Japan in Human Geography

Part I: Political Patterns & Agriculture/Food

October 28, 2023
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This professional development course explores two aspects of Japan’s human geography through current issues via online lectures, readings and Q&A sessions. Educators are invited to delve into how Japan can be understood within the current global context and how “Japan-specific” content can be used to raise awareness of social issues faced by American students.

The first session covers Japan’s geopolitics and how its unique geographic situation has impacted the country domestically and in its international relations. Topics include current political and economic security, international power politics, and Japan’s alliances. The second session introduces the impact of Japan’s geography on agriculture and the Japanese diet, which continues to the present. The talk notably features a brief history of sushi, and contextualizes the Japanese diet in relation to surrounding Asian countries.

Online Sessions
Saturday, October 28, 10 am–12:30 pm 
· Japan in the Current Political Map
– Dr. Yuichi Hosoya, Professor of International Politics, Keio University
· Japanese Agriculture and Diet Through a Geographic Perspective
– Prof. Eric C. Rath, History Department, University of Kansas
TOTAL: 2.5 CTLE hours

Topic 1: Japan in the Current Political Map (TBA)
Instructor: Dr. Yuichi Hosoya, Professor of International Politics, Keio University

How do major developments in recent world history and international relations look from a Japanese perspective? Participants will question standard interpretations of certain vital developments from this era. Key topics drawn from geopolitics include territoriality, security and economic conflicts, as well as the potential impacts of those elements on Japan’s relationship with neighboring countries, on U.S.-Japan relations and on modern global politics. 

Topic 2: Japanese Agriculture and Diet Through a Geographic Perspective
Instructor: Prof. Eric C. Rath, History Department, University of Kansas

Geographic conditions affect the development of agriculture in a country, and hence its cuisine. Food culture is affected by numerous aspects of physical geography, such as climate and topography. Participants will explore Japan’s food culture and its development in relation to Japan’s geography and that of surrounding countries. The lecture focuses especially on sushi and sashimi as examples. These dishes are by now global sensations that have become perhaps the best known of Japanese foods—and their histories and origins will bring a new appreciation to Japan. 

Japan Society’s Professional Development Programs and New Video Resources for Educators/ About Japan are made possible by a generous grant from an anonymous funder.

Japan Society programs are made possible by leadership support from Booth Ferris Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Education and Family Programs are generously supported by an anonymous donor; ORIX Corporation USA; Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas); public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Masako Mera and Koichi Mera, PhD Fund for Education and the Arts; The Norinchukin Foundation; and Friends of Education and Family Programs.

  • Saturday, October 28, 2023
  • 10:00 am
  • Online
  • Free Event
This is a free event, with advance registration required.