After the Bubble: Post-Imperial Tokyo

Steve Clark

in Asian Crossings

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9789622099142
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206632 | DOI:
After the Bubble: Post-Imperial Tokyo

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This chapter restores a historicist dimension by emphasizing the specific determinants of the urban phenomenology characteristic of recent representations of Tokyo, in particular the curious mixture of schadenfreude and supplication that characterizes recent travelogues dealing with the mega-city. First, it aims to explore some specific examples of this urban phenomenology of deferred knowledge (or prolonged ignorance). Travel writing is collective and incremental rather than singular and aesthetic. It then addresses the issue of how gaijin ignorance alternates between means of cultural imposition and mode of continual humiliation in Peter Carey's Wrong about Japan. It appears that travelogue on Japan can only be authenticated by failure; insofar as it claims authority, it must appear inevitably self-deluding. In line with this, it relates this to some more general conventions of recent texts on Tokyo and Japan.

Keywords: Tokyo; urban phenomenology; travelogues; travel writing; gaijin; Peter Carey; Japan

Chapter.  8468 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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