Montana State University

College of Letters and Science’s Distinguished Speaker series to host Christine Yano Oct. 6

September 22, 2016 -- MSU News Service

The Montana State University College of Letters and Science will host a free public lecture by Christine Yano, professor of anthropology from the University of Hawaii, about “pink globalization,” or the spread of cute goods from Japan to other parts of the world, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, in 103 Barnard Hall. Yano's lecture is part of the college's Distinguished Speaker series. Photo courtesy of Christine Yano.

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BOZEMAN – The Montana State University College of Letters and Science will host a free public lecture about “pink globalization,” or the spread of cute goods from Japan to other parts of the world, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, in 103 Barnard Hall.

Christine R. Yano, professor of anthropology at the University of Hawaii, will lecture about "Pink Globalization and the Politics of Innocence."

Pink globalization has been defined as a stronghold of consumption in various parts of the industrial world in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, with Hello Kitty as its mascot, Yano said. The Japanese icon, which has gone global, represents some of the most far-reaching aspects of kawaii (cute) soft power, creating what Yano calls an “empire of cute” that references the character’s global reach, as well as her broad power as a national (Japan) and ethnic (Asian American) icon.

Yano will discuss ways by which kawaii presents its unthreatening nature and its “demand for care.” She will also address stereotypes that exist due to the persistence of Hello Kitties, reinforced by the sexual politics of multicultural America.

Yano conducts research on Japan and Japanese Americans with a focus on popular culture. Her publications include “Tears of Longing: Nostalgia and the Nation in Japanese Popular Song,” “Crowning the Nice Girl; Gender, Ethnicity, and Culture in Hawaii’s Cherry Blossom Festival,”  “Airborne Dreams: ‘Nisei’ Stewardesses and Pan American World Airways,” and “Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty and its Trek Across the Pacific.”  

Yano also curated a major exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty,” which ran from 2014 to 2015, and continues to travel.  

The lecture is sponsored by the MSU Asian Studies Program, the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, with support from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies, and is presented by the College of Letters and Science’s Distinguished Speakers series. The series, which began in the spring of 2011, brings distinguished scholars to MSU to give a public talk and to meet with faculty and students in order to enrich the intellectual life on campus and to enhance research connections.

For more information about this and other L&S Distinguished Speakers Series lectures, please see www.montana.edu/lettersandscience/speakers/ , or contact the College of Letters and Science at (406) 994-4288.

Contact: Peter Tillack, chair, Asian Studies program, (406) 994-6441 or tillack@montana.edu