J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


Magearna is Reason and Eve

Many Japanese animated movies are meditations on the problem of science and the West, and attempt to present solutions as to how the Japanese - as represented by Satoshi, the boy with an "electric rat" and a woman's voice - can save the world. The latest movie (Pokémon the Movie XY&Z: Volcanion and the Mechanical Magearna) from the Pokémon franchise, written by Atsuhiro Tomioka the same writer as the last, replaces Hooper and mini Hooper with Volcanion and Magearna. Volcanion, like Hooper, has a hoop, and is a bit too strong for his and his surroundings good. Magearna is the first robotic pocket monster built by the those blue eyed, blonde, science fanatics based upon Pokémon. She has a metal body, crucifixes for pupils, and a scientific cog-bonnet. Apart from having her own shell-like monster ball, into which she retreats when she is afraid, and the ability to produce bunches of flowers from her hands that put others (other than Volcanion) in a romantic mood, she does not do much, but she has great power. The reason for this is related to her removal "soul hear" which seems to be the very core of science. This heart soul is also said, in the catch copy for the movie, in contradistinction to almost all other Pokémon, to have a voice. For my money, Magearna is the linguistic Other who whispers in the hearts of Western "men". Sometimes as listener she is called Reason, by Jefferson and Dawkins, and shown the greatest respect. "Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion (Jefferson see Dawkins, 2008, p64) But her first name was I think Eve, the first in a long line of Western "robotic" pocket monsters. She is robotic in so far as she is linguistic. She doesn't just bond, and sit on the shoulder of her trainers and friends but alas, whispers to them, in romantic voice of her soul heart. As such she is extremely dangerous, the Sibyl that Heraclitus writes of. This Pokémon movie reached the conclusion that Volcanion should sacrifice himself to save her, and that she should be taken from the land of the blonde blue eyed men and returned to the wild. I thought Jarvis, the lead scientist and baddie (who is nonetheless forgiven as Japanese baddies always are) a little similar to David Bowie. http://flic.kr/p/KpjTEv

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016


The Chinese and The Japanese

The Chinese and The Japanese
Ruth Benedic's (1946) classic "Chrysanthemum and the Sword" has been popular in China (translated as 菊与刀) selling 70,000 copies in 2005 alone, since it would provide an explanation how the Japanese managed to kill so many Chinese and yet exhibit a level of remorse that the Chinese feel to be very inappropriate. Ruth Benedict's answer is that the Japanese lack a conscience, caring only what other's think about them. A great deal of Japanese believe this theory, which itself originates in a disgruntled Japanese called Robert Hashimoto (Lummis).

More contemporary Japanese detractors of Benedict's theory do not rarely argue that the Japanese do in fact have conscience, under the conventional meaning of that term, but rather that "conscience" in the sense of internal, self-directed, self-reproval simply does not exist. The main reason for this is that they are aware that they judge themselves visio-aesthetically, and this is not something that one can do from inside ones own head. The Japanese forget that the mind is not inside the head -- it is easy to do, I have -- but rather the other way around.

The Japanese are therefore in large part blissfully ignorant of the origin of their own morality, which is, the same as that of the Chinese. Both believe that in addition to the censure of other people, heaven is also judging.

In Japanese parlance the kind old sun is watching (otentou sama ga mite iru. お天道さまがみている。See e.g. Akagawa, 2015) and they'd feel her displeasure should they do anything bad.

This does not explain why the Japanese were able to kill so many Chinese, nor why they do not feel more remorse. In order to understand that one would have to read other books, mainly of a more historical nature.

I hope that the Chinese realise that in fact the Japanese do have a conscience before The Chinese and The Japanese come to blows again.

The images above left are the result of an image search for "”菊与刀” 销量" meaning "sales of 'Chrysanthemum and the Sword'" in Chinese, and the cover of a non-academic book entitled "The Kind Old Sun is Watching" (Akagawa, 2015)

Akagawa, J. 赤川浄友. (2015). お天道さまは見ている. 国書刊行会.
Benedict, R. (1946). The chrysanthemum and the sword; patterns of Japanese culture.

