Our international workshop ImaginAsia 2017, hosted by us at Meiji, started yesterday. Students from Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, UK, and Japan work in small groups to look into the local histories of Asian immigrants in Japan. This is the statement I wrote as an introduction.
How many Asias are there in this world? How many do we know and how many do we live? Beyond any narrow-minded ethnocentrism and baseless identification with the Western gaze, we are now embarking, once again, on our collective journey of self-knowledge. There may be a thousand Asias that run through us, here and now, releasing and recapturing us at each moment, making us a collective flux of diversity, differentiation, and constant discovery. Imagination is the only nation we share and across cultural and linguistic borders we keep encountering our new selves, thanks to your new friends walking side-by-side with you in this unknown territory. That is the spirit of ImaginAsia.
This year’s edition of ImaginAsia will explore the rich presence of various Asian traditions in Tokyo. How can we see through the surface and speak to this vibrant inter-Asian mega-city with a necessary socio-historical and critical consciousness? This is a truly unique educational and research opportunity for all participants. Let’s see what comes out of it.
Keijiro SUGA, Meiji University