Asian & Asian American Studies

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Exporting Japanese Aesthetics

Evolution from Tradition to Cool Japan

Tets Kimura teaches Creative Art at Flinders University.

Jennifer Harris has a PhD focusing on the 19th century formation of Japanese art collections. She teaches Japanese Art History at the University of Adelaide.

Exporting Japanese Aesthetics brings together historical and contemporary case studies addressing the evolution of international impacts and influences of Japanese culture and aesthetics. The volume draws on a wide range of examples from a multidisciplinary team of scholars exploring transnational, regional and global contexts. Studies include the impact of traditional Japanese theatre and art through to the global popularity of contemporary anime and manga. Under the banner of “soft power” or “Cool Japan”, cultural commodities that originate in Japan have manifested new meanings outside Japan. By (re)mapping meanings of selected Japanese cultural forms, this volume offers an in-depth examination of how various aspects of Japanese aesthetics have evolved as exportable commodities, the motivations behind this diffusion, and the extent to which the process of diffusion has been the result of strategic planning.

Each chapter presents a case study that explores perspectives that situate Japanese aesthetics within a wide-ranging field of inquiry including performance, tourism, and visual arts, as well as providing historical contexts. The importance of interrogating the export of Japanese aesthetics is validated at the highest levels of government, which formed the Office of Cool Japan in 2010, and which perhaps originated in the 19th Century at governmentally endorsed cultural “courts” at world’s fairs. Increased international consumption of contemporary Japanese culture provides a much needed boost to Japan’s weakening economy.

The case studies are timely and topical. As host of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2025 Osaka Expo, “Cool Japan” will be under special scrutiny.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78976-001-9
Hardback Price: £85.00 / $99.95
Release Date: June 2020
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. 234 x 156 mm
Illustrated: Yes


Series Preface by Mina Roces

Introduction: From Tradition to Cool Japan
Tets Kimura & Jennifer Harris

Chapter 1        
Evolution of the Perceptions of Japanese Culture in the West: From Unknown, Mysterious, Exotic to Cool
Tets Kimura

Chapter 2        
"Odd and Bizarre": The Export of Japanese Aesthetics to Nineteenth-Century Australia
Jennifer Harris

Chapter 3        
Japonisme in New Zealand, 1870s-1940s: A "present tendency…to possess 'something Japanese'"
James Beattie & Richard Bullen

Chapter 4        
Shinto and Cherry Blossoms: The Remasculinisation of Japan at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair
William Peterson

Chapter 5                    
Japanese Architecture as Export
Christopher Pokarier & Erez Golani Solomon

Chapter 6        
Toshiki Okada's Transcultural Dramaturgy: From Nō to Brecht and Back
Maggie Ivanova

Chapter 7        
An Afterimage of Exoticism: On the Description of Rei Kawakubo's Early Collections
Hissako Anjo

Chapter 8                    
Techno-Orientalism and Remixing Ukiyo-e through GIFs
Craig Norris

Chapter 9        
Exporting Japanese Aesthetics through Adaptations of Hana-Kimi: Masculinity, Schemas and Scripts in Live Action Drama and Fanfiction
Sung-Ae Lee

Chapter 10                   
AKB48 and the Export of Kawaii Aesthetics through the Indonesian JKT48
Tets Kimura

The Editors and Contributors


As listed in the Australian Academy of the Humanities 2021 Book List 

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