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"I am, Because you are"

"I am, because you are"
The sign reads "I am, because you are" or "You are, so I am," which is the philosophy of interdependence (Markus & Kitayama, 1981), or ubuntu, in a nutshell.

Note however that this Japanese interdependence is in the world of speech. The second line reads, "Lets hail each other, and thereby, together do our best." This the above is a slogan encouraging greetings such as "good morning" and "g'day" which the Japanese favour even more than Crocodile Dundee. In the world of language, the Japanese subject, their "I" is "you for you" (Mori, 1999, p.163 complete quote again below).

The interdependence of the Japanese visual self is a little more nuanced. The visual self-encourages and requires an awareness of the social nature of self, and interdependence due to the scopic necessity of focusing upon a surface. This ostensible 'externality' convinces even the Japanese that they are out and out collectivists.

But in the Japanese case, they also believe that the 'the kind old sun is always watching' (See e.g. Akagawa, 2015). Their belief gives them a good measure of independence, and Morality with a capital M. Even if 'everyone else is doing it', the Japanese avoid doing things that look bad because the kind old sun can see them, and they'd feel her displeasure should they do ugly things.

Akagawa, J. 赤川浄友. (2015). お天道さまは見ている. 国書刊行会.
Mori, A. 森有正. (1999). 森有正エッセー集成〈5〉. 筑摩書房.
扨(さ)て私は、「日本人」において「経験」は複数を、更に端的に二人の人間(あるいはその関係)を定義する、と言った。それは一体何を意味しているのであろうか。二人の人間を定義するということは、我々(日本人)の経験と呼ぶものが、自分一個の経験にまで分析されていない、ということである。換言すれば、凡ての経験において、それをもつ主体がどうしても「自己」というものを定義しない、ということである。肉体的に見る限り、一人一人の人間は離れている。常識的にはそこに一人の主題、すなわち自己というものを考えようとする思惑を感ずるが、事態はそのように簡単ではない。それは我々において、「汝」との関係がどれほど深刻であるかを考えてみればある程度納得が行くであろう。もちろん「汝」ということは、日本人のみならず、凡ゆる人間にとって問題となる。要はその問題のなり方である。本質的な点だけに限っていうと、「日本人」においては、「汝」に対立するのは「我」ではないということ、対立するものもまた相手にとっての「汝」なのだ、ということである。私はけして言葉の綾をもてあそんでいるのではない。それは本質的なことなのである。「我と汝」ということが自明のことのように、ある場合には凡ての前提となる合言葉のおうに言われるが、それはこの場合当て嵌まらない。親子の場合をとってみると、親を「汝」として取ると、子が「我」であるのは自明のことのように主和得る。しかしそれはそうではない。子は自分の中に存在の根拠をもつ「我」でなく、当面「汝」である親の「汝」として自分を経験しているのである。Mori, 1999. p.163

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Monday, July 18, 2016


The Light that Watches and Protects

The Light that Watches and Protects
The Japanese represent their ancestors by floating lanterns, that watch over and protect the living. The message, "don't worry, we are getting along together really well. Please watch over and protect us forever," is written on the lantern on the right. The " please watch over us" on the young lady's lantern is prefaced by "Kind old Sun*" since the Japanese traditionally believe that ancestors merge with the Sun(goddess), who is always watching and protecting. The visual aspect of the Japanese Other, watching and protecting as it must an 'external' appearance, convinces most that the Japanese are more collectivist and conformist, but the whispering that Westerners do, though it seems solitary, is no less social. We will realise this eventually.

That it seems as if Tiger Woods' head is appearing from a lantern bottom right is a mere coincidence.

*The literal translation is more like "Mister/Madam Sun". The Japanese salutation "sama" is genderless. "Kind old Sun" is a term of respect and endearment for the sun, like the Japanese original, from Wilfred Owen's poem, Futility.

Central image by Azumi Fukuoka. (2016/7/16). Asahi Newspaper. p1.


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Sunday, July 17, 2016


Secretary and the Beast by Yuu Takahashi

Secretary and the Beast by Yuu Takahashi

This post is of an adult, sexual nature.

At the end of the manga, the "beast" of a company boss has very graphically represented relations every which way with his secretary (aslo) male, in the company shower rooms.

The strange thing is that this is part of a genre of comics (bishounen ai or perhasp in this case close to Yaoi) read predominantly by young Japanese girls, perhaps in their late teens. The reason for this, I believe is, that traditionally in Japan it is only female sexuality and desire which is considered taboo, so as long as their are only blokes, then, while smutty and embarassing, there is nothing really bad about it.

Each society hides the harsh reality of the sexual desire that is at its foundation.

Japanese society is based upon rearing children so wombs, whiles and reality of women's desire is hidden. Women appear only as pretty young men.

Western society is based upon horizontal adult to adult "love." (Childrearing is a bit of a "curse.") The above sort of pornography is a mirrored in that which uses lesbians to titillate Western men. In extremis, the male organ and male desire is hidden or completely absent. Men only appear as vorascious lesbians.

Each to each, the ultimate horror, is unhorrible. At the end of the day, this does not bode well for Japanese Western international relations.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Hanya as First Person Face

Hanya as First Person Face
There is apparently absolutely no connection whatsoever between the character of Hanya, a devil woman, that appears in Noh drama and Shinto mythical plays (pictured above), and the Japanese name for The Heart Sutra which distils the pith of the wisdom of Buddhism into a text of one page. In Buddhist terminology, Hannya refers to knowledge of enlightenment.

The story goes that a Buddhist priest who was adept at making Hanya masks was called "Hanya-monk" (般若坊) due to his predilection for the Heart Sutra, and in any event a purely random connection between the sutra and the mask was made. I will here argue otherwise.

The Heart Sutra (Hanya- Shin-Kyo or Hanya Heart Sutra in Japanese) proclaims that" colour is emptiness" and "emptiness is colour". I can appreciate that assertion. Nishida using the language of phenomenology, asserts the same thing: in the purity of experience, when one has bracketed off all that which can be denied, then this big orb of colour has absolutely no qualities, not even those of subject, nor object which, like our initial certainty of colour (that is "red" isn't it?) dissolve into a purity, about which one can say nothing.

At the same time, I do find it impossible to merge myself with this wall of impossible colours. Intellectually, I agree with Nishida, experientially however, something prevents my dissolution.

Nishida (1965) also claims that the self is is supported by a 'devil hidden in the depths of seeing'. What does he mean?

Going off at what might seem a tangent, Dr. Leroy McDermott (1979), a professor of psychology formerly of the University of Central Missouri, argues that the shape of paleolithic figurines, which tend to be of a plump, lozenge shape, and are found the world over, is not due to the fact that people back then were fat, nor due to some emphasis upon feminine fecundity, but due to the fact that they were of self-person body views.

The first thing that struck me about McDermott's brilliant insight is that I had not even realised that my first person view of my body is any different from the third person view such I am shown in photos or as is reflected in a mirror. It takes however, moment of self inspection to realise that, yes, my hands and feet do of course taper off to spidery extremities, and my chest shoulders and stomach are very large. Even though I am a man, my first person view of myself has full bosom.

My initial interest in Dr. McDermott's research was merely to note that his thesis largely applies to Japanese snow goggle dogu figurines from a similar palaeolithic period. I contacted him with this observation. He responded politely. I wondered whether the famous snow goggled faces of Japanese Venus figurines might also represent a first person view of someone squinting through almost shut eyes.

It was only much later that I became interested in the question as to *why* palaeolithic people made such representations. Here I must respectfully part company with the brilliant Dr. McDermott. He argues that their construction was motivated by a desire for self-representation coupled with the lack of mirrors or reflective technology. But as a McDermott-detractor mentioned to me privately, and as one of the commentators to his paper asserts, even if looking glasses were particularly dark in those days, surfaces of water did exist and, more to the point, sculptors were regularly and universally presented with images of their peers. Even the most primitive person should and would have been able to add two and two, or people and puddle, together. So, there must have been some other reason for the worldwide propensity to reproduce such, to our way of thinking, distorted body views.

This detraction, while tempting, misses a step. It succeeds for me in disconfirming Dr. McDermott's 'lack of mirror technology thesis'. Even palaeolithic sculptors, if motivated solely by the desire to self-represent, would also have been able to extrapolate from puddles and peers. But at the same time, bearing in mind the strong resemblance between palaeolithic figurines and the first person form, as clearly demonstrated by Dr. McDermott's papers, to reject this resemblance as original/causal -- replacing it with some supposed universal woman-shape-worshipping fertility rite -- would be to chuck the baby out with the bath water. The supposed lack of mirrors is bath water, in one way or another. The humongous baby is the amazing and persuasive realisation that the universality of the shape of palaeolithic Venus figurines is due to the fact that they really do represent first person body views. This is the insight that brings science and sensibility to that which was previously considered to be some sort of misguided, magical hocus-pocus.

We are still left with the question as to why did so many peoples all over the globe at a similar stage of human development, find themselves so interested in the form of the first person body view, that they should create sculptures representing first-person-body views over and over again, almost to the exclusion of all other sculptural self-representations? Why were they so obsessed?

I can suggest two reasons from developmental psychology, both of which seem to be overlooked.

The first is that developmental psychologists, from, for example, observation of infants playing the mobiles that are typically left to hang above cribs, reach the conclusion that the first, most primitive, initial, and original recognition and representation of self, occurring many months before we narrate or recognise ourselves in mirrors, is the first person view of self.

Lewis and Brooks-Gunn (1979) for example argue, persuasively to my ears, in the following way.

"Gregory is also about 3 months old. Lately he has begun to coo loudly during those moments between waking and calling his mother by crying. One morning, Gregory's mother walks quietly into his bedroom and finds him awake, on his back, with his right hand extended above him and to the right; his head is turned towards his hand and he is watching his fingers move with considerable interest.

The proprioceptive feedback from the two events and actions (looking and moving one's hands and fingers) are both located in the same nervous system. This example differs markedly from the first since the child can operate on both events, rather than just one event, being external to the organism. The infant, having control of both actions can turn to look at the object or have the object move into the field of vision. This duality of subject and object must represent the beginning of the self as distinct from other." (Lewis & Brooks-Gunn, 1979, p.3.)

Despite the persuasiveness of such developmental psychological theories of the self as originating in self-views, 'this great leap for mankind' is all but ignored in non-developmental psychological theories of the self, such as those of Smith, Mead, Freud, Bakhtin, Vygotsky and the numerous 'narrative self' psychologists. Where did the first person view self disappear to?

And this brings me to my second and more important reason why palaeolithic people the world over may have been interested in representing their first person view of self, which is because she was then, and is now, still here. That deserves capitalisation, and then some. SHE IS STILL HERE!

My sudden use of the feminine pronoun "she" to refer to "the first person view self," runs ahead of its explanation.

In the same aforementioned, fairly mainstream scholarship of the self -- Smith, Mead, Freud, Bakhtin, Vygotsky and others -- there is also mention of the need for an intra-psychic other: some one else in our mind (!). This very peculiar "other" is argued to be essential, but at the same time it is given short shrift. Very little explanation is given of what, where, and how, this most proximal of others might be.

Re-enter the first person self-view, which is closer than the veins in our neck.

Upon inspection of the features of my my own face from my first person view point, it seems to me that it has considerable similarity with the features of the classic, devil woman Hanya mask of Japanese dramatic art.

Note first that Hanya does not look anything like real Japanese ladies, who tend to have small noses, flat cheekbones, and small round chins.

My first person view of my face, and the first person view that Japanese ladies and men have of their faces, however has quite a lot in common the features represented by the Hanya mask. While, unlike Dr. McDermott, I find myself unable to take a first person perspective photo of my face from my the perspective of my own eyes, I hope readers will be persuaded that (numbers correspond to those on the insert bottom left)
1) The nose in both is extremely large at least for a Japanese woman (the Western version of Hanya would be even more grotesque)
2) Our brow impinges upon our view such as is suggested by Hanya's overhung brow
3) The cheeks in my first person view and Hanya's face, protrude absurdly
4) Nothing is visible of my lower face except, with effort my lower lip which may explain the protrusion of Hanya's chin. In other words, my first person face view is all squeezed up around my eyes, with a glimpse of bottom lip like this representation.
5) Unless I or any woman, were to have a long fringe ony that would be visible. My forehead, upper head and hair (if I had any) is invisible. The small forehead of the hanya mask is more appropriate than the my mock-up in the insert.
6) Our mouths are invisible. I am not sure why they are large. The related Shinja ("true snake") mask is portrayed with a tongue which I can see if I stick it out.
7) Our eyes about which our first-person view of our face form but glimpse of a frame, contain the whole world of "colour" or light. As such they may be said to be "metallic" like the tain of mirror, or as in the case of the larger mask, on fire.

This hypothesis does not explain the fangs or horns but if my first person view is really the place where the "demon" (Nishida) is lurking, then their addition may help to that Hanya's countenance is so terrible, that I am generally unable to become aware of her.

And by this means, it is with Hanya's help, I think, that I believe that I am my third person self-representations, and that my representations of others, these little people that walk across my visual field are not empty, but real. I propose therefore that when one sees the truth of the Heart Sutra, one meets Hanya, and vice versa.

The naming of the Heart Sutra is initially quite fortuitous, but turns out to be, in retrospect, no coincidence. That monk knew what he was going on about.

Hanya and my heart are two sides of the same emptiness. Or rather, at the edge of that emptiness, Hanya stands guard.

In other cultural contexts Hanya may be referred to as "the whore." I prefer Hanya since it implies respect.

The main image top centre is a picture of an excellent handcrafted Hanya Craft Mask available for purchase from The Japan Store.

Lewis, M., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1979). Social Cognition and the Acquisition of Self. Boston, MA: Springer US. Retrieved from link.springer.com/10.1007/978-1-4684-3566-5
McDermott, L. R. (1996). Self-representation in Upper Paleolithic female figurines. Current Anthropology, 37(2), 227–275. websites.rcc.edu/herrera/files/2011/04/PREHISTORIC-Self-R...

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Monday, June 27, 2016


Sooth Pilgrimage

If the comforter watches but does not listen, then there us no objective "third person perspective" (Mori) so language is contextual, situated, out there, and one must travel to where language was uttered to understand it. The farmer who returned from Tokyo to his home town in Hokkaido, upon whom the famous Japanese television series, "From the North Country," (北の国から)is based, said "Receive from nature. Be humble". Japanese tourists, or sooth pilgrims, travel to where sooths were uttered, there receiving it, for that is where the sooth is. The Japanese world is not "inside out", as I have claimed, but has rather no inside nor out. The world is the sensations (Mach). The self is the world and the world is self (Nishida). http://flic.kr/p/JrF7Dt

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Monday, June 20, 2016


Asian Holisim is Happier: And how happy are you?

Asian Holisim is Happier: And how happy are you?
In each of 1a, 1b, 1c and 1d in the above image, which of the two (left or right) figures resembles most the figure above them? This is a test of happiness!

Fredrickson & Branigan(2005)had subjects watch videos of penguins, nature, abstract sticks, a climbers fall, and bullying to promote: pleasure, contentment, the absence of emotion, fear and anger respectively.

Subjects were then shown the four diagrams 1a, 1b, 1c and 1d above which show a single figure above two others and asked which of the two, left or right most resembles the one above. The right hand figure is made up of the same fundamental building block ■ or ▲, whereas the left hand figure is made of the opposite building block but is arranged holistically in the same way as the figure above.

It was found that the more positive emotions resulted in more holistic (left hand) resemblances as per the graph below (with the emotions in the same order as given above). This suggests that those that see the world holistically are happier and those that see it parts, may be in a more negative affective state.

Due to the higher suicide rate in Japan, and naff surveys purporting to guage the well-being of a nation based on one culturally laden question, one is often led to believe that the Japanese are bunch of unhappy people. I think this is very misleading. The higher suicide rate in Japan is due in large part to less negative appraisals of choