Finnish-Japanese Symposium - Interaction, Influence and Entanglement: 100 years of Finnish – Japanese Relations and Beyond

Thursday, September 15, 2016 to Friday, September 16, 2016




The Japanese Studies Programme of the University of Oulu celebrates its 20th anniversary with a symposium that acknowledges another forthcoming jubilee year. The celebration of the 100th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan 2019 calls researchers across disciplinary boundaries to analyze the past and present interaction and entangled relations between these two states, nations and societies.

The symposium is open for public. We will use English throughout the symposium. There will be no registration fee.


Thursday 15 September

9:30 – 10:00 Registration (in front of TellUs Ice Breaker Stage, TellUs Innovation Arena)

10:00–11:30 Opening and welcome         (Room: TellUs Ice Breaker Stage)

Matti Sarén, Vice-Rector, University of Oulu
Yukiko Nakahari, Head of Cultural Affairs and PR, Embassy of Japan in Finland
Sanae Ito, Representative of Hokkaido University Helsinki Office
Annamari Konttinen, Representative of Finnish University Network for Asian Studies and CEAS


Keynote: “EU-Japan relations”
Bart Gaens, Senior Research Fellow, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs

11:30–12:30 Buffet lunch (TellUs Innovation Arena)

12:30–14:00 Session 1 (Room: LeaForum) Chair: Kiyoko Uematsu-Ervasti 

Paper 1          Laura Ipatti: “From small brooks to mainstream: Governmental image policy in spreading knowledge and circulating trends about Finland in Japan”

Paper 2          Toshiaki Tamaki – Henna-Riikka Pennanen: “The Moomins and Totoro as agents of soft power?”

Paper 3          Eija Niskanen: “From Moomin to Angry Birds – Content Industry flows from Finland to Japan”

Discussant: Bart Gaens

14:00–14:15 Break with coffee and refreshments (Humus cafeteria)

14:15–15:45 Session 2 (Room: LeaForum) Chair: Seija Jalagin

Paper 4          Mariya Aida Niendorf: “Finland and Japan: A peek into shared histories through tango’s migration, transformation, and assimilation”

                      Paper 5          Elina Moriya: “Engaging in a dialogue through film and video art”

                      Paper 6          Kaisa Broner-Bauer: “Japanese Minimalism – Transcendence in Architecture”

Discussant: Ayako Shimada

15:45–16:00 Break

16:00–18:00 Session 3 (Room: LeaForum) Chair: Laura Ipatti

Paper 7          Juha Sahi: “Channels of Growth: Foreign Direct Investments between Finland and Japan until the 2000s”

Paper 8          Erja Kettunen-Matilainen: EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement Negotiations (tarkentuu myöhemmin)

Paper 9             Mayako Shimamoto: “What Lessons should Japan Learn from Finnish Plan to Reduce Nuclear Stockpile of Spent-Fuel ?”

Paper 10        Juha Saunavaara: “Developing the North: Finland and Oulu Region as a Model for Japanese Regional Development Policies”

Discussant: Esa Ruuskanen, Jaakko Simonen


Friday 16 September

9:00–11:00 Session 4 (Room: LeaForum) Chair: Juha Sahi                      

Paper 11         Olavi K. Fält: “The Image of Japan as a Resource for the Finnish Identity in 1850–2000”

                     Paper 12        Chiharu Inaba: “The Japanese Recognition of the Independence of Finland in 1919”

Paper 13        Pauli Heikkilä: “Global Allies or Racial Strangers – Perceptions of Finnish Fascism on Japan during World War II”

Paper 14        Masataka Tamai: “The OSCE, Finland and Japan – Can Japan play a role like Finland in the North East Asia?”

Discussant:  Henry Oinas-Kukkonen

11: 00–12:00 Lunch (Self-paid, but the cabinet from the restaurant Balance reserved for participants)

12:00–13:00 Keynote: “The Japanese language in Finland - Recent developments and future prospects”
Riikka Länsisalmi, University Lecturer in Japanese, University of Helsinki

13:00 – 14:00 Session 5 (Room: LeaForum) Chair: Henna-Riikka Pennanen

                      Paper 15        Ritva Larva-Salonen: “The early Finnish translations of Japanese fairy tales”

                      Paper 16        Liisa-Maria Lehto: “Language Discourses of Japan Finns”

Discussant: Riikka Länsisalmi

14:00–14:15 Break with coffee and refreshments (Humus cafeteria)

14:15–15:45 Session 6  (Room: LeaForum) Chair: Juha Saunavaara

Paper 17        Kiyoko Uematsu-Ervasti: “Are they ready to teach ‘global issues’? A comparative research of student teachers in Finland and Japan”

Paper 18        Saki Kudo: “The Effect of Family Policy Implementation on Women’s Career Decision in Finland and Japan”

Paper 19        Seija Jalagin: “Narratives of cultural entanglements: Japanese-Finnish encounters in Christian kindergartens in Japan”

Discussant: Erkki Lassila, Annamari Konttinen

15:45–16:30 Closing discussion on the publication (Room: LeaForum) Chair: Juha Saunavaara

Print out the Programme (in PDF)

Practical information (venue and transportation).pdf

The symposium is also a starting point of an edited scientific volume that is to be published in the commemorative year of 2019. While we look forward to including many of the symposium presentations in the volume. We will also announce a separate call for papers after the symposium.

The symposium is co-organized by the University of Oulu Japanese Studies Programme, the Embassy of Japan in Finland and Hokkaido University Helsinki Office.


More information and queries:        

Juha Saunavaara
PhD, Senior Lecturer
juha.saunavaara (at)  
Seija Jalagin
PhD, Associate Professor
seija.jalagin (at)


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Last updated: 15.9.2016