International Symposium 2002 / Colloque international

Between War and Media / La guerre et les media

Hosted by the Maison Franco-Japonaise
and the Organizing Committee of the International Conference "Between War and Media"
Co-sponsored by the Tokyo University Institute of Socio-information and Communication Studies
With support from the Japan Foundation, the French Embassy in Japan,
and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études
(entrance free, simultaneous interpretation in English and Japanese)
March 25, 26 and 27, 2002
Auditorium of the Maison Franco-Japonaise,
3-9-25 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
(12 minutes from Ebisu Station of JR and Subway Hibiya Line).

[ Last modified: March 19, 2002 ]

Program in Japanese

Aim of the Symposium

The twentieth century was a century of wars. From two world wars to the Vietnam and Gulf wars at the end of the century, armed conflict has tended to frame the twentieth century. The desires, consciousness, and memory of wars in this age have also been deeply entwined with the period's media, from cinema to radio, from posters and photojournalism to television, from recent satellite communications and the internet to the thorough manipulation of information during the Gulf War. At the same time, war has offered revolutionary opportunities for the development of the media in the twentieth century. One can think of the twentieth century as a media century, and as a century of war, with both aspects indivisibly interrelated.

Recalling this history, one can say that the twentieth century first opened with World War I, a total war that overturned the nineteenth century model of limited war. Total war, as a form of conflict, caused fundamental transformations in the social organization of the nation state. Then World War II and its holocaust, exercised in total accordance with the system of total war, sparked a level of self-destruction unseen since the dawn of humanity, one that threated to upset even the basic conviction in civilization.

War has continued to grow in the half century since the end of World War II, from the nuclear balance of the Cold War, which multiplied the possibilities for "overkill" of the entire human race, and the innumerable irregular guerrilla wars in the postcolonial situation, to the Gulf War, which reduced death to the elimination of blips on a screen, and the bombing of Kosovo, which was discussed as if it was the first realization of the concept of "pure" war. The media have been deeply involved in each of these processes, just as they have proliferated under the decisive regulation of war's metamorphoses.

Now, we are at present witnessing the ultimate combination of war and media at the entrance to the twenty-first century. In fact, we are possibly already "living in wartime." With the incidents on September 11, 2001, the vast majority of people are learning of developments in America's "strike back against Afghanistan" by means of transnational satellite media such as CNN and Al-Jazeera; at the same time, through such media, they are able to represent this "war" for the first time. Not only that, but it is clear that the events of September 11 were, in the first place, planned and "performed" from the beginning with the assumption they would be captured by television cameras. As all was being media-ted, nearly 3000 people lost their lives in an instant.

The trends of the war that has just started are as yet unclear. Yet there is no doubt that media will become an essential condition for structuring our perception of the world, even if this war becomes one fought on a global scale, or even if it presents new aspects never conceived before. War, as a perpetually uncanny event, will drag us towards a new horizon of perception and cognition. And media, one must add, is steadily becoming unavoidably involved with this horizon of perception itself.

That is not all. After the attack on the World Trade Center, a certain funerary condition began to disseminate, centered on the mountain of rubble that remained. Manhatten suddenly started to be described as a "warzone," and those that died there were decorated with numerous American flags as America's innocent dead, as heroic victims of war. The image of airplanes slamming into high-rise buildings, like the scenes of Kennedy assassination or the Challenger disaster--perhaps with a tension far surpassing these--have become national images, America's memory. This "memory of terrorism" or "memory of war" has come into being, been manipulated, and started taking root as a new collective memory. The genuine sorrow of people who lost relatives and loved ones has come into conflict with actions that are trying to channel these feelings towards techniques of national memorialization. In that, the public memory of the incident is being created. However, one wonders how attuned people can be to the fact that this form of mourning can also become a form of deep cultural forgetting with regard to another set of dead.

With this conception of the issues, we plan to hold an international symposium entitled "Between War and Media" at the Maison Franco-Japonaise for three days between March 25 and 27, 2002, in hopes of elucidating the historical, perceptual, critical and contemporary relationship between war and media.

At the symposium, participants will re-address the relation between war and media in the twentieth century from a standpoint grounded in the conditions following the events of September 11, 2001. As a starting point, Carol Gluck, the historian from Columbia University, will commence the three days of discussion with a keynote address.

Next, we have organized four sessions. The first, "Images of Wars/Wars of Images," will reinvestigate from a historical perspective the complicated relationship between the apparatus of image media and the event of war. Session two, "Media of Memory: Narrating the Battle Front," will focus on war and collective memory, as well as on media as their mediative force. In the third session, entitled "From Media Crisis to Counter Media," participants will measure the depth of the crisis in today's media, where globalization and nationalism, war and military conflict intermix, and try to conceive what hope lays within such conditions. Finally, session four, "Between War and Media," will look back to trace how the questions posed in the keynote address were clarified in each of the sessions, and attempt to offer some preliminary answers. In general, after the keynote speech on the first day, the two sessions on day two will reconsider war and media in the twentieth century from a historical viewpoint, while the last sessions on day three will try to develop these issues from a contemporary perspective.

In the breaks between our discussions, we plan to present film works with a deep relation to the symposium's topic, as well as display wartime propaganda materials from the collection of the Tokyo University Institute of Socio-information and Communication Studies.


(Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.)

