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Asian CrossingsTravel Writing on China, Japan and Southeast Asia$
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Steve Clark and Paul Smethurst

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099142

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099142.001.0001

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After the Bubble: Post-Imperial Tokyo

After the Bubble: Post-Imperial Tokyo

(p.209) 14 After the Bubble: Post-Imperial Tokyo
Asian Crossings

Steve Clark

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter restores a historicist dimension by emphasizing the specific determinants of the urban phenomenology characteristic of recent representations of Tokyo, in particular the curious mixture of schadenfreude and supplication that characterizes recent travelogues dealing with the mega-city. First, it aims to explore some specific examples of this urban phenomenology of deferred knowledge (or prolonged ignorance). Travel writing is collective and incremental rather than singular and aesthetic. It then addresses the issue of how gaijin ignorance alternates between means of cultural imposition and mode of continual humiliation in Peter Carey's Wrong about Japan. It appears that travelogue on Japan can only be authenticated by failure; insofar as it claims authority, it must appear inevitably self-deluding. In line with this, it relates this to some more general conventions of recent texts on Tokyo and Japan.

Keywords:   Tokyo, urban phenomenology, travelogues, travel writing, gaijin, Peter Carey, Japan

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