Asia Institute - Research Publications

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    Intercultural communication by non-native and native speakers of Japanese in text-based synchronous CMC.
    Takagi, A (ascilite, 2008)
    This study explores speech behaviour when non-native speakers of Japanese (NNSJ) and native speakers of Japanese (NSJ) exchange cultural information, specifically using text- based synchronous computer-mediated communication. This experimental study uses a scaffolding technique in which a Japanese language teacher is less present and NNSJ are left to communicate with NSJ within a restricted timeframe. This study demands their intercultural engagement, thus suggesting an outcome of intercultural relationship building. While the study examined participants’ speech behaviours – specifically, the key speech act of requesting – observed to be important for realising smooth intercultural relationships, it also highlighted attributes of available technologies useful in facilitating intercultural engagement. Since people from different cultural backgrounds have different perceptions of politeness reflected in their behaviour and language use, understanding how request strategies are used by NSJ could give NNSJ intercultural insights and skills in Japanese language and socio-cultural behaviour. CMC has been utilised in computer-assisted language learning (CALL), with students able to learn languages through a real-world context and access native speakers of the target language, beyond the classroom. CMC has been found to be an effective adopted ‘third place’ (Kramsch 1993) located at the intersection of the cultures the learner grew up with, and the cultures to which they are introduced. In the case of language use, technology allows NNSJ to record their conversations, and reflect on the language being used, thus gaining intercultural insights and skills; these could be transferable to other communication modes, whether computer-driven technology or face-to-face. It is intended that the findings of this study might shed light on the innovative enhancement of non-native Japanese speakers’ intercultural and socio-cultural competence through the use of text-based CMC.
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    The amalgamation of Malagasy
    Adelaar, KAA ; Bowden, J ; Himmelmann, NP ; Ross, M (Pacific Linguistics Publishers, 2010)
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    Natural Conversation Reconstruction Tasks: The Language Classroom as a Meeting Place
    Ohashi, J (University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), 2009)
    This paper, drawing on Pratt’s notion of ‘transculturation’ and Bhabha’s ‘third space’, presents an example of language learning tasks that empower learners’ agency and promote their cross-cultural awareness and sensitivities to a different set of cultural expectations, using a naturally occurred Japanese thanking episodes. The paper discusses the merits of Natural Conversation Reconstruction Tasks (NCRTs) as a practical method for helping L2 learners develop this ‘intercultural competence’. It is based on a qualitative study of the results of one NCRT created for use in the context of teaching Japanese as a L2 in a multicultural society. It suggests the NCRT encourages the learners to explore the intersection where language use, speaker intention and L1 and L2 cultural norms meet. Such a process helps the learners become aware of socially expected patterns of communication in L1 and L2 in terms of the choices of speech act, formulaic expressions, sequential organization and politeness orientation. The learners’ comments suggest that the NCRT helps learners transcend their cultural boundaries by overcoming their narrow understanding of ‘thanking’ as ‘expressions of gratitude and appreciation’ and by cross-culturally widening their views of what counts as thanking. The NCRT with rich contextual information promotes the learners’ intercultural awareness, sensitivity to context and intercultural exploration in the space between L1 and L2, where they have authority and freedom of making sense of conversations, and pragmatics is fully integrated into language pedagogy.
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    Arriving in the Future: The Utopia of Here and Now in the Work of Modern-Day Mystics From Eric Fromm to Eckhart Tolle
    Reuter, T (MONASH UNIV, CENTRE COMPARATIVE LITERATURE & CULTURAL STUDIES, 2009-12)
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    Polymorphisms of human leucocyte antigen genes in Maonan people in China.
