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Tue, Dec. 19th, 2006 12:56 pm
Tokyo-as-highly-viral-third-culture-style-lab

27CommentReply

imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Dec. 19th, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC)

Well, let's be very specific. The context there was a discussion of Richard Lloyd Parry's "fusty" conception of culture -- that it has to be literary / political or it's just not there. So let's take a look at Richard's blog, shall we?

This Tokyo-based Times journalist has a visually very shabby blog filled with talk radio-level debate on topics like feminism, censorship, prime minister Abe's resemblance to Tom Conti, and the like. It's presumably the absence of such chatter that makes him think of Tokyo -- his adopted town since 1995 -- as such an intellectually arid place. Some of us, however, would call his blog arid, as depressing as the Murdoch newspaper he writes for.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Tue, Dec. 19th, 2006 03:08 pm (UTC)

So let's take a look at Richard's blog, shall we?

Lookalikes... "the inexorable logic of late capitalism"... looks pretty much like Marxy's blog!

I certainly agree that Tokyo is no less of a creative place because of its relative lack of an intellectual culture, just a different sort of place. Actually I was taking issue with your literary/visual binary. A lot of "visual" people - perhaps most - will take an intellectual approach to their art. (After all, conceptual art was the paradigm in the YBA world of the 90s.) You seem to be talking about a subset of "visual" people who don't, rather than visual people as a whole.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Dec. 19th, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC)

I think I'm just saying that visual thinking is thinking too, and that you can be a textural intellectual as well as a textual one. For some reason textural intellectuals thrive in Tokyo, whereas textual intellectuals wilt on the bough.


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akabe
akabe
alin huma
Tue, Dec. 19th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)

seen from within i don't think the dychotomy is that sharp. a lot of visual stuff, say the photography of araki or masafumi sanai, is usually (self-)described as literary (文学的) - in contrast to say takashi honma who, with more or less succes, is deliberately trying to avoid that by going for a certain 'western'-like conceptualism.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Tue, Dec. 19th, 2006 04:21 pm (UTC)

Sounds like they're trying to cover up their creative inadequacy through pseudo-intellectual blather. Real artists can never speak about their own works - it's like being blind, deaf, and dumb.


ReplyThread Parent
akabe
akabe
alin huma
Tue, Dec. 19th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)

eh ??


ReplyThread Parent
akabe
akabe
alin huma
Tue, Dec. 19th, 2006 05:08 pm (UTC)

anonymous , by your standard probably the hero of akutagawa's jigokuhen might be the only true artist in japanese history.

Also i think the literary/critical tradition is far from dead here. there's a ridiculous amount of good novels published and read all the time (i don't know what random generator decides what's to be translated for the west) . same with critical stuff, bookshops are always packed but i guess that's a world the metro-visual gaikokujin usually doesn't dwell in.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Dec. 19th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC)

Alin, would you care to mention what a couple of the more interesting recent novels have been? just curious what your suggestions would be - I've been interested in finding a good Japanese novel lately, but I'm not sure where to look.. (I'm outside Japan now but read Japanese)


ReplyThread Parent
akabe
akabe
alin huma
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 04:47 am (UTC)

uhmmm, busted, i havn't actualy been reading that much fiction recently, been busy going through the colected works of Kojin Karatani, a lovely old musty yellow set of collected Kafka in the old kanji for that bit extra entfremdung, a translation of Mille Plateux ...
... actualy i have just read something called Body Rental by 佐藤亜紀子, だれかのことをつよく思ってみたかた by 角田光代 with photos by Masafumi Sanai, some manga by Yamada Naoto (荻窪夫婦 etc)-  the last two being perfect examples of what i said earlier about there being no clear gap between the literary and the visual. 阿部和重 is quite interesting though probably already entered that over-productive stage the japanese literary machine tends to foster.

one thing after the Murakamis is that there are no more giants it's all minor in a good sense .. a lot of girl fiction etc. There was a literature issue of Studio Voice a few months ago that would have plenty of recomandations if you could get your hands on it.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 09:05 am (UTC)

thanks! those sound like interesting starting points. i'll see if maybe i can track down the Studio Voice issue, too.


ReplyThread Parent