Japanese Culture Through Videogames (author) Routledge 2019
Examining a wide range of Japanese videogames, including arcade fighting games, PC-based strategy games and console JRPGs, this book assesses their cultural significance and shows how gameplay and context can be analyzed together to understand videogames as a dynamic mode of artistic expression.
Well-known titles such as Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Street Fighter and Katamari Damacy are evaluated in detail, showing how ideology and critique are conveyed through game narrative and character design as well as user interface, cabinet art, and peripherals. This book also considers how ‘Japan’ has been packaged for domestic and overseas consumers, and how Japanese designers have used the medium to express ideas about home and nation, nuclear energy, war and historical memory, social breakdown and bioethics. Placing each title in its historical context, Hutchinson ultimately shows that videogames are a relatively recent but significant site where cultural identity is played out in modern Japan.
Comparing Japanese videogames with their American counterparts, as well as other media forms, such as film, manga and anime, Japanese Culture Through Videogames will be useful to students and scholars of Japanese culture and society, as well as Game Studies, Media Studies and Japanese Studies more generally.
Negotiating Censorship in Modern Japan (editor) Routledge 2013
Censorship in Japan has seen many changes over the last 150 years and each successive system of rule has possessed its own censorship laws, regulations, and methods of enforcement. Yet what has remained constant through these many upheavals has been the process of negotiation between censor and artist that can be seen across the cultural media of modern society.
By exploring censorship in a number of different Japanese art forms – from popular music and kabuki performance through to fiction, poetry and film – across a range of historical periods, this book provides a striking picture of the pervasiveness and strength of Japanese censorship across a range of media; the similar tactics used by artists of different media to negotiate censorship boundaries; and how censors from different systems and time periods face many of the same problems and questions in their work. The essays in this collection highlight the complexities of the censorship process by investigating the responsibilities and choices of all four groups – artists, censors, audience and ideologues – in a wide range of case studies. The contributors shift the focus away from top-down suppression, towards the more complex negotiations involved in the many stages of an artistic work, all of which involve movement within boundaries, as well as testing of those boundaries, on the part of both artist and censor. Taken together, the essays in this book demonstrate that censorship at every stage involves an act of human judgment, in a context determined by political, economic and ideological factors.This book and its case studies provide a fascinating insight into the dynamics of censorship and how these operate on both people and texts. As such, it will be of great interest to students and scholars interested in Japanese studies, Japanese culture, society and history, and media studies more generally.
Representing the Other in Modern Japanese Literature (co-editor) Routledge 2007
Representing the Other in Modern Japanese Literature looks at the ways in which authors writing in Japanese in the twentieth century constructed a division between the ‘Self’ and the ‘Other’ in their work. Drawing on methodology from Foucault and Lacan, the clearly presented essays seek to show how Japanese writers have responded to the central question of what it means to be ‘Japanese’ and of how best to define their identity.
Taking geographical, racial and ethnic identity as a starting point to explore Japan’s vision of ‘non-Japan’, representations of the Other are examined in terms of the experiences of Japanese authors abroad and in the imaginary lands envisioned by authors in Japan.
Using a diverse cross-section of writers and texts as case studies, this edited volume brings together contributions from a number of leading international experts in the field and is written at an accessible level, making it essential reading for those working in Japanese studies, colonialism, identity studies and nationalism.
Nagai Kafū’s Occidentalism: Defining the Japanese Self (author) SUNY Press 2011
Describes how writer Nagai Kafū (1879–1959) used his experience of the West to reconcile modernization and Japanese identity.
Nagai Kafū (1879–1959) spent more time abroad than any other writer of his generation, firing the Japanese imagination with his visions of America and France. Applying the theoretical framework of Occidentalism to Japanese literature, Rachael Hutchinson explores Kafū’s construction of the Western Other, an integral part of his critique of Meiji civilization. Through contrast with the Western Other, Kafū was able to solve the dilemma that so plagued Japanese intellectuals—how to modernize and yet retain an authentic Japanese identity in the modern world. Kafū’s flexible positioning of imagined spaces like the “West” and the “Orient” ultimately led him to a definition of the Japanese Self. Hutchinson analyzes the wide range of Kafū’s work, particularly those novels and stories reflecting Kafū’s time in the West and the return to Japan, most unknown to Western readers and a number unavailable in English, along with his better-known depictions of Edo’s demimonde. Kafū’s place in Japan’s intellectual history and his influence on other writers are also discussed.
“Hutchinson’s powerful contribution will take its place among the most important books published on Kafū. It stands apart because she expands on important issues in his writing, including Orientalism/Occidentalism, identity, and social critique.” — Douglas N. Slaymaker, author of The Body in Postwar Japanese Fiction.