Interesting forthcoming book: “Another Japan is Possible”, citing Tony Laszlo of long-defunct “Issho Kikaku”


Hi Blog. Speaking of books…

We have another book on Japan’s internationalization coming out. Press release below. It looks to be a serious and interesting study of the forces of minority voices in Japan. Well done Professor Chan.

There is one thing I found odd. Chapter 42 below reads:

42. Issho Kikaku
Tony Laszlo
Ethnic Diversity, Foreigners’ Rights, Discrimination in Family Registration

Hang on. Tony Laszlo of “Issho Kikaku”? Issho Kikaku has been a moribund organization for more than two years now (its archives taken offline for “site renewal” December 4, 2005! Here’s today’s screen capture:).

By taking the work of hundreds of activists offline like this, Laszlo in fact has a history of deleting the historical record of Japan’s internationalization. Likewise, the Shakai Mailing List Archives, which he was also involved in, also mysteriously disappeared about a year ago. Substantiation for all these assertions here.

How can a “non-active” activist representing a non-existent organization pop up like this in a serious academic work? Well, Jennifer by sheer coincidence contacted me a couple of weeks ago for some introductions into Japan’s Muslim Community. When queried about this situation, she said she conducted the interviews with Laszlo about two years ago. Probably before Laszlo deep-sixed his site. So she probably didn’t know about his impending conversion to cartoon character and cute keitai mascot (beats sullying his hands in real activism, anyway, or tainting his cutie-pie salability with any connection to controversial topics). I wish Jennifer had done a follow-up check before publication, though. Perpetuates an incorrect job description for other serious researchers.

Anyway, without any sarcasm, I think this looks to be a great book. Bonne chance. I’ll be getting a copy. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


Another Japan is Possible: New Social Movements and Global Citizenship Education
Edited by Jennifer Chan, Stanford University Press 2008.
ISBN: 0804757828
Price: USD 27.95

Book summary:
This edited volume, a sequel to my first book – Gender and Human Rights Politics in Japan – looks at the emergence of internationally linked Japanese advocacy nongovernmental networks that have grown since the 1990s in the context of three conjunctural forces of neoliberalism, militarism, and nationalism. It connects three disparate literatures on the global justice movement, Japanese civil society, and global citizenship education. Through the narratives of 50 activists in eight overlapping issue areas—global governance, labor, food sovereignty, peace, HIV/AIDS, gender, minority and human rights, and youth—this book examines the genesis of these new social movements; their critiques of neoliberalism, militarism, and nationalism; their local, regional, and global connections; relationships with the Japanese government; and their role in constructing a new identity of Japanese as global citizens. Its purpose is to highlight the interactions between the global and local—that is, how international human rights and global governance issues resonate within Japan and how in turn local alternatives are articulated by Japanese advocacy groups—and to analyze citizenship from a postnational and postmodern perspective.

Advanced Praise
“A surprise for observers who view Japan as a developmental state, run by a powerful central bureaucracy and aligned with a conservative party whose policies often override public interest, this book casts new light on a vital aspect of Japan’s emerging political economy. A remarkable group of scholars, professionals, and citizen activists reveal the growing numbers of committed Japanese participating energetically in local and global organizations.”
˜Daniel I. Okimoto, Stanford University

“Jennifer Chan vividly illustrates the recent flourishing of nongovernmental organizations in Japan. With good contextualizing narratives and rich, informative examples of the thinking and sentiments nongovernmental organizations generate, she delivers a must-read in the study of globalization and localization.”
˜Inoguchi Takashi, University of Tokyo

“This book is rich in primary material on the human side of NGO activity in Japan, along a wide spectrum of organizations. This is a nuanced view of advocacy, strategies, and institutions, sometimes against the grain of existing views, and it adds the perspectives of new global citizens of Japan, engaged in knowledge production.
˜Merry White, Boston University

