• Couverture Faces of Otherness in Japanese Culture: Rethinking the South through the Africa/India Diptych
  • 4eme Faces of Otherness in Japanese Culture: Rethinking the South through the Africa/India Diptych

FACES OF OTHERNESS IN JAPANESE CULTURE: RETHINKING THE SOUTH THROUGH THE AFRICA/INDIA DIPTYCH

Images changeantes de l'Inde et de l'Afrique
Date de publication : avril 2011
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The Japanese definition of otherness can significantly vary: while otherness
as uniqueness would be found on the positive side of this cultural scale,
otherness as anomaly and/or disorder would appear on its negative one.1
Somewhere in between, the otherness as geographically determined reality
should find its place: with no particularly positive or negative connotations, it
remains open to constant modifications and adjustable to practically any
cultural, economic or political demands. In other words, the geographical
otherness is “…an open-ended concept”2, which can be used to designate
different sites.3 Consonant with this interpretation, otherness appears as a
synonym of outside-ness in Japanese, and when applied to people as
representatives of different geographic areas, the term acquires a distinctly
personalized significance.4 Thus, the Japanese verbal equivalent for ‘foreigner’
is gaikokujin (!"), which literally means ‘a man/person from outside’.5
Therefore, the outside as a ‘foreign country’ (!) can be related to any non-
Japanese reality. If taken as a generic

     
  • ISBN : 978-2-296-54139-9 • avril 2011 • 9 pages
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