nine-tailed fox before the year 2000 in Thailand. The study found that it is a kind of pop-culture that designed for tourism and extremely welcome even now. The best evidence is the increasing numbers of the export nine-tailed fox amulets at the Office of the Antiquity Control by the Fine Arts Department. We cannot predict the future of this kind of trend that will be more fashionable or decline, however, it represents the movement and exchanges idea between regions or country through globalization on these days.

Jon MORRIS – Komazawa Women’s University (Japan)

Sokushinbutsu, Literature, Popular Culture and Pilgrimage

The sokushinbutsu 即身仏 are mummified “buddhas in this very body” closely associated with the Shingon (真言) sect and Mt. Yudono 湯殿. Much previous scholarship has centered on the influence of the Shingon doctrine of achieving Buddhahood in this very body (sokushinjōbutsu 即身成仏). Though this doctrine is of fundamental significance, much further detail is required to explain the sokushinbutsu phenomenon. We may look to the Japanese tradition of worshiping certain recently deceased human beings as divinities for much explanatory context. Recent scholarship has interpreted the apotheosis of deceased men and women believed to offer blessings to the living as an aspect of secularization, a process of reframing sacred ideals in terms of the local, the tangible and the popular. During the Edo period this reframing was reflected in popular dramatic and literary presentations of the sokushinbutsu, and in the vital income provided by pilgrimage to the temples which enshrined them. After something of a hiatus in the Meiji and Taisho periods, the sokushinbutsu were rediscovered by periodicals and by scholars in the Showa period. This renaissance of interest led to increased individual and group tour visits to the temples, and to the appearance of sokushinbutsu in popular culture media such as manga, anime and video games in addition to various literary and TV documentary portrayals. This presentation explores the ongoing relationship between sokushinbutsu, associated themes of itinerancy and pilgrimage, and literary and popular culture.

Ramesha JAYANETHTHI – University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka)

Wisdom in Mountains: A Comparative Study between the Pilgrimage cultures among the Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Japan

Pilgrimage is a world-recognized aspect of religious behaviors which in every religion and every region of the world were recognized as a culturally oriented event. As Shinno Toshikazu has described pilgrimage is one of the great pillars in Japanese religion. Especially among Japanese Buddhists pilgrimage culture is popular as an individual culture as well as collective behavior. There are some well-known Japanese Buddhist pilgrimage routes. These include the well-known Saikoku route, which is the model for several other 33-temple routes with icons of Kannon and the famous Shikoku route of 88temples associated with Kobo Daishi. Also, there are some other routes organized around other Buddhist deities like Yakushi, Fudo Myoo, or Jizo and routes based on historical Buddhist figures like Honen or Dogen. Some routes based on multiple deities like the thirteen Buddhas or the seven gods of good fortune as well as other Shugendo and Shinto routes are popular among the Japanese. One fact in Japanese Buddhism is that modern pilgrimages have become increasingly widespread, internationalized, commercialized, and secularized. Similar to that, in Sri Lanka, there are some famous pilgrimages among Buddhists like climbing Sri Paada Mountain and the visit of eight sacred places in Anuradhapura. Sri Lankan Buddhists developed a different culture in these routes with some chanting, flower offerings, burning incense, lighting oil lamps, worshiping and performing other rituals. Since the Buddhist pilgrimage culture in Japan and Sri Lanka resemble the age-old ritualistic behaviors and the harmony of the Asian Buddhist culture, it is one way to understand the grass-root level practices of Buddhist devotees.

Malika DEVI – University of Delhi (India)

China-Japan Relations: Lacking Mutual Common Images and Memories

Why did China and Japan quarrel over history not immediately after the war but only from the early 1980s, when the majority of population had no direct experience of the war and the two countries had normalized diplomatic relations and developed close bilateral economic and social ties? The ‘othering’ of Japan over history issues-Japan’s past aggression through domestic patriotic education campaigns in China became the major source of animosity among Chinese population. Reacting to Chinese criticism, feelings of disgust and frustration with China spread widely in Japan. Mutual negative emotions and perceptions contributed to hardening popular altitudes and thus prevented reaching any compromise. National mythmaking generated considerable memory divergence between nations and caused mistrust and mutual antipathy. Memory divergence resulting from national myth making harmed long term prospects for reconciliation. Constructing shared memories is essential for maintence of peace. The measure of amicable and cordial relations between China and Japan depends upon their common memory. This is because the enduring trauma of past memory can fuel mutual grievances and mistrust, nations cannot avoid addressing historical memory when searching for a path to reconciliation. In other words, deep interstate reconciliation is the harmonization of national memories.  Deep reconciliation is non-negotiable or else psychological and emotional wounds are not healed and peace remains elusive. Sustainable peace is realized not only through solving the actual problems between enemies but also eliminating the emotional barriers.

Wanda LISTIANI – Bandung Institute of Art-Cultural (Indonesia)

Hanami in Japanese Art History

Hanami is used only about cherry blossoms. Hana can be a generic terms that signifies all blossoms. While Japanese also to view lavender and sunflower fields, these are not called hanami. Appreciation of the value of sakura illustrated in Japanese woodblock print such as hanami illustration. The famous cherry blossoms and hanami at Ueno, Yoshino, Sumidagawa river, Tama River, Mt. Oe, Mimeguri Inari Shrine, Sesoji Temple, Shin Yoshiwara Guarters, Gotenyama Hill were a favorite motif of these woodblock print masters. As in the prints by Hishikawa Moronobu, Sugimura Jihe, Kanō Naganobu, Higashiyama, Hishikawa Morohira, Torii Kiyonaga, Fujimaro, Miyagawa Chōshun, Hasegawa Settan, Torii Kiyotada II, Teisai Hokuba, Shunkōsai Hokushū, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Hishida Shunsō, Suzuki Kitsu, Uemura Shōen, Kikukawa Eizan, Katsukawa Shunchō, Utagawa Toyohiro, Katsukawa Shunsui, Utagawa Kunisada, Yamaguchi Shigeharu, Chōbunsai Eishi, Kubo Shunman, Okada Saburosuke, and, most famously, Utagawa Hiroshige. Under the cherry blossoms they dance, sing, masquerade, eat and drink, becoming intoxicated, literally and figuratively.

