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click opera - What are you wearing, Living National Treasure?
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Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 05:38 am
What are you wearing, Living National Treasure?

Since we were in the vicinity (getting Hisae's MacBook cable fixed by the master craftsmen at the Gravis Flagship Apple Store), we decided yesterday evening to swing by Yamashina, Berlin's only Japanese bookstore. I wanted to see if it was as bad as I remembered; as damp, as understocked and overpriced.

It was; the shop was cold, the owner gruff, the books (an odd mixture of new and secondhand) absurdly expensive, and most of the magazines were a couple of years out of date. They had the current Zipper, but its styled street looks didn't interest me; instead I got engrossed in a sale-box of copies of Living National Treasure magazine. Here, instead of cheerful young women, were ancient, deeply serious octogenarians in formal costumery bespeaking a fabulous flamboyance. It reminded me of the insight I had in December (and here I flirt with one of the tail-chasing paradoxes I've been criticizing this week) that it isn't just individuals who can be "expressive" -- there can be expressive groups too.

Looking at the wonderful outfits worn by ancient potters, cutters, noh actors and bunraku puppeteers on the cover of Living National Treasure magazine (my new favourite street snaps source!) I remembered how the most bizarre and best outfit I wore in 2006 was the shakuhachi player's outfit a Kyoto flute master had me try on. It involved wearing a whole head-covering wicker basket "hat" more avant -- and yet more retro! -- than anything you're likely to see on the "radically individualistic" Paris and Milan catwalks. Outlandish!

Seeing that its national traditions were dying out, Japan passed in 1950 a Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties, covering mostly buildings and objects (castles, statues, pottery). Later, in 1954, this was extended to cover people. Dubbed "Living National Treasures" (Ningen Kokuhō) by a 1955 newspaper article, these potters, woodblock printers, textile designers, actors, shakuhachi masters and swordsmen -- performing artists and craftsmen -- are more accurately described by their official name: Important Intangible Cultural Properties.

The first individual to be designed an Important Intangible Cultural Property was a woman, Yachiyo IV. Japanese craft masters often use these monarch-like titles (although Yachiyo, a dancer in the ancient Kyoto style, later reverted to her real name, Aiko Inoue). The names underscore something this essay also points out: that these people aren't important for who they really are, but for what they know. Each of them has stocked up valuable knowledge of a tradition which will die with them if they don't find a successor to pass it on to. The moment they're designated Important Intangible Cultural Properties, the search for a pupil-successor begins. It's a kind of relay race against time. The tangible objects can look after themselves in museums, but knowledge wrapped up in human flesh has to pass on its cultural DNA or die. The death of a Living National Treasure isn't just the death of an individual, it's something much more significant: the death of a tradition stretching back millennia.

Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs gives grants to the Intangibles, helping them to improve their techniques and foster successors. Seeing the success of the Japanese system, Korea and Taiwan soon followed, and UNESCO advocates spreading the system all over the world. The category of Important Intangible Folk-Cultural Properties was later added to cover people like fishermen and festival functionaries who were the bearers of endangered competencies and skills.

This isn't about auteurship -- as in most craft and folk traditions, the collective is more important than the individual. The problem here is that an individual risks becoming a bottleneck, the sole remaining repository of the wisdom, etiquette and habitus of a vanished collective. Rather than existing to boost the egos of a few old people, the Living National Treasures system is designed to route around them -- to rescue ways of knowing and doing from a too-frail individual vessel, to stripmine banks of data from a dodgy, unreliable hard disk before it fails, to take the cultural eggs out of one basket. Death, here, threatens to interrupt the continuous refinement and transition of craft skills.

As in most Trad / Anon folk and craft systems, certain values which we tend to think of as the opposite of creativity prevail: seniority, collectivity, impersonality, hierarchy, copying, rote, interpretation rather than creation. The laboratory part, the R&D part, is missing from this system, although a kind of collective problem-solving replaces it. And, just as the Living National Treasure doesn't become a vain prima donna -- she knows it's what she knows, not who she is that's being recognized -- so the Important Intangible Cultural Property dresses in ways which express collective and ancient values, not individual modern ones. Any flamboyance we may see in the old darlings' workwear and "street fashion" is accidental -- and absolute.

42CommentReplyAdd to MemoriesShare

imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 04:55 am (UTC)

Actually, my contrast between Zipper and Living National Treasure magazine breaks down somewhat when you look at the ultra-trad folk costume on the cover of the current Zipper:


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lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 05:30 am (UTC)

It all breaks down, baby blue. And that's okay--as long as these temporary constructs nurture us and others. Ride that venn diagram!