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Global Governance and Japanese Advocacy Nongovernmental Networks
I. Global Governance
1. AM-Net/Advocacy and Monitoring Network on Sustainable Development
Kawakami Toyoyuki Global Governance Monitoring and Japan
2. Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society
Sakuma Tomoko Education, Empowerment and Alternatives to Neoliberalism
3. Peoples’ Plan Study Group
Ogura Toshimaru Building a People-based Peace and Democracy Movement in Asia
4. Association for the Tobin Tax for the Aid of Citizens, Kyoto
Komori Masataka Tobin Tax, Kyoto Social Forum and Pluralism
5. Pacific Asia Resource Center
Fukawa Yoko Education for Civil Society Capacity Building
6. Japan International Volunteer Center
Takahashi Kiyotaka Community Development, Peace and Global Citizenship

II. Labor
7. Japan Trade Union Confederation (Rengo)
Kumagai Ken’ichi Globalization and Labor Restructuring
8. Shinjuku Homeless Support Center
Kasai Kazuaki Corporate Restructuring and Homelessness
9. Equality Action 21
Sakai Kazuko Gender, Part-time Labor and Indirect Discrimination
10. Filipino Migrants Center Nagoya
Ishihara Virgie Migration, Trafficking and Free Trade Agreements
11. Labor Net
Yasuda Yukihiro Neoliberalism and Labor Organizing
12. All-Japan Water Supply Workers’ Union
Mizukoshi Takashi Water, Global Commons and Peace

III. Food Sovereignty
13. No to WTO – Voice from the Grassroots in Japan
Ohno Kazuoki Agricultural Liberalization, World Trade Organization and Peace
14. Food Action 21
Yamaura Yasuaki Multifunctionality of Agriculture over Free Trade
15. No! GMO Campaign
Amagasa Keisuke Citizens’ Movement against Genetically Modified Foods
16. Watch Out for WTO! Japan
Imamura Kazuhiko Self-sufficiency, Safety and Food Liberalization

IV. Peace
17. Grassroots Movement to Remove US Bases from Okinawa and the World
Hirayama Motoh “We Want Blue Sky in Peaceful Okinawa”
18. World Peace Now
Hanawa Machiko, Tsukushi Takehiko and Cazman World Peace Now
19. No to Constitutional Revision! Citizens’ Network
Takada Ken Article 9 and the Peace Movement
20. Japan Teachers’ Union
Nishihara Nobuaki Fundamental Law of Education, Peace and the Marketization of Education
21. International Criminal Bar
Higashizawa Yasushi Japan and International War Crimes
22. Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines
Kitagawa Yasuhiro Landmine Ban and Peace Education
23. Peace Depot
Nakamura Keiko Nuclear Disarmament, Advocacy and Peace Education
24. Asia-Pacific Peace Forum
Ôtsuka Teruyo Building a Citizens’ Peace Movement in Japan and Asia

25. Japan AIDS and Society Association
Tarui Masayoshi HIV/AIDS from a Human Rights Perspective
26. Place Tokyo
Hyôdô Chika HIV/AIDS, Gender and Backlash
27. Africa Japan Forum
Inaba Masaki Migrant Workers and HIV/AIDS

VI. Gender
28. Japan NGO Network for CEDAW
Watanabe Miho International Lobbying and Japanese Women’s Networks
29. Japan Network Against Trafficking in Persons
Hara Yuriko Gender, Human Rights and Trafficking in Persons
30. Soshiren/Starting from a Female Body
Ohashi Yukako Gender, Reproductive Rights and Technology
31. Regumi Studio Tokyo
Wakabayashi Naeko As a Lesbian Feminist in Japan
32. Sex Workers and Sexual Health
Kaname Yukiko Sex Workers’ Movement in Japan
33. Women’s Active Museum of War and Peace
Watanabe Mina Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace
34. Feminist Art Action Brigade
Shimada Yoshiko Art, Feminism and Activism

