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19.03.2013 г.

The Japanese In Real and Virtual Spaces: An Overview of Modern Japanese Culture

Elena Katasonova

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Summary. Over the last few decades, there is a growing interest in Japanese cultural life, its new tendencies and styles in our country. It concerns first of all popular culture that gets extensive coverage on the Internet and in the mass media. However, there was no research so far that would give the reader an opportunity to examine this cultural phenomenon, with all its specific features, under the conditions of modernization of Japan and, currently, also in the context of globalization and the rapidly developing new technologies.

The coming book is a serious step forward that includes both scientific analysis and abundant facts unavailable to the Russian audience before. The author paints an overall picture of today’s cultural life in Japan, ranging from manga to music, with such complex issues as cyberculture.

A lot of attention is paid to modern subcultures of the younger generations in connection with historical and social changes in Japanese society. In addition to providing a lively and interesting coverage of Japanese cultural life, the author also deals with a number of crucial conceptual issues like the meaning of popular culture as such, postmodernism, etc. that are still the subject of profound academic discussions.

The book shows the main factors that have influenced the development of popular culture in Japan and society as a whole. It also shows the intimate connection between new elements of cultural life and historical traditions, of which manga and anime are the best examples. The author persuasively demonstrates how these links between the traditional art and culture and the products of Western civilization have created a new type of unique popular culture in Japan that will definitely influence the spiritual climate of the future.

The work proves that Japanese popular culture exerts influence far beyond its national borders and is now integrated into the world culture, e.g., anime, cinema, etc. The part of the book telling about popular culture as integral part of Japanese diplomacy used both by state and commercial structures is especially interesting.

Giving examples of work of certain well-known representatives of Japanese pop culture, like Murakami Takashi, the author provides an analysis of their conceptual vision of modern art and its new possibilities in the age of new technologies and communications. It is a basis for the understanding of future trends that world pop culture could show.

A huge amount of factual information was used by the author as well as a great number of works by Japanese and foreign researchers. The research is based on the interdisciplinary approach, including sociology, cultural studies and political sciences. This book will be much in demand among relevant specialists as well as young people who show a growing interest in Japanese popular culture and Japan in general.
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