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 07:19 am (UTC)

I'm going to paste a thing I wrote when we talked about this heuristocrat thing three years ago:

1. You see specific things, and you notice a relationship between them.

2. You abstract the relationship and make a model. Cute Formalism, for instance.

3. That model, because it's left the specifics behind a bit, can roll about like a big sticky Katamari Damacy ball, picking up other things in its path.

4. New relationships between specific things are formed, links that could never have been made if all the specifics had remained specific, in other words, if they hadn't been abstracted.

5. So it's a form of brainstorming, for me at least, and a way to fuse disparate cultural objects in surprising and fresh ways. "Meme splicing" is what I sometimes call it.

People sometimes think these abstractions have to be "true" or "logical", but that's not the case. They're irrational little machines, like Paul Klee's "Twitter Machine" or Kafka's "Odradek", and all they have to do to justify their existence is produce an interesting result. Or sing.


ReplyThread Parent
stanleylieber
stanleylieber
Stanley Lieber
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 07:26 am (UTC)


ReplyThread Parent
lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC)

I find these things have to hit that sweet spot, somewhere between plausible and preposterous. They should be well-conceived enough to make their way across the room before falling apart. It's what rhyming minds do.


ReplyThread Parent
lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)

It's all quite intuitive, but over time certain patterns make themselves known. It's interesting how such whirlygigs can take on a gravity of their own, drawing emblems into its orbit. Periodically these models comprised of emblems must be scuttled and recombined to incorporate one's ever-changing leitmotif, jettisoning elements that no longer rhyme with the rest. Some models are made up of harmonious emblems, and other models based on the dissonance between two disparate emblems, forcing one to erect some sort of common theme. Depends on one's aesthetic persona/personality.

The emblems are expressions of themes, qualities and principles that tend to stick around much longer, and often aren't as subject to change (this is why my notion of progress clashed with yours earlier this week: my own metaphors are mostly biological, which are geared more towards "out" than "forward"). This doesn't mean that they too aren't fluid--they are, but they're a bit more viscous than emblems. Fluids of varying thicknesses, you might say.

For me, my journal is the face of this process, and those who have followed it over time might detect shifts occurring and new themes emerging. Of course, my own navel is of interest only to myself, and readers come for the models and emblems to use for their own ends. That's what matters.

The book is the fossil of a species that no longer exists. It has since evolved, as it should.

Edited at 2008-01-11 05:11 pm (UTC)


ReplyThread Parent
lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 05:34 am (UTC)

This brought to mind the work of Charles F. Goldie.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 09:00 am (UTC)

Surprising. Fresh.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 09:02 am (UTC)

We talked about this heuristocrat thing THREE YEARS AGO.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)

I know you're just a sneery internet echo, but yes, I've been blogging now for four years and one of the things that still excites me most about it is how there can be a kind of dialogue -- not just the way my own themes this week bounced off each other, trying to resolve their contradictions ("Are laboratories important in culture? But what about communal folk tradition and "living treasures?"), and not just the way these thoughts are rooted in specific things I've seen, places I've been, but also how the things I thought this week hit themes I hit in the past (link that, increase the complexity, find more contradictions to resolve!) or hit themes other bloggers thought about at other times. In other words, I'm not only bouncing off my own themes now and my own themes then, but also other bloggers views now and their views then, based on things they did then.

"Heuristocracy" is an idea Whimsy came up with in 2004 after visiting The American Philosophical Society’s exhibit on the visual culture of natural history in early North America.

The process I'm describing here is exciting because it sees abstract ideas vested not just in events, but in personalities. As we accumulate new experiences, we see old ideas from slightly different angles. I know you're Anon, Anon, and just an echo, but you might like to try this vested thing -- writing as yourself for a number of years, seeing the same ideas coming up, finding political contradictions in what you're endorsing (Do I believe in progress, or am I a relativist? Do I believe that individual critical distance is possible, or that we're collective animals determined by culture and can't step outside it?), bouncing off other personae with similar interests and concerns, but crucial differences in perspective. Having a persona, and being vested, is great. It takes blogging -- and the internet -- to a whole new level. It's a hell of a lot more interesting than being a sarky echo. You should try it!


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)

The Compleat Heuristocrat.


ReplyThread Parent
lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)

Ha--forgot I still had those chapters on the journal. My publisher might be a bit miffed if they found that--but the book was hardly a bestseller, so no harm done.

