Download Japan Through the Looking Glass by Alan Macfarlane PDF

By Alan Macfarlane

This exciting and ceaselessly amazing booklet takes us on an exploration into each point of jap society from the main public to the main intimate.

A sequence of meticulous investigations progressively uncovers the multi-faceted nature of a rustic and those that are much more notable than they seem.

Our trip encompasses faith, ritual, martial arts, manners, consuming, consuming, sizzling baths, geishas, kinfolk, domestic, making a song, wrestling, dancing, acting, clans, schooling, aspiration, sexes, generations, race, crime, gangs, terror, struggle, kindness, cruelty, cash, artwork, imperialism, emperor, geographical region, urban, politics, executive, legislation and a language that varies in line with whom you're conversing.

Clear-sighted, chronic, affectionate, unsentimental and sincere - Alan Macfarlane exhibits us Japan because it hasn't ever been obvious ahead of.

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Extra resources for Japan Through the Looking Glass

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One of these is that in all forms of art, including calligraphy and poetry, the outward expressions employ well known and powerful symbols which can be deeply appreciated by a welleducated audience. A great deal of Japanese art is allusive and symbolic, referring to something else. Expanding in the mind, it works indirectly. There is a desire to avoid the obvious and realistic in favour of the suggestive and the more profound. It is, as in Roland Barthes’s title, An Empire of Signs. This is because artists are trying to convey not the surface of things, as in realist art, but the inner essence, which can only be transmitted to the observer indirectly by symbols.

Everything is simultaneously cultural and natural, domesticated and wild, constructed and free. It is very difficult to articulate this, or to sense what it means to live in such a world. indb 29 13/5/08 16:34:37 30 japan through the looking glass Clearly the landscape within which most Japanese have lived is, even more than for the English, one created by human effort. Every leaf on every tree is ‘man-made’ to a certain extent. Every object, and every sentiment about every object, is constructed.

Indeed there are considered to be two kinds of sex: sex for pleasure and sex for reproduction. Sex as communication is less common. Such a matter-of-fact attitude makes paying for sex a pretty mundane event; it is not uncommon for a Japanese wife to settle the bills for her husband’s visits to sex parlours as she makes the monthly household payments. However, such an unusually prosaic and utilitarian attitude to sex has had widespread repercussions outside Japan, during the Second World War, and aroused much bitterness about the treatment of non-Japanese ‘comfort women’.

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