Liliana MORAIS – Tokyo Metropolitan University (Japan)

Mashiko, a transnational folk pottery “Mecca”, from nostalgia to utopia

Mashiko town, located in Tochigi prefecture about 150 km from Tokyo, can be described as a Mecca for folk pottery both in Japan and abroad. Due to the transnational activities of the leaders Japanese folk crafts movement (mingei), Soetsu Yanagi, Shoji Hamada and Bernard Leach, Mashiko has been attracting artists, potters and designers from around the world, who come to the to the small countryside region not only to visit its well-known touristic cultural attractions but also to learn Japanese ceramics styles and techniques at local pottery studios. This paper looks at the life-stories of Western nationals who have crossed borders to practice ceramics in Mashiko, from the 1960s until today. Drawn by images of Japan as a “living past”, a repository of premodern culture and traditions, in a clear heritage of Orientalism, Japonisme and Japanese cultural nationalism, these Westerners have come to the country in a quest for self-invention through a search for something beyond the normative patterns of their society, thus showing the role of cultural narratives, imagination and self-realization in migration. Yet, by relating Yanagi’s ideas of folk crafts to contemporary concerns focused on self-sufficiency, self-fulfillment, and sustainability, these potters show cosmopolitan orientations echoed in their universalistic understandings of humanity and its place in the natural world. In this sense, I propose that their attraction to Mashiko and the ideas of mingei transmutes from nostalgia to utopia by reflecting alternative visions of society beyond the neo-liberal model that reveal post-growth and post-material values.

Elettra GORNI – Independent researcher (Italy)

Mokuhanga pilgrimage

I would like to talk about the touristic “pilgrimage” between Edo and Kyoto as evidenced by the Japanese woodblock prints, analyzing the cycles of prints made by Hokusai and Hiroshige dedicated to the Tokaido and Kisokaido roads and focusing my attention on the use of japanese woodcut (moku hanga) as an expressive medium to build a thriving market of geographic-tourist-sentimental-folkloristic images in 19th century.

Tatiana LAMEIROVigo University (Spain)

Synergies and Japonisme regarding the materialization of visual messages. Art, Graphic Design and Advertising as a cross-cultural crossroads

Movement is a sign of a globalized society, as portrayed in different flows of individuals, images, data, etc. Such flows define connections between different cultures, creating synergies among various countries and social communities and thus promoting the cultural heritage and highlighting their own culture as a valuable asset. The increasing cultural exchange between Asian and European countries has shifted the way things are conceived, made and produced in many different fields of knowledge. Ultimately, this shift is but the result of the mutual influences (…) that have transformed the work of European and American artists and designers, leading to new advances regarding color space, perspective, composition and topics. Since the first cultural exchange between Japan and the West took place there has been a mutual influence in the creative fields, seen through different historical periods and artistic movements such as Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, Constructivism, Futurism and Dada. Through a wide sample of artists and works coming from close fields (such as painting, graphic design, and advertising) and analyzing the aforementioned cultural flows and their impact in different contexts, this presentation will try to show how the exchange of artworks between Japan and the West deeply changed the way messages-through-images are made and shared..

NAKAMURA HirokiThe Open University of Japan (Japan)

Anime conventions in Tokushima: Findings from the prefectural survey and shopper’s opinions on “Machi★Asobi”

The purpose of this presentation is to consider the relations between an anime event and those who live in the area where the event is held. The area of Higashi-shinmachi in Tokushima Prefecture on Shikoku Island has become one of the places of « anime tourism » for anime fans from other prefectures. The main street (called Higashi-Shinmachi) in this area used to be a central shopping street, but it has been a little economically depressed since the 2008 financial crisis. The anime convention named « Machi★Asobi » has been held there since 2009. Participating in this anime convention is not exactly a pilgrimage, because it has no particular anime which is related to the area, and this point could cause some problems for the local residents. According to the data, 83,000 people participated in the event held for the19th time in 2017. Although it had a major impact on the economy of Tokushima prefecture, contributing about 700 million yen to the local economy, we have little information concerning what shoppers in this area think about it. The following points will be discussed. 1) The differences between pilgrimage to a « sacred place » and « anime tourism », 2) Our findings from the data of the prefectural survey published in 2018, and 3) The results of our fieldwork concerning shoppers’ opinions in this area. These points can be important for understanding the acceptance of the event by the people concerned.

Edmund HOFFTokyo Denki University (Japan)

Creating Pilgrimage – Positioning the World Cosplay Summit as Sanctum for Community Congregation 

Cosplay (Costume Play) is becoming a mainstay element of popular culture celebrations the world over. From science fiction to anime and video game events, costuming is as a way of momentarily affect the image of self and commune with a like minded fandom. In a hyper-connected world, the speed of interaction within this global community has developed dramatically and international events such as the World Cosplay Summit serve as gathering points for practitioners and fans alike. With over 40 nations sending representatives to Japan each year and being held since 2003 it is the largest and longest running event of its kind. Moreover, the WCS is held in Japan, a dream destination for consumers of manga and anime related contents. Tokyo is seen as the focal point many facets of Japanese culture and society. The WCS, however is held in Nagoya. Traditionally, Nagoya is not a popular tourism destination and often maligned as simply a bullet train stop off point between Tokyo and Kansai region.  In light of this, WCS event participants, members of the Sakae and Osu shopping districts, and government agencies of all levels  are stakeholders in seeing the events success. With this eclectic assembly of interest groups, the question is whether Nagoya, Sakae and the Osu Kannon temple are can be established as a contents tourism destinations. Pilgrimage to a site is often undertaken to a locale that becomes renowned due to previously celebrated storylines. This presentation will explore the agency that a location has in positioning itself as a site of pilgrimage.