Flattered.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC)

With no katakana or English on the cover that magazine basically looks Chinese.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
Plaster

Unesco initiative is, at first sight, good scout action, but it hides in its bowels two perils. It throws gasoline in the nationalistic bonfire; and it covers Culture – an organic and ever-changing element – with a plaster of tradition gypsum.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Plaster

It's funny, every time I say something about UNESCO, someone enters with a cautionary note about the organisation. I think it's wild exaggeration to say UNESCO "throws gasoline in the nationalistic bonfire". Surely the main threat today is the eradication of difference, not its preservation? Given two bad scenarios, one dominated by national differentiation and the other by standardization, surely standardization is by far the more likely to happen, and to destroy more human languages, crafts, ways of life?

And to say that UNESCO somehow stops culture developing is also a ridiculous exaggeration. Japan, Korea and Taiwan, the nations most keen on this sort of National Living Treasure scheme, are also the nations which innovate most avidly, creating more new futuristic forms and spending more money on R&D in relation to GDP than anyone else. UNESCO -- or government protection of bunraku masters and potters -- is not in the least bit at odds with this, or a threat to it. In fact, they're two sides of the same basic respect for creators and makers and skills.


ReplyThread Parent
timelyreference
timelyreference
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
This

Things have matched up quite nicely this week, momus, -my compliments- particularly this article when paired with the previous of that sulky architect.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
Re: This

Yes, I think I've caught myself red-handed in an act of "asymmetrical multiculturalism" -- the idea that it's fine for people from another culture to be conservatives, but not fine for someone from my own to do the same.

This, plus the emphasis on progress in all the lab features I ran, makes me a fairly typical liberal.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
Re: This

relativism is the other denomination of what you call "asymmetrical multiculturalism".
kuja


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC)
Re: This

If you follow the link from the term "asymmetrical multiculturalism" to my Eurabia piece, you'll see that I disagree with Eric Kauffmann, who came up with the term as a criticism of liberals. And the reason I disagree with it is that I don't accept the relativism Kauffmann attributes to people who think this way.

For me, multiculturalism needs to be asymmetrical because power is asymmetrically distributed in our societies, and we need to compensate for this. A true relativist would say that every race weighs the same as every other, so they all have the right to assert their own cultural norms. What I say is that only racial minorities (in the UK, for instance) have the right to do this, precisely because they're minorities -- less than 10% of the population. When the white majority does it -- when 90% of the population asserts the right to celebrate the way 90% of the population lives, there's no longer any compensatory, recuperative, corrective element. It becomes arrogant breast-beating, the strong asserting their strength.

In terms of the gay / straight binary, imagine straights -- who already see their sexuality lauded in just about every TV show and so on -- claiming the right to stage Straight Pride marches every time gays stage a Gay Pride march. It's precisely this kind of power-blind symmetry which is asymmetrical, not the weighted liberal kind Kauffmann is attacking.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
Re: This

Sorry, spelt his name wrong, it's Eric Kaufmann, and he's currently at Birkbeck College in London. To give a flavour of his stance, here are some titles he's linked:

The Poverty of Liberalism
Faith's Comeback
Condemned to Rootlessness


ReplyThread Parent
jermynsavile
jermynsavile
jermynsavile
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 12:15 am (UTC)
Re: This

While I'm really relieved you've owned up to what you describe as "asymmetrical multiculturalism" I really can't feel much sympathy for your justifications. Yes, power is asymmetrically distributed in our societies, but it's something that confounds broad generalisations into gender and race. Class has more purchase, but even this depends on one's definition.

Quinlan Terry is motivated by much the same principles as the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties. Whether he does what he does well or not is an entirely different question of course. What is beyond doubt however, is that within the architectural profession he is far less of an insider, with far less power, than, say, Zaha Hadid or David Adjaye (who, despite their backgrounds, represent the dominant aesthetic). The tradition he is trying to conserve/revive has few supporters in positions of power - state patronage being in the hands of people who agree publicly, even if they may not really agree privately, with asymetric multiculturalism. A corrective element might work in his favour.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 01:07 am (UTC)
Re: This

within the architectural profession he is far less of an insider, with far less power, than, say, Zaha Hadid or David Adjaye (who, despite their backgrounds, represent the dominant aesthetic). The tradition he is trying to conserve/revive has few supporters in positions of power

Now, that is really not the case. Have a look at this Simon Schama tour of 10 Downing Street, from the Prime Ministerial YouTube channel:



Quinlan Terry is the favourite architect of both Mrs Thatcher and Prince Charles. They didn't employ him as some kind of affirmative action, but because his vision was as conservative as theirs. To portray him as a victim, you really have to argue, somehow, that this is not power -- that power is the opinion of your professional peers. And yes, they, like me, do consider Terry a bit of a buffoon. But "few supporters in positions of power" -- please! If only!

