Editor: Dr. Marco Bohr
Contributions are now being accepted for a new edited book titled ‘Capture Japan: Visual Culture and the Global Imagination from 1952 to the Present’. The book aims to analyse, deconstruct and challenge representations of Japan in a variety of different visual media such as cinema, documentary film, photography, visual art, manga, comics, television or advertising. Through a series of case studies by an international group of experts in the field, the book will highlight the institutional framework that has allowed certain types of images of Japan to be promoted, while others have been suppressed. The book will point to a vast network of global institutions, each concerned with a different type of image of Japan that fits into an ideological, political, cultural or economic agenda. Internationally, these institutions include film production companies or art museums and galleries, whereas in Japan they include local tourist boards, government agencies or computer game manufacturers. Whilst these institutions have differing interests, this book will identify common threads in the type of image of Japan that is being imagined, produced and promoted by such institutions. The book will make the argument that these images are visual tropes that feed into a type of Japan of the global imagination.
The book will identify that the 1952 ‘Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States of America’ – commonly known as Anpo in Japan – marked the beginning of an era or unprecedented peace and prosperity. Whilst in Japan Anpo created many questions about sovereignty and political agency, particularly during the amendment of 1960, the treaty has underpinned the global economic axis of the post-war era between Japan and the west. The book will argue that the institutional support for certain visual tropes of Japan thus feeds into a larger discourse of maintaining the global economic, political and ideological order of the post-war era. Japan, and how it is represented in images, is therefore inextricably linked to its role in maintaining this status quo since 1952. The proposed book will come out at a crucial time since the re-emergence of China as the largest economy in the world is poised to affect the global economic (dis)equilibrium that has dominated much of the last 70 years. The book will investigate whether the visual discourse of Japan in the global imagination is about to shift into a new era.
The word ‘capture’ in the title of the book recognizes a level of dominance, even aggression with regards to images and how they feed into a larger discourse. It is also a play on words on the photographic term to ‘capture’, as well as the notion of a spectacle that is ‘captivating’. Contributions to this book by a diverse and interdisciplinary group of scholars will be conscious of the way images feed into, construct or subvert notions about Orientalism (Said) as well as self-exoticising discourses such as Strategic Essentialism (Spivak). Contributors might also consider how images sought to disrupt, subvert or at least challenge visual tropes about Japan thus complicating notions about a global imagination. Contributors might draw from the legacies of Japonisme of the 19th century or the rapid shifts the way Japan was perceived, and perceived itself, through images from the Meiji, Taisho or early Showa era, however the historical timespan for case studies is strictly from 1952 to the present.
Please send a 200 to 250 word abstract as well as a 100 short biography to the editor of the book Dr. Marco Bohr (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the 1st of October 2018. Accepted contributors will receive notification by the 1st of November 2018. The full chapter of around 6500 words will be due in early 2019 with a view to publish the book in 2020. Marco can be contacted for any inquiries contributors might have.