The Meaning of Japan

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Or meanings rather. At one time it was the future. That future never eventuated and yet it retains a central place in many western imaginations. This isn't about Japan as it really is or as it is to the Japanese. This is about fantasy Japans. Orientalist Japans. Try and avoid too many nudge nudge wink wink remarks about squid etc.
 
Last edited:

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Are we just talking what kinds of vague impressions it tends to make on people? What image lands in their minds after having been filtered through this or that news source?
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
any group marginalized in the west seem to take interest. anime is prominent in both far left and far right iconography, same with black and Hispanic communities (at least here in america)
 

version

Well-known member
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
I read a book called "Angry White Pyjamas" a few years ago, which is about a guy who ends up doing the same super tough Akido training as the Tokyo Riot Police. Trains alongside 'em IIRC. There's a load of "bushido" warrior philosphy in the training and the author, the cops literally couldn't give a fuck about it, but you have a buch of whiteys who've washed up there who make it their lives centre of meaning. A familiar story. Wiggers but with Japanese martial arts.

Alex Kerr's Lost Japan is I suppose similar in some ways - a foreigner projecting and discovering himself in Japanese culture - but he goes deep on architecture, calligraphy and other traditional Japanese arts. He buys a house that's several hundred years old in the opening chapter, and you do get the sense he's discovered a vanishing world. Wonderful book.

Has anyone here ever been? Would love to go almost more than anywhere else I think.
 

pattycakes_

Well-known member
@DannyL funny in a way because the Japanese made that whole laser focusing on foreign cultures, reviving, projecting, reinterpreting thing an art unto itself. Hard to find another culture that does it so thoroughly. Although maybe because its more centered around youth cultures the motives are different to Kerr and Photek etc?
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
japan went from being the cool, edgy cyberpunk future to being the hikikomori future.
Oh good point
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Has anyone here ever been? Would love to go almost more than anywhere else I think.

I've been there a couple of times. I think I went in 2010 and again in 2012 when I was making Australian wages and could actually afford too leave the house
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
after Sydney one of the things I really enjoyed about it was how rich it is as a visual environment. I keep photographing fire escapes for some reason. There's a density of visual information. All these different interlocking forms and patterns. On a visual level it's very pleasing.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
An the other thing you can't help being knocked out by is the care, consideration and attention that is put into everything, There's never a 'that's good enough' attitude it feels like. In that way it felt somewhat protected from the full impact of capitalism
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
The example that sticks in my head is buying cheese from the supermarket (this was summer, quite hot) and they put ice around it so it doesn't get fucked on the way home
 
Last edited:

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Obviously there's a whole genre of documentaries which focus on this quality of the Japanese psyche/society. 90 year old sushi master strives for perfection.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
My cousin lived there for years and he says it gets less enjoyable once you know enough of the language to evesdrop on the conversations, but that's true of every foreign country.
 
Top