The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 33. 2012   

August 13, 2012   
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Aileen Mioko Smith, Post-Fukushima Realities and Japan's Energy Future 

Fresh Currents: Japan's flow from a nuclear past to a renewable future is an e-book edited by Eric Johnston in cooperation with The Kyoto Journal that considers the possibility of replacing the Faustian bargain of a nuclear-and-fossil-fuel powered Japan with a renewable energy future.


We present Fresh Current's wide-ranging interview with Aileen Mioko Smith of Kyoto-based Green Action, whose lifetime of activism spans the movement from the early 1970s to achieve justice for the victims of Minamata Disease (mercury poisoning by corporate giant Chisso) to the contemporary movement to end nuclear power, care compassionately for the victims, and transform Japan's energy profile. 


Recommended Citation: Aileen Mioko Smith, "Post-Fukushima Realities and Japan's Energy Future," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10 Issue 33, No. 2, August 13, 2012.

Read More. . . 
Stephen J. Epstein and Rachael M. Joo, Multiple Exposures: Korean Bodies and the Transnational Imagination

Since the turn of the millennium, emphasis on bodily perfection has become increasingly central to the media industries of South Korea (henceforth Korea), and a focus on ideal bodies has permeated popular discourse more generally. Although views on physical appearance built on longstanding notions of its importance in announcing status continue to be informed by a patriarchal order, a palpably intensifying commodification of the body in Korea's media-saturated, consumer capitalist culture is giving rise to newer concepts of corporeal self-discipline and reconfiguring not only of how 'beauty', 'masculinity' and 'femininity' are represented, but how the modern national self is understood. 

In this paper we concentrate on two complementary phenomena that have surfaced in the last decade, a focus in popular media on both muscled male torsos and long, slender female legs in order to interrogate how changing social and institutional contexts are shaping new physical ideals in Korea, transforming meanings and practices of the body and inculcating technologies of the self that have come to function as a panoptic discipline. While other media-driven trends related to the body have also appeared, such as a growing interest in "average"-looking people who rise to fame through previously undiscovered talents in reality-show competitions, these alternative exemplars are inevitably measured against ideals shaped by celebrities. To what extent does the increasingly ubiquitous representation of these body ideals pressure individuals toward ever more normative yet rarefied standards of beauty?

Stephen Epstein is Associate Professor and the Director of the Asian Studies Programme at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Recent publications include "The Axis of Vaudeville: Images of North Korea in South Korean Popular Culture" (The Asia-Pacific Journal, link) and Complicated Currents: Media Flows, Soft Power and East Asia (co-edited with Daniel Black and Alison Tokita Monash University Publications). His most recent novel translations are The Long Road by Kim In-suk (MerwinAsia, 2010) and Telegram by Putu Wijaya (Lontar Foundation, 2011).    


Rachael M. Joo is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at Middlebury College. er research focuses on the transnational circulation of mass media, specifically how sporting media connects South Korean and Korean American communities. She is the author of Competing Visions: Media Sport and Transnational Koreas (Duke University Press, 2012), which details the significance of commercial mass-mediated sports in shaping ideas of Americanness and Koreanness in Korean/American communities.     


Recommended Citation: Stephen J. Epstein and Rachael M. Joo, "Multiple Exposures: Korean Bodies and the Transnational Imagination," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 10, Issue 33, No. 1, August 13, 2012.

Read More. . .