Publication: Mutual Images, 8

Dear readers,

We are glad to announce the publication of the eighth issue of our transcultural research journal, Mutual Images. True to our philosophy, we have rendered this issue – titled “Artists, Aesthetics, and Artworks from, and in conversation with, Japan – Part 1 (of 2)” – freely available, as an open access ressource, on our Mutual Images Journal Website. To access it, click on “Research Journal” on the top-right corner.

Please enjoy this eighth issue of Mutual Images.

Marco Pellitteri, Main Editor

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

Publication: Mutual Images, 7

Dear readers,

We are glad to announce the publication of the seventh issue of our transcultural research journal, Mutual Images. True to our philosophy, we have rendered this issue – titled “Layers of aesthetics and ethics in Japanese pop culture” – freely available, as an open access ressource, on our Mutual Images Journal Website. To access it, click on “Research Journal” on the top-right corner.

Please enjoy this seventh issue of Mutual Images.

Marco Pellitteri, Main Editor

Newsletter: Autumn 2019


Dear readers,

We are delighted to present you the second MIRA Newsletter. We hope that you all enjoyed a pleasant, restful summer (although we all know well that summers are made for catching up on the research on hold during the teaching months) and are now ready to lose yourself in the contemplation of momiji to decompress from the usually busy autumn.

At MIRA, we have had a busy time since the first newsletter last spring. We were in Pontevedra (Spain) for the Mutual Images 7th Workshop co-organised with the University of Vigo and the dx5 research group and in Messina (Italy) for our 1st Summer School hosted by the University of Messina. We are now working hard, with a wide range of new and old partner institutions, to offer you several events in 2020 both in Europe and Japan. You will find in this newsletter more information about the next event that will be held in June 2020 at Ryukoku University (Kyoto, Japan). Information and CFP about other future events will be posted on the website when available and, of course, you’ll be able to read more about it in the next newsletter.

As we head towards the end of 2019, I am more than ever aware of the dedication of the amazing team of volunteers who made MIRA possible and grateful for their enthusiasm, hard work and companionship. Working in close relationship with people from many different places is an extraordinary chance both on the professional and personal level. Every event we organize allows me to meet wonderful new people, those who help organize at the hosting institution but also participants and audiences. We are all gathered for several days in a room bursting with thoughts and ideas. But abstract concepts are nothing without the people shaping them, they are less rich without discussion. We do our best to create events where everyone feels equally entitled to participate and present their research. We keep our events small so every participant gets a chance to talk with everybody. I have been personally involved in the organization of all the events since the creation of MIRA and got to meet and interact with a large number of people. The human connections were and remain one of the most important specificities of MIRA.

I also want to thank the editorial and scientific board members, the peer-reviewers and the proof-readers who help to make Mutual Images Journal possible. Their knowledge and time are greatly appreciated.

I wish you a pleasant reading and hope to see you at one of our future events !

Aurore Yamagata-Montoya, President of MIRA

[To access the newsletter, please check the PDF below]

Call for Papers: Mutual Images 8th International Workshop

RYUKOKU UNIVERSITY (KYOTO, JAPAN)

5-8th June 2020


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


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.

Themes and topics outside of those listed above are more than welcome. Proposals can be sent using the submission form below.

Please send your abstract, along with your details (name, position and institution/affiliation), to: japanpilgrimages2020@gmail.com

The deadline is 31st January 2020.

Joint Organising Chairs:

Dr. Manuel Hernández-Pérez, University of Hull, UK

Dr. Aurore Yamagata-Montoya, Independant Researcher, Lithuania

Prof. Jessica Bauwens-Sugimoto, Ryukoku University, Kyoto

Publication: Mutual Images, 6

Dear readers,

We are glad to announce the publication of the sixth issue of our transcultural research journal, Mutual Images. True to our philosophy, we have rendered this issue – titled “Mediatised Images of Japan in Europe: Through the Media Kaleidoscope” – freely available, as an open access ressource, on our Mutual Images Journal Website. To access it, click on “Research Journal” on the top-right corner.

Please enjoy this sixth issue of Mutual Images.

Marco Pellitteri, Main Editor

Newsletter: Spring 2019


Dear readers,

We are delighted to present you the first MIRA Newsletter. We have gone a long way since 2013 when two young graduate students decided to organize a workshop. Since then, MIRA co-hosted events in Japan and Europe on an annual basis, published five issues of the Mutual Images Journal, and worked with an increasingly large network of fellow researchers from all over the world.

Because we are growing with more and more events, new active members, new places to visit and always new subjects to study, we tought that the newsletter will allow all members of MIRA’s network to keep updated on the latest events, publications and news of MIRA but also from MIRA members. We also have a dedicated section of “mutual images” – themed events and publications.

You will be able to read all about our annual Spring “Mutual Images Worskhop”, which 7th edition will take place in Vigo University, Spain (spoiler alert!). In addition, we will be having punctual events in autumn all over the globe, you will read more about those in the next newsletter.

We also introduce a novelty: a summer school. MIRA’s goal to encourage research among students and give a voice to young researchers has always been central to our work. We hope with the summer school, not only to share the knowledge of the teaching team, but also their passion for research and for Japan. The Call For Participation is still open. Don’t miss it!

And because, it’s never enough with us, we will start a new section in Mutual Images Journal: a series of interviews from people working in the manga and anime industry: from translators to producers. You will be able to read them starting in issue n°6 (June 2019).

In this newsletter, we will introduce the newest active members of MIRA. They joined the editorial or scientific boards of Mutual Images Journal or the team of volunteers that help run the association. Without them, MIRA wouldn’t exist. Thank you for your precious participation, giving us time and energy.

I also want to thank the editorial and scientific board members, the peer-reviewers and the proof-readers who help to make Mutual Images Journal possible. Their knowledge and time are greatly appreciated.

I wish you a pleasant reading and hope to see you at one of our future events !

Aurore Yamagata-Montoya, President of MIRA

[To access the newsletter, please check the PDF below]