In order to present Quinlan Terry as an endangered minority requiring affirmative action-type support (and maybe grants from UNESCO!) you'd have to resort to one of the following rhetorical strategies:

1. Convince me that Britain wasn't wasn't essentially a conservative country, and that conservatives were an endangered species there. (Likely to fail.)

2. Choose a context (the world of professional trendy architecture, for instance) where Terry's values are rejected and then tell me this is the only world that counts for him. Again, likely to fail.

3. Portray Terry in a way likely to appeal to radicals and liberals, for instance by means of a tail-chasing paradox like "so square he's hip". Problem: endless slippage of your terms.

4. Portray him as a
guilt pleasure
. Problem: I hate the idea of the "guilty pleasure"!


ReplyThread Parent
jermynsavile
jermynsavile
jermynsavile
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 01:53 am (UTC)
Re: This

Interesting points, but the money and the ability to foist a particular -ism on the world isn't with Thatcher or even Prince Charles these days, especially when it comes to public commission. The money and patronage is in the hands of the Livingstones and the Serotas et al (socially liberal, economically supporters of neo-liberalism, and antagonistic to anything they see as smacking of 'tradition'). I'm generalising here of course, in the same way you did with your broad generalisations about power etc, but then all of our arguments would dissolve into nothing if we didn't.

The favoured house style of today's political patrons is modernism, with or without "Post-" as a prefix. The monotonous regularity with which Richard Foster is dragged into city centres to build should be proof of that. Hadid and Adjaye, or others who share their stylistic tropes, are far more likely to get the public work than Terry. The fact is that Terry's practice would have withered away years ago were it not for private patrons from America.

Terry is no radical in the sense I assume you are using the word. But then neither, I should imagine, are many of your Japanese examples. They are part of their dominant culture, at least just as much as he is, they aren't minorities in anything other than the way they choose to earn their living. So why should they be protected? Terry is trying, in my opinion not very well, but trying to keep a tradition alive that is, except as renovation, now dying. So are they. The tragedy is that all Terry can manage is pastiche.

Not sure that Terry's appeal to radicals and liberals matters very much as part of the argument, but perhaps he might appeal more than you think? In October 2007 he was fined £25,000 for demolishing, without permission, a couple of John Nash designed lodge houses in Regents Park. There are plenty of radicals and liberals who would have applauded that!



ReplyThread Parent
lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 02:42 am (UTC)
You know me, J....

Radical is not necessarily marginal. And continuity is not necessarily nostalgia.


ReplyThread Parent
jermynsavile
jermynsavile
jermynsavile
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 09:54 am (UTC)
Re: You know me, J....

Absolutely agree. This was what worried me most about our host's justification of 'asymmetrical multiculturalism' - implied within it is an argument for selective cultural amnesia on the grounds of 'compensation.'

Without an understanding and appreciation of where we come from we become the slaves of fashion, personal and political hubris, and commercial interests.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 04:04 am (UTC)
Re: This

Demolishing the original to make way for a pastiche? I certainly wouldn't applaud that!


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lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 07:02 am (UTC)
Re: This

Pretty horrific. Someone should get all Capability Brown on his ass for that.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
Re: This

Momus,

You have insightful ideas, but they has some flaws. May I ask: do you know Sahlins?

"And surely it is a cruel post-modernist fate that requires the ethnographer to celebrate the counterhegemonic diversity of other people’s discourses — the famous polyphony or heteroglossia — while at the same time he or she is forced to confess that shis own scholarly voice is the stereotypic expression of a totalized system of power." (Waiting for Foucault, Still)

I beg you also to read also a paper from a Brazilian anthropologist called Eduardo Viveiros de Castro. He has a powerful interpretation about relativism: http://amazone.wikia.com/wiki/Introdu%C3%A7%C3%A3o_ao_m%C3%A9todo_do_perspectivismo

I'm not flaming. I only want to cooperate.

Kuja


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Jan. 13th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
Re: This

I understand that Sahlins quote, but I'm afraid I think what he describes there is not a "cruel fate" at all. That asymmetry is not an error at all, it's simply good manners to question one's own culture but accept the other's culture as it stands.

We only have the right to alter our own culture, not anyone else's, after all. What would be the point in being critical of a culture we couldn't participate in, and couldn't change? It would, finally, be mere ethnocentrism: a failure of courtesy and a failure of empathy.

