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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #86: March 24, 2003

Japan Forum: The International Journal of Japanese Studies

Journal Name: Japan Forum: The International Journal of Japanese Studies: September, 2001, Vol.13, No.2
Print ISSN: 0955-5803, Online ISSN: 1469-932X


Obituary of Professor Mass (pp143 -144)
Tom Nelson

Lady Kaede in Kurosawa's Ran: verbal and visual characterization through animal traditions (pp145 - 158)
Zvika Serper
This article deals with the characterization of the unique figure of Lady Kaede in Kurosawa's film Ran from within Japanese cultural syncretism, through using different verbal and visual elements of two animals - fox and serpent. The Japanese fox has always played a most important part in Japanese culture, and its ambivalent nature has become a leitmotiv, especially its supernatural power to transform itself into a human being. In contrast, the most important manifestation of the serpent in Japanese traditional theatre is that of the transformation of a human female into a serpent as a consequence of her jealousy. In the second half of Ran, Kurosawa skilfully interweaves both traditions, attributing them to Kaede after her husband's murder. He attires this character with two kinds of serpent-like costume, planned to reflect intensification of the serpent image through the different fabric designs and their different manipulation according to the dramatic context. Within this fixed visual image Kurosawa conceals the serpent-like costume with an outer kimono and then inserts a verbal fox image. Only in the last scene of the character's appearance in the film does Kurosawa combine and expressly manifest, verbally and visually, both animals' aspects.

Globalization and Japanization: implications for human resource management in Britain (pp159 -175)
Harukiyo Hasegawa
This article investigates the relational nature of globalization between Japan and Britain, and addresses Japanization in this context. Japanization, defined as Japanese influence on UK management styles (particularly in the area of production management), will be examined through three case studieswhich illustrate the context of Japanization in terms of the convergence of British management towards human resource management (HRM). Hallmarks of Japanization are methods and techniques of production management which overlap with those of HRM. It is also significant that the diffusion of Japanization and HRM in Britain took place concurrently, leading to the conclusion that Japanization and HRM represent a synergistic relationship of managerial strategy, on the one hand, offering suitable conditions for Japanization, and, on the other, the enhanced diffusion of HRM in Britain through Japanization.
This paper also examines how British academics have reflected Japanization in their research. In this way, it is also possible to pinpoint the influence of Japanese techniques and methods effective for production management. Although Japanization and HRM overlap both in content and period of diffusion, in the long term Japanization may be considered as an integral part of the general diffusion of HRM in Britain.

Coming to terms with nature: development dilemmas on the Ogasawara Islands (pp177 - 193)
Nanyan Guo, Gavan McCormack
Japan's Ogasawara (or Bonin) Islands are a site from which to observe the changing Japanese balance between bio-diversity and single-minded development, between the desire to save native species and the desire to satisfy human convenience, and between the modesty and creativity of local peoples and the arrogance and insensitivity bred of massive public works funding. This paper looks at the history of natural environment, the process of human settlement and depletion of bio-diversity, the present state of nature, the planned airport, local alternative proposals and recent shifts in bureaucratic thinking about it. The Ogasawara Islands are peripheral and economically 'backward', but they are now at the forefront of the struggle to re-negotiate the balance between humanity and nature in Japan.

Occidentalism and critique of Meiji: the West in the returnee stories of Nagai Kafˆ (pp195 - 213)
Rachael Hutchinson
This article questions the conventional reading of Nagai Kafˆ(1879-1959) as a non-critical writer, arguing that Kafˆ's critique of Meiji modernization may be seen most clearly in his publications of 1909-10, when he had just returned to Japan after five years in America and France. Two of these returnee stories are examined to demonstrate how Kafˆused the idea of 'the West' as a defining contrast in order to criticize the Meiji modernization process and to seek out what made Japan 'Japanese'. Kafˆ's argument for finding a 'genuine' Japanese civilization for the modern age, rather than slavishly imitating the 'material civilization' of other countries, is analysed in regard to Shinkichlsha nikki (Diary of a Returnee), while his 'Theory of the Orient', put forward in Reishl (Sneers), is examined as a search for the Japanese Self in contrast to its Western Other. Kafˆ's increasing focus on the 'genuine' culture of the Edo period,which would culminate in the famous works on the geisha such as Bokutl kidan, is thus placed in its critical context. The article argues that Kafˆ's returnee stories may be read as Occidentalist works in their use of the West and in their firm critical stance, concluding that the framework of Occidentalism may prove helpful in studies of Japan's colonial and imperial contexts.

The last gasp of labor's dual strategy? Japan's 1997 wage-setting round (pp215 - 232)
Charles Weathers
Japan's mainstream (co-operative) unions in the 1970s adopted a so-called dual strategy, by which they exercisewage restraint in order to protect jobs but also participate in economic policy making to help raiseworkers' realwages and living standards.The prolonged economic slump of the 1990s, however, brought the strategy into question as real incomes stagnated.This article scrutinizes the dual strategy, focusing on wage setting, through an examination of the 1997 shuntl wage-setting round. Although conditions in 1997were relatively favorable, the unions failed to make significant gains, and even allowed managers to weaken wage-setting structures that protected union influence. This case study and analysis suggest that the unions have failed to develop effective strategies either to improve living standards or to maintain worker and public support.

'Shampoo for extra damage': making sense of Japanized English (pp233 - 247)
Philip Seaton
English is used extensively for promotional purposes in Japan. Often, it is incorrect or unnatural and becomes a focus for foreign ridicule or complaints about language 'abuse'. The phenomenon is called Japanized English or, more colloquially, Japlish or Engrish.This paper explores the motivation for using English for promotion and shows it as a rational promotional strategy where English is used as a medium for image creation through the association of America with the English language, the image being cool and fashionable. Closer analysis of some Japanized English examples demonstrates why correct English is not necessary for successful promotion: Japanese consumers do not pay close attention to the meaning and incorrect English may actually allow better levels of understanding of the content of the English. This allows us to move from 'Why is the English not checked?' to 'Why should the English be checked?' As a conclusion, some international comparisons are drawn and it is demonstrated that the Japanese are not the only people using foreign language and culture for promotional purposes in ways that might not be appreciated by the country represented.

OgyˆSorai and the definition of terms (pp249 - 265)
James McMullen

Japan Forum (2001)
Copyright ©2001 BAJS

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