These critical essays examine East Asian culture through an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural lens. Readings of film, television, and visual and literary texts reveal the historical condition as well as the contemporary impulses driving East Asian culture today. We feel the muted tension in a rural South Korean village; we walk down the bustling streets of Hong Kong and witness the city's protean possibilities for a postrevolutionary reality. The boisterous tarento shows on Japanese television force us to rethink the nature of information and image production in relation to leisure management; cinematic spectacles in Japan, North Korea, Taiwan, and China point to complex issues of agency, the formation of the public sphere, and postnationalist identities. We see contemporary fiction from China and Japan engage themes of desire and remembrance as metaphors to express a profound historical anxiety. Mirroring the fast-moving and multifaceted landscape is our ability to move freely through time as we confront legitimizing narratives of modernization in early-twentieth-century Japan and, against an emerging regime of global capitalism, reexamine the approaching century in imagined historical hindsight. By anticipating the geocultural shift to the Asian Pacific Rim in the twenty-first century, this volume serves as both an introduction to contemporary East Asian culture and an exploration of its global context.
Introduction -- General Nogi's Wife -- Against Metaphor -- Writing Erratic Desire -- Two Murakamis and Marcel Proust -- The Fractured Cinema of North Korea -- New Urban Culture and the Anxiety of Everyday Life in Contemporary China -- Image, Information, Commodity -- Cinema and the Public Sphere -- Sexual DisOrientations -- Looking Backward in the Age of Global Capital