New Open LectureOpen Lecture 02/03: Ryokan: Mobilizing Hospitality in Rural Japan (ENG)


Speaker: Chris McMorran (Associate Professor, dept of Japanese Studies, National University of Singapore)

Date: Thursday, February 3, 2022

Time: 17:30

Place: Zoom

AbstractWhat does it take to produce one of Japan's most relaxing spaces: the ryokan? In this talk I share excerpts from my forthcoming book, which is based on nearly two decades of research in and around Kurokawa, including a year spent welcoming guests, carrying luggage, scrubbing baths, cleaning rooms, washing dishes, and talking with co-workers and owners about their jobs, relationships, concerns, and aspirations. I will share how Kurokawa's ryokan mobilize hospitality to create a rural escape in contemporary Japan. I will highlight the strictly gendered work found in the ryokan by distinguishing the generational work of ryokan owners from the daily embodied work of their employees. I share the realities of ryokan work--celebrated, messy, ignored, exploitative, and liberating--and introduce the people who keep inns running by making guests feel at home.

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