Lucille DRUET – Kansai Gaidai University (Japan)

Kimono Pilgrims: The Impact of Rental and Second-hand Shops on Kimono Culture

The kimono is often described as a stiff, tedious garment. It is also used to represent tradition and transmission, richly connected to the Japanese millennia-old sartorial and craft culture. Over the past century, the kimono is a mode of dress and an industry that has been keeping up with the trends and changing into a more casual, more affordable garment, with a very active “social life” and a prominent place on the global fashion stage. (Milhaupt (2014), Hall (2015), Cliffe, (2016), Valk (2017, 2020)). As a result, in Japan, the kimono is employed by varied communities of wearers (Geisha, Maiko, Kabuki actors, tea practitioners, collectors etc.) and in a variety of formal and casual events celebrated by wearing it. Meanwhile, in the West, a kimono is a versatile item, either a jacket completely detached from its original silhouette, an antique, a souvenir serving as the embodiment of Japaneseness or — more precisely — Kyoto. In fact, over the past few years, the number of tourists visiting the city with the will to buy or rent a kimono to experience the culture “as authentically as possible” has dramatically increased. Via a survey of the kimono rental and casual wear phenomenon, this presentation will be focusing on the modalities of this “kimono pilgrimage”, ultimately showing how modern and contemporary commoditization of the kimono can illuminate a path for its future, as well as addressing the issues of cultural consumption, cultural appropriation, fast and slow fashion.

Shiri LIEBER-MILO – Osaka University (Japan)

Pink Purchasing: Interrogating the Soft Power of Japan’s Kawaii Consumption

In Japan, high value and appreciation is ascribed towards anything that features the physical characteristics considered to be kawaii (roughly translated as cute in English), particularly infants. As such, kawaii plays a significant role in Japanese popular consumption culture, especially for female consumers. From Hello Kitty and Pokémon to idols, election campaigns, and popular characters, this lecture will take place upon contemporary kawaii aesthetic, its vast usages in the Japanese industry and its psychological characteristics. With a display of both the visual and behavioral aspects of the trend, an acknowledgment will be made on the kawaii’s vast impact in Japan and its positive behavior attributes.

Raditya Halimawan NURADI – Kyushu University (Japan)

Anime Pilgrimage In-Situ: Natsume Yujincho and Hitoyoshi

Recently, anime pilgrimage has appeared as a phenomenon capable of influencing local economy and tourism. A form of content tourism, fans in Japan have chosen to name this activity seichi junrei, which directly translates into “sacred site pilgrimage.” The name seichi junrei adds a spiritual aspect to the journey, turning it into something more than a regular trip. The city of Hitoyoshi in Kumamoto prefecture, which is the location of the Natsume Yūjinchō anime pilgrimage, serves as an example of how anime pilgrimage can reshape religious sites and imbue them with new meanings and functions for fans. This presentation looks at the material culture left by fans at a particular shrine in Hitoyoshi, Sugawara Tenmangu Shrine, such as ema and notebooks, to analyze how these votive offerings might function as a way for fans to bring the fictional world of Natsume Yūjinchō closer to reality.

Dale ANDREWS – Tohoku Gakuin University (Japan)

Ghostly Musings: When Anime Fans Traverse into the World of “Natsume’s Book of Friends”

In his book “Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan,” Jolyon Baraka Thomas commented that “When scholars examine what Japanese people do (rather than what they say they believe), it becomes clear that many people participate in rituals in a manner that can reasonably be described as religious…” (2012:10). With this frame of thought as a springboard, in this presentation I will address the question of whether anime fans undertaking anime pilgrimages (anime seichi junrei) are performing “religious” acts and consequently being religious themselves. Specifically, I will showcase one of the more conspicuous and defining activities of anime fans observed at pilgrimage sites, the act of dedicating votive prayer tablets (ema). Not only does this act draw attention to the pilgrimage, I will argue that it visibly marks the juncture when anime fans breach the threshold where the two-dimensional (digital) and three-dimensional (analog) worlds conjoin. Based on a detailed analysis of 998 votive tablets surveyed at the Tamachi Sugawara Tenman Shrine in Hitoyoshi City, Kumamoto Prefecture, I will demonstrate that a large number of anime fans who converge on the shrine as part of their pilgrimage experience, elect to partake in a communion with the characters that inhabit the ghostly world of the anime “Natsume’s Book of Friends,” thus further authenticating their existence..

Manuel HERNÁNDEZ-PÉREZ Hull University/Salford University (UK)

Media Contents and Fan Memories: Experience and Performance in Tourist narratives


YOSHIOKA Shiro – Newcastle University (UK)

“They come here/we recreate it here”: Fan experience outside Japan as a pseudo-pilgrimage

Within the context of Japanese popular culture, the idea of “pilgrimage” is often associated with the fans’ practice of visiting locale of manga, anime etc and the term “contents tourism.” The assumption behind these terms is that “contents” induce tourism to specific places. Recent Japanese researches often define the “contents” very broadly to argue that people visit places not because they have specific link with the contents (e.g. locale of anime) but to consume what happens and/or people performing/coming there (live performance, anime -themed events in various Japanese towns). While these researches tend to focus on Japanese cases and fans, this also applies to those outside Japan. However, in the case of foreign events, the geographical factor is even less important because usually specific link between the geographical location of the event and its content is weak, if any. Yet, what these events outside Japan have in common is Japan as the pinnacle of authenticity of culture and the media/texts they focus on. This is observable in existence of Japanese culture-related aspects in anime conventions ranging from food to martial arts as well as prominent Japanese figures as guests. In the case of live performances by idols and singers as well as stage play, the situation is more complicated, but still in general, there is a hierarchy with Japan at the top as the authentic origin. In short, these events enable fans to establish an image of Japan as a place with special meaning without physically making a pilgrimage.

