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Poisoned Water: Responses to Water Pollution in Japan

08 Feb 2024
Seminar and ColloquiumCentre for Applied Ethics
08 Feb 2024
Zoom Meeting ID: 954 2157 8988; Passcode: 752612
Dr. James Harry Morris, Assistant Professor, Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University

This presentation will explore religious and ethical responses to water pollution within modern Japanese history with particular reference to mine pollution and methylmercury poisoning. It will illustrate how an ends justify the means approach to industrial development coupled with the silencing of dissenting voices during the first half of the 20th century allowed pollution incidents to go unchecked until the 1960s. The speaker argues that responses to the Ashio Copper Mine Incident during the late 19th and early 20th centuries provided a potentially useful, though at the time thwarted, model to approach water pollution in Japan. Ultimately, however, he posits the potential utility of a consequentialist approach to pollution.


speaker photo


James Harry Morris is an Assistant Professor at the Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University. His research focuses on the history of Christianity and Islam in East Asia, interfaith dialogue, and environmental history. Morris’s research has been published in leading journals including the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Missiology: An International Review, and Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. Alongside L.W.C. van Lit, Morris recently published an edited collection entitled Digital Humanities and Religions in Asia (De Gruyter, 2023).