Photo: Foto: IAEA Imagebank [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
The lecture will be conducted in Norwegian.
A nature loving people?
-Environmental Problems in modern Japan
Japanese are often described as a people with a harmonious relationship with nature, and it is often said that Japanese aesthetics is characterized by this relationship. Tea ceremonies, floral art, traditional architecture, garden design, Shinto-rituals and local cuisine often contains natural elements and references to the four seasons. Some authors claim that the Japanese love for nature can be the basis for a new environmental ethic, and that the rest of the world has much to learn from Japan. Nevertheless, the country has experienced major environmental problems. The nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011 received much attention internationally, but even before this Japan had great problems with the industrial pollution, deforestation, energy policy and so on.
In this lecture, Dr. Aike P. Rots will analyse the ambivalent Japanese attitude toward nature and the environment, and showcase how the idealisation of nature in Japanese aesthetics relate to current environmental issues. He will also explain why the Fukushima disaster has not led to major changes in Japanese energy policy, although most Japanese are cautious of nuclear energy.
Aike P. Rots is Professor of Japanese contemporary culture at the University of Oslo. He conducts research on religion and politics, minorities, environmental issues and activism in modern Japan. He is the author of Shinto, Nature and Ideology in Contemporary Japan: Making Sacred Forests (Bloomsbury), coming out soon.
The lecture is free and open to the public. Welcome!