Notes on Contributors J essamyn R. She is currently writing a cultural history of Japan's first bullet train, which opened in A lex B ates is an associate professor of Japanese language and literature at Dickinson College. He is currently editing a volume on Japanese literature and pedagogy. J ohn R. B entley is a professor of Japanese at Northern Illinois University. His research is on early Japanese historiography and on Japanese historical linguistics. Her research is on manga studies, anime studies, and aesthetics of popular visual media. A dam B ronson is an assistant professor at Durham University.
Author of One Hundred Million Philosophers: Science of Thought and the Culture of Democracy in Postwar Japan Hawai'i, , he is currently doing research on rumors, cultural criticism, and the pragmatics of comparison. T amara C hin is an associate professor of comparative literature and East Asian studies at Brown University. She is working on a book manuscript on the modern idea of the silk road. Her current research is on the ethno-history of postwar cinema-going in Kansai, — F rederick R.
Yet this cultural rhetoric of ecology has faced challenges for its apparent discordance with the reality of environmental destruction in Japan. While such ideological controversies are ongoing, the study of Japan in the twenty-first century is becoming increasingly and inescapably intertwined with the rise of global environmental problems such as climate change, nuclear ca- tastrophe, deforestation and threats to marine life. The challenges of ecocriticism follow hot on the heels of the politics of still-prevailing Orientalism. In the rapidly changing academic and atmospheric climates of the twenty-first century, the career paths of current graduates and early career researchers are likely to follow very different trajectories to those of our seniors.
The workshop seeks to open a dialogue among this emerging generation of Japan scholars concerning how the production of knowledge of Japan may be linked to new forms of engagement with contemporary ecological concerns. What does it mean to discuss ecologies of knowledge and practice in Japanese Studies and the Envi- ronmental Humanities for the emerging generation of international scholars today?
Researching Japan from a distance in the contemporary humanities come with the historical baggage of a presupposed Eu- ropean supremacy that continues to limit our intellectual imaginations and practical intentionalities.. From the predicaments surrounding conventional modes of knowing to a possibility for ecologies of knowledge and practice without Eastern-or-Western supremacy based on the life of slime mould, this paper introduces the broader contexts in which this workshop has been organised. Scholarship that focuses on the Western scientific paradigm and modernity as the main drivers behind the eco- logical crisis, and on catastrophes as an integral element of the Anthropocene, posits science and technology as well as capitalism as the ideological currency of ecological issues.
Rather, they converged with natural history, visual art, tourism, consumption and popular culture. This paper combines the history of science and technology in Japan with an anthropological approach to the Tokugawa period, based on historical records and visual culture materials, to theorise links between natural history, tourism, consumption and the Floating World which led to paradigms of nature as an exploitable and consumable resource for urban soci- ety. I propose that the tourist gaze and cognitive-perceptive consumption went hand in hand to introduce a new conceptualisation and materialisation of nature through cultural and social practices as well as a more integrative way of thinking about scientific cultures and ecological discourses.
The implications of this study make possible a rethinking of the ways in which material and natural objects and cultural phenomena define the process of the construction and knowledge of nature. This paper will explore Japanese bamboo weaving as a conduit between knowledge and practice in both the physical and digital worlds. New computational tools and processes are challenging historical narratives and modes-of-making, revealing the importance of embodied knowledge. Essentially, there is a move away from mechanised assembly methods towards generative modelling, a digital craft aimed at responding to complexities found in nature.
Known as material computation, it operates as both a methodology and as a technical framework; it is used to model and fabricate material organisations that correspond to mutable conditions, such as climate change Oxman, In parallel, a theoretical fusion has emerged between complex systems theory, ecological anthropology, and digital craft Alexander, ; Bateson, ; Ingold, In , I undertook fieldwork in Japan, engaging with the bamboo weaving community to inform my own digital craft practice.
- The Food of Japan?
- Navigation menu.
- Japan, Internationalism and the UN - CRC Press Book.
- The biology of grasses;
- Etymology, history and artifacts?
There, I encountered a distinct form of animism, one central to a reverence for bam- boo, and demonstrated via a commitment to the unity of pattern, form, and environment. Therefore, exploring Japanese bamboo weaving, within material computation, offers the potential to craft ecologies of knowledge and practice relevant to a range of multidimensional outcomes.
As a practitioner myself I would like to propose a reflection on the contemporary practice of architecture in the context of the Anthropocene. Architecture, and design, are indeed at the core of the transformation of our physical environment. We, practitioners, need to critically consider the impact of how we conceive things.
In fact, architecture and creative practices in general face today the emergence of a complete reset in practice, moving away from the sole production of objects and focussing on process see: Assemble, Spatial Agency, Ishinomaki Lab, Tomi Site-Office by Nousaku Architects. In the light of this observation, I would like to draw a reflection on design process and its relationship with the notion of sustainability and ecology, away from technological solutions but understood as an attitude and a commitment.
Both concepts formulate an attitude towards making and I hope by putting them together in an intellectual bricolage to be able to define a possible practice that would be inclusive of environment and in the meantime question the very nature of what a project can be. From an anthropological perspective, this involves a reflection on modes of knowing in the process of design and how this relates to the wider debates on nature and culture. Behind the concentration of capital and population in large urban metropolises, shrinkage — demographic, eco- nomic, environmental, and social decline — has become the norm for many rural areas in industrialised countries.
The symptoms of rural shrinkage are far-reaching and include the weakening of the local economy and employ- ment, vacant buildings, abandoned farm lands, fiscal difficulties, less public services, and decay in social cohesion. Small rural communities in Japan that have experienced for decades depopulation and its consequences are harbingers of acute shrinkage. Drawing upon panarchy theory in evolutionary resilience, this paper empirically investigates how Japanese rural communities have responded to shrinkage, and whether the approach of Cit- taslow Slow City — an international sustainable rural development movement — can help these communities to be more resilient to shrinkage.
In panarchy theory, resilience is the process of constant self-metamorphosis of a system to respond to changing circumstances. I recognise institutional inertia, low community engagement, poor job creation, and lack of coordination of activities as key inhibitors. Subsequently, I assess the efficacy of Cittaslow in improving the resilience of Japanese shrinking communities. Already during the Tokugawa period, encounters between Ainu and Japanese officials and trade persons in Ezo increased rapidly.
The trade with the Japanese became a prestigious activity for Ainu. At the same time, new forms of exploitation of the natural environment caused transformation of the ecology and thus Ainu economic and ritual activities. In the wake of the Meiji Ishin, the development of Hokkaido became an important political goal.
From onwards prisoners transformed forests into arable land and were sent to exploit natural resources such as sulphur and coal. Their work served both the regional and national economy.
Japan and East Asian Regionalism (Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies)
This contrast between two distinct ways of perceiving and representing the environment suggests that the Ainu like the Meiji officials — through the use of prison labour - reproduce their changing societies in their diverse economic activities and treatment of the natural environment.
The second half of the twentieth century saw enormous technological progress in the construction of offshore oil and gas drilling platforms. In Japan, the experience of empire, especially the vast and empty space that architects and engineers encountered in newly-conquered Manchuria during the s, had ended with the defeat in Now that Japan was reduced once more to their largely uninhabitable home islands, the Pacific Ocean, including its bays and marginal seas, was increasingly perceived as another empty and vast space ripe for colonization.
Cooperation between Japanese and U. Buckminster Fuller, and John P. Recently, such projects have been experiencing a new boom related to renewable energy pro- duction floating wind turbines and solar panels and are designed to allow permanent offshore living without the need for large-scale land reclamation. Plans concerning oceanic resource extraction mostly food and energy , waste disposal, improved transportation networks, and the outsourcing of environmental pollution further intensified transpacific eco- nomic and scientific exchanges and the vision of a large-scale environmental transformation.
Japanese anarchists in the early twentieth century centered the dung beetle in their account of universal progress and civilization, invoking public fascination with the beetle and the insect world along the way. This was a part of a broader phenomenon of alignment of the humanities and social sciences with the latest discoveries of the natural sciences -- a feat that has yet to be achieved in our own time. This account uncovers that moment in modern history.
