In this book, Yuko Kawai departs from the common conception of Japan as an ethnically homogenous nation. A Transnational Critique of Japaneseness: Cultural Nationalism, Racism, and Multiculturalism in Japan investigates the construction of Japaneseness from a transnational perspective, examining ways to make Japanese nationhood more inclusive. Kawai analyzes a variety of communicational practices during the first two decades of the twenty-first century while situating Japaneseness in its longer historical transformation from the late nineteenth century. Kawai focuses on governmental and popular ideas of Japaneseness in light of local, global, historical, and contemporary contexts as well as in relation to a diverse array of Others in both Asia and the West.
Yuko Kawai is professor in the College of Intercultural Communication at Rikkyo University.
Introduction: A Transnational Critique for a Multiculturalist Japan
Chapter 1: Japaneseness, Western and Japanese Concepts of Race, and Modalities of
Chapter 2: Neoliberal Nationalism and Japaneseness
Chapter 3: Remembering Japanese Americans and Japanese Brazilians for Japaneseness
Chapter 4: Using China and Korea for Japaneseness: “Hate Books,” History, and the
Grammar of Japanese Racialized Discourse
Chapter 5: Entering the West and Encountering Asia: Trans-East Asian Friendships Made
in the West
What does being Japanese mean? This simple question has no clear answer. Kawai takes a multipronged approach to finding an ontological resolution to this existential concern. Through concise examinations of a variety of texts, the author explores the construction of Japanese identity through internal and external means. She explains her relatively narrow presentation of samples by defining them as “snapshots” that provide insights into attitudes and beliefs, allowing for greater depth of analysis.... Defying the East/West paradigm, this insightful book provides the tools to understand Japan as a multicultural entity. Recommended.
While numerous works have discussed Japanese nationhood, Yuko Kawai innovatively revisits the reproduction of an exclusive idea of ‘Japaneseness’ by taking a ‘transnational critique’ approach. Brilliantly interconnecting the past and present, discursive formations of diverse Others, and critical multiculturalism, this book deepens our understanding of how nationalism, racism, and multiculturalism are inseparably intertwined to construct Japanese nationhood and offers a fresh insight into how Japan can be transformed into a more inclusive society. This book will be a valuable source for anyone interested in nationalism, critical multiculturalism, and socio-cultural inclusion in and beyond the Japanese context.