An indispensable component of all JASC gatherings are the Roundtables, or “RTs” for short. There are 7-8 Roundtables. Each Roundtable consists of up to four Japanese Delegates and up to four American Delegates, and is led by one to two Executive Committee Roundtable Coordinators. We strive to have an equal number of Japanese and American delegates to ensure a balanced exchange of cultural perspectives.
Delegates are a part of a Roundtable in the entire Conference that focuses on a specific topic within the context of U.S.-Japan relations. During the Conference, delegates conduct original, personal research alongside their academic cohorts. Topics have historically addressed a variety of issues, ranging from international affairs and business to mental health and environmental sustainability.
RTs foster a unique setting that encourages delegates to confront their own assumptions, welcome the input of their peers, and breach difficult topics with honesty and sincerity as a means of contributing to a greater academic enterprise. RTs expose delegates to new outlooks, build trust, and foster mutual understanding between RT members. Through these intensive discussions on meaningful subjects, delegates gain a more nuanced understanding of their international counterparts and actively develop real world solutions in the context of the U.S.-Japan relationship.
- Culture and Arts: Perceptions, Cultural Expression, and Relationships
- Environment and Technology: Dualities, Synergies, and Apophenia
- International Politics and U.S.-Japan Relationship: Opportunities and Challenges in the Global Community
- Law and Morality: Legitimacy, Loopholes, and Humanity
- Linguistics and Philosophy: Love, Friendship, and Trust–Thinking Critically About the Foundation of Human Relationships
- Social Class and Diversity: Critical Understandings and Transformations of Normative Values
- Sustainable Business: Understanding Investment and Innovation for the 21st Century
Culture and Arts: Perceptions, Cultural Expression, and Relationships
Roundtable Leaders: Melody Lau (AEC) and Jun Okada (JEC)
What comes to mind when you hear or read the word “culture,” and what does it mean to you? Why might an action or behavior be considered polite in one culture, but extremely rude in another? How do people express themselves through culture, and how does that impact or reflect on society? This roundtable will mainly focus on the interrelationships between “culture and arts” and “people and society,” as well as the role of culture and arts in US-Japan relations. We will explore various facets and types of cultures and arts as well as how they influence societies, groups, and individuals (and vice versa). Through research, fieldwork, and discussion of diverse topics and themes including soft power (e.g., cuisine, pop culture), modernity, subcultures, and cultural differences, we aim to increase our understanding of culture and arts, their impact on and reflection of people and society, as well as the role they play in our relationships.
Environment and Technology: Dualities, Synergies, and Apophenia
Roundtable Leaders: Helen Cecile Nowatka (AEC) and Rintaro Nakabo (JEC)
The Environment & Technology Roundtable aims to explore humanity and the natural world as dualities, synergies, and apophenia, without becoming pigeon-holed in any one topic or perspective. This RT will explore different facets of environmental and technology based subjects in a cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and meta-oriented manner. This can include topics such as ecotourism, climate justice, intergenerational ethics, environmental policy, SDGs, epidemiology, biotech, EVs, infrastructure, transportation, and architecture. Roundtable members will have a say in determining the agenda. Welcome to the Environment and Technology Roundtable.
International Politics and U.S.-Japan Relationship: Opportunities and Challenges in the Global Community
Roundtable Leaders: Adam Riley (AEC) and Homare Yoshizumi (JEC)
World peace has become unstable and uncertain. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent shockwaves throughout the world. In the Indo-Pacific region, the conflict between the U.S. and China is intensifying, and tensions are rising in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea. Threats are also diversifying as cyber security, economic security, and energy security are becoming increasingly important. In order to consider ways to solve the increasingly complex global problems that we face today, we must understand state behavior as being heavily influenced by factors including historical context, international norms, and domestic politics. Therefore, the goal of this Roundtable is to analyze international politics and global issues from these different perspectives, while also exploring where national interests of the United States and Japan converge and diverge.
Law and Morality: Legitimacy, Loopholes, and Humanity
Roundtable Leaders: Krislyn Massey (AEC) and Sora Kikuchi (JEC)
The impact of Russia’s invasion, the current state of the United Nations, military, abortion, gun regulations, environmental regulations, diversity, workplace atmosphere, and the death penalty are some of the many topics that have recently become debatable in Japan and the United States. All of these have to do with the law, and at the same time, how we think about things from the values and morals that we hold within ourselves or the identities we associate with. Our sense of values shape our society, and sometimes our sense of values are subconsciously created by the laws that are enacted. In this roundtable, we are going to discuss how the laws of both countries’ societies influence the world we live in today, and how those actions shape our moral outlooks/values on situations. Laws and moralities of society can become both a help or a hindrance. So to those who don’t know the law, and even those who do, please join us in examining the rules that have already been established, and our values regarding topics of interest to the RT.
Linguistics and Philosophy: Love, Friendship, and Trust–Thinking Critically About the Foundation of Human Relationships
Roundtable Leaders: Ashley Xia (AEC) and Mayuka Yamazaki (JEC)
In this roundtable, we will use perspectives from linguistics and philosophy to consider the foundation of relationships such as love, friendship, and trust. From the U.S.-Japan relationship to individual connections, how are diverse relationships like these maintained? Is there really an ideal form of love and friendship? Why do people trust each other? Can artificial intelligence and humans build relationships? Why has trust in science wavered? Taking perspectives such as ontology and semantics as the starting point of our thinking, we will discuss the ambiguous and ever-changing “relationship” between Japanese and U.S. society, weaving in topics beyond the framework of the humanities, such as artificial intelligence and medicine to hone our skeptical eyes and our ability to grasp the essence of different subjects.
Social Class and Diversity: Critical Understandings and Transformations of Normative Values
Roundtable Leaders: Levi Cannon (AEC) and Yuri Tamama (JEC)
People’s identities are held up by certain understandings and assumptions that they may instinctively feel, yet struggle to explain. How do people come to feel belonging to “class” or a “nation”? What does it mean to live in a “diverse” society? What do these terms mean to us in the current day, and have they held multiple meanings across different geographies, cultural spaces, and historical contexts? The present is rife with a multiplicity of ideologies that are often taken for granted, yet greatly shape people’s conceptions of themselves, others, and the lived environment they inhabit. Through looking at a wide range of topics, from パパ活 (papa katsu) and sugar daddy culture, educational inequality, or conceptions of technology and science, this roundtable aims to render visible various frameworks of social belonging, dissecting how they function as systems, understanding how certain social relations are experienced and reproduced, and identifying the forces that they have been molded by.
Sustainable Business: Understanding Investment and Innovation for the 21st Century
Roundtable Leaders: Charles Campbell (AEC) and Nazuna Tagashira (JEC)
In the last few decades, businesses have been confronted with a rapidly changing climate, progressive social movements, backlash to globalization, and turbulent economic conditions. To that end, we have to change the business environment, strategy, and sometimes management philosophy. But is a company’s value really measured solely by maximizing profit? In the 21st century, should corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability be required of businesses? This RT will discuss the evolution of existing companies and industries, explore the role of business in societal progress, and pursue ideas that achieve a sustainable society while fostering innovation and investment.