East Asian Martial Arts as Global Culture

We are delighted to announce that a member of the Martial Arts Research Studies Network, Professor Mike Molasky from Waseda University in Japan, has been awarded a research grant from the Suntory Foundation to develop a collaborative research project entitled “East Asian Martial Arts as Global Culture: Transmission, Representation, and Transformation in Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom”(「グローバル文化としての東アジア武術――日・米・英における伝授、表象、変容」).

The research project explores how a wide range of East Asian martial arts have been transformed and reconstituted as new “cultural practices” in Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Through the analysis of historical documents and visual media, in addition to on-site interviews and participant-observer analysis, the research team aims to illuminate the connections linking the transmission, reception, proliferation and transformation of martial arts traditions as they cross different cultural boundaries.

The reception and spread of East Asian martial arts in Japan, the U.S., and the U.K. have been facilitated not only through: (1) hands-on instruction at martial arts schools, but also (2) the vicarious worlds of film, television, and computer games—in other words, through fictional narratives featured in a range of visual media. Our international, interdisciplinary research team consists of scholars from various specialties within both the humanities and social sciences, and through a focus on media representation and reception as well as martial arts pedagogy and practice, we aim to illuminate the complex interrelationships connecting what are often treated as discrete cultural practices and discourses. In the process, we hope to underscore the increasingly global nature of East Asian martial arts in the world today.

The research team is made up of academics from several universities in Tokyo and Cardiff University.

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