    Ogata, S ; Shi, L ; Matsushita, M ; Yu, L ; Huang, XQ ; Shi, L ; Sun, H ; Ohashi, J ; Muramatsu, M ; Tokunaga, K ; Chu, JY (Wiley, 2007-02)
    We examined human leucocyte antigen (HLA) gene polymorphisms in the Maonan people from southern China. HLA-A, -B and -DRB1 alleles were determined in 108 healthy unrelated Maonan individuals by the polymerase chain reaction-Luminex method, and haplotype frequencies for HLA-A, -B and -DRB1 loci were estimated. The most frequent HLA-A alleles were A*1101 (35.2%), A*0203 (17.6%), A*0207 (13.4%) and A*2402 (13.4%); HLA-B alleles were B*1301(19.9%), B*1502 (14.8%), B*4601 (13.4%) and B*4001 (13.4%); HLA-DRB1 alleles were DRB1*1202 (17.1%), DRB1*1602 (13.0%) and DRB1*1401 (10.7%). The most common haplotypes were A*0207-B*4601 (10.6%), A*1101-B*1301 (10.0%), A*1101-B*4001 (8.4%), B*1502-DRB1*1202 (12.0%), B*4601-DRB1*1401 (5.8%), A*1101-B*1502-DRB1*1202 (7.1%) and A*0207-B*4601-DRB1*1401 (5.3%), profiles that are also found in populations from the southern region of East Asia. Phylogenetic and principal component analyses revealed that the Maonan people belong to the southeastern Asian group and are most closely related to the Buyi people.
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    Association of TNFAIP3 interacting protein 1, TNIP1 with systemic lupus erythematosus in a Japanese population: a case-control association study.
    Kawasaki, A ; Ito, S ; Furukawa, H ; Hayashi, T ; Goto, D ; Matsumoto, I ; Kusaoi, M ; Ohashi, J ; Graham, RR ; Matsuta, K ; Behrens, TW ; Tohma, S ; Takasaki, Y ; Hashimoto, H ; Sumida, T ; Tsuchiya, N (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2010)
    INTRODUCTION: TNFAIP3 interacting protein 1, TNIP1 (ABIN-1) is involved in inhibition of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation by interacting with TNF alpha-induced protein 3, A20 (TNFAIP3), an established susceptibility gene to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Recent genome-wide association studies revealed association of TNIP1 with SLE in the Caucasian and Chinese populations. In this study, we investigated whether the association of TNIP1 with SLE was replicated in a Japanese population. In addition, association of TNIP1 with RA was also examined. METHODS: A case-control association study was conducted on the TNIP1 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs7708392 in 364 Japanese SLE patients, 553 RA patients and 513 healthy controls. RESULTS: Association of TNIP1 rs7708392C was replicated in Japanese SLE (allele frequency in SLE: 76.5%, control: 69.9%, P = 0.0022, odds ratio [OR] 1.40, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.13-1.74). Notably, the risk allele frequency in the healthy controls was considerably greater in Japanese (69.9%) than in Caucasians (24.3%). A tendency of stronger association was observed in the SLE patients with renal disorder (P = 0.00065, OR 1.60 [95%CI 1.22-2.10]) than in all SLE patients (P = 0.0022, OR 1.40 [95%CI 1.13-1.74]). Significant association with RA was not observed, regardless of the carriage of human leukocyte antigen DR β1 (HLA-DRB1) shared epitope. Significant gene-gene interaction between TNIP1 and TNFAIP3 was detected neither in SLE nor RA. CONCLUSIONS: Association of TNIP1 with SLE was confirmed in a Japanese population. TNIP1 is a shared SLE susceptibility gene in the Caucasian and Asian populations, but the genetic contribution appeared to be greater in the Japanese and Chinese populations because of the higher risk allele frequency. Taken together with the association of TNFAIP3, these observations underscore the crucial role of NF-κB regulation in the pathogenesis of SLE.
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    A at single nucleotide polymorphism-358 is required for G at -420 to confer the highest plasma resistin in the general Japanese population.
