Japanese Society – Globalization in Modern Japan
The thesis proposal on Japanese society
The duality of the process of self-identification of the Japanese, belonging to both the West and the East, makes them think about their identity and clarify it. At different periods of their history, the Japanese have repeatedly faced the need to approach the present and, in this connection, clarify the specifics of their self-identification. And each time it happened during the periods of internationalization, which were accompanied by the intervention of “foreign” value systems and their pressure on the traditional regulatory systems of the Japanese, prompting them to determine who “We” and who are “They”. Each of the three internationalization of Japan (during the Meiji era, during the occupation, and today under the influence of globalization) was accompanied by a powerful information value war. And yet, in the mass consciousness of the Japanese, the basic meaningful clasps that have deep socio-cultural and archetypal bases are preserved, which together form the ideal type of Japanese with the autonomy of thinking, with exceptional adaptive abilities for cultural interventions and the twists of fate, while retaining primarily the “non-economic” nature of social interaction (Lukacs 241).
The Japanese themselves write a lot about the problem of their identity, and the word “identity” has become firmly embedded in the Japanese language. However, as the Japanese proverb says, “at the foot of the lighthouse it is dark” (Daito moto Kurasi), i.e., the true position is visible from afar, and self-esteem is sometimes fraught with self-deception.
Identity in the context of this paper appears in two ways. First, identity is the sum of views on the basis of which a particular state is “imagined”, using the definition proposed by the American political scientist from Cornell University B. Anderson. Secondly, it is the sum of the representations of a group about its place in the world, primarily on the basis of correlation with “constituent others” within the framework of the opposition “we/them”. In other words, “identity is an ontological belief (personality, group, social system), manifested in the process of interaction with some” otherness” (Clammer 372). Identity refers to that class of phenomena that are associated with a part of the deep collective self-awareness and self-awareness of members of society, including the inherent collective unconscious. It is based on long-living, stable patterns of attitudes towards other sociocultural and ethnic-ethnic groups, and the world around them.
Globalization shifts the emphasis from the political identity of the nation-state to certain interstate and extraterritorial forms of identity.
Japan is a vivid example of a successful version of glocalization. This is her response to the challenges of globalization, which threatens to render the national cultural and civilizational identity impersonal (Kelly 69). The Japanese think of the political structure of the country in terms of Western civilization and in the context of Western democratic and liberal values. Western principles are laid in the foundation of the Japanese system of rational bureaucratic institutions: “A careful look at Japanese society will open up a healthy expression of self-interest, nonconformism and the differentiation of one individual from another.” Young Japanese people are clearly trying to emphasize their individual identity, for example, by carefully selecting ringtones of a mobile phone, but for some reason, from a myriad selection of tunes, they tend to prefer the same melodies (Minamida and Izumi 173). At the same time, in the civilizational and cultural context, the Japanese absolutely clearly feel like part of the Far Eastern civilization, based on the Confucian-Buddhist complex.
Japan is a symbiosis of Western political and eastern Confucian-Buddhist identity. In this case, the existence of such a “centaur” is extremely harmonious. Despite the eclectic nature of this kind of symbiosis, there are no deep contradictions within this complex. Mass religious and cultural fundamentalism – unlike the Islamic world – is hardly conceivable in modern Japan: it is localized in the bosom of marginal sects such as the memorable AUM shinkrio (Letendre 78).
Such a harmonious symbiosis of traditions and innovations was named in the Japanese political science dzassyusei (hybridity). Where does the high level of hybridization come from? After all, any innovation causes indignation in the traditional system. First, the Japanese consciousness is able to transform and adapt borrowing so effectively that they are accepted as something organic and not contrary to tradition (Allen and Rumi 113). Secondly, the specificity of the Japanese tradition is that “the perception of the new did not require a conceptual reorganization of consciousness, the question of the forcible replacement of the old by the new was never adopted, the borrowed assimilated, supplemented the Japanese autochthonous Shinto culture. The new was assimilated and transformed into something consonant with the autochthonous culture, without the expenditure of energy to destroy the old and build a new one … ”
Allen, Matthew and Rumi Sakamoto. Popular Culture, Globalization and Japan. London and New York: Routledge. 2006
Clammer, John. Japan and Its Others: Globalization, Difference and the Critique of Modernity. Melbourne, Australia: Trans Pacific Press. 2001
Kelly, William W. ed. Fanning the Flames: Fans and Consumer Culture in Contemporary Japan. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2004.
Letendre, Gerald K. Learning to be Adolescent: Growing Up in U.S. and Japanese Middle Schools. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 2000
Lukács, Gabriella. Scripted Affects, Branded Selves: Television, Subjectivity, and Capitalism in 1990’s Japan. Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2010.
Minamida, Katsuya and Izumi Tsuji eds. Pop Culture and the Everyday in Japan: Sociological Perspectives. Melbourne, Trans Pacific Press, 2012.
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