Archive Page 2

Im Lande der Barbaren (5) – Fischmarkt

Muragaki Awaji-no-kami leitet im Jahre 1860 eine japanische Delegation in die USA. In seinem Tagebuch notiert er seine Eindrücke von Amerika.

Bereits erschienen:
Teil 1 – Ehefrauen
Teil 2 – Geisterland
Teil 3 – Zehntausend Meilen
Teil 4 – Kaufmann

Die japanische Delegation nimmt als Zuhörer an einer turnusmäßigen Senatssitzung teil. 40 bis 50 Senatoren sind anwesend.

Einer sprang auf und schimpfte – so laut er konnte – und gestikulierte wie ein Verrückter. Als er sich hinsetzte, folgten ihm weitere, die sich alle in derselben Art verhielten. Auf unsere Frage sagte man, daß die Staatsangelegenheiten hier öffentlich diskutiert würden. Wir konnten keine weiteren Fragen stellen, obwohl wir dazu animiert wurden. Es wäre sehr ungehörig und unhöflich von uns gewesen, sich mit den Staatsangelegenheiten einer anderen Nation zu befassen. […] Die Senatoren trugen ihre üblichen engen schwarzen Jacken und Hosen und erhoben ihre Stimmen in einer entschieden zu ungehörigen Weise.
Wir flüsterten uns zu, daß die Szene der auf dem Fischmarkt von Nihonbashi ähnelte und lächelten.

Bereits zuvor hatten die Japaner in Washington an einem öffentlichen Empfang teilgenommen, bei dem sich eher unwohl fühlten.

Wir konnten nicht verstehen, warum wir diese Tausende von Menschen vom Balkon aus begrüßen sollten, und nicht einmal eine Tasse Tee wurde uns angeboten, und weshalb wir später dieses Gebäude besichtigen mußten, das wie ein verlassener buddhistischer Tempel aussah [das Weiße Haus].

(zit. nach: Die Geburt des modernen Japan in Augenzeugenberichten, hrsg. u. eingel. v. Gertrude C. Schwebell. Düsseldorf, 1970)

Japan in Diaspora / Diaspora in Japan (1)

Though occupied with preparing a talk on studying in Japan and cramming for my exams, I managed to attend at least part of the symposium on Japanese Diaspora Studies at Düsseldorf’s Heinrich-Heine-Universität that I wrote about earlier. This was, to the best of my knowledge, the first conference on this topic in German Japanese Studies. It was quite lively, with contributions from German, Japanese-American, Chinese and Japanese scholars and discussions routinely held in three languages, as befit the subject. In this first post, I will summarize the opening speeches by Shingo Shimada and Harumi Befu. I will try to provide summaries to some of the other contributions later, notably Kyungsik Suh’s well-received account of his zainichi identity and language politics, and Ludger Pries’s more theory-focused paper on the concept of trans-national space.

Continue reading ‘Japan in Diaspora / Diaspora in Japan (1)’

36 Views of Mishima Yukio (5) – Ian Buruma

Mishima Yukio
The European manners that Mishima often affected were typical of the old upper class. His samurai fantasies were not necessarily a contradiction to this. He wanted to remain an aristocrat, a knight of a special brotherhood in a vulgar age. Being Japanese, the only tradition of knighthood he could fall back upon was The Way of the Samurai, as expressed in such flamboyant works as Hagakure. […] But let us not be conned into thinking that he stood for more than himself. It would be best to concentrate on his books as works of art, not as props for grand statements about the authors life and death […] I do think most Japanese are right in regarding Mishima’s seppuku as little more than the pathetic act of a very gifted buffoon.

(quoted from Ian Buruma, The Missionary and the Libertine. Love and War in East and West. London, et al.: 1996)

Statetris Japan

Statetris is an interesting game mixing aspects of the popular game ‘Tetris’ and geography. Instead of positioning the typical Tetris blocks, you position states/countries at their proper location.


36 Views of Mishima Yukio (4) – John Nathan

Mishima Yukio
Mishima’s crowd gathered every week for parties at the Latin quarter or at private homes in Karuizawa, a fashionable resort several hours north of the city which had not been bombed. There was a lot of drinking and, in the American style, promiscuity. Mishima neither drank nor smoked at the time; certainly he was not promiscuous, not yet, never in a circle like this. But he did accomodate himself by taking dancing lessons in the summer of 1946. Perhaps, as he always maintained, Mishima truly loved to dance. Or perhaps the “zest” for his dancing he began to display as early as 1946 was one of his earliest simulations of normalcy. I have seen Mishima “lose himself” to the Monkey or the Watsui in the mid-sixties, and it was like watching a studied imitation of a dancer; he always looked horrifyingly sober, though clearly his movements and expressions were intended to create the effect not merely of spontaneity but enthrallment. In any case, he was a bad dancer, uncoordinated and apparently deaf to music. In 1946 and 1947, when he was still a wan, emaciated figure, his jitterbug must have been a sight to behold.

(quoted from: John Nathan, Mishima. A Biography, Da Capo Press, 2000)

Researching Japanese Religions on the Web (2) – Shintō and Folk Religion

The second part of my on-going, barely organized link dump on the online study of Japanese religions concerns itself with Shintō and folk religion. If you aren’t yet familiar with Japanese religion and its study on the web, I recommend you check out the first part first, where I have attempted to provide a basic guide. If you feel ready for more, read on below the fold…

Continue reading ‘Researching Japanese Religions on the Web (2) – Shintō and Folk Religion’

「言葉」の「言」 – Heidegger übersetzt:

“Das Ereignis der lichtenden Botschaft der Anmut”


Edit: …aber immerhin, wenn fünf Jahrzehnte später ein schöner Essay über Sei Shōnagon dabei herauskommt…


RSS Japan News

  • Two 16-year-old students arrested for dumping body of newborn baby
  • Robot finds likely melted fuel heap inside Fukushima reactor
  • New method of smuggline gold into Japan suspected
  • Kindergarten children stung by hornets
  • Yokohama man accused of dumping corpses of 2 Chinese women in Kanagawa
  • Venomous fire ants found in Kyushu for first time
  • Japan eyes removal of expressway over landmark Tokyo bridge
  • Hakuho sets new record with 1,048 career wins
  • Amazon blamed for Japan's deflation problem
  • Japan regulator warns small banks they must change to survive