Globalization and Indigenous Culture
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Opening Address

ABE Yoshiya

We would like to thank you for your attending these keynote lectures of this International Symposium, commemorating the Fortieth Anniversary of the establishment of the Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics at Kokugakuin University.

The Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics was founded in 1955, with the specific objectives of promoting research on the tradition, characteristics and essential properties of Japanese culture, in such a way as to articulate the meaning of Japan's recovery of independence following its defeat in World War II and subsequent Occupation by the Allied Powers. The time of its establishment was recognized as one in which the resurrection of Japan's spiritual culture was a most fundamental issue. When the Institute was established, Kokugakuin University's President Iwakichi Ishikawa concurrently held the office of Institute Director, and Dr. Naofusa Hirai, who had just returned from his post-graduate studies in the United States, was appointed to the post of secretary. The most recent director of Institute, until March, 1995, was Dr. Kenji Ueda, currently president of Kokugakuin University, and its secretary has been Professor Nobutaka Inoue.

The Institute has been receipt to generous contributions in both human and financial resources, not only from Kokugakuin University, but as well from other universities, wider academic bodies, Shinto shrines and foundations, both domestic and abroad, and it has produced outstanding achievements in the areas specified in the objectives of its establishment. We are thus proud to announce that the Institute commemorated its fortieth anniversary during this last year, 1995.

Following the end of World War II, the discipline of National Learning (Kokugaku) was generally neglected. Even today, there is an overall trend toward slighting academic research that deals with the essential entity of Japanese culture. This institute has stood against such trends and has produced steady achievements research on such important areas as National Learning and the national traditions, with serious focus on Shinto. The Institute has also been engaged in a variety of activities aimed at distributing its achievements to wider academic bodies and society in general.

Currently, the Institute employs nine active full-time research staff, and enjoys the cooperation of about sixty-five part-time researchers, either from fully qualified staff of Kokugakuin, or other universities and research institutions of Japan and other countries. These researchers participate both severally and jointly, in a wide variety of research projects, pursuing joint research activities both with fellow Institute members, as well as at the intra- and inter-university, and international levels. The achievements of these researches have resulted in the publication of numerous books and journals, the production and distribution of videos presentations and other audio-visual materials, and the holding of public lecture series.

A few of more recent publications include: the Shintô jiten ("Encyclopedia of Shinto"); Shin-Shûkyô jiten ("Encyclopedia of New Religions"); Shintô ronbun sômokuroku ("General Index of Articles on Shinto Studies") in 2 volumes; Inoue Kowashi-den shiryôhen ("Bibliography of Kowashi Inoue --- Resources"), in six volumes; Kindai Nihon hôsei shiryô-shû ("Resources on the Legal System of Modern Japan") in twenty volumes, of which seventeen volumes have already been published; Kindai tennôsei to shûkyôteki ken'i ("The Modern Imperial Institution and Religious Authority"); Wa-gakusha sôran ("Encyclopedia of Scholars of Japanese Studies"); Shaji torishirabe ruisan ("Records of the Survey of Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples"); Kindaika to shûkyô buumu ("Modernization and the Religious Boom"); Nihon-gata sei-kyô kankei no tanjô ("The Birth of a Japanese-Style Church-State Relations"); Nihon ritsu fukugen no kenkyû ("Studies on the Restoration of the Japanese Criminal Code"); Ajia bunka no saihakken ("Rediscovery of Asian Culture"), and many other titles on National Learning. In addition, books published in English include: Folk Beliefs in Modern Japan, New Religions, Matsuri, Cultural Identity and Modernization in Asian Countries, Basic Terms of Shinto; Norito, and An Outline of Shinto Teachings. It is our hope that these achievements extensively contribute to the studies of interested researchers around the world.

The theme of this Symposium is Globalization and Indigenous Culture. This theme might be paraphrased as "globalizing processes versus indigenizing processes." Today we are facing a situation in which the impact of advancing information technology functions as the key factor in drastically transforming what have been various called "traditional culture" or "ethnic culture." The globalizing process now engulfs not only economic activities, science and technology, but also cultural phenomena, and the framework of nation-state and the borders between the nation-states are being shaken to their roots. Accordingly, explorations in globalization and, at the same time, anti-globalization, or the issues of globalization versus indigenization, have been dealt with at the vanguard of the social sciences in general, and sociology, political science, and religious studies in particular.

Today, two speakers have been asked to present keynote speeches that will reflect the current situation. The first speaker, Professor Hisanori Isomura will discuss "The Cultural Identity of Europe." Professor Isomura was formerly senior producer at the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), and he directed news reports from Europe for a long time. In fact, Professor Isomura initiated a new intellectual style of reporting by introducing the well-known "News Center Nine" programs. Mr. Isomura is currently a professor at this Institute, and is expected to become the first director of the soon-to-be-founded Paris-Japan Culture Center of the Japan Foundation, from which he will promote cultural exchanges between Japan and Europe.

Our second presentation will be given by Professor Yong-Yoon Kim, who will speak on the topic of "Cultural Archetypes and Prospects for Japan, China and Korea." Professor Kim is a specialist in matrix theory, and a historian of mathematics, with an extensive academic career in Korea, Canada, the United States and Japan, with deep commitment to the idea of paradigms in cultures. An old friend of mine, Professor Kim is also a man of letters; he is on the Korean National Committee for Cultural Preservation, and has published many writings in cultural studies, including the widely read Kankokujin to Nihonjin ("the Koreans and the Japanese").

Following these two key-note lectures, two-day symposium will be held tomorrow and the day, on the theme "Globalization and Indigenous Culture"; one session will focus on Asia, and the other on Europe. Special foci in each session will include Religion, language and information, and family and community. In the Asia Session, Professor Nobutaka Inoue of this Institute, and chairman of the Organizing Committee for this event will deliver a paper on the theme of globalization and religion, while Professor Feng-Fu Tsao of National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and Professor Hock-Tong Cheu of the University of Singapore will read papers on the issue of globalization as related to language and information, and family and community, respectively. Professor Leslie Bauzon of the University of the Philippines and Professor Masaki Onozawa of Tsukuba University will then act as commentators during the Asia Session.

The Europe Session will be chaired by Professor Akihiro Chiba of International Christian University, and papers will be read by Professor Lilian Voyé of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, Dr. Jeanne Peiffer of the Centre National de Recherche Scientifiques in France, and Professor Olivier Dollfus of the University of Paris. Unfortunately, Professor Dollfus was prevented by illness from attending the Symposium, with the result that his paper will be read in his stead by Professor Isomura. Comments will be provided by a pioneer in globalization theory, Professor Roland Robertson of the University of Pittsburgh (U.S.A.), and Professor Tôru Nishigaki of Meiji University, who is a leading figure in information science.

With this brief introduction, I would now like to present the platform to Professor Isomura, followed by Professor Kim. Thank you for your attention.

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$Date: 2001/05/15 05:58:52 $