EastAsiaNet is a network of leading European research schools with a well-developed social-science focus on East Asia, plus others that aspire to develop in this direction. It takes up issues that surpass the capacity of single institutions in training and in research. Ultimately, it contributes high-level expertise to a European perspective on Euro-Asia relations.
Taiwanese entrepreneurs in search for the Good Life and the Good death through Tibetan Buddhist teachings
Fabienne Jagou, Senior researcher, Lyon Institute of East Asian Studies (IAO), Associate professor EFEO
At the present time, Taiwan is one of the most successful Asian countries in term of economic development. Taiwan is also (to not say mainly) a society with high religious diversity and many variants of humanitarianism. A new phenomenon has appeared in recent years and has begun to transform the Taiwanese religious landscape: Tibetan Buddhism is now flourishing. Tibetan and Chinese masters teach Tibetan Buddhism, monks and nuns take Tibetan Buddhist vows, and lay people adhere to Tibetan Buddhism and enjoy being actors involved with a new form of humanitarian Buddhism. The economic and religious worlds match and are becoming interdependent in their development. Some wealthy Taiwanese entrepreneurs become donors to Buddhist masters and Buddhist masters look for powerful donors. I would like to analyse how Tibetan Buddhism could be a factor for a good life either for the Taiwanese or the Tibetan master following these few questions: Is a wealthy life synonymous with a good life? Why are Taiwanese entrepreneurs interested in Tibetan Buddhism? How could Tibetan Buddhism help them to get a better life? Why are rich Taiwanese interested in the teachings related to the passage of death and the Buddhist afterlife? What are the strategies implemented by the Tibetan masters to make the entrepreneurs feel indebted and how do they reward them for their support? Finally, how do Taiwanese entrepreneurs help the flourishing of Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetan masters to get a good life?
The Japanese Hydrogen Society program, a revolution?
Michaël Fernandez, Associated junior research fellow, Lyon Institute of East Asian Studies (IAO)
In the frame of my PhD thesis in economic sociology, I am studying how, in France and Japan, hydrogen integration in energy transition process is valuated by its partisans through future energy scenarios. In other words, how integration of hydrogen in prospective visions can give it value? To answer this question, I try to highlight argumentation strategies and actors’ discursive coalitions around hydrogen. Comparing these coalition construction process in two countries where hydrogen policies have a different maturity degree should be interesting to show the importance of social values and institutions in the valuation process. Indeed, whereas France’s program is recent, Japan is currently one of the leader countries in fields of hydrogen and fuel cell technology.
The presentation will focus on Japanese government’s hydrogen program. Called “suiso shakai” (hydrogen society), the strategy aims at establishing a society where hydrogen would play a major role as an energy vector, for finally securing energy supply and limiting greenhouse gas emission. METI published a road-map which describes the program’s three phases and fixes clear targets. Based on Japan’s leadership namely in the early commercialization of technological applications such as “Ene-Farm” in the residential sector, and more recently Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) in the mobility sector with in 2015 sales on the market of the first “Mirai”, the Hydrogen Society program appears like very pioneering although following a similar pathway previous Japanese energy strategies have already taken. But, the Japanese program also includes some problematic elements while the official roadmap seems to hide some weaknesses. Indeed, to some extend the over-optimistic roadmap could bring into dangers the program’s viability, particularly in the case of a strategy which achievement relies on a set of successive successful phases, as will be explain in my presentation.
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