José Andrés SANTIAGO IGLESIAS University of Vigo, Spain

“Oishii!” Addressing food in manga from a narrative and aesthetic perspective

Food has never looked better. In these fashionable times of food-porn and Instagram, highly elaborated and visually-stylised representations of food and cooking are common in people’s social media and advertising. Moreover, regional cuisine is openly addressed as a paramount cultural asset and a key aspect in promoting national culture. Food is —more than ever before— a truly successful medium for cultural exchange. Sushi, ramen, tempura, udon, takoyaki or okonomiyaki are true ambassadors of the Japanese culture worldwide. However, while there’s nothing better than tasting these delicacies first hand, many young readers get to know these Japanese gastronomic specialties through manga and anime. A detailed depiction of food in manga is not a recent trait, and yet it is also utterly contemporary. Since a naturalistic and unidealized representation of daily life is quite common in many manga series, it usually involves detailed portraits of cooking, food and the most sophisticated Japanese cuisine. Although thematically oriented, ‘food manga’ also raises social awareness and questions regarding food literacy and political and environmental issues. However, mainstream manga engages with detailed depictions of food too, for aesthetic and narrative purposes, and character development. Focusing on different mainstream serialized manga series, in this presentation I will try to discuss the relevance of aesthetically pleasing and attractive representations of food in manga, not only as an asset in cultural promotion but also with formal and narrative intentions — defining a different sense of rhythm and helping in the development of the characters interpersonal dynamics.



Program: The Journey Around the World Through Images


6-7th November 2020

The Journey Around the World Through Images: From the 19th Century to the Contemporary Age

We are pleased to announce the program of our autumn workshop, “The Journey Around the World Through Images”. We especially want to express our gratitude to Tatiana Lameiro González (University of Vigo, Spain) for the wonderful graphic design and layout she realised! To view the detailed program, click on the link below, or at the bottom of this page.


Because of the COVID-19 emergency, the Workshop will be an exclusively online event, managed via the videoconferencing software Zoom. The University of Padua will host all the Workshop sessions through its Zoom account; each session will be open to up to 300 participants. Details about how to download the software and join the Workshop sessions will be provided in due course.

Please, be careful of the time-zone too: the workshop will operate at UTC+1.

To view or download the detailed program in PDF, click here or at the bottom of the page


Aurore YAMAGATA-MONTOYAMIRA President & Independent researcher, Lithuania


Maxime DANESINMIRA Vice-President & Independent researcher, France


Marco BELLANO University of Padua, Italy


Carlo Alberto ZOTTI MINICI University of Padua, Italy


José Andrés SANTIAGO IGLESIAS University of Vigo, Spain


Ana SOLER BAENA University of Vigo, Spain


Marco PELLITTERIMIRA Vice-President & Xi’an Jiatong – Liverpool University, China


Jacopo BONETTOHead of the Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Padua, Italy


Paola DESSÌPresident of the DAMS Degree Courses, University of Padua, Italy


Jeremy BROOKERPresident of the Magic Lantern Society


Manuel HERNÁNDEZ-PÉREZUniversity of Hull, UK


Giulia LAVARONEUniversity of Padua, Italy


Nicolas BILCHI Roma Tre University (Italy)

Immersed, yet Distant: Notes for an Aesthetic Theory of Immersive
Travelogue Films, from Hale’s Tours to 4D Cinema

This paper aims to highlight a few stylistic and aesthetic principles, common to the genre of the travelogue film, as employed by immersive media and devices from the Twentieth century – such as the Hale’s Tours, Todd-AO, and Cinerama – up to today’s digital systems like Virtual Reality and 4D Cinema. By doing so, I will show how the different experiences of simulated travels proffered by those media are all related to a broader aesthetic tendency in creating what I label as enveloping tactile images. Such images are programmed to surround the viewer from every side, thus increasing their spectacular dimension, but at the same time they strive to temper and weaken the haptic solicitations aroused in the viewer by the immersive apparatus itself. In this sense I posit that the spectator of immersive travelogue films is “immersed, yet distant”: he is tangled in the illusion of traversing a 360° visual space, but the position he/she occupies is nonetheless a metaphysical one, not different from that of Renaissance perspective, because even if he/she can see everything, the possibility to interact with the images is denied, in order the preserve the realistic illusion. Framing media such as tableau vivant and panoramas as archetypes of this logic, I will then show how it functions in the genre of travelogue films and analyse the stylistic techniques used to foster the viewer’s condition of non-interactive immersion in the fictional world. Finally I will hint, as a suggestion for future research, at the problems posed by such a configuration in terms of realism and narration.

Katharina GANZ; Alberto ZOTTI MINICI; Marco BELLANOIndependent researcher; University of Padua (Italy)

Daguerre’s Diorama Theaters from Past to Present Times: A Historical and Museal Perspective

The Paris and London Diorama Theaters by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851) were a mid-19th century invention older than photography, which brought images of the world to those who could not afford travelling at the time. Travelling was then a privilege of the famous, the rich or the adventurous. The public of the Diorama Theatre was more likely the one described by Victor Hugo in Les Miserables. The devices allowed for a pre-cinema presentation of large-scale images – a scenic prospect almost like in theatres – with some minimal effects of pseudo-movement. Famous examples were the Swiss village of Goldau disappearing under a landslide, the remains of an English Gothic church in fog, snow and moonlight, a procession appearing out of the dark of the nave of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont in Paris, the big Edinburgh fire or the eruption of Mount Etna. The quasi-animated images had such a strong impact on the
public that ladies would occasionally cry or faint. The audience was allowed to a 90-minute journey around the globe without having to travel but only by purchasing a ticket for the Diorama Theater show, which typically consisted in watching romantic sceneries as if real. Anyone who knew only their local surroundings was, by illusion, instantly transported to places they had never seen before. Such illusion was possible thanks to a sophisticated technique in transparency painting and lighting, developed by Daguerre. He kept his technique secret until 1839. The Diorama buildings, including the paintings, burnt down within a short period, probably due to petrol lighting on stage. There remains only one original dioramic painting by Daguerre in the church of Bry-sur-Marne, where he lived and died. The talk will be divided into two sections. The first one will highlight and comment on the challenges inherent to the philological reconstruction of the Diorama; the second one will discuss how actual museal exhibitions and events that featured the reconstructed Diorama and other similar devices bridged together the media archeology of the virtual journey and the contemporary technologies of geolocalisation, augmented reality and 3D film.

