Anthropology 272

AMERICAN CULTURE IN JAPAN

Instructor: Richard Chalfen, Department of Anthropology
Office: 224 Gladfelter Hall -- 204-1413
Class: TUCC, Wednesday, 5:40-8:30 PM

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"... the Americanization of Japanese culture has been going on since the beginning of our relationship--according to a local historian of Kochi in Shikoku Island, it was John Manijiro, after his return from America where he had stayed 11 years, who first sang Stephen Foster's "O, Susanna!" in Japan around 1852." [Homma Nagayo, "What Does it Mean to Understand America? -- A Japanese View" International House of Japan Bulletin 14(2): 1-7 (Spring, 1994) pg. 6]

"I wanted also, while I was in Asia, to see how America was regarded and reconstituted abroad, to measure the country by the shadow it casts" [Pico Iyer, Video Night in Kathmandu (New York: Knopf, 1988), pg. 11].

In this course we will examine versions and varieties of American life that have become a part of Japanese society and culture. We have seen a tremendous curiosity for "things American" in Japanese daily life -- but how is American culture in Japan? What kinds of transformations, reformulations and re-inventions have taken place? We will review Japanese adoptions and adaptations of language, "American" settings, architecture and design, foods and restaurants, clothing and fashions, popular films, television and advertising, and even holidays. Students will review and critically evaluate such films as: The Japanese Version, Mr. Baseball, Black Rain, The Barbarian and the Geisha, Tokyo Pop, The Colonel Comes to Japan.

REQUIRED TEXTS:

Re-Made in Japan--Everyday Life and Consumer Taste in a Changing Society edited by Joseph J. Tobin, New                  Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1992.
From Bonsai to Levi's by George Fields, New York: Macmillian, 1983.
You Gotta Have Wa by Robert Whiting, New York: Vintage, 1990.
Video Night in Kathmandu by Pico Iyer, New York: Knopf, 1988.
Readings for American Studies 100 (On Reserve in TUCC Library)