Arts and Culture
While the continuity of traditional art in contemporary contexts has been well researched, this panel adopts a broad definition of art that includes performance and cultural products and explores the movement of Japanese arts across time and space. The panel examines how people negotiate the meanings of art as they and art forms move across temporal and spatial boundaries and through national, regional, and local levels. One paper investigates how the localization and adaptation of Japanese manga production and consumption in neighbouring China involves both political and cultural problems. A second paper considers how artists, politicians and local residents discuss and negotiate the meanings of highly publicized and popular art installations in severely depopulated rural areas in Japan purportedly as a means to address urban-rural divisions and the over concentration of conventional institutions in major cities. In the area of performing arts, a third paper investigates how members of Japanese university "cheer groups" (oendan) seek to embody traditional values of Japanese martial discipline and masculinity; values that contradict contemporary ideals of equality and freedom. Overall, this panel aims to use anthropological perspectives to rethink the usages and meanings of art in Japanese society. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the papers place people at the center of their studies, and explore how practitioners use art for particular purposes. In doing so, we examine how artistic values are created, maintained and contested in global processes. We explore "Japanese arts" as elastic, diverse, and changing materials that reflect contemporary social, political, and economic tensions and meanings.