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Train Politics: Activism and Performance on Japanese Public Transport
Thu 6 April 2017, 17:00 – 18:15 BST
Artists and activists in Japan have for several decades staged activities in train carriages as a way to interrupt the everyday functioning of the city and its residents, and to raise social and political concerns. Trains have also been the setting for numerous literary and cinematic creations, from classics such as Tayama Katai's 1907 short story Shōjobyō (The Girl Watcher) to the recent international hit anime Kimi no na wa (Your Name). The train carriage has become a vehicle to explore the changing nature of urban life, particularly in Tokyo. In this lecture, I discuss various political and cultural interventions through the train carriage. I focus particular attention on the events over the last couple of decades as Japan has moved through the period of the so-called Lost Decades and adjusted to new difficulties associated with urban life in a post-boom economy.
Dr Mark Pendleton is a cultural historian and Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield. He has published on topics related to urban history, memory studies and gender and sexuality both in Japan and in wider international contexts. His recent publications have focused on ruins and ruination in 20th century Japan, with articles in GeoHumanities and a forthcoming chapter in an edited collection on Tokyo: Memory, Imagination and the City (Lexington Books, 2017).