Transcultural Japan: At the borderlands of race, gender, and identity

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Transcultural Japan: At the borderlands of race, gender, and identity provides a critical examination of being other in Japan. Portraying the multiple intersections of race, ethnicity, class, and gender, the book suggests ways in which the transcultural borders of Japan reflect globalization in this island nation. The authors show the diversity of Japan from the inside, revealing an extraordinarily complex new society in sharp contrast to the persistent stereotypical images held of a regimented, homogeneous Japan.

 

Unsettling as it may be, there are powerful arguments here for looking at the meanings of globalization in Japan through these diverse communities and individuals. These are not harmonious, utopian communities by any means as they are formed in contexts, both global and local, of unequal power relations.

 

Yet it is also clear that the multiple processes associated with globalization lead to larger hybridizations, a global mélange of socio-cultural, political, and economic forces and emergence of what could be called translocal creolized cultures. Transcultural Japan reports regional national and cosmopolitan movements. Characterized by global flows, hybridity, and networks, this book documents Japan’s new lived experiences and rapid metamorphosis.

 

Accessible and engaging, this broad-based volume is an attractive and useful resource for students of Japanese culture and society, as well as being a timely and revealing contribution to research scholars and for those interested in race, ethnicity, cultural identity, and social transformations.

“All this internal and external globalization of Japan has created a murky border zone between inside and outside, where what once was inside is now outside and what used to be outside is now inside. Or rather, a new space has developed in the borderlands where one cannot tell whether it is inside or outside by the conventional definition of Japan, a borderland where in one sense it is inside and in another outside. 

"This book is about this blurred and confused borderland which now demands a new order, a legitimate place in the sun, rather than being exiled to the land of 'strange foreigners' and 'exceptions.' At the same time, in a broader context, this border zone demands a new definition of 'Japan,' where hybridity is part of the legitimate landscape, where those in this borderland become legitimate citizens in a cultural sense, and not have to feel they are in Japan on sufferance, or feel they are included in one sense but excluded in another. Surviving in the 21st-century, in short, demands invention of a new modus vivendi, often called kyosei, through a radical modification of the habitus of homogeneity, if not it’s total abandonment, so that this borderland can turn from its 'problem' status to one of pride.'"

—Harumi Befu, Professor Emeritus, Anthropology, Stanford University

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