The 64th GJS SeminarTibetan Diaspora Politics in Japan

Date and time: December 17, 2019 (Tue.), 5:00-6:00PM
Venue: Lobby (1F), Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo
Speaker: Stephen Christopher (JSPS Post-doctoral Fellow, Kyoto University)
Language: English

In 1965, a small group of Tibetan school children resettled in Saitama. Since then, the Tibetan community has grown to about 250 members, primarily in Tokyo. This talk analyzes the surprising politics of the Tibetan diaspora in Japan. How do the ideologies of rightwing groups and individuals translate into outsized Tibetan support? How does rightwing dominance alienate left-leaning progressives and further erode the already-fragile culture of Japanese volunteerism? How do Tibetans in Japan respond to this political milieu? Answering these questions fundamentally reframes the Tibetan diaspora and provides stark contrast to the rights-based liberal support for Tibet common across Euro-America. It also addresses the broader question of the place of Tibet, Tibetans, and Tibetan Buddhism within the Japanese cultural imaginary.

Stephen Christopher is a postdoctoral fellow at Kyoto University. He is the Himalayas editor at the Database of Religious History at the University of British Columbia. He is also a consultant for iSEE, a Hanoi-based NGO addressing the stigmatisation of Chinese ethnic minorities. He completed his PhD in anthropology from Syracuse University in 2018.

Pictures of this event

Organizer: The Global Japan Studies Network (GJS)
Co-organizer: Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), Japanese Association for South Asian Studies (JASAS)
Contact: gjs[at]