Angela LONGOTokyo University of Arts (Japan)

Bodies in Motion and Image Recomposition in the Early 20th Century

The question of the appearance of the body is caught up in a play of overwhelming forces, and its register in artworks assumes different shapes as their representation spread towards other mediums. Firstly, following Aby Warburg thought, this article will analyze the process of the survival of bodies as potential motion in images. Warburg proposed an Iconological approach where the analysis of potential movement in the image yielded a formula for its analytic recomposition. Furthermore, he captured the transition that was happening at the beginning of the twentieth century, that is, when the body representation moved to media that allowed movement reproduction. The survival of the bodies or its capture contained an animist belief that took propulsion with the first apparatuses and optical toys that allowed movement and live-action recording. This movement allowed for the production of a simulacrum of the living body and the power to recompose it in space. In a sense, not only the circulation of moving bodies in space but also their presence in the image, with voice recording, produced a total realization of the properties of a living being. As such, the analysis will focus on how the evolution of the body representation allowed artworks to travel around the world, but also helped create and preserve different views of the world.

Anita BALACHANDRANSrishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology (Inde)

Experimental Voyages: Old Maps, New Animation 

As a practitioner of animation, I’m often commissioned to make animated films to be screened at museums and historic sites in India. One such work is a film on Goa’s history. It includes the historic passage of the 15th and 16th century Portuguese armadas as they sailed from Lisbon to Goa to conquer it. Researching this moment, I was led online to archival images of European maps and Portuguese drawings of ships, paintings of explorers and battles, and went on to animate several of them. While the digitization of archives democratizes access to rare material traces of the past and allows practitioners to recast and reuse them, the process can engender unexpected challenges. Some of the questions I felt compelled to address were these: How might these traces – symbols of erstwhile colonial power – be reframed, challenged and read against their grain? How might these voyages be represented as anything more than a triumph of European expansion? More generally, can the colonial archive be somehow reimagined and subverted to tell more contingent and compelling stories of a complex past to a postcolonial audience? Looking beyond colonial cinemas’ representational conventions of travel across maps, this presentation explores a few instances of cartographic space animated in works by Indian filmmakers. It doing so, it reveals animation’s ability to play with the expectations of different tropes and traditions of representational material, from the cartographic, photographic, perspectival and diagrammatic to the pictorial and drawn.

Rossella MENEGAZZO – University of Milan (Italy)

The Land of the Rising Sun: Creation and Evolution of an Idealised Travel Destination, from the 18th Century Exhibitions of Woodblock Prints and Photographs to Contemporary Digital Images.

Japan continues to be perceived in the collective imagination as the Country of the Rising Sun and one of the most dreamed travel destinations by the European population and in particular by Italians. A confirmation given by the fact that tourism towards the archipelago has increased exponentially since 2016, suddenly and sadly stopped only by the outbreak of sanitary emergency in spring 2020. The idea of an idealized and fascinating Japan has been firstly created and transmitted through the woodblock prints of the ukiyo-e masters and the albums of albumen colored photographs sent to Europe to be exhibited at the International Expositions at the end of the Nineteenth and the beginning of the Twentieth centuries. These same images were also bought and brought back to Italy by travelers and entrepreneurs who went to Japan as a record of their trips, or as artworks to be added to their collections, if not to be used to illustrate the publications of their personal diaries. The most part of ukiyo-e prints and photos illustrated, with fascinating colors and similar captivating views, places of Japan which were still unknown even to the Japanese at that time, and repeated some standardized travel routes inside Japan along the sea and across the mountains. Even today part of the idealized expectations about Japan of a public that maybe will never travel oversea, we can say, continues to be conveyed through the several exhibitions of these artworks in our museums, but the enthusiasm of the foreign public and the increased awareness of the Japanese government and the media of both sides, led in these last years to a wide proposal of travel documentary television programs, as well as an augmented application of new technological narratives inside the exhibitions.

Silvana DE MAIO – Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale” (Italy)

Beyond Beiō. Kume Kunitake and his Beiō Kairan Jikki, the “True Account of the Journey of Observation Through the “United States of America and Europe””

Several publications have focused on the diplomatic results achieved by the six official missions to Western countries organized in particular between 1860 and 1867 at the instigation of the Bakufu, as well as on the part they played in transferring increasing amounts of technology from Western countries. These missions at that time had no interest in Africa, but one of these was overwhelmed at the sight of the Sphynx in Egypt, and a photo of the members of the Ikeda mission to France (1864) which Antonio Beato (1835-1906), brother of Felice Beato (1832-1909), who was active at that time in Yokohama, took of them in front of it, is quite famous.The aim of my presentation is to explore the perception that Japanese missions traveling around the world during the nineteenth century had of Africa and Asia, although we have to bear in mind that the main aim of the Japanese missions was to reach and then leave “the West” behind.
To do so, I have chosen as a case study for analysis the role played by Kume Kunitake (1839-1931), who visited Western countries from 1871 to 1873 as secretary on the journey of Prince Iwakura, and his account of it, Beiō kairan jikki, published five years later, in 1878. Little interest has been shown up to now in what Kume wrote about the Iwakura mission’s journey back home from the harbor of Marseille, from which the members of the mission sailed to Japan, crossing the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal. The research as a whole will analyze the Account from a new perspective, together with its images,
focusing on geographical areas that up to now have not been considered fundamental for Meiji Japan.

