Foreword for Japan

From the foreword:

“This cunningly constructed anthology affirms, among other things, the nature of Japan. In the West (particularly in the United States) leaving home, making your way in the world, is still deemed somehow a virtue. In Japan (and some other Asian countries, perhaps) staying in the furusato [hometown] and trying to return to it are somehow equal virtues.

Indeed, many of the authors represented in this anthology are attempting through their work to describe or to define their own position in regard to the places where they were born or those that became their homes. By the act of writing, the authors embrace the furusato, helping to construct those internal homelands that form the cognitive map of Japan.

In Japan a sense of place retains a social value, and the differences between Tōkyō and Kyōto (as well as those between Hokkaidō and Kyūshū) are strongly perceived and consequently quite real. It is because of this that the sampler you now hold in your hands suggests a world of diversity, a small place of great variance, a paradigm of an irregular but balanced world.”

Donald Richie

Posted on 21 September 2010

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