Monday, March 25, 2002
  • Keynote Address: Carol Gluck (Columbia University)
    • What's Wrong with This Picture? War and Media in the 20th and 21st Centuries

  • MC: Pierre Souyri (Maison Franco-Japonaise)
Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Session 1: "Images of Wars / Wars of Images"
  • Ikui Eikoh (Kyôritsu Joshi University)
    • Imagining Infamy: Photographic Traumatization and the "Act of War"
  • Hélène Puiseux (Ecole pratique des hautes études)
    • De l'illstratioon télévisuelle quotidienne à la construction des imaginaires à partir de deux exemples : la guerre de Golfe (1990-91) et le conflit déclenché par les attentats du 11 septembre 2001
      From Everyday Televisual Images to the Construction of Imaginaries through Two Examples: the Gulf War and the Post 9/11 Conflict
  • Aaron Gerow (Yokohama National University)
    • Fighting for Viewers: Wartime Japanese Film and the Asian Audience

  • Chair: Narita Ryûichi (Nihon Joshi University)
If the twentieth century was a visual age, its wars were fought as much with images as with guns. From the cinematic propaganda machine to military controls on television news reporting, what was shown and how it was shown was an essential part of the war to "win hearts and minds" both within the nation and without, to construct citizens and soldiers as well as allies and enemies. Not only were the events of September 11, 2001, shaped by the technology covering them live, those pursuing the ensuing war were as much concerned with Al-Jazeera as with the visualization of Afghan targets. Yet modern image media like photography, cinema, and television were not simply new tools for effecting the same propaganda purposes as previous media; as Paul Virilio argues, in their apparatus they manifested the changing logistics of the perception of space and time in alignment with new kinds of war. This session will thus not only consider how war and its violence have been represented in images, but ask historically how the twentieth century media that served as the foundation for the condition of September 11, in the articulation of their apparatuses, have changed the manner in which wars are fought and their images produced, distributed, and consumed.
Session 2: "Media of Memory: Narrating the Battle Front"
  • Kinoshita Naoyuki (Tokyo University)
    • The Memory of Yet Another "Previous War" within the "Previous War"
  • Béatrice Fleury-Villatte (Université de Nancy)
    • La télévision française et la mémoire de la guerre d'Algérie
      French Television and the Memory of the Algerian War
  • Jacques Walter (Université de Metz)
    • Témoignages photographiques sur les camps de concentration et d'extermination nazis : enjeux des polémiques actuelles
      Photographic Testimonies of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camps: the Stakes of Current Debates
  • Marita Sturken (University of Southern Califormia)
    • Memories of Terror: American Memorializing in Oklahoma City and New York

  • Chair: Iwasaki Minoru (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
This session will shed light on what has never been easy to interpret: the memory of war. The memory of hate and of pain that war has created and has frozen, over the years begins to warp and become twisted and repressed, turning into a blank or a scar seemingly impossible to put into words, one that takes possession of people's temporality. Of the three presentations, first Kinoshita Naoyuki of the University of Tokyo will turn the clock back and clarify historically how memories of the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars, the wars that led off the twentieth century, were shaped and applied. Then Beatrice Fleury-Villatte of the University of Nice will argue how, in the case of the Algerian War, the memory of the violence of colonialism and the war for liberation were molded by later media. Finally, using these first two cases as a background, Marita Sturken of the University of Southern California will take up the problem of unearthing the mechanisms of collective memory in media, especially in light of the circumstances after September 11.
Wednesday, March 27, 2002
Session 3: "From Media Crisis to Counter Media"
  • Yoneyama Lisa (University of California, San Diego)
    • Americanization of Japanese Crimes Against Humanity at the End of Post-Cold War
  • Kitahara Megumi (Konan University)
    • War and the Imperial Family on Media
  • Tessa Morris-Suzuki (Australia National University)
    • The Missile and the Mouse -- Virtual Peace Movements in an Age of Terror

  • Chair: Yoshimi Shunya (Tokyo University)
The discussions on the first two days of the symposium will have shown how war has always been accompanied by and represented through media during the twentieth century. In that era, media did not simply record and cover war from without, but rather become a part of war, defining it, representing it, and mediating its memory and various reenactments. In this session, we will intersect the historical perspectives offered on the previous day with a contemporary viewpoint and consider the problem of the representation of war in today's media and forms of expression through such issues as sexual violence and the comfort women, the emperor's war responsibility, gender and imperialism/colonialism in representations of war, terrorism and the globalization of media, the crisis and possibility of the media, and media and the war of revenge against Afghanistan.
Session 4: Summary Discussion: "Between War and Media"
15:00-18:00 Chairs: Iwasaki Minoru, Yoshimi Shunya

Panelists: Sebastian Conrad (Freie Universität Berlin)
    Carol Gluck
    Hélène Puiseux
    Tessa Morris Suzuki
    Marita Sturken
    Narita Ryûichi
    Kang Sang-iung (Tokyo University)
In this session we will offer a general debate about the issues raised during the three days. First, Sebastian Conrad of the Free University of Berlin will take up the task of organizing the points of argument developed in each of the sessions. On the basis of that, the keynote speaker and representatives from each of the first three sessions will again attempt to develop and generalize these problems. Through this, we hope to offer preliminary conclusions about issues such as:
  1. appropriately positioning the specifities of such media as propaganda, cinema, memory, and memorials, in both Asian and Western contexts, amidst the complex interelationship between the twentieth century as a media century and as a century of war;
  2. correctly positioning from a post-Cold War perspective the Japanese army's invasion of Asia, the comfort women issue, the Emperor Hirohito's war responsibility, as well as other related problems involved in the narration of war within Asia and under American control, from the Korean to the Vietnam War;
  3. accurately presenting, given a consciousness of circumstances after the attacks of September 11, a critical perspective on what is the present stage of the relationship between war and media and what kind of escape, resistance, and opposition is possible.

Maison franco-japonaise
3-9-25, Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0013
Tél. 03-5421-7641

MFJ Home | MFJ Home (Nihongo)