"JapanAmerica" di Ronald Kelts

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Si suole ritenere che la seconda guerra mondiale sia stata vinta dagli statunitensi (in Giappone e altrove) tanto nel campo di battaglia, quanto in ambito culturale; nel contempo, si tendono spesso a trascurare gli apporti intellettuali e artistici non occidentali giunti nel Nuovo mondo.
Il libro di oggi, nel suo piccolo, si propone di compiere un’operazione a rovescio, evidenziando i contributi del Sol Levante alla creazione del mondo pop americano. Il suo eloquente nome è JapanAmerica (Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 256, 14.99 o 18.99 sterline, a seconda dell’edizione) ed è frutto delle fatiche di Ronald Kelts. Da quanto so, il volume, al momento, non è disponibile in italiano.
Ecco uno stralcio della prefazione:

[…] The questions are: Why Japan? And why now?

Japanamerica is an attempt to explore the answers. It is not exclusively focused on Japanese manga (graphic print narratives) or anime–a word that is a Japanese truncation of the English word animation and is applied to all animated images in Japan, but only to Japanese animation in America–nor is it an attempt to analyze, explain, or serve as a guide for the two related media. […]

Instead, I have set out to discover the reasons behind what many cultural historians are calling a third wave of Japanophilia–outsiders’ infatuation with Japan’s cultural character. The first wave occurred in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when European artists discovered a uniquely Japanese aesthetic, and the second in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when beatnik writers and poets were drawn to Japan’s ascetic spiritual traditions.

But what is unique about the current wave is the very modern, even futuristic, nature of the Japanese culture being sought. There are always some Americans interested in iconic totems of Japanese culture, like the bushido samurai tradition that emphasizes honor and discipline, ikebana flower arrangements, tea ceremonies, and Zen. […]

The majority of the material in this book is the result of interviews conducted in the United States and in Japan from March 2003 to the spring of 2006, with some exceptions. I spoke to Nigo, Japan’s hip-hop fashion guru, twice: once in 2002 and once in 2004. And I have interviewed Haruki Murakami, Japan’s most internationally famous and critically acclaimed contemporary novelist, several times since 2000, most recently in 2005.


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