- 国際文化学研究 (ISSN:13405217)
- no.30, pp.101-114, 2008-07
Synopsis: Drawing upon five ways that could provide a better understanding of contemporary Japanese society, this paper attempts to tentatively construct views that clarify how specific cultural currents affect our lives under the neo-liberal political and economic condition. These five ways do not regard the field of culture as self-evident. Culture should not be prioritised in social analysis. Even if culture could be considered as relatively autonomous, in what condition can we say so? What force can make it possible to represent culture as relatively autonomous? The important task I would like to propose here is to re-address contemporary Japanese culture as an ensemble of uncertain practices. First, the 1980s is considered as the period that has generated a particular pattern of cultural nationalism among intellectuals. Second, the global trend of 'made-in-Japan' worked as a potential campaign for promoting the neoliberal fashion of cultural production. Third, ai, sorrow/love, is valuable to analyse who is 'in' and who is 'out' of a community that can enjoy a specific kind of love, that is, nationalism. Love without sorrow to others, I suggest, could inevitably lead to drawing a rigid line between 'in' and 'out'. Fourth, ido, moving/sameness-difference makes it possible for us to see the way that the irresistible trend of migration has long been a part of Japanese society. However, this obvious history of moving is submerged by the recent cultural nationalism into the logic of sameness-difference. Those who do not move are 'same' while moving generates difference. Then, the communality among those who do not seem to move is expected and presumed. Fifth and last, the warning words of the African-American savant W.E.B.DuBois in 1930s remind us that Japan has been ceaselessly involved in the global modern geopolitics of 'colour line', the racialised division, since her modernisation. Although this history is not properly recognised, DuBois is useful to reexamine this historical negligence. It is particularly true to those who believe that contemporary Japan has little to do with race and racism. Instead, they are keen to problematise 'race' as exception, the thing that rarely matters in the traditionally tolerant cultural environment. Introducing the Tokyo municipal governor Ishihara Shintaro's deliberately racist speech, I examine the ways in which 'race' comes to occupy the central part among political relations rather than to be an occasionally discussed, peripheral and simple political issue.