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Award stars align for Starrs

Thursday, 6 December 2018

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Associate Professor Roy Starrs (right) receives the 2018 Inoue Yasushi Award for Outstanding Research in Japanese Literature, Culture and Art in Australia and New Zealand from Consul-General of Japan Keizo Takewaka in Sydney last month.

This year's Inoue Yasushi Award for Outstanding Research in Japanese Literature, Culture and Art in Australia and New Zealand has been awarded to Department of Languages and Cultures Associate Professor Roy Starrs.

The award was presented by the Consul-General of Japan Keizo Takewaka in Sydney on 9 November.

Following the award ceremony Associate Professor Starrs gave a talk on the major post war Japanese writer, Yukio Mishima, to an audience of more than 100 people. Attendees then watched the celebrated Hollywood film about the writer, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters.

One of Professor Starrs' best-known publications internationally is his critical study of Mishima entitled Deadly Dialectics: Sex, Violence and Nihilism in the World of Yukio Mishima.

· What is Deadly Dialects about?

Deadly Dialectics is a critical analysis of the psychological, philosophical and political forces at play in Yukio Mishima’s life and work, the “deadly" forces that ultimately led this major Japanese writer to an act of right-wing suicidal terrorism on the final day of his life, 25 November, 1970. Known to the Japanese as "the Mishima Incident”, this was one of the most disturbing events in recent Japanese history.

· What does winning the award mean for you and your research?

It is of course very gratifying for me to receive this kind of international recognition from my colleagues for my research.

Also, I think that awards such as this are important for reaffirming the social value of Humanities research at a time when this is sometimes questioned. More specifically in this case, the Inoue Award recognises the fact that there is no better way to advance the kind of cross-cultural understanding necessary in our global age than through the study of literature.

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Yukio Mishima on 25 November, 1970


· What do you hope to research in future?

I am presently writing a book on Japanese literary, artistic and other cultural responses to such major natural disasters as the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.


· This is a rewarding area for research because . . .

The study of human cultural responses to disaster is a growing, new area of multidisciplinary research that seems to be gaining ever more currency and even urgency as global warming takes its inevitable toll on our fragile planet.