VII. Minority and Human Rights
35. Japan Civil Liberties Union Subcommittee for the Rights of Foreigners
Fujimoto Mie A Proposal for the Law on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
36. The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)
Morihara Hideki Antidiscrimination, Grassroots Empowerment and Horizontal Networking
37. Buraku Liberation League
Mori Maya Multiple Identities and Buraku Liberation
38. Citizens’ Diplomatic Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Shimin Gaikô Centre)
Uemura Hideaki Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Multicultural Coexistence
39. Association of Rera
Sakai Mina On the Recognition of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights of the Ainu
40. Association of Indigenous Peoples in the Ryûkyûs
Taira Satoko “I would like to be able to speak Uchinâguchi when I grow up!”
41. Mirine
Hwangbo Kangja Art Activism and Korean Minority Rights
42. Issho Kikaku
Tony Laszlo Ethnic Diversity, Foreigners’ Rights, Discrimination in Family Registration
43. Japan National Assembly of Disabled Peoples’ International
Hirukawa Ryôko Disability and Gender
44. Japan Association for Refugees
Ishikawa Eri The UN Convention on Refugee and Asylum Protection in Japan
45. Center for Prisoners’ Rights Japan
Akiyama Emi Torture, Penal Reform and Prisoners’ Rights
46. Forum 90
Takada Akiko Death Penalty and Human Rights

VIII. Youth Groups
47. Peace Boat
Yoshioka Tatsuya Experience, Action and the Floating Peace Village
48. A Seed Japan
Mitsumoto Yuko Ecology, Youth Action and International Advocacy
49. BeGood Cafe
Shikita Kiyoshi Organic Food, Education and Peace
50. Body and Soul
Takahashi Kenkichi “Another Work is Possible”: Slow Life, Ecology and Peace

Conclusion: Social Movements and Global Citizenship Education

Target audience:
Japanese studies, Asian studies, feminist studies, human rights and globalization researchers, transnational and local social movement studies.

To order:
Chicago Distribution Center
11030 South Langley Ave.
Chicago, IL 60628
Tel. 1-800-621-2736
Fax: 1-800-621-8471
or through

For more information, please contact:
Jennifer Chan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor,
Department of Educational Studies, Faculty of Education; and
Faculty Associate, the Centre for Japanese Research, the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies; and Institute for European Studies.
University of British Columbia
2125 Main Mall,
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Tel: (604) 822-5353
Fax: (604) 822-4244

15 comments on “Interesting forthcoming book: “Another Japan is Possible”, citing Tony Laszlo of long-defunct “Issho Kikaku”

  • “A surprise for observers who view Japan as a developmental state, run by a powerful central bureaucracy and aligned with a conservative party whose policies often override public interest… ”

    And the suprise is….you’re correct!
    (sorry couldn’t help myself) 😉

  • Thanks for the heads up.
    It does look like it will be an interesting read.

    However, I am concerned about the level of scholarship.
    Usually at the university level and in academia in general editors are careful enough to mark long vowels correctly and consistently. However, to note just a few examples from the TOC:


    Ken’ichi (Separate issue, but important to distinguish from Kenichi.)

    While I prefer macrons, a circumflex is far, far better than nothing.


    Kyoto -> Kyôto
    Ohno -> Ôno; better than Ono, but not consistent
    Tokyo -> Tôkyô

    I’d e-mail Chan, but I think it’s probably already too late for such changes.

  • Jerry Billows says:


    Kyoto -> Kyôto
    Ohno -> Ôno; better than Ono, but not consistent
    Tokyo -> Tôkyô”

    Actually, I don’t see how those are “bad” things. Macrons are usually used for Japanese words with long vowels except in the cases of some very familiar geographical names. If you are writing in English, for example, it doesn’t make sense to overdo it by writing Tôkyô or Kyôto. The English spellings would suffice, I think. Transliterating Japanese words to the (revised?) Hepburn Romanization system is a separate matter. It looks fine to me, but that’s just my opinion.

  • Patrick Mayner says:

    Jerry Billows,

    I could not disagree enough. Speaking from experience, I concur with Erik’s sentiments. Properly marking the long vowels is simply how it is done in academia and increasingly in regular professional texts. This point was drilled into to me continuously for four years while I was an undergraduate in college. When I was a graduate student, I knew several students whose thesises were initially rejected for this very reason. And rightly so.

    > The English spellings would suffice, I think.

