Programme

Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. This page provides details of presentations and other programming. For more information about presenters, please visit the Speakers page.


  • When All the Research Says Otherwise but Fear Remains: On the Role of Facts in Dealing with Future Fears
    When All the Research Says Otherwise but Fear Remains: On the Role of Facts in Dealing with Future Fears
    Keynote Presentation: Professor Georg Adlmaier-Herbst
  • Indifferent Publics – The Challenge of Japanese Media Today
    Indifferent Publics – The Challenge of Japanese Media Today
    Keynote Presentation: Professor Kaori Hayashi
  • The State of Film Studies in Japan
    The State of Film Studies in Japan
    Featured Panel Presentation: Professor Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, Professor Chie Niita & Professor Yutaka Kubo
  • A Past Worth Saving: Reflections on a Lifetime of Cultural and Film Preservation in Hollywood and Japan
    A Past Worth Saving: Reflections on a Lifetime of Cultural and Film Preservation in Hollywood and Japan
    Featured Presentation: Stuart Galbraith IV

Previous Programming

View details of programming for past MediAsia conferences via the links below.

When All the Research Says Otherwise but Fear Remains: On the Role of Facts in Dealing with Future Fears
Keynote Presentation: Professor Georg Adlmaier-Herbst

The future was, is and always will be fear-filled for most of us, worrying about such things as climate change and intolerance for cultural differences. The pressing question for communication is how to portray such fears. One approach is to argue against certain fears with numbers, facts and statistics. But as we know from examples like the fear of flying or test-taking anxiety, it does little good: fears persist.

The reason is that fear is controlled by our unconscious while facts are processed in our critical mind; system 1 versus system 2 in the categorisation of Nobel laureate, Daniel Kahneman. The two systems work very differently and independently of one another. Reason, that is, system 2, evaluates and decides whether something makes sense and is logical and correct; the unconscious, system 1, decides whether we like something. Fears are thus guided by system 1. The challenge behind addressing fears is that system 1 functions unconsciously – consciousness does not process the information.

Studies show that good judgement and decisions occur when the two systems are synchronised: when people judge things objectively and critically, but also with regard to positive or negative consequences.

Communication must answer three important questions:

  1. How can we access system 1 and thereby the assessment of fears?
  2. How can we communicate with both systems?
  3. How can we synchronise both systems?

Read presenter biographies.

Indifferent Publics – The Challenge of Japanese Media Today
Keynote Presentation: Professor Kaori Hayashi

Recent years have seen the growing diffusion of "fake news" via Facebook and other online channels. This disinformation is interfering with the citizens' ability to acquire accurate knowledge about politics, something essential for the functioning of democracy, and accelerates social divisions. But in Japan, the current state does not exhibit the same levels of polarisation of political opinion, as seen by the growing populistic protests of other nations or high level of distrust in the media. Rather, the Japanese challenge can be summarised as something constituting "disinterest", "apathy" and "inertia" in the public.

In Japan, unlike in most Western nations, media institutions generally avoid controversy and partisanship. This means that the major concern is not the public's distrust, but instead, indifference.

Read presenter biographies.

The State of Film Studies in Japan
Featured Panel Presentation: Professor Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, Professor Chie Niita & Professor Yutaka Kubo

WJT Mitchell writes of the “pictorial turn” in Western culture and academia, which, broadly speaking, refers to the shift in Western culture from communicating by written text to communicating through images (or in more contemporary terms, communicating through a new multimodal format that features both written texts and images). The acknowledgment of this cultural shift took decades in academia, with the critical study of images finally entering the Western academy through the field of semiotics, and by the early 1970s, film studies.

In Japan, just like in America, the introduction of film in the first two decades of the 20th century led to criticism and calls for censorship, as film was seen as a degraded form of popular culture only suitable for the uneducated masses who made up the bulk of the audience. This panel will focus on the study of images and film in the Japanese academy, including the related theoretical frameworks of critical theory, semiotics and neoformalism. It is obvious that Japanese society as a whole has made the pictorial turn, this panel will discuss whether the Japanese academy has embraced this cultural shift as worthy of study.

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A Past Worth Saving: Reflections on a Lifetime of Cultural and Film Preservation in Hollywood and Japan
Featured Presentation: Stuart Galbraith IV

Mr Galbraith will join the conference by Skype from his beautiful renovated home in Kyoto to discuss Japan’s attitude towards its past, and efforts in Japan to preserve both its cinematic and physical history.

Read presenter biographies.