Nissan Seminar: On use of Katakana in Japan

Convenor(s): Professor Roger Goodman and Dr Giulio Pugliese

Speaker(s): Professor Blai Guarné

On use of Katakana in Japan


Katakana script is the black box of Japanese national identity, an orthographic device that registers in the writing of loanwords the discursive tensions underlying the configuration of the modern Japanese nation-state and its ideology of linguistic, cultural and ethnic difference. From a cultural history perspective and through ethnographic reflection, this lecture will shine a spotlight on a formally contradictory orthographic habitus in which the instability and contingency that beset the essential construction of Japaneseness are inherently present.

Blai Guarné, PhD, is Associate Professor, Director of the East Asian Studies & Research Center (CERAO), and Coordinator of the East Asian Studies Program at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). He has convened the Media Studies Section of the EAJS (European Association for Japanese Studies), and he is the PI of the Research Group GREGAL: Cultural Circulation Japan-Korea-Catalonia/Spain (2017 SGR 1596) at the UAB. His research interests focus on popular culture, cultural nationalism, and identity politics in a globalized Japan.