The IAFOR Academic Review | Volume 1 | Issue 2
Editorial Committee Introduction
The International Academic Forum’s (IAFOR) key mission is to provide avenues for academics and researchers to be international, intercultural and interdisciplinary. One of the ways in which we do this is through our in-house Eye magazine, our video and audio interview presentations, the various conference proceedings, the IAFOR Journal series, and now starting in 2015 are our special editions of the IAFOR Academic Review. In this edition of the IAFOR Academic Review the editorial committee brings together a selection of the most interesting contributions from our recent conferences with respect to the Japanese Arts and Culture. The papers selected for this special edition certainly reflect the international, intercultural and interdisciplinary approach that lies at the heart of both IAFOR and Cultural Studies. The reveal the intense passion of both the researchers for their subject but also reveal the artistic soul of Japan as a complex, enigmatic and evolving visual narrative, the site of artistic endeavor, journey and discovery. This Japanese Arts edition provides a taste of the diverse range of topics covered by our conferences and subsequent research papers that have a Japanese context with the Arts, Culture, and Humanities over the last two years. We hope you will enjoy reading and thinking about these selected contributions.
Diogo Cesar Porto da Silva, from Kyushu University, Japan deals with Kuki’s Propor sur le temps and Metaphysics of Literature in his paper Kuki Shūzō’s Temporal Aesthetics: Finding Japanese Identity in Art and Literature. Porto da Silva defines then analyses the notion of Aesthetics in Kuki’s text by focusing mainly on the oriental time that he characterizes as transmigration as well as how such a temporality is expressed within Japanese art. Porto da Silva; considers that with Kuki’s Metaphysics of Literature the constant concern is to support a conception of literature as a pure intuition of the present.
Khairul Nizan Mohd Aris, Vaughan Rees and Jacqueline Clayton, of The University of New South Wales, Australia examine the extent to which Japanese cultural elements –specifically the ‘spirit’ or philosophy of traditional Japanese Raku− are retained and evidenced in contemporary artworks by non-Japanese artists/potters in Australia. Their research is posited within Aris’s own art practice as a ceramic artist/potter who was exposed to the Western/American style of Raku earlier in his career, but then later experienced the making of Raku in its traditional form in Japan. Their research identifies and analyses the extent to which the spirit and philosophy of original Raku artforms as a trace of cultural interaction, either direct or indirectly influence artists/potters in their art practice, finished artworks.
Rosalie Gascoigne is regarded as one of a few artists for whom Japanese art was “the gateway” to her own art as opposed to many other Australian artists in 1960s whom were merely influenced. Her career as an artist and the role of Japanese Art in her artistic development is the central focus of Shoso Shimbo’s paper Repositioning Ikebana in Contemporary Art. Shimbo reveals how Gascoigne who studied Ikebana in the 1960s became frustrated with its limitations, and started making assemblages. Shimbo proposes that the order of composition within her assemblages was inherited from Ikebana traditions and was a bridging between classical Ikebana and contemporary art and that Gascoigne’s work is a case study of cultural transformation across borders.
Created a half century ago by Hijikata Tatsumi, Butoh was born as a postwar dance form, artistic movement, and cultural opposition to the mainstream social order. While numerous iterations have developed since then, most Butoh-based forms generally focus on disengaging from oppressive or “over-socialized” behavioral patterns through deconstructing movement, speech, thought, and action. In this essay, Michael Sakamoto of Goddard College, USA, asserts that Butoh photo-imagery has contributed to the comprehension, definition, and perceived legitimacy of Butoh-based practices in Japan, and the prime example of this phenomenon was the photo essay, Kamaitachi. Sakamoto theorizes that Kamaitachi represented a fundamental shift in Hijikata’s artistic identity from anti-Western to post-indigenous and also came to symbolize the very essence of Butoh performance for later generations of both Japanese and transnational practitioners.
James Scalon-Canegata, of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA looks at the significance of Saibara as a fuzoku collection, which reveals the conceptualization of ‘folk’ or ‘commoner’ within the Heian court. Specifically, it deals with the treatment of Saibara in Ichijō Kanera’s Ryōjin guanshō and the Fujiwara and Minamoto manuscript traditions reveal a distinctly different “handling” of the collection than that of the major literary works of the period. The songs of Saibara grant a unique glimpse into cultural practices of the world beyond the court, and give further insight into the ubiquity of these practices. Many of the songs push the boundaries of (assumed) cultural taboos, but their adoption and apparent pervasiveness in the court suggests a strong affinity for these aesthetically divergent songs. Despite its apparent merit, Saibara as well as archaic min’yō have received only moderate attention from Japanese scholars and have been all but completely absent in Western literary scholarship. The adoption and presentation of these songs in the literature reflect the seemingly diametric position of fuzoku as both an exotic and arcane practice and as a primordial native art—vis-a-vis socio-cultural class distinctions of commoner and nobility. Scalon-Canegata’s paper ultimately seeks to establish Saibara at the intersection of court refinement and the raw, unpretentious essence of min’yō musical culture.
Michael Liam Kedzlie
Editorial Committee Member
The IAFOR International Academic Review