Publications Newsletter Lettre 2016-2
La Lettre de la Fondation France-Japon de l'EHESS


1- Éditorial
"An American in Paris (in a Japanese restaurant)"

Theodore C. Bestor
Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University

At first blush, it may seem odd that an American would be writing about the tastes for Japanese cuisine that have developed in France in recent years, but in this age of globalization perhaps it is not so surprising.

As an American scholar of Japanese studies, one of my specializations is the anthropology of food, particularly looking at traditional Japanese cuisine as an aspect of national cultural identity and as an element in Japanese “soft power” during the past two or three decades as the worldwide popularity of Japanese cuisine has soared. The Japanese government and the mass media certainly present cuisine as an important pillar for the global branding of “Cool Japan”!

In 2013, UNESCO recognized “Washoku: traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese” for inscription on its list of Global Intangible Cultural Heritage. Japanese cuisine joined 7 other gastronomic cultures to be so recognized. Japan was preceded by “The French gastronomic meal,” one of the first four culinary heritages UNESCO recognized in 2010. (As of 2015, a total of 10 cuisines or culinary items have been recognized, nominated by a total of 19 countries (in some cases jointly nominated by two or more nations.)

Of course, culinary heritage is extremely important in every culture and society, but perhaps only French and Japanese cultures have raised gastronomy to such sophisticated, aestheticized, and – dare I say it – sometimes fetishized heights. Japan and France have extremely high regard for their own cuisines, but they also mutually admire and embrace each other’s cultures. Cuisine is one of the most recently important pillars of this sustained love affair, So as an anthropologist interested in food and in how food both marks and crosses boundaries across and among cultures, examining the complicated interactions of French and Japanese tastes, preferences, and mastery of a foreign cuisine is a fascinating (and of course delicious) pursuit.

UNESCO’s recognition prompted me to come to Paris for research, rather simply to visit a cosmopolitan destination with great appeal as I had previously done. Roughly a year after the announcement of recognition for Washoku, I was able to visit UNESCO and Paris for this project.

But that visit, in 2014, after a lapse of many years since my previous visits to Paris, opened my eyes to the ubiquity of Japanese culinary influences in Paris! Not necessarily Japanese cuisine in any strict sense of the term, but certainly Japanese cuisine had captured widespread interest on the streets of Paris!

Over the course of the past two years, I have had the opportunity to re-visit Paris on several occasions, and in each case, my eyes and my palate have been open to grasping what I can about the impact of Japanese culinary styles and principles in the everyday world of French alimentation. Recently, in February 2016, I was honored to be invited to make an address on this topic at a conference sponsored by the Fondation France-Japon de l'EHESS.

Thus far, my visits to Paris to consider Japanese cuisine have been brief, and I have not yet been able to carry out systematic or extensive research.

But I do have several tentative observations about the current Japanese culinary boom in Paris. First and perhaps foremost, Japanese and French chefs have developed a serious attraction to each other’s crafts. The volume of exchange of chefs from both countries into the kitchens of the other is enormous. However, the professionalized culinary cultures from which both sets of chefs emerge put an enormous (and highly competitive) emphasis on the achievement of perfect form in the kitchen (see for example, the recent film Jiro Dreams of Sushi).

Certainly, the pursuit of perfection is admirable, to a point, but in the case of the Franco-Japonaise exchanges of chefs, it sometimes appears that the demands of hyper-perfection have overwhelmed the gustatory experience for many or most diners for whom the distinctions are sometimes indiscernible.

And this is perhaps because, in my limited view, Parisian consumers of Japanese cuisine are being bombarded by the siren song of perfection, but at a time when relatively few French consumers are really that familiar with the variety and depth of Japanese cuisine. One might call this phenomenon, “premature connoisseurship.”

Dashi, for example, the highly developed flavoring stock that brings umami (the so-called fifth flavor, a savory flavor often associated with soy sauce, tomatoes, and meat stock) is, as yet, not widely recognized by ordinary French consumers. One Japanese chef I spoke with reported that only about 50% of French consumers he interacted with could recognize umami, and as a result he was conducting “umami education” classes in French elementary schools!

But, the net effect remains that although the stars of French cuisine celebrate their appreciation of umami, many ordinary consumers simply cannot recognize the flavor.