So I see an academic attacking this necessary asymmetry as an academic who essentially wants to be able to condemn a foreign culture with a rock-steady sense of his own right to do so, and the correctness of his own methodology. That's an appalling position of arrogance. Of course, some say that self-questioning (especially when the other fails to self-question) is also an act of arrogance, because it implies that we set higher standards for ourselves than others. But if these high standards include doubting our high standards, that argument is itself somewhat thrown into doubt. How can arrogance be exemplified, precisely, by a lack of arrogance?


ReplyThread Parent
lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)

Here's a western example of how collectivism (in the form of a lived musical tradition) gives a performance a tragic resonance that it may otherwise lack. Nomi's non-traditional pop tunes don't even come close to the tragic power in this, his last performance before eventually succumbing to AIDS.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC)

What's so remarkable about that (great!) performance is how it combines the "timeless" with the "timely". Nomi finds a vocabulary of coldness and freezing in Purcell's aria which relates very much to the Cold Wave / New Wave idiom he was working in, and emphasizes it with robotic arm and glazed eyed gestures familiar from the Cold Wave repertoire (everyone from Howard Devoto to Gary Numan was doing variants on them at the time). But he performs this self-requiem fur ewig -- and the gestural coldness will shortly be all too real for him -- with a full orchestra and a room full of 17th century ghosts. In tune, in time and -- soon enough -- out of it.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)

'zactly. He was appropriating, but--crucially--he also synthesizing.


ReplyThread Parent
lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)

(t'was I)


ReplyThread Parent
lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)

Regarding your take on asymmetrical multiculturalism: might not this also be applied to the less common, endangered but nourishing qualities in one's own native culture? I mean, why couldn't we laud the light, the fey, the elegant, the poised, the gentle, and the quiet in our own traditions, and take those models with us into the future?




ReplyThread Parent
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 08:49 pm (UTC)

What Japanese authors are you into Momus? I myself have an eye for Haruki Murakami, Ryu Murakami, Osamu Dazai and Kenzaburo Oe (Though I haven't read anything by the two latter, yet).


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)

Mishima is the one who's marked me the most, I think. Then Soseki. But also Dazai and Ryu Murakami. I've read some Haruki Murakami, but not really followed up; there's just too much of a clamour about him in the West, and I'd rather stay out of it for now. Snobbism, no doubt.


ReplyThread Parent
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)

Haruki Murakami seems to have the same themes running through his works. Might be a bit of a bore unless you like a thread through an authors canon. Though it seems very typical of authors two repeat the same themes through their books quite often. At least that is the impression I have of many authors in general, though.


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destron0
destron0
Destron
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 01:09 am (UTC)

I've often wondered if your "Lucky Like St. Sebastian" was influenced by Mishima's "Confessions of a Mask?" I believe that was also his first book -- interesting in that Sebastian is the first track on your first solo record.


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destron0
destron0
Destron
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 01:10 am (UTC)

BTW, if you were to read Murakami Haruki I would recommend "Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World." I can't speak for the translation, but it's a great read.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 11th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC)

A vain prima donna -- he knows it\'s who he is that\'s being recognized, not what he knows.


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destron0
destron0
Destron
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)

I was first introduced to the concept of a living national treasure a few years ago while visiting a high-end pottery shop near Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto. The shop owner was very friendly and took me to a back room where I saw some wood-craft boxes made by a living national treasure before they were to be sent to a museum in Tokyo.

All in all, I must say that the system seems to be working fairly well. General knowledge of traditional arts and crafts in Japan is much higher than it is here in the U.S. Perusing the bookshops I see many in-depth guides for on the process of traditional arts and crafts. I would love to see the same thing in the U.S. but we are too focused on constantly being on the move forward. Change is good; if it isn't new it is to be forgotten.

How does the system account for accidental death of one of these treasures? Each should realistically have multiple students to ensure a blood line. You know how difficult it was for the Caesars to find successors...


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Jan. 13th, 2008 08:18 am (UTC)
Shozo Sato

I got to meet Shozo Sato in Chicago (a Japanese Living National Treasure) and watch a)A play that he directed - "Kabuki Lady Macbeth"! b)A flower arranging demonstration that he put on and c)a live ink printing ceremony that felt very spiritual. Looking back, I am wondering if he was a living national RENAISSANCE treasure?? Is this possible? Was he a living national treasure of Kabuki, flower arranging, calligraphy, or a 3? Afterwards, I got into a huge conversation with my boyfriend about what would happen if one was to kidnap a Living National Treasure? Does anyone know the official repercussions?

s


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