Call for Papers


"Travel in Japanese Representational Culture : Its Past, Present and Future"

The 2006 AJLS annual meeting will be held, for the first time, in the summer (July 1-2, 2006) in Japan ( at the new Tokyo campus of Josai International University ). The conference will be chaired by Professor Mizuta Noriko and organized by Professor Miki Sumito and will feature the theme of travel in Japanese literature and in Japan's representational culture as a whole.

From religiously charged pilgrimages to leisure-oriented tourism, traveling has impacted people's lives on various levels from ancient days to the present. With drastic technological changes, the notion of travel today expands itself both in terms of space and time: We can travel to the universe, travel to the micro-cosmos of our own body, and even take a trip to the future. What can and should we discuss about the current expansion of the notion of travel in relationship with its representational tradition?

The mythological image of traveling gods, expressed through the folkloric term of "kishu ryuuri ‹MŽí—Ĵ—£," is recurrently recaptured in classical stories focusing on socio-politically motivated transfer of important characters. Traditional visits to temples and shrines were visitors' expressions of religious faith; literary pilgrimages, visiting well-known places rich in poetic associations, were great literary inspirations for travelers. At the same time, these experiences allowed travelers to discover the joy of traveling itself. From Meiji period on, people took a trip to individually explore new "scenery" so as to appreciate its previously unnoticed beauty. Modern literature was an inspiration for the development of tourism culture.

Today, literature has become an integral part of media culture ( together with painting, photography, TV shows, and cinema ), which by mass-producing images of fashionable scenes, serves to further enhance the institution of modern tourism. When the government claims that tourism is one of the key areas of Japan's national promotion, and when travel agencies and the media industry work together so as to sell literature as a part of the travel experience, concepts of both travel and literature demand redefinitions as necessary players of today's late consumerist economy.

From this broad interest in the concepts and representations of traveling in Japanese literature, the conference organizers solicit paper/panel proposals, which can shed new light on this theme. Please consider, in particular, exploring concepts listed in the following as key components constituting this theme :

  • Traveler's Expressive Selfhood :
  1. narrator's points of view and awareness of readers' eyes
  2. gender and travel
  3. oral narrative and strolling minstrels
  4. representations of michiyuki “ıs
  5. travel and poetic expressions ( waka ˜a‰Ì, renga ˜A‰Ì, and haikai ”oĉ~ )
  • Traveler's Search for Inner Self :
  1. religious journeys ( monomoode •¨Œw, junrei „—ç, shugyoo Cs, kanjin Šİi )
  2. travel in coming-of-age novels with the pursuit of a true self
  3. travel literature as a genre of fiction
  4. travel in the genres of utopian literature, fantastic literature, and children's literature
  • Traveler's Experiences of Otherness
    ( transfer and border transgression; contact and communication with foreign cultures )
  1. travel by gods in the Origuchi concepts of "kishu ryuuri" and "marebito," as well as political exiles
    ( rural position appointment by the government, demotion, refugee, etc. )
  2. expression of borders between past and present, between city and country,
    between home and abroad, and between dailiness and fantasy
  3. approaches to foreign cultures ( acceptance, appropriation, and denial )
  4. superior/inferior observer's standpoint
    ( tour of a colonial inspection, accounts by seasonal workers and immigrants )
  5. discovery of a traveler's own cultural identity through trips to foreign lands
  6. culture shock through school trips, study abroad, international internship, etc.
  • Travel in Contemporary Culture :
  1. media and travel literature
  2. current trend of tourism and literature ( sightseeing, search for healing, and eco-tourism )
  3. an aging society, traveling, and literature
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The proposal deadline is March 1, 2006.
A 250-word proposal, together with the proposal form.

Mail to

AJLS 2006, Josai International University (Tokyo Kioicho Campus),
3-26 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, JAPAN 102-0094


See Registration of this website.

For inquiries

For inquiries, contact conference administrators ( Professors Okada Miyako, David Luan, or Kawano Yuka )
by e-mailing at: ajls2006@jiu.ac.jp or by faxing to: 03-6238-1299.

  • All annual meeting participants must become members in order to present.
  • All presentations and discussions are encouraged to be primarily conducted in Japanese, although presentations in English are acceptable. No simultaneous interpretation/translation will be provided.
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