Tokikake at MIT, 2/28 (Wed.) with Cool Japan conference

MIT / Harvard conference Cool Japan 2007 brings Japanese anime, hip-hop and manga artists and interdisciplinary scholars to Cambridge, Feb. 28 – Mar. 3

(Cambridge, MA) From Feb. 28 to Mar. 3, the Cool Japan research project at MIT and Harvard hosts the Boston-area premiere of an award-winning 2006 animated feature film from Japan including Q/A with the director; the US debut of a female Japanese rap music star named Miss Monday; and a screening and discussion with the manga creator of Afro Samurai, SpikeTV's new animated series. Details at

The four-day conference is called “Cool Japan 2007: Love and War in Japanese Popular Culture.” It will showcase cutting-edge Japanese creators and international scholars in a series of events aimed at critically examining the power and import of Japanese popular culture, including anime, manga, hip-hop, and more.

Scholarly panels will explore a wide range of Japanese popular culture, from Japanese comic books of the 1700s to the Red Sox's acquisition of pitching superstar Daisuke Matsuzaka.

All events are open to the public and all are free, except for the Japanese rap music concert ($8 adv./$10 door, ages 18+ at the Middle East, Upstairs). No pre-registration is required.

The conference has been organized by MIT Associate Professor Ian Condry, who is also Advanced Research Fellow at Harvard's Program on US-Japan Relations. He can be reached by email ( [email protected] ) to set up interviews or for access to high resolution images for publication.

See schedule details below. Updates will be posted continuously to the conference website:

What is the Cool Japan Project?

Since January 2006, Condry has organized the research project, Cool Japan: Media, Culture, Technology, at MIT and Harvard. The project presents colloquia and international conferences to examine the cultural connections, dangerous distortions, and critical potential of popular culture. The project is sponsored by the MIT Japan Program, Harvard Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard Asia Center, and MIT Foreign Languages and Literatures.

Cool Japan 2007: Love and War in Japanese Popular Culture

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, February 28
Anime Screening & Director's Talk: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. 7pm, MIT Room 32-123 (enter at 32 Vassar St.)

Anime director Mamoru Hosoda will screen and discuss his feature film The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Toki o kakeru shôjo, 2006, Kadokawa/Madhouse), which was awarded Best Animation by the Media Arts Festival 2007. This high school drama is based on a classic short story by sci-fi writer Yasutaka Tsutsui, reinterpreted for today's generation of youth through crisp storytelling and stylish visuals. Space will be limited to first 300 guests.

Thursday, March 1
Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization Book Launch and Dialogue with Author Ian Condry. 4-5:30pm, MIT Room 4-237 (enter at 77 Massachusetts Ave.)

MIT Associate Professor Ian Condry will discuss his recently published book with comments from local hip-hop scholars Thomas DeFrantz (MIT Associate Professor) and Murray Forman (Northeastern) and dialogue with audience. Free. Reception to follow.

Miss Monday in Concert. Tokyo hip-hop artist and local hip-hop sensations Akrobatik and Danielle Scott. Tickets: $8 Adv./$10 Door (18+). 9pm (doors open at 8:30pm), The Middle East, Upstairs (472 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge).

Miss Monday has four major label solo albums, and has toured in Japan with worldclass musicians such as Pharcyde, Snoop Dogg, and Shaggy. This is her US debut. More info and music at

Friday, March 2
Scholars Panel Discussions. "Love and War in Japanese Pop Culture." Harvard CGIS (South, Room 020 Case Study Room, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge).

"Visual" with Susan Napier (Tufts/ U Texas), author of Anime: From Akira to Howl's Moving Castle; Roland Kelts (U Tokyo), author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Invaded the US; and Adam Kern (Harvard), author of Manga from the Floating World: Comicbook Culture and Kibyoshi in Edo Japan. 1pm.

"Design" with Marcos Novac (University of California, Santa Barbara), artist, transarchitect, and designer; Kostas Terzidis (Harvard), author of Algorhithmic Architecture; and Larry Kubota (GLOCOM), filmmaker, Black Current Productions. 3pm.

Afro Samurai Screening and Discussion with Manga Artist Takashi Okazaki. Screening of one 25-minute episode from the new five-part animated series produced in Japan and starring Samuel L. Jackson. Discussion follows with Afro Samurai manga artist Takashi Okazaki, who drew the original cult comic that launched the project. 7pm, Gund Hall Piper Auditorium (Harvard, 48 Quincy St., Cambridge). WARNING: Mature content, not suitable for children.

Saturday, March 3
Scholars Panel Discussions. "Love and War in Japanese Pop Culture." MIT Stata Center Room 32-124 (32 Vassar St.).

"Culture" with Laura Miller (Loyola), author of Beauty Up: Exploring Japanese Beauty Aesthetics; Christine Yano (U Hawaii), author of Tears of Longing: Nostalgia and Nation in Japanese Popular Song; Ian Condry (MIT/Harvard), author of Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and Paths of Cultural Globalization. 1pm.

"Politics" with David Leheny (U Wisconsin), author of Think Global Fear Local: Sex, Violence, Anxiety in Contemporary Japan; Theodore J. Gilman (Harvard), author of No Miracles Here: Fighting Urban Decline in Japan and US; and Ueno Toshiya (Wako U), author of Urban Tribal Studies: A Sociology of Club and Party Cultures. 3pm.

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