Aurore YAMAGATA-MONTOYA – Independent researcher (Lithuania)/MIRA

A Case Study of Images of Japan and the Iwakura Embassy in American Media (1872)

In 1872, while the Japanese official Embassy composed of several hundred officials and students travels from San Francisco to the East Coast, the American magazines publish articles about Japan for a “tourist-reader” who will most certainly never know the country other than through what is printed on a page. This paper will present two types of journeys: one real, the journey of the Iwakura Mission from Japan to the United States and Europe (1871-1873); the second one, imaginary, “wanderings” through Japan presented to the American readers in magazines. One presents a search for progress and the recognition of their nation as “civilized”, while the other tends to represent an exotic country, a pre-industrial paradise with some strange, unrelatable practices, rules and beliefs. Since January 1872 with the landing of the Embassy in San Francisco, the American newspapers have been following closely the travels,
visits and other social interactions of the members of the Embassy across the country. The magazines I considered for the case study of this paper have shown little, if any, interest in the Embassy, barely
mentioning its presence. However, Japan featured regularly within their articles, either as the main focus or as one among other cultures. For this case study based on a relatively small number of magazines
(Scribner’s Monthly, Atlantic Monthly, The North American Review, The Galaxy, the Living Age, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine) published in 1872, I will compare the representation of Japan and the Japanese they create through illustrations and words with newspapers’ articles as well as photographs and illustrations of the Iwakura Mission made during the same year. The real and simulated journeys presented meet in the American media to offer the reader an ambiguous perception of the relatively unknown country that Japan was at the time.

Celio H. BARRETO RAMOS – Seneca College of Applied Art and Technology (Canada)

That’s Not Fair!: The Yellow Peril in 3D

Relying on original research of commercially produced stereographic views, posted correspondence, edited and published photo books of the time, I will discuss how the world’s (Western) news correspondents traveled to the Manchurian battlefields of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 to 1905, expecting Japan to lose this conflict. Instead they witnessed how Japan defeated the Russian military with modern industrialized weapons and tactics, a firm handle on the power of propaganda, and a distinct penchant for censorship of the nascent photojournalistic international press.
While scores of correspondents and photographers were sent to both sides of the frontlines in China and Korea, the Japanese Military did all it could to prevent foreign photographers from covering the front lines with the open access they had been promised by the Japanese government. This frustrating state of affairs put a chokehold on the traffic of images from the Japanese side, and created a scarceness of images, which helped increase demand for what few images could be had.
Have selected a range of images from primary sources that convey the various points of view in the coverage of this first modern East-West armed conflict, in particular how it was seen by the correspondents sent in to cover it, and then by the 3D products designed to reproduce/represent the events of the war for the information/entertainment of Western audiences

Giulia LAVARONE; Marco BELLANO – University of Padua (Italy)

Animation Tourism in Europe and Italy: Travelling to the Locations of the Studio Ghibli films

Film-induced tourism, intended as travelling to places where film and TV series have been shot or set, has been extensively studied in the last two decades. For example, the term ‘media pilgrimage’ emerged in media sociology, to highlight the sacred dimension these practices may assume, while fan studies focused on the narrative of affection built upon specific places. Calling forth the relationship between film and landscape, these phenomena have been also explored in the light of film semiotics and media geography. While originating in Anglo-Saxon countries, film tourism research has recently focused on case studies in Asia, mainly South Korea and Japan. Some contributions also deal with the locations which have inspired animation films and TV series. In the past decade, the representation of landscape and the construction of the sense of place in animation benefited from an increased scholarly attention (as Pallant, 2015); however, the links between tourism and animation still appear under-explored, except for a few investigations concerning some of the Disney and Pixar productions. Japanese animation, because of its prominent use of real locations as the basis for the building of its worlds, and the tendency of its fanbases to take action (even in the form of animation-oriented tourism), is especially in need for a research of this kind. The paper will present a case study: a (preliminary) analysis of the visual products of animation-related film tourists that visited the Italian and European locations featured in the films and TV series by the world-famous animator and director Hayao Miyazaki, or by his colleagues that co-founded with him the Studio Ghibli in 1985: 3,000 Leagues in Search of Mother (1976); Castle in the Sky (1986), Porco Rosso (1992), among others. The presentation will first examine how real Italian and European landscapes have been pictorially and cinematically transfigured in the animation works. It will then provide some insights into the experiences of transnational anime tourists, mainly explored through the analysis of images and texts created and shared by tourists through social media.

Soumi MUKHERJEE – Vidyasagar University (India)

Understanding the Impact of Tourist Photography on Tourism Destination Imagery: An Interdisciplinary Phenomenon

Photography is considered to be an integral part of tourism since photography plays a pivotal role in the promotion of tourism destinations as because, tourists use the references of photographs, social media and TV commercials, websites and brochures to decide their destinations of vacations. If analysed deeply, the tourism photography besides being the marketing tool deliberately stimulates the desire to know various cultures and expands knowledge since the photographs are ambiguous in nature and work as a thread of the dimension of social status on one hand and multiculturalism on the other. The paper aims to investigate the process to analyse images to signify its role in aesthetic evaluation, visual style, cognitive responses and intentions associated with the “tourist gaze” in the present tourism research on international levels. Lastly, this paper shows that how photographs can add various perspectives and possibilities which neither the field surveys nor the interviews can offer in the tourism research.

