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History And Comparability

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Chapter Summary

In the 1980s and 1990s the word "Japaneseness" became an obsession. It was difficult to go to a conference and not hear the word "Japaneseness" splashed all over the room, with the obvious implication that we were too smart and too critical not to notice the imperialistic underpinnings of Japaneseness. The operations in dealing with Japan from a "critical" perspective reminded me of the aesthetic process in which an observer is posited as a subject who is empowered to do whatever he or she likes with the object under scrutiny. No one seemed to be concerned too much with turning a painting (or Japan) into an object without ever allowing the painting to turn the observer into an object.

Keywords: aesthetic process; Japan



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