[Essay] Panel “Thinking the Seas and the Islands in Northeast Asia: Wakkanai-Sakhalin, Tsushima-Korea, and Yonaguni-Taiwan” at the JAAS annual convention (November 19, 2016)
Panel “Thinking the Seas and the Islands in Northeast Asia: Wakkanai-Sakhalin, Tsushima-Korea, and Yonaguni-Taiwan” at the annual convention of the Japan Association for Asian Studies
On November 19, 2016, the fall convention of the Japan Association for Asian Studies was held at the Kokura International Conference Center, Kitakyushu City. In the afternoon, the NIHU Area Studies Project for Northeast Asia held a panel entitled “Thinking the Seas and the Islands in Northeast Asia” on new trends in Northeast Asian international relations from a border studies perspective.
Members of the NIHU Area Studies Project for Northeast Asia, Naoki Amano (Yamagata University) and Yasunori Hanamatsu (Kyushu University), each made a report for this meeting: “A Landing, Transferring and Forwarding place: Wakkanai City in the Relationship between Hokkaido and Sakhalin” and “Development of Tsushima-Busan Border Tourism and its Impact on the Borderland Society in Tsushima.” They both talked about social and urban transformations facing Russia and South Korea right now, and also raised the question of growing dynamism on the national borders in Northeast Asia despite the seemingly poor political relations between the countries.
Originally, another member of the Area Studies Project for Northeast Asia, Yoshihiro Masuda, planned to make a report on the Taiwan-Yonaguni (Yaeyama Islands) relationship, since he has worked on Yonaguni Island for many years; however, due to certain circumstances, he was unable to attend the meeting. He was replaced by Mr. Naganori Komine, a representative of the Yonaguni Municipal Government, who gave a presentation entitled “Building the Yonaguni Museum of History and Culture: Towards a New Relationship with Taiwan,” focusing on past problems and the current situation on the island. For a long time, the authorities had not paid close attention to the history and historical records of Yonaguni but, recently, the island has drawn attention as a potential place for regional cultural exchange in unknown Northeast Asia. At the reception, Chairperson Takenaka kindly asked Mr. Komine to make a toast and, to all members of the conference, he said modestly that participation in the panel was like a breath of fresh air.
(Written by: Akihiro Iwashita, Translated by: Aleksandra Kuklina)