Maxime DANESIN – Independent researcher (France)/MIRA

Venice, Key Port-of-call for French literature and Mangaesque imagination

For hundreds of years, Venice has been, both figuratively and literally, a key port-of-call for writers and artists of all kinds. At the crossroads of cultures, the former queen of the Adriatic was, and still is, the place of a literary pilgrimage. Due to this fascination, “the canals of Venice are black as ink”, as Paul Morand put it in 1971, not without making an injunction towards his compatriots to follow this tradition – “to dip one’s pen into it is more than a Frenchman’s duty, it is a duty plain and simple”. As a matter of fact, and especially since the nineteenth century, numerous French writers have been fascinated in a way or another by Venice. Whether she is portrayed stagnant, full of life, mummified or transformed through the prism of the Fantasy genre, one could argue that Venice appears in French – and even Francophone – literature as one of its rites of passage. On the other side of Eurasia, Japanese writers and artists have been no less receptive to the Venetian sirens’ call, from early visitors such as Narushima Ryūhoku (1837-1884), to the photographer Narahara Ikkō (1931-2020) and the novelist Nanami Shiono (1937-). Today, Venice is no longer just a faraway reality in Japan, a travel destination; it has also become a virtual imaginationscape – whether realistic, simulated or altered – of the Otaku culture and its mangaesque literature. This paper aims to address, through the prism of French literature’s fascination for Venice, the portrayal of “the Republic of the Lion” as a key port-of-call for mangaesque imagination.

José Andrés SANTIAGO IGLESIAS – University of Vigo (Spain)

Imagined Japan: Manganime, Media Pilgrimage & the “Cool Japan” campaign

In the last two decades, the terms ‘manga’ and ‘anime’ have become part of our everyday speech, without quotation marks, explanations or footnotes. At the same pace, a worldwide phenomenon took place: film locations from famous fiction TV dramas and blockbusters have become touristic hotspots for aficionados. Manga and anime are not oblivious to this boom. The construction and depiction of a rich and detailed world-setting is one of the foundations of the manga and anime form, coded within their DNA (Suan, 2013). A well-built world-setting allows a deeper connection between the reader/watcher and the story being told (Kelts, 2006). On top of that, the fact that Japan is indeed a real place, beyond manga and anime’s fictional locations, provides a new depth level to the stories in both mediums. In the last decade, the Japanese government —as well as regional and local councils— started to benefit from the touristic potential of manga and anime under the umbrella of «Cool Japan», the national branding campaign addressed by the government in the early 21st Century. How this phenomenon lies within Cool Japan is the major goal of this paper.

Farah POLATO; Nicola ORIO; Stefano Caselli – University of Padua (Italy); University of Malta/Ivipro Association (Malta)

Images for a Journey in the “Next Door” World

We would like to present two experiences of “journeys around the world” developed through different workshops of the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Padua. Both the workshops share the notion that the “world” is not only something far away but it is also “next door”, just out of our windows. In an interconnected world, technologies break the distances making very near what is far away; at the same time technologies could also be powerful instruments for revealing the -sometime unexpected – polyphony of the proximity.

Paesaggi Sonori Italiani Covid 19 took place during the lock-down period and was prompted by the immobility imposed by the pandemic. It has been conceived for the DAMS (Music and performing arts studies) and PGT (Managing and promotion of the cultural tourism) students. The project has been coordinated by Farah Polato (Cinema Studies) and Nicola Orio (Digital Humanities) in collaboration with the Istituto Centrale per i Beni Artistici e Musicali (ICBSA) and the web platform Locate Your Sound, made by Moovioole s.r.l. According to the studies on cultural and anthropological impact of sounds (Bull, Back, 2008, 2015), students were invited to focus on the sounds of their houses and lives. In uploading them on LYS, students were asked to tell the story of the captured sounds accompanied with images. In this process, sounds reveal a “world” that we very often do not pay attention to.

Urban Histories Reloaded (from September to October 2020) is a residency for artists, game designers and programmers aimed at creating a video-game prototype focused on a specific urban area in Padua: the district 5, called “Armistizio-Savonarola”. In the past, it has been one of the main destinations of the rural migration toward the city. Later it became a working-class neighbourhood and now it is an area with a high-rate of immigrants and citizens with foreign origins. Considering their diffusion and participative dynamics, video-games ̶ in Italy artistically recognized as audiovisual works just recently (L. 2016) We would like to present two experiences of “journeys around the world” developed through different workshops of the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Padua. Both the workshops share the notion that the “world” is not only something far away but it is also “next door”, just out of our windows. In an interconnected world, technologies break the distances making very near what is far away; at the same time technologies could also be powerful instruments for revealing the -sometime unexpected – polyphony of the proximity.

The workshop has been promoted by Impact srl (a spin off of the University of Padua) DBC and Ivipro, with the support of MIBAC and SIAE.

Laura CESARO – University of Padua (Italy)

Interactive Spaces: An Immersive Journey Between Archives and Technologies

This paper will investigate how more and more cultural institutions are looking at interactive solutions with a tourist impact for the promotion of the territory. In particular, in recent years, image engagement has been used to give life to multi-sensory journeys. Thanks to the interaction between vision systems, media devices and three-dimensional applications, journeys are created for the user in heterotopic spaces (Foucault). Heterotopia is grafted into the connection of images of different places and times, re-mediated (Grusin) with physical space. The images are initially selected; their re-use gives life in the first instance to thematic routes. Secondly, this proliferation of images, of which our age is the engine, in a controlled way creates a digital archive. Although Giorgio Agamben reads in the proliferation of devices a subjugation of individuals (Deleuze), the current forms of promotion of cultural journeys return to the idea of massive diffusion of the device according to Foucault. The scholar conceived the device as a system of forces whose instances of circulation are reactivated on the subject’s freedom of action. It will be noticed how, compared to the first projects, the use of invasive viewers is less. We want to proceed by analyzing the work of an international team, Karmachina (2013), made up of art director, storyteller, multimedia and graphic designer, video editor. For years, they have been developing narrative concepts for museums and cultural institutions, placing not technology or image at the center of the action, but the user. The one who moves in that digital archive who is no longer just a visitor but a user, a user and a director of the experience that moves and relates to the image. We will see some cases that create interactive journeys: from the sections of the M9 Museum and the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum, up to Francigena Emotion, where guided by different characters you are discovering places and eras.

