4th Tanaka Symposium in Japanese Studies, ‘Humans and Nature in Crisis: Japanese Literature and Environmental Humanities’

We are happy to announce the 4th  Tanaka Symposium in Japanese Studies, ‘Humans and Nature in Crisis: Japanese Literature and Environmental Humanities’, which will be held at Pembroke College, Oxford on Friday, 28 October.

This symposium will explore the complex intersections between the ongoing global crises and literature/the arts. These will include, but not limited to, post Fukushima and nuclear concerns, environmental issues, the COVID-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine and its impact, and the cost-of-living crisis. It will investigate how these crises have impacted not only the environment, but also our human relations with one another.


Scholars in the field will give brief presentations on their research, and we invite participants to engage in active discussion. Our hope is that this event will result in the cross-pollination of ideas, resources, and methodologies, and form the foundation for future research collaborations.


 - Programme -

09:00 - 09:15: Opening Remarks


Linda Flores, Oxford

09:15 - 10:45: Workshop 1


(Moderator: Victoria Young, Cambridge)

  • Kristina Iwata, Nagoya: 'Rewinding the Future: An Eco-Critical Re-Reading of Fukushima Fiction'
  • Aidana Bolatbekkyzy, Oregon: 'Disappearing into the System: Imagery of Confinement in Contemporary Japanese Dystopian Literature'
  • Sarah Puetzer, Oxford: 'Creating Poetic Spaces during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Saihate Tahi, Fuzuki Yumi and Mizusawa Nao'

10:45 - 11:15: Coffee and Tea Break


11:15 - 12:45: Workshop 2

 (Moderator: Juliana Buriticá Alzate, Oxford)

  • Anne Bayard-Sakai, INALCO: 'The COVID-19 Pandemic as an Ultra-Literary Theme: The Case of Kanehara Hitomi’s Unsocial Distance (「アンソーシャル ディスタンス」)'
  • Justine Wiesinger, Bates: 'Peak Performance: Politics and Bodily Acts in the Decade after Disaster'
  • Doug Slaymaker, Kentucky: 'Seen and Unseen: Mienaimono in Erika Kobayashi's Work'

13:00 - 14:30: Lunch


14:30 - 16:00: Workshop 3

 (Moderator: Barbara Geilhorn, DIJ)

  • Juliana Buriticá Alzate, Oxford: 'Poetic and Graphic Responses to 3.11: Kudō Mayumi and Itō Hiromi'
  • Chiara Pavone, UCLA: 'Toxic Strangers: Immigrants and Radiation in Post-3.11 Japanese Literature'
  • Rachel DiNitto, Oregon: 'Environmental Echoes and Nuclear Traces in Japanese Literature'

16:00 - 16:15: Closing Remarks


Barbara Geilhorn, German Institute for Japanese Studies


Organisers: Professor Linda Flores, Dr Barbara Geilhorn, Dr Chinami Oka, Dr Juliana Buriticá Alzate, Sarah Puetzer


For inquiries, please contact Dr Chinami Oka.



This symposium is kindly supported by the Tanaka UK Japan Educational Foundation.