    Onuma, H ; Tabara, Y ; Kawamura, R ; Tanaka, T ; Ohashi, J ; Nishida, W ; Takata, Y ; Ochi, M ; Yamada, K ; Kawamoto, R ; Kohara, K ; Miki, T ; Makino, H ; Osawa, H ; Harpending, H (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2010-03-16)
    Insulin resistance is a feature of type 2 diabetes. Resistin, secreted from adipocytes, causes insulin resistance in mice. We previously reported that the G/G genotype of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at -420 (rs1862513) in the human resistin gene (RETN) increased susceptibility to type 2 diabetes by enhancing its promoter activity. Plasma resistin was highest in Japanese subjects with G/G genotype, followed by C/G, and C/C. In this study, we cross-sectionally analyzed plasma resistin and SNPs in the RETN region in 2,019 community-dwelling Japanese subjects. Plasma resistin was associated with SNP-638 (rs34861192), SNP-537 (rs34124816), SNP-420, SNP-358 (rs3219175), SNP+299 (rs3745367), and SNP+1263 (rs3745369) (P<10(-13) in all cases). SNP-638, SNP -420, SNP-358, and SNP+157 were in the same linkage disequilibrium (LD) block. SNP-358 and SNP-638 were nearly in complete LD (r(2) = 0.98), and were tightly correlated with SNP-420 (r(2) = 0.50, and 0.51, respectively). The correlation between either SNP-358 (or SNP-638) or SNP-420 and plasma resistin appeared to be strong (risk alleles for high plasma resistin; A at SNP-358, r(2) = 0.5224, P = 4.94x10(-324); G at SNP-420, r(2) = 0.2616, P = 1.71x10(-133)). In haplotypes determined by SNP-420 and SNP-358, the estimated frequencies for C-G, G-A, and G-G were 0.6700, 0.2005, and 0.1284, respectively, and C-A was rare (0.0011), suggesting that subjects with A at -358, generally had G at -420. This G-A haplotype conferred the highest plasma resistin (8.24 ng/ml difference/allele compared to C-G, P<0.0001). In THP-1 cells, the RETN promoter with the G-A haplotype showed the highest activity. Nuclear proteins specifically recognized one base difference at SNP-358, but not at SNP-638. Therefore, A at -358 is required for G at -420 to confer the highest plasma resistin in the general Japanese population. In Caucasians, the association between SNP-420 and plasma resistin is not strong, and A at -358 may not exist, suggesting that SNP-358 could explain this ethnic difference.
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    Is rs34861192 or rs1862513 a more promising variant for determining plasma resistin in an aged Japanese population?
    Osawa, H ; Tabara, Y ; Ohashi, J ; Kawamura, R ; Onuma, H ; Makino, H (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2010-04)
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    A replication study of the association between the IL12B promoter allele CTCTAA and susceptibility to cerebral malaria in Thai population.
    Naka, I ; Patarapotikul, J ; Tokunaga, K ; Hananantachai, H ; Tsuchiya, N ; Ohashi, J (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-12-11)
    BACKGROUND: Interleukin-12 (IL-12), a heterodimeric cytokine composed of p35 and p40 subunits, has been thought to play an important role in the pathogenesis of malaria. The IL-12p40 subunit is encoded by the IL12B gene. An IL12B promoter allele, CTCTAA, at rs17860508 has been reported to be associated with susceptibility to cerebral malaria in African populations. However, this association has not so far been replicated in non-African populations. METHODS: To examine whether the CTCTAA allele is associated with susceptibility to cerebral malaria in Asian populations, 303 Thai patients with Plasmodium falciparum malaria (109 cerebral malaria and 194 mild malaria patients) were genotyped for rs17860508 by PCR-direct sequencing. RESULTS: The CTCTAA allele showed a significant association with susceptibility to cerebral malaria in the Thai population (allelic OR = 1.37; one sided P-value = 0.030). CONCLUSIONS: The existence of a significant association between the CTCTAA allele and susceptibility to cerebral malaria was confirmed in Southeast Asian population, which was previously reported in African populations.