Maitane JUNGUITU DRONDA – Independent researcher (Spain)

‘Ipar Haizearen Erronka’: A Boat Trip from Basque Country to Newfoundland

The nature of animated cinema implies the creation of any realistic or fantastical characters, places and situations. Animation can be used to take characters far from their hometowns on believable journeys without big budgets used on location shooting. The Basque animated feature film ‘Ipar haizearen erronka’ (The return of the North Wind), directed in 1992 by Juanba Berasategi, illustrates how animation can represent a journey and a historic reality in a plausible way. The movie depicts a Basque whale hunting vessel travelling to the wild coast of Newfoundland, Canada in the 16th century. Basque live action movies in the 80s would recreate foreign locations with nearby settings. ‘Ipar haizearen erronka’ avoids this problem by showing America through drawings. We will analyze how the film takes the main characters on a journey across the Atlantic Ocean that also represents the traditional inward ‘hero’s journey’ by Joseph Campbell. The study also focuses on how the film depicts the most representative characteristics of the journey and how they are used as filming narrative resources. A closer look will be taken into the main vessels, the captain’s diary, the map, the historical context of the sailing of the ship, the maritime laws where sexism is abundant, the financing of the trip, and the work on board.



Announcement: On Mutual Images 8th International Workshop


22-24th January 2021

Japanese Pilgrimages: Experiences and motivations behind cultural and spiritual peregrinations from and to East Asia


Considering the evolution of the Coronavirus crisis and the cautionary measures being taken by governments and universities, our workshop has been postponed and will take place from the 22nd to the 24th of January 2021.

It is difficult to plan normally the workshop without knowing the evolution of the Coronavirus crisis in the next months. We both wish to make this workshop as humanly as possible, but also avoid any risk of having to cancel it again at the last minute – and thus having participants obligated to cancel plane tickets and accomodations. This is why we have decided to make this workshop semi-Virtual:

  • Researchers living already in Japan (Japanese and foreigners) will be invited to attend (physically) at Ryukoku University, as they probably won’t be restricted to move around the country at that time. In the case that the Coronavirus crisis evolves negatively in January, to the point of having to quarantine, researchers living already in Japan will be invited to use the Zoom Conference system of Ryukoku University.
  • Researchers living abroad will be invited to use the Zoom Conference system of Ryukoku University. If you still wish to come physically, be prepared to maybe have to cancel your trip depending on the Coronavirus crisis and cautionary measures taken by governments and universities – such as a fourteen days quarantine. Considering the current situation, we sadly but strongly advised you against coming physically.

You will find in the Workshop section (top-right corner) all the information related to this event and its organisation. If you have any inqueries regarding the organisation, please, feel free to contact us.

The Mutual Images Research Association Board

Announcement: On the COVID-19 outbreak

Dear readers,

Due to the ongoing situation relating to COVID-19 and the Japanese government’s own recent announcements, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone until next year our Mutual Images International 8th Workshop – which should have taken place on the 5-8th of June 2020. Watch our website for the revised date and other information.

Our team wish you the best through this dire time. Stay safe!

The Mutual Images Research Association Board

Call for Applications: MIRA International Summer School


16-19th July 2019

Mediated and cultural representations in East Asia, Italy and Europe

Mutual Images Research Association, and DiCAM—Department of Ancient and Modern Civilisations, University of Messina invite applications for the 2019 Mediated and cultural representations between East Asia, Italy and Europe Summer School, to be held at the University of Messina (Italy) from Tuesday 16 July to Friday 19 July 2019.

The Summer School Mediated and cultural representations between East Asia, Italy and Europe offers an intensive learning experience where graduate and post-graduate students have the opportunity to consolidate their theoretical and methodological skills and engage in thought-provoking conversations on the mediated and cultural representations between East Asia, Italy and Europe.

This week-long program, in addition to offering lectures and seminars on specific topics, provides students with the opportunity to partake in discussions with fellow colleagues and international faculty.

The program will focus on the mediated and cultural representations between East Asia, Italy and Europe, with regard to Japan and China. The disciplinary fields upon which the school’s teaching sessions as well as the keynote lectures are based are literary studies, aesthetics, visual studies and cultural studies, and media sociology. The general range of themes is furthermore informed by the growing importance of the inter-regional dynamics involving the cultural diplomacy between/among the considered regions and countries, and the role of the circulation of the creative industries’ output involved in the mutual receptions/perceptions of the national/cultural contexts at the centre of the school’s inter-disciplinary discussions and analyses.

Lectures and seminars will delve, thus, into a variety of themes and media, including:

  • Mutual images between Italy, Europe, China and Japan in arts and popular culture (cinema, literature, anime, photography, philosophy, fashion, technology…);
  • Cultural influences between in the Asian and European contexts;
  • Travellers and art collectors.

A specific list of seminars will be given in advance after acceptance to the Summer School. The seminars and lectures will be held by members of MIRA, teachers of the University of Messina, and further guests specially invited. The teachers come from Japan, China, Italy, France, Spain, England, and The Netherlands, making it a truly international school.


Graduate and Post-Graduate Students with a background or strong interest in Cultural studies, Asian Studies, Japanese Studies, Chinese Studies, European Studies, Media Studies, Film Studies, Popular Culture, Arts, and similar degrees.


The participants can to obtain 2 CFU (Italian university credits, which can be converted into credits of the participant’s original university). All participants who wish to get credits for their participation to the summer school must pass a test after the lectures and seminars. There are no additional charges to take the test.


The Summer School includes a cultural excursion on the last day: a tour to Taormina and Giardini Naxos, outstanding archaeological sites of Ellenistic origin. A detailed description of the activities will be provided at a later date on the website.


The total cost of tuition and supplementary activities is 350 euros. The tuition includes five nights accommodation, three meals (two lunches and a dinner together), free access to Wi-Fi on the university campus, access to the libraries and university facilities, and the organised tour. The other meals as well as additional nights and transport to and from Messina University remain at the charge of each participant.


The deadline for applications is 30 April 2019.

Interested applicants are required to send by email a full CV and a Motivation Letter to the Organising Committee at with the following subject: Summer School 2019- Application

Specific inquiries can be addressed to