Studies

born@shell

As some of you know – but which you usually don’t notice on this blog –, I study Computational Linguistics, a discipline that can be characterized as “that which Google does” – a characterization as precise as it is vague. In this field, I study linguistic phenomena and the computational methods used to analyze them, and I sit, as its name suggests, a lot in front of a computer. And thus I had an idea.

As announced in one of the first blog posts (in German) – and as suggested by the blog subtitle –, this blog is about how I see the world and that which constitutes my world and its view thereof. Since I am a student for quite a while now (*cough*) and because I am more and more within the depths of computers, I found it to be appropriate to present this world to you as well.

Therefore, I would like to start with a small post on my shell setup (explanation follows), that at the same time introduces the new category “Technically Speaking”, which will focus on computer-related stuff. As you will see (today just a bit, though – in other posts or tutorials it will be clearer), this world is a text-based one, and even if it is not a literary one, it might be a world unknown to some of you.

Perception and representation of the yakuza in contemporary Japan

Introduction

This literature review aims to analyze how 20 different academic, official, and public sources represent the phenomenon of yakuza, the organized crime of Japan. Additionally, it will be attempted to show how these sources can be contextualized in the broader scope of Japanese society regarding attitudes towards crime and punishment thereof in general. Although the terms 「ヤクザ」 “yakuza” and 「暴力団」 “bōryokudan” may have distinct meanings and connotations within contemporary Japan, for the purpose of this literature review they will be used interchangeably to refer to the groups and members of the various crime organizations in Japan in its entirety.

With their origins dating back to the 17th century, the yakuza have enmeshed their existence deeply into Japanese society over a long time. As one of the largest crime organizations in the world, their influence and presence on both national and international levels pose severe social questions as to interference with and safety of public life and political and legal actions against that. Since the structure of the yakuza is a reflection of Japanese hierarchical ideas in general (「家」“ie” and 「親分子分」 “oyabun-kobun”) and their self-proclaimed values are known to center around traditional and nationalistic ways of thinking, their public perception can indicate how the public agrees or disagrees with both the values themselves as well as the self-attribution of those values.

Battles Without Honor and Humanity

Due to a lacking topical alternative, I hereby decide to definitely announce the upcoming post. It will be a text on the perception of yakuza in contemporary Japan. The reason for the definite announcement is that I was planning to publish this article quite some time ago, but since always felt that I needed to post something of a different kind before this one. Well.

I started to prepare this article – which is based upon a seminar paper I finished in February of last year – in September for this blog; and I was finished by December with it. At this time, the desire to publish the article grew stronger because apart from the fact that the more I read the text, the more insight-less I found it to be (OK, now I got used to that), there were circumstances that made the yakuza overly present in media again. These were the following.

k-Nearest-Neighbors Darts

Of what use boredom and knowledge of my studies can be. When I was at my grandparents’ in Japan – already last year, I believe –, I had some one or two hours of free time and nothing to do. It was in the afternoon and I wanted to relax a little.

So I was on the second floor and the TV program didn’t really interest me at that moment. I turned to the desk, searched for something, grabbed three arrows and positioned myself towards the corner of the room so as to face a dartboard.

Japan: Assessing Changing Security Situations in the Asia-Pacific

Introduction

This short essay aims to analyze the evolution of Japan’s perspective on security in East Asia over a period of ten years as articulated during the annual Shangri-La Dialogues. More specifically, eight speeches from 2005 to 2015 will be considered for this analysis.1 As will be demonstrated, two overall phases can be detected in this period. The first centers on the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in the region whereas the second phase shifts towards maritime and territorial issues. Furthermore, in the second half of the latter period, a change in the perspective on Japan’s own role in these security issues becomes evident. Aspects of the security environment that have remained mostly unchanged will be briefly mentioned as well.

Scientific literary reviews – Prelude

We have all experienced this. You’re studying and during your studies you write some essays or papers that barely anybody reads – except the author (i.e. you), the lecturer and maybe one or two proofreaders. Although I have admittedly written comparatively few of these, a while ago a question crept up.

What if I present some of these works on this blog? Of course I am aware of the fact that most student essays and papers are scientifically irrelevant and in the worst case outright not good. I nevertheless arrogate so much self-confidence to myself as to publish some of the in my eyes more interesting works. It should be restrictively added, though, that these are usually just literary reviews in my case.

Eden of the East: Abe und sein Volk

Sorry, this entry is only available in German. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

Freude, schöner Götterfunken! (Quelle: nbcnews)

Freude, schöner Götterfunken! (Quelle: nbcnews)

Fangen wir zum Ende der Sommerpause mit etwas Leichtem an: der politischen Landschaft Japans. Aus aktuellem Anlass möchte ich Euch einen kleinen Überblick über die Popularitätswerte des derzeitigen Ministerpräsidenten, 安倍晋三 Abe Shinzō, seit seinem zweiten Amtsantritt präsentieren.

Dies dient dann hervorragend als Brücke dazu, die (innen)politischen Entwicklungen der vergangenen zwei Monate kurz zu rekapitulieren. Folgendes basiert weiterhin zu großen Teilen auf einer Präsentation, die ich im Japanischunterricht gehalten habe.