2019 Summer Travel Grant Series: Co-Organizing an Academic Panel at the DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association) 2019 annual conference in Kyoto, Japan

Summer Travel Grant 2019 Recipient
Mattias van Ommen
Student Affiliate
PhD in Anthropology

With the support of EWCA, I was able to travel to Kyoto between August 5th and 12th of 2019. I attended two back-to-back conferences at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. I co-organized a panel on Japanese video games and how these have been received in Western locations for the first conference — by Digital Games Research Association, the largest global conference on video game studies. Marc Steinberg, leading scholar of Japanese popular culture and animation was one of the other presenters. I was able to meet him for the first time, and also met with many other scholars whose work I have read during my earlier stages of graduate school.

I also gave a presentation at a second, smaller conference in the same location, where I presented an anthropological account of foreign players in Japanese online video game communities. Through my research in both projects, I highlight the role of video games in enabling cross-cultural encounters, and some of the challenges this might bring. Being able to meet with many different academics over the course of the week, I increased my visibility as a serious scholar in the field with a specific focus (Japan, anthropology, games) that has so far been absent. I sincerely thank EWCA for helping me accomplish all of this.

Once again, mahalo for your kind support.