The Idea of Japan

The Idea of Japan

Western Images, Western Myths

Book - 1996
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Baker & Taylor
Seeks to explode myths and misunderstandings about the Japanese by comparing stereotypes portrayed in print, on television, and in the movies with the realities of Japanese history and culture

NBN
In a history filled with examples and anecdotes, Mr. Littlewood shows how closely our current images of the Japanese are tied to the clichés of the past. “A sharp and amusing guide to cultural myths and misunderstandings.”—Ian Buruma.

Book News
Drawing from a wide range of sources, from the accounts of Jesuit missionaries to images of contemporary Hollywood, Littlewood (English, Sussex U., England) provides a fascinating exploration of Japanese life and shows why we have too long seen Japan only as a projection of our own fears, dreams, and desires. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Blackwell North Amer
Ian Littlewood's The Idea of Japan begins with the principle that the more remote a country is, the broader and more indiscriminate are the stereotypes we form of it. A hundred and fifty years ago, Japan was so remote from the West that it might have existed on another planet. Today its influence touches all of us, yet in the West we know almost as little about it as we did in the days when Henry Adams, visiting Japan, called it "a toy-world."
In this book Mr. Littlewood offers a framework for making sense of this puzzling culture. He carefully sifts through the most common stereotypes that we encounter on television, in movies, or in newspapers and magazines, comparing them with the historical and cultural record. Through a history abundantly illustrated with examples and anecdotes, he shows how our common images - whether of Madame Butterfly or the samurai businessman - scarcely reflect reality. "What emerges as we move through a mythical world of subhumans and superhumans, of temples and cherry blossoms, of exotic women and strange fanatical men," he writes, "is a striking picture of how closely our current images of the Japanese are tied to the cliches of the past."
Drawing from a wide range of sources - from the accounts of Jesuit missionaries to the japonisme of the nineteenth century and the images of contemporary Hollywood - Mr. Littlewood shows why we have too long seen Japan only as a projection of our own fears, dreams, and desires. The Idea of Japan is a fascinating exploration of Japanese life as well as a provocative insight into the processes by which we understand, or fail to understand, another culture.

Natl Book Network
In a history filled with examples and anecdotes, Mr. Littlewood shows how closely our current images of the Japanese are tied to the cliches of the past.

Publisher: Chicago : Ivan R. Dee, 1996
ISBN: 9781566631174
1566631173
Branch Call Number: 952 Li 1996
Characteristics: xvi, 237 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 23 cm

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