Japan at Play

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Overview

This book explores the myth, so abused by the mass media, that the Japanese are a grey, anonymous mass of efficient, obedient workers. The articles shed light on a Japan outside officialdom, a lively Japan of tumultuous and independent thought, inefficient and aesthetic, pleasure-loving, aggressive and wasteful, creative and anti-authoritarian. The book's truly international contributors examine the role in modern Japanese society of a range of leisure and play activities, from drinking to travel, football to karaoke, tattoos to rock fandom. They explore how things which seem like play in one context are deadly serious in another, and how the fun and enjoyment may be achieved in unexpected ways. They also draw attention to the importance of such activities in understanding the deeper structure and meaning pervading all areas of the society in which they take place. This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of Japanese Studies, Sociology, Anthropology and Cultural Studies.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
List of contributors
Series editor's preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
1 The Japanese tattoo: play or purpose? 22
2 Interpreting the world as a ken game 35
3 Kono sekai (the Japanese gay scene): communities or just playing around? 57
4 Karakuri: the ludic relationship between man and machine in Tokugawa Japan 72
5 Ludic elements in Japanese attitudes to tsukuru 84
6 Saved by the love song: Japanese rock fans, memory and the pursuit of pleasure 99
7 Inakazumo, fun, and socially sanctioned violence 115
8 At the interstices: drinking, management, and temporary groups in a local Japanese organization 129
9 Training for leisure: karaoke and the seriousness of play in Japan 152
10 Is there a Japanese way of playing? 169
11 When the goal is not a goal: Japanese school football players working hard at their game 186
12 Professional soccer in Japan 199
13 Japan in the world of Johan Huizinga 214
14 The countryside reinvented for urban tourists: rural transformation in the Japanese muraokoshi movement 228
15 From curing and playing, to leisure: two Japanese hot springs: Arima and Kinosaki onsen 245
16 Illegal fishing and power games 259
17 Hunters and hikers: rival recreations in the Japanese forest 268
18 Japan at play in TDL (Tokyo Disneyland): the dialectics of asobi and reja 285
Index 300
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