    What English spellings? These words are not in my English dictionaries. I live in Tōkyō and the English signs at the stations and on maps clearly spell it as Tōkyō. If you insist on English, then it would be “Eastern Capital”. Are you aware that both Ōsaka and Osaka exist? In addition, the surnames Ōno and Ono too exists. How do you suggest distinguishing between them?

    Here is an another example in a professional English encyclopedia:

    While the book sounds interesting, I will pass on reading it because the the above errors are too upsetting. That said, I sincerely hope that they can be fixed in a future reprint or revision.

  • Jerry Billows says:

    “What English spellings? These words are not in my English dictionaries.”

    Interesting. So, you get upset that familiar geographical place names in English like Tokyo are not spelled Tōkyō with macrons?

    “While the book sounds interesting, I will pass on reading it because the the above errors are too upsetting.”

    Again, an interesting perspective. All I can say is that you must not read very much of anything in English if seeing familiar geographical place names like Tokyo or Kyoto spelled without macrons is so upsetting to you.

  • Sorry to be noticing this, BUT the amount of argumentative comments about properly marking vowels while ignoring the main point, likewise the number of comments in a previous post about how hard it is to pass various levels of the language test while ignoring the fact that it will be required, and the ramifications of that, taken together with the few number of signatures to the No Fingerprinting of NJ petition leads me to believe that the government has nothing to worry about whatever it does.

  • I have published in peer-reviewed academic journals and most of the major Japan-centric ones ask contributors specifically NOT to use macrons on familiar place names such as Tokyo, Kyoto, etc. I have put them in on initial drafts and been asked to take them off.

    For some like Ohno – the organization / individual may have a preferred English spelling. In this case, the name appears as Ohno in a variety of places on the internet and it seems to be the individual’s preferred spelling. In a case like that it is impolite NOT to use it.

  • It ultimately depends on your audience. However, in either case, they should be used consistently or not at all.

    As others have already mentioned, in academia the norm is to consistently mark the vowels. I am aware of cases that do not, but it is highly frowned upon. This is just common sense for anyone who has spent much time in academia.

    A few decades ago, typography was not as advanced as it is now, so excuses could be made. However, there are few technological hurdles anymore. It seems more and more common for typical publications to use diacritics.

    I have published several articles for various journals. Early on one of them edited out my diacritics before publication. In the months that followed, I received a number of highly critical reviews focusing on that point. Since then, I clarify in my contracts that such editing need to be approved by me first.

    I heard that a few years back that some people were boycotting the Japan Times (?) or one of the other English newspapers for not using diacritics where needed.

    I have one friend who is so particular about this issue that he will literally put missing macrons books that he reads.

    –I understand completely. I feel that one big barrier to learning good Japanese is not knowing whether or not the vowel is lengthened after romajinization (try introducing yourself as somebody’s koumon instead of komon, is the classic example). In our upcoming HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, I have made sure to use not macrons but lengthened vowels (a more easily-digested hybrid of Hepburn and Eleanor Jorden), so that the literal “Mr Large Hill took us to the skyscraper but we didn’t climb it” would come out as “O-oka san wa watashitachi o matenrou made tsurete kuremashita ga, noborimasen deshita.”, etc. I hope that won’t meet with too many angry scribblings in readers’ copies. Debito

  • Debito,

    I’m looking forward to your book. I’m sure that it will contain a lot of valuable information and advice. I hope to make it to one of your book signings.

    It is nice to hear that you put some effort into distinguishing vowel length. However, let me draw your attention to “matenrou”. For someone who already knows Japanese, it is fairly clear that the final “ou” is a long o. However, consider the words Inoue (井上) and Marunouchi (丸の内). In these cases, “ou” is not a long vowel but two separate vowels. Of course this is a limitation of the current Japanese spelling systems as well. However, most romanization schemes overcome this by marking long おお and おう as ō or ô, and thus avoiding the issue.

    Why do you feel a need to distinguish between long “O-” and “ou”? Is it just because Japanese spells them differently?

    Not to worry. I won’t hold any of it again you.