To me, as an outside observer – both to Japanese and French culinary cultures – it seems to me that the Franco-Japonaise culinary love affair is still only a flirtation! The ordinary French consumer will need to have much greater exposure to Japanese cuisine – its flavors, its flavorings, its textures, its composition, and so forth – before this love affair can reach a proper and mutually satisfactory conclusion!!
2- Évnénements à venir

Lecture series by Kathleen THELEN
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology / Professeur invité à l'EHESS
Kathleen Thelen is Ford Professor of Political Science at MIT. Her work forcuses on the origins and evolu- tion of political-economic institu- tions in the rich democracies. She published Varieties of Liberaliza- tion and the Comparative Histori- cal Analysis (with James Mahoney, Cambridge) in 2015.
June 3 (Fri), 2016, 11:00-12:30
“Drift and Conversion: Hidden Faces of Institutional Change” in the framework of Political Economy of Institutional Change Seminar organized by Elvire Guillaaud, Jérôme Bourdieu, Thibault Darcillon and Marco Ranaldi
Venue: Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne (106-112 bd de l’Hôpital 75013 Paris), salle 18

June 8 (Wed), 2016, 13:00-15:00 “Comparative Historical Analysis in Contemporary Politi- cal Science” in the framework of Capitalismes Asiatiques: Diversité et Chagement Institutionnel Seminar organized by Sébastien Lechevalier
Venue: EHESS (190 av de France 75013 Paris), salle 638

June 9 (Thu), 2016, 15:00-17:00 “Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity” in the framework of Les Réformes de la Protection Sociale: Perspectives Internationales Comparées Seminar organized by Sébastien Lechevalier Venue: EHESS (105 bd Raspail 75006 Paris), room12

June 16 (Thu), 2016, 15:00-18:00 “Tutorial session with doctoral students” Venue: EHESS (190 av de France 75013 Paris), room 638

*Advance registration is recommended:

12th EAJS workshop for doctoral students

The European Association for Japanse Studies (EAJS) will organize the 12th EAJS Workshop for Doctoral Students (4-7 July 2016) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales with the generous support of the Toshiba Intern- tional Foundation and of the Japan Foundation. The EAJS Workshop for Doctoral Students aims to create a European multidisciplinary network of advanced graduate students and senior scholars working on Japan.

Date: 4-7 July 2016 Venue: École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (190 avenue de France 75013 Paris) Keynote Speaker: Emiko OHNUKI-TIERNEY (The Univer- sity of Wisconsin Madison)

Project director: Sébastien LECHEVALIER (EHESS) Participants: Maria Lucia BUGNO (Cambridge), Heuishilja CHANG (Oxford), Szymon Andrzej CZERKAWSKI (Bonn), Veronica DE PIERI (Venice/Paris), Aura DI FEBO (Man- chester), Julia GESRSTER (Berlin), Elsa GONAY (Geneva), Michael GRIESER (Munich), Bruce GROVER (Heidelberg), Fynn HOLM (Zurich), Matthias HUBER (Vienna), Thorsten KERP (Bonn), Ami KOBYASHI (Berlin), Kamako KURAMIT- SU (Birmingham), Federico MANGLAVITE (Oxford), Na- thalie PHILLIPS (Edinburgh), Mina QIAO (Munich), Joey SOEHARDJOJO (Warwick), Sarah TANKE (Paris), Shira TAUBE-DAYAN (Haifa)

For more information:

Announcement of the recipient of the 2016 Network Q / FFJ Award for Best Paper

The Research Network Q - Asian Capitalisms of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE), through generous support from the EHESS Fondation France-Japon and Banque de France, has created the SASE Network Q / Fondation France-Japon Award. 

Each year a prize of €1,000 is awarded to the best full paper submitted to Network Q for the SASE annual conference. The paper is judged both for overall excellence and for its pertinence to the theme of Asian capitalisms in particular. In 2016, the Network Q prize committee is composed of Markus Taube (University of Duisburg Essen), Gary Herrigel(Chicago University), and Sebastien Lechevalier (EHESS).

We extend our warm congratulations to the recipient of the 2016 EHESS France-Japon Foundation Award for Best Paper:

Le Lin (University of Chicago)
“ Interstitial Emergence and the Origins of China’s Private Economy ”

3- Actualité des programmes de recherche

Announcepent of the recipients of the 2017 CEAFJP Fellowship

The Centre for French-Japanese Advanced Studies in Paris (Centre d’Etudes Avancées Franco-Japonais de Paris, CEAFJP) is a research and exchange program coor- dinated by the EHESS France-Japan Foundation (FFJ). The purpose of the CEAFJP fellowship programs is to provide an organization within which senior and junior researchers can devote themselves to their research in an independent environment.
The selection committee gathered on May 17th, 2016 to assess the many proposals received through the open call. We are pleased to announce the names of the recipient of the 2017 CEAFJP Fellowship:

Air Liquide Fellowship:
- “The Paradox of Contemporary National Cuisines: French and Japanese Foodways as Case Studies”

Banque de France Fellowship:
Ulrich VOLZ
- “Japanese Monetary and Exchange Rate Policy and the Hollowing-out of Japanese Industry”

