By Marilyn Ivy
Publish yr note: initially released in 1995
Japan this present day is haunted through the ghosts its striking modernity has generated. Deep anxieties concerning the capability lack of nationwide identification and continuity disturb many in Japan, regardless of frequent insistence that it has remained culturally intact. during this provocative conjoining of ethnography, historical past, and cultural feedback, Marilyn Ivy discloses those anxieties—and the makes an attempt to include them—as she tracks what she calls the vanishing: marginalized occasions, websites, and cultural practices suspended at moments of drawing close disappearance.
Ivy indicates how a fascination with cultural margins observed the emergence of Japan as a latest geographical region. This fascination culminated within the early twentieth-century institution of jap folklore reviews and its makes an attempt to checklist the spectral, occasionally violent, narratives of these margins. She then strains the obsession with the vanishing via quite a number modern reconfigurations: efforts through distant groups to advertise themselves as nostalgic websites of authenticity, storytelling practices as symptoms of premodern presence, mass commute campaigns, recallings of the useless by way of blind mediums, and itinerant, kabuki-inspired populist theater.
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Additional resources for Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan
In order to attract more visitors to its annual spring festival, which features the metal phallus in a raucous portable-shrine procession, the shrine started staging a "phallic costume" contest with free beer, directed towards foreigners. Publicity was distributed through the weekly English language tourism papers in Tokyo and through the grapevine, but the JNTO refused to allow any publicity in its office. I attended the festival in 1983. 13. " Frow ranges over the work of many authors who address tourism and its associated practices, from Dean MacCannell to Susan Stewart (whose On Longing includes a treatment of the souvenir and the postcard).
59. 1 originally discovered this quote from Blanchot in a footnote in Naoki Sakai's Voices of the Past, where he discusses the notion of the "subject" in the Japanese language, a language which (as language) can never, as he says, "be transparent; it is always 'broken/ so that one never totally belongs to it, and no body, no body of the enunciation . . " Sakai, Voices of the Past, 336. 28 CHAPTER ONE ticularity can embody more reflexivity, more experience, and more real politics than all the enframed assertions of politics ever could.
An example that has been developed by Japa nese theorists concerns the place of the emperor. Although the em peror may be seen as the very epitome of the Japanese "thing," in that he appears to embody the unbroken transmission of Japanese culture, there is much evidence to show that the line of emperors originated in Korea—Japan's colonized, denigrated national other—and various features of emperorship as an institution lead back to China. 53 While the emperor may merely be the most spectacular and at the same time most banal example of this alien interiority, the entire national-cultural fantasy of Japan—indeed of any nation—must form itself around such foreign irritants.