  • According to the Oxford Style Guide it’s perfectly acceptable to leave macrons off well established place names. It’s the rule I use, and quite frankly, if you can speak Japanese well enough, you’re not going to need macrons to know the proper pronunciation of familiar Japanese cities. Macrons are really only any help when introducing unfamiliar terms or familiar terms in unfamiliar contexts where they might be confused for words that sound similar. As for proper nouns, some of them do have standardised English versions. Ohno Kazuoki publishes in English. It is the way he ostensibly chooses to spell his name himself. Therefore the spelling is justified. In any case, it seems a little bit pedantic to assess the merits of a work of this sort by whether or not they put a macron on certain words or not.

  • The criticisms here are completely unfounded –

    The style guides of The Journal of Japanese Studies, Japanese Studies, Japan Forum, Social Science Japan Journal and Japan Focus all request that macrons be left off common place names. If the policies of the five best scholarly publications about Japan do not need them, this is clearly academic convention.

  • Jerry Billows says:

    I agree entirely with Bryce and Jean-Paul. For the life of me, I cannot understand all of the outrage about such a minor issue as macrons not being placed on familiar geographical place names. Incidentally, in addition to the academic journals mentioned by Jean-Paul, Cornell University Press, Stanford University Press, and the University of California Press are (were?) some of the top book publishers in English on Japan. In virtually every book on my shelf published by them, the author informs the reader that he will be following the standard style guides of avoiding macrons in spelling familiar foreign place names. I don’t disagree that the transliteration of unfamiliar Japanese words using the Hepburn Romanization system is both useful and important when writing about Japanese subjects, but we shouldn’t get carried away by it.

  • Outrageous. I am professional editor and dropping diacritics is absolutely unacceptable in a professionally published book in the 21st century. Quote as many style guides as you like, but wrong is still wrong.

    > if you can speak Japanese well enough, you’re not going to need macrons
    > to know the proper pronunciation of familiar Japanese cities.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with Japanese ability or even pronunciation. Spelling and pronunciation are two different concepts. This is especially noticeable in English spelling; however, Japanese pronunciation is closely linked to it’s spelling. Consider the two places Ōsaka (大阪) and Osaka (小坂). Drop the macrons and you get Osaka and Osaka. Hmm, which is which? There are an endless number of such examples.

    Quoting style guides is rather meaningless when they say something differing from the spelling actually used at the real places. The first thing that you see when you arrive at 東京駅 is “Tōkyō Station”. Believe it or not, I’ve had to explain to confused tourist that Tōkyō is Tokyo [sic] on several occasions. A consistent spelling system would eliminate such confusion.

    Cornell and Stanford often do use diacritics in their books. I should know because I have a number of their books.

    “Ohno Kazuoki” *may* be acceptable. However, you really can not know. 大野晋, one of my favorite authors, has spelled his name as Ono, Ohno, and even Ōno depending on his book.

    After reading the book, I will surely send Ms. Chan and her department my review and critique. I’ve seen a few books corrected in later editors, so there may still be hope.

  • “wrong is still wrong.”

    If the editorial boards of all of the top Japan journals, including the top scholars from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Columbia, Stanford, Tokyo University, Oxford, Cambridge, etc. are all wrong, Prof. Chan is certainly in good company.

    John Dower is likely a consensus pick for the top Japan scholar in the English-speaking world. He reviews for the journals that I mentioned earlier. He also won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for “Embracing Defeat” which does not use long vowels for Tokyo and other common place names. Perhaps you should send your review and critique to the Pulitzer and National Book Award committees and the History Department at MIT (where he is a full professor) as well. I am sure that they will appreciate it.

    –I think this debate has run its course.

  • My husband’s name has a おうin it but his romanization for his passport is just “o”…i keep telling him he should change it because it doesnt reflect the real pronunciation of his name…but he wont…in the end, names are a matter of prefence i guess

    …for things like 丸の内etc, I think there are manny a japanese that will pronounce it maru nou chi (like if it is a long “o” after all)…so it’s interesting to think if there’s a need for a difference in romanization

    …aw but i see that these comments are supposed to have ended…my bad for reading old posts


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