Organized Panel Session
In recent years, arts and culture in the Japanese regions are gaining attention in contrast to the hitherto almost exclusive focus on the capital’s culture scene. The boom of regional arts and theatre festivals are but only one example. The panel aims to explore the practices, concepts and conditions of artistic production outside of Tokyo. Papers present case-studies from various media, such as performing arts, literature, and music to reflect on the relation between the urban centers and the Japanese regions as negotiated through the arts. Poulton’s analysis addresses the development of regional theatre and arts festivals since the 1970s in the context of the ongoing socio-economic challenges, which particularly affected the Japanese hinterlands. Edwards situates the expansion of Okinawa’s sound culture in the context of a neo-imperial gaze, which obscures the socioeconomic and political realities to promote a stereotypical image of a tropical paradise. Geilhorn’s paper links back to Poulton and provides a case-study of a recognized regional arts center. Finally, Siercks examines the publishing conditions outside of the literary mainstream as experienced by women writers in Northern Japan and offers an alternative conceptualization of artistic production in the Japanese regions. Alltogether, the papers’ analyses extend beyond the relevance for a given community to investigate the impacts on the wider Japanese society.