Self-Intro: Tak Watanabe

Hi, I’m Tak Watanabe, and I’ve just recently joined Frog in a Well.

I am a cultural anthropologist who is keenly interested in the history of Japan. Currently a student at Columbia University in New York, I hope to complete my dissertation in the very near future. In the fall of 2005, I will start teaching anthropology at Sophia University in Tokyo.

My dissertation is tentatively titled “After Prosperity: The Ethics of Restitution in Recessionary Japan.” It is based on ethnographic and archival research in Niihama, a city on the Japanese island of Shikoku known as a “corporate castle-town” of the Sumitomo business group. Nearby is the Besshi Copper Mine, which along with Ashio, Sado, and Ikuno, is one of the more famous non-coal mines in Japan. I primarily focus on how the city residents relate to this corporate group, and how this long-standing relationship is changing as the city undergoes a post-industrial and recessionary decline.

You can read more about me, my research, and my other interests at my blog, The Old Revolution.

Oh, and about the image above. To celebrate my induction into this august line-up of smart and knowledgeable frogs, I figured I’d just post my favorite two-dimensional Japanese batrachian: Pyonkichi from the 1970s manga, Dokonjo-gaeru. And he’s two-dimensional not only because he’s a manga character. In fact, he is a flat frog, squished onto a T-shirt of a middle-school boy!

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