メディアと交差する日常実践 : メルボルンの剣道家たちと日本武道をめぐる表象 [in Japanese] Representations in Media and the Everyday Practice of Kendo Practitioners in Melbourne [in Japanese]
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My research analyzed a small Melbourne community of non-Japanese practitioners of a Japanese martial art (kendo) , focusing on their understanding of their practice, Japanese culture, and Otherness. In particular, I focused on the way that non-Japanese practitioners interpret a practice of the Other by combining their kendo practices with images provided in the media. In the genealogy of representation related to Japan (including that country's martial arts culture), 'things Japanese' have always been targeted by Orientalists who expect a 'Japan that is uniquely Japanese.' Borrowing the words of Edward Said, who stated that 'the Orient is thus orientalized' (Said 1979: 67), Orientalists' views on things Japanese have 'Japanized' Japan, and established dichotomized images as if something essential divided Japan and the West. However, what I learned from the narrative of Melbourne kendo practitioners was the everyday reality that kendo practice does not necessarily stimulate their desire for 'things Japanese.' From my work, I would instead suggest that kendo practice in Melbourne is done to stimulate males' longing for sword-fighting, combined with the image of other Western knight adventure stories such as Star Wars. Some practitioners carry out kendo as a practice with the generalized image of knights' sword-fighting, and do not necessarily highlight its uniqueness as an exotic non-Western practice. They take kendo practice to be their preferred interpretation of invigorating their masculinity. Melbourne practitioners of kendo thus vacillate between the frameworks of dichotomized stereotypical representations produced in Japan and the West. Secondly, I further suggest that kendo for Melbourne practitioners is somehow related to a sense of 'familiarity' with such a practice that they have felt since early childhood. For some Australian middle-aged people, Japanese culture, including samurai sword fighting, represents a thrilling type of entertainment transported from abroad that they once consumed as children in school grounds and their backyards as an ordinary form of play. Analyzing the narrative of one male middle-aged kendo practitioner, I found that kendo practice for such Australians still forms part of the continual process of conducting their everyday lives, and that they make sense of their daily lives through foreign things.
- Japanese Journal of Cultural Anthropology
Japanese Journal of Cultural Anthropology 78(3), 412-423, 2013
Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology