July 1, 2003

Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) is pleased to announce that it will host a free, public lecture by Alex Kerr on Monday, July 7, from 7 p.m. in room 207 as part of its Pacific Rim Lecture Series. Alex Kerr is a renowned cultural critic whose work deals with modernization and its effects on Japanese culture and aesthetics. His most recent book, Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan, is a provocative study of doken kokka, a source of social change that renders traditional culture irrelevant and subservient to the demands of construction companies and political interest groups and of a political system dependent on largesse.

Kerr, who became a resident in Japan in 1964, at one time managed the school of traditional Japanese arts at the Oomoto Foundation in Kyoto, where he trained in calligraphy, kabuki, and tea ceremony. This experience formed the basis for Kerr’s Lost Japan, a nonfiction book published in Japan. Lost Japan documents Kerr’s experience as an art scholar, teacher, antique dealer, and critic in the small village of Kameoka just outside Kyoto, and with it Kerr became the first foreigner to win the Shincho Gakugei Literary Prize.

Kerr’s books have been well received internationally, with reviews in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among others. In Japan, Kerr lectures extensively and frequently appears on NHK television and radio. He continues to attempt to reclaim traditional culture through the Chiiori Project, the revitalization of a mountain village in Iya Valley, Shikoku, which was featured in Architectural Digest (August 2002). Kerr also continues to live in Kyoto, Japan, but now spreads his time between a second home in Bangkok, Thailand.

Reservations for and information about Alex Kerr’s lecture are available through TUJ’s Information Center, at Tel. 0120-86-1026. For further information about the Pacific Rim Lecture Series, contact Kyle Cleveland in the Student Services office. E-mail kyle@tuj.ac.jp, or Tel. 03-5441-9800, ext. 709.