Conversation with Prof. Marcel Martel @York University マルセル・マルテル教授との対話 ＠ヨーク大学（2015年9月2日）
Prof. Marcel Martel & His Most Recent Book マルテル教授と最新著書
On Wednesday, September 2, I visited York University in Toronto, where I met Professor Marcel Martel and asked him about his current research interest. Since it was just before the fall semester starts, the campus was very quiet and we had a leisurely conversation over lunch at a nice faculty dining room.
First, Prof. Martel referred to his new book, “Canada the Good: A Short History of Vice since 1500” (2014), which was a basis for some of the speeches that he gave in Japan last year. Then, in response to my question about his current research agenda, he said he is now working on the issue of the “Canadian identity,” which is yet to be defined and shared by all citizens in a society, where most of the English-speaking Canadians celebrate Queen Victoria’s Birthday, French-speaking Canadians honor St Jean-Baptiste Day, etc.
That sounded like an ever-lingering problem in what might be called a “mosaic” society, rather than a “melting pot” like the United States of America. So, I am anxious to know a conclusion, however tentative, of his ambitious research to deal with this problem.
Then, our conversation turned to the topic of Japanese popular culture such as anime, manga and sushi, which are attracting more and more attention from Torontonians these days, according to Prof. Martel. He pointed out that, especially in the case of Japanese food, it has become so popular, because it is healthy to each fish and vegetables, which are the main ingredient of Japanese cuisine. This “high culture” aspect might also apply to other genres of Japanese pop culture such as anime, where Hayao Miyazaki’s artistic works have made Japanese amine a kind of fine art, rather than children’s comics, leading to the wide popularity among the young and the old all over the world.
Prof. Martel and I agreed that it would be quite interesting to study the history and strategy of a country’s popular culture to penetrate into other countries with different cultural backgrounds from the comparative viewpoint, such as Japanese vs. Korean pop culture accepted in North America in somewhat different ways.
まずマルテル教授は、最新の著書『Canada the Good』（2014年）に言及し、昨年日本で行った講演のいくつかはこの著書の内容に基づいていたことを指摘した。さらに現在行っている研究テーマは何かという質問に対しては、「カナダ人のアイデンティティ」というテーマに取り組んでいるとのことであった。実際に、英語を母国語とするカナダ人の多くはヴィクトリア王女の誕生日を祝い、フランス語を母国語とするカナダ人はセントジョン・バプティストの日を祝うといったような社会で、カナダ人のアイデンティティがどう定義され、どう共有されるのかはまだ不明である。