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John Jay Blogs Tokyo

For the Moment | John Jay

“This week, Jay will be posting from Tokyo on the commodification of Japanese youth culture.”

This could be interesting. The “commodification of Japanese youth culture,” however, is kinda like saying “the liquidification of water.” And it’s always good to start preaching the “real Tokyo” from Le Baron de Paris, which is like discussing the Indochinese peoples at the best French hotel restaurant in Saigon circa 1934.

W. David MARX
January 29, 2008

2 Responses

  1. Chuckles Says:

    I am extremely interested in what Jay has to say. His opening words about the world looking to Tokyo, and the West in the role of copier etc, seem to clash with another prophetic piece on Japan’s future that I encountered a couple of days ago at Joi Ito’s blog; viz: http://joi.ito.com/archives/2008/01/16/japan_and_its_gdp.html#comments

    – the idea of a Nihon Cool divorced from economic might seems dubious at best. Even the sort of British Kitsch which obtains on PBS in the States flows, not merely from a ur Kultur ethic that values ole blighty as the repository of a certain kind of bourgeois sophistication – but from a recognition of Britain as a critical and strategic partner in present times.
    One thing is for certain, Nihon Cool is now cliche – and I cringe that someone deployed that in the NY Times (mais pourquoi pas? It is the NY Times after all, home of the international cliche) – It is perhaps as cliche now as street cred, or urban kool – cependant – the increasing irrelevance of Japan as Oki Matsumoto puts it is perhaps overstated – if as nothing more than a conserved motif in the cultural DNA of a cosmopolitan world culture. Perhaps the most interesting view I have encountered of Japan’s role in the world to come is one that adopts a comparison with African Americans – It was by Bill Benzon in 06 over at The Valve: Japan as a source of idioms is a very conciliatory position amidst extremes.


  2. scott Says:

    Thanks for the link to John Jay. Good read.

    This set me straight.

    All this time, I had thought he was a lyricist and back-up vocalist for The Federalists.