By focusing on the Pacific Oyster Crassostrea gigas , a species endemic to Japan that presently constitutes 80 percent of the total world production of edible oysters, I offer an ethnographic analysis of oyster-human rela- tionships in Japan in the context of climate change uncertainties. Local producers in Miyagi today face new risks linked to climate change that may cause increased oyster larval mortality and thereby affect the entire shellfish industry. Changes in water temperature and seawater chemistry occur as a result of the ocean absorbing carbon dioxide emissions. Studying how these unevenly distributed risks have been handled and dealt with by multifarious epistemic com- munities including oyster producers, marine biologists, market authorities, distributors, and consumers, I interro- gate the ways of interspecies entanglements that constitute contemporary Japanese aquaculture.
Attentive to a wide array of the aforementioned knowledge formation that occurs as part of the new oyster commodification process, I explore interspecies entanglements that emerge on the verge and in the aftermath of environmental destruction. For the last two years I have been working on a field research-based project with the indigenous Ainu people of Japan. In , I lived with Ainu people during summer and early autumn.
I studied the making of Ainu kimono, embroidery, and salmon-skin shoes. I am interested in art-as-seonsory-geographic-research, to witness, document, and share acquired knowledge, culture, and social phenomena. I focus on the idea of making as sensory research and its process. My participation in the workshop is a video essay of approximately twenty minutes in length. In this video work, we see a text that I wrote about Ainu social phenomena centered on salmon.
In Ainu culture, salmon used to serve key economic, religious, and spiritual roles. This research allowed me to explore a wider understanding of Ainu culture— fishing, cooking, politics, economics, ecology, craft, gossip, folklore, and differences between the current Ainu communities in other regions. I wanted to also express my observation on what I thought was the Ainu experience— the sensory, the immersive, the minor, and the spirit of Ainu metaphysical belief. Accordingly, agrarian reality has been barely considered as a site of knowledge and civilisation, but rather as a bulwark of deep-rooted feudalism and backwardness, and an object of reform and re-education.
My work on Yamashiro fundamentally reverses these conceptions, seeking new modes of enquiry into knowledge production and direction.
Nihonjinron - Wikipedia
It is clear that the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe is one of the most critical ongoing crises of the twenty-first century. Unlike natural disaster whose temporality is marked by an event followed by the processes of reunion and reconstruction, the timeline of nuclear catastrophe suspends these processes with , former residents displaced in a chasm of dead time pending the countdown of the half-life of radioactive materials in order to resume a future.
How can art begin to approach working within this temporal regime which demands both an everyday urgency and confronts the durational crisis in the long term? While the nuclear contamination is invisible, so too are the artworks, suspended in a state of affinity with the displaced residents until they can return. I argue in this paper that the radical imaginary of Cornelius Castoriadis mirrors the collective process and an unmoored temporality in the project that has the potential to disrupt the everyday as well as function over the long term.
About this book
Shifting the terrain of engagement to the radical imaginary opens up the project from individual relations to the work and posits a collective space that needs to be continually questioned and reassembled similar to the processes of working toward future forms of being together. On the other hand, Obara used the photographic medium to understand what it feels like to be exposed to nuclear radiation: to do so, he used films he found in Pripyat which themselves absorbed the poisonous emissions. The results are black-and-white, blurred, apparently dusty photographs that seem to depict the fog through which the people living in Chernobyl evolve.
Exposure was included in the edition of the World Press Photo contest, where it has been seen by thousands of visitors. In a cross-cultural analysis, the image of sowing seeds in the desert is evoked to address the environmental dev- astation our planet is immersed in, and the possibilities for restoring plant-and-other life in the ruins of modern capitalist industrialisation Fukuoka As a case site, Echigo Tsumari Art Festival and the aesthetic collaborations departing in farming are inter- esting as a nexus for a vast range of social, political and material issues in Japan and beyond.
It is the desertion, the abandonment, of rural Japan for the cities, referring to the fact that Echigo Tsumari is in part a revitalisation project e. Kitagawa , It is the desert-making of once fertile earth, as we simultaneously desert the importance of careful cultivation practices.
Related Japan, Internationalism and the UN (Nissan Institute Routledge Japanese Studies Series)
Copyright 2019 - All Right Reserved