Michelin Fellowship:
- “New Innovation Policies in Science Based Economy Era”

Renault Fellowship:
- ”Usages de l’automobile et des nou- veaux services de mobilité au Japon, en Corée et en Europe -- Les politique environnementales urbaines et de l’ame- nagement du territoire qui realise la mobilité permettant nouveaux besoins de la société --”

Valeo Fellowship:
Toshiaki TANAKA
- “A Study of New Technologies of Per- sonal Mobility and Robot Suit for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities ”

Discussion Paper Series of CEAFJP

«How Do Credit Hours Assure the Quality of Higher Education? : Time-based vs. Competency-Based Debate»
Ayaka NODA
National Institution for Academic Degrees and Quality Enhancement of Higher Education, Japan

University credit hour, which plays a key role in demonstrationg students’ academic progress or completion of their courses or degrees, has traditionally been used as a time-based proxy of student learning outcomes. The credit hour system has been implemented for multiple purposes in many nations. The U.S., which invented the credit hour system, has originally implemented it as a standard measure in assessing university faculty pension. (...) In Japan, following the U.S. model, the credit hour system has been applied to higher education with the expectation to encourage student proactive learning. Since then, some questions have been raised: How can we assure the quality of the credit hour system?, or how can we know whether the credit hour system substan- tially functions as well as intended? There have been discussions on the function and importance of the credit hour system in promoting academic activities and learning, and how it should be evaluated in terms of external accreditation as well as internal quality assurance. (...)

Canets de chercheurs

"Métropole de l'endroit et métropole de l’envers. Décroissance urbaine, vieillissement et mobilisés dans les périphéries de l’aire métropolitaine d’Osaka"
Université Paris 4

Ma recherche doctorale est centrée sur une analyse de l’évolution du peuplement, de l’amé- nagement et du fonctionnement des banlieus (mot qui traduit ici la notion de kôgai) des aires métropolitaines japonaises depuis la fin de la bulle et la Décennie perdue (1992-2002). Durant la période de la Haute Croissance, un faible contrôle sur les usages des sols a permis une expan- sion considérable des banlieues, où se sont installés des individus suivant le parcours profes- sionnel et résidentiel typique de la famille nucléaire d’après-guerre. Les kôgai ont ainsi consti- tué le lieu d’épanouissement d’une classe moyenne enrichie, symbole de la réussite du Japon d’après-guerre. Cependant, ces territoires périurbains sont aujourd’hui soumis à des processus multidimensionnels et cumulés de déclin provoqués par la baisse de la population du Japon. Mais le facteur démographique seul n’explique pas pourquoi la décroissance progresse à un rythme plus élevé dans les banlieues que dans des zones déjà classées kaso (en dépeuplement) avant 1990, en raison de la conjonction de soldes migratoires et naturels négatifs. (...)

Lire la version complète: 

4- Entretien avec

2015 la Chaire Michelin de CEAFJP, University de Cardiff 

- Could you explain about your current researches at the EHESS ? 
My research at the EHESS involves looking at the evolution of frontier industries in Japan, through the experiences of the biomedical and energy industry in Japan. In particular, I focus on the regenerative and solar energy sectors.

- Please let us know about your career as a researcher (considering that you are European researcher as well as specialist of Japan; how did you start your research, came to UK, decide to come to France, etc). 
I spent the first decade of my childhood in the United States, lived in Japan, then went to study history at university in the U.S. I went on to do postgraduate studies in the UK after a few years in the private sector. I gained a position at my current university as I completed my PhD. I decided to come to France after obtaining the Michelin Fellowship during my research leave year. 

-Can you share with us your experiences during your stay in France, and in particular your relationship with Michelin and your French colleagues ? 
In France, I have had the great pleasure to engage with and present my work to French colleagues. Some of them have become good friends. I have discussed my work with the head of Michelin Japan and have written on pubic innovation policies to their research centre in Japan. 

- Could you explain the framework of this international workshop and its significances for the French academic community and society at large ? 
This workshop considers the evolution of the energy industry from a long term perspective. One of the underlying agendas of the event is to reflect upon the past to consider energy transitions in the future. The energy industries of France and Japan are similar in some ways. For example, the governments of both countries have implemented large-scale programmes to support the field; large firms have channelled sectoral development; and both countries had emphasised nuclear as a means to decarbonisation. We think that the comparison of the French and Japanese experiences should interest those who are interested in the history of the energy industry and future energy transitions, in both academia and beyond. 

- Could you give some advice for young scholars ?
1. As my undergraduate supervisor advised us, go to graduate school after you have expired other options. Go experience other things/careers whilst you are young and able.
2. If you are interested in the research of a particular geographic region, pursuing it within a discipline may protect you from the popularity (or lack thereof) of specific locations at a given time. 3. Be strategic during early career years. Find out what is valued for career advancement in a given discipline, in a particular country, because it varies substantially (whether an article, book, workshop, etc.) -- and prioritise.

Professeur émérite de l'University de Sydney, Professeur invité de l'EHESS

- Tell us about your current research. 
I am presently working on two projects that examine different aspects of state capacity. One of these projects focuses on the concept of infrastructural power. Since its first articulation by Michael Mann in 1984, the concept of infrastructural power has provided a productive way of examining the political power (or capacity) of modern states to penetrate, extract, and deploy resources in the territories over which they rule. But we have little insight into how, why, and with what consequences, some states seek to extend their infrastructural reach internationally -- into other national and regional territories. My research will address these issues by comparing the EU and the United States approaches to the negotiation of intellectual property rights in trade agreements and their strategies for international enforcement. 

Another project stems from my recent research on the role of the American state in US innovation and enterprise. An important finding was that the federal government has taken a lead role in absorbing high-level risk and driving innovation at the frontier of technology. The literature on East Asia (mainly Japan and South Korea) claims that the state is doomed to fail in this domain and that therefore it is obliged to retreat from economic involvement. Whether applied to the highly developed or recently industrialized setting, the state in this influential narrative is the risk-averse actor whose role is limited for the most part to ensuring macro-stability and establishing the rules of the game. I am interested in examining this idea in a broader comparative framework. What seems interesting to me is not just the success rate of such ventures (high or low); but also how the state’s catalytic role can open a window onto our standard assumptions about business enterprise and thereby cast public and private sectors in an unanticipated light. 

- Can you share some of your experiences or impressions during your stay in France?  

France is well known for the high value that its government and people place on their culture and language. Even their intellectuals are held in relatively high regard when compared to many other advanced countries. So I am not surprised to see evidence of this in many different ways, both large and small. Indeed, the very existence of institutions like EHESS is one very important example of that observation. And by the way, I have found the environment here very stimulating, especially discussions in the seminars. As a side point, one of the things I do notice on the metro (apart from the relative absence of obesity!) is the extent to which people still read books and newspapers. Such a joy to see! And while the smart phone is of course everywhere, it doesn’t seem to dominate in quite the same way as one can observe in Rome, or indeed Sydney. Of course, these are just my impressions, but I somehow suspect they are not too far from the reality.

- Could you tell us about your career as a researcher? 

I have a long-standing interest in the politics of economic development., especially the state’s capacity to catalyse economic transformation. My interest in the interplay of state and economy dates from my time as a graduate student at the London School of Economics and Political Science. I have been studying states and their transformative capacity ever since my PhD when I set out to understand why Italy’s small-scale industry had not only survived, but thrived in international export markets, making an interesting contrast with the French experience. That experience taught me the importance of bringing in the state, as well as the political and policy dimension, to make sense of diverse national economic outcomes. Although I started my research in Europe, I eventually became interested in the rise of East Asia (Korea, Taiwan and Japan) and the question of whether its successful industrial transition had patterns in common with the earlier transformation of Europe. Most recently, I have turned my attention to the United States to examine why it became such a high-tech superstar after WWII. You could say that as an analyst of political economies, I am the ultimate ‘trespasser’ – always moving into different territory. One of the benefits of trespassing (or migrating, to use a friendlier term) is that it gives you the power of a comparative perspective. You get to see the forest as well as the trees. Of course it takes more time to tool up in a particular context. Shifting my focus to the United States, for example, involved six years of research. 

- If you could give a few pieces of advice for young scholars, what wil they be? 

My advice to young scholars would be first choose a subject that really interests you intellectually. Since I find most rewarding the ‘why’ sorts of questions, I would also add: Frame your research around a challenging question, a puzzle, or an issue – obviously one that has not been convincingly addressed. Framing a problem-centred research project will entail developing a familiarity with the literature in the field. But it will repay the effort by focusing your research efforts more tightly at the outset and allowing you to consider and evaluate alternative explanations – without being wedded to any one favoured conclusion at the outset. In my own research training experience, the most valuable piece of advice was to stop ‘theorising’ and to go and do the empirical research necessary to test and support my working hypothesis. Finally, I would encourage young scholars (as I do my own graduates) to try to organise their research round four main questions: What do you what to find out? (the core research question); why is findng an answer important? (theoretical/empirical significance); what are your initial hunches? (working hypotheses); and how do you intend to find an answer to your core question? (method). Young scholars often get hung up on ‘the method’, when this only becomes clear when the other steps are in place.