Scholar Fear of Yamato-Picard Maneuver

In the future, you can’t sue a robot for sekuhara

Survival as a matter not of force, but of speed.

Tetsuo Najita (Culture and Technology in Postmodernism and Japan, 1989)… states that through translation of knowledge, from China and later from the West, ‘Japanese self-consciousness expressed itself with a primary reference to continuous “culture” and not to technological “work” – the latter, in the final analysis, being like Confucian knowledge attributable to the Other’. Forced to locate a ‘self’ between being and otherness, the Japanese have found their cultural selfhood in the dynamic formation of differences – the otherness they embrace is not the liminal Other but otherness embedded within the Japanese subject. Referring to Yukio Mishima’s essay ‘In Defense of Culture’ (文化防衛論 Bunka Boeiron, 1969) Najita further argues that the high-growth era of Japan in the 1960-70s left the question of ‘culture’ unanswered, and Mishima’s prophetic effort to separate culture from politics failed against the emerging high-consumerism…

…The decade observed an ironic integration of Japanese culture and technology never imagined by Nishida or Mishima…

…Frankly, scholars are overwhelmed by the accelerated production and consumption of anime and manga, and deeply anxious about not being able to “valorize the academic quality” of this overflowing culture taking its rise from Japan.

Technology and the Cultural Location of Japan, Kumiko Sato, Writing Technologies, Vol. 1.1 May 2007

See also :The Yamato-Picard Maneuver

2 comments on “Scholar Fear of Yamato-Picard Maneuver”

  1. Who’s this Nishida you refer to? Or did you mean to say Najita?

    I don’t think it’s a matter of the academia not being able to “valorize the academic quality”, it’s rather they are reluctant as it breaks the academic consensus that dictates the West, therefore endangering their own positions.

    Speed indeed has something to do with this, the Japanese culture has not ‘caught up’ with the ‘enlightened’ West, though it would be better to say it hasn’t been destroyed like the West has. An important factor in this respect, in my opinion, is the absense of the May 1968 revolution in Japan. Instead, Japan at that time was preoccupied with a surge in nationalist militantism (Mishima and various Kodoha-splinter groups) and even an increase (be it a spur) in o-miai’s and shinto activity. There wasn’t a change in consensus, only a gradual change can be considered over the years, one that has never been able to come to its rotten fruition. On the other hand, the Japanese Wirtschaftswunder did happen.

    So now we have a situation where a country with a culture that can be considered a danger to post-modernism has the means (technology, wealth) and the marketing (anime, manga) to penetrate the Western ruins. And, be it unintentionally, this wreaks havoc. Academics feel they are powerless, and, as they have shown in the past, the only course of action in such cases is utter silence.

    Of course, this can’t be generalized, but I am positive Gramsci is having a ball watching this spectacle unfold from down under.


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