Transcultural Japan: At the Borderlands of Race, Gender and Identity (Hardback) book cover

Transcultural Japan

At the Borderlands of Race, Gender and Identity

Edited by David Blake Willis, Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu

© 2008 – Routledge

342 pages | 35 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2009-06-26
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Transcultural Japan 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 borderlands 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 the emergence of what could be called trans-local 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 identities and transformations.


'Transcultural Japan provides a new exploration of diversity in Japan by variously situated authors, themselves representing diverse perspectives on Japanese society. Perhaps its largest contribution is in presentations of individuals and groups with multiple identity positions, reflecting the interpenetrations of transnationalism or transculturalism as currently manifest in Japanese society and experience' - Millie Creighton, University of British Columbia

"Transcultural Japan: At the Borderlands of Race, Gender, and Identity is a thoughtprovoking and engaging examination of Others in contemporary Japan. The breadth and depth of this edited volume is the result of the collaborative efforts of fifteen authors from diverse areas of expertise, yet it remains throughout a unified and accessible text. Transcultural Japan is essential reading for anyone interested in not just what is happening in Japan today, but perhaps more importantly, where Japan is heading tomorrow." - Lacklan Jackson, Asian Studies Reviews, December 2010

Table of Contents

Foreword, HARUMI BEFU; PART I. Introduction; 1 Transcultural Japan: Metamorphosis in the Cultural Borderlands and Beyond, DAVID BLAKE WILLIS AND STEPHEN MURPHY-SHIGEMATSU

PART II. Gender and identity; 2 A Perfectly Ordinary Ethnic Korean in Japan: reprise, KYO NOBUKO (WITH AKEMI WEGMULLER); 3

Between Two Shores: Transnational Projects and Filipina Wives in/from Japan, NOBUE SUZUKI; 4 Gender, Modernity, and Eroticized Internationalism in Japan, KAREN KELSKY

PART III. Diaspora and mobility; 5 Between Privilege and Prejudice: Japanese-Brazilian Migrants in "The Land of Yen and the Ancestors", ANGELO AKIMITSU ISHI, 6 From ethnic ghetto to ‘gourmet republic’: the changing image of Kobe’s Chinatown and the ambiguity of being Chinese in modern Japan, TSU YUN HUI ; 7 Okinawan diasporic identities: between being a buffer and a bridge, WESLEY UEUNTEN

PART IV. Imagining oneself: visibility and invisibility; 8

. The Marvelous in the Real: Images of Burakumin in Nakagami Kenji's Kumano Saga

YOSHIKO YOKOCHI SAMUEL; 9 Positioning oneself in the Japanese nation state: the Hokkaido Ainu case, KATARINA SJÖBERG; 10 "Becoming a better Muslim": identity narratives of Muslim foreign workers in Japan, ONISHI AKIKO

PART V. Transnational, transcultural flows; 11 Dejima: creolization and enclaves of difference in transnational Japan, DAVID BLAKE WILLIS; 12 The racialization of Japan, WILLIAM WETHERALL; 13 "The Invisible Man" and other narratives of living in the borderlands of race and nation, STEPHEN MURPHY-SHIGEMATSU; 14 Ethnoscapes and The Other in 21st century Japan, DAVID BLAKE WILLIS AND STEPHEN MURPHY-SHIGEMATSU

AFTERWORD Marginals, minorities, majorities and migrants: Studying the Japanese borderlands in contemporary Japan, ROGER GOODMAN

About the Editors

DAVID BLAKE WILLIS is Professor of Anthropology and Education at Soai University, Osaka, where he has been since 1986. He was a Senior Associate Professor at the University of Oxford 2006-2007.

STEPHEN MURPHY-SHIGEMATSU, Professor at the University of Tokyo 1994-2006, received a doctorate from Harvard, was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford, and is Professor at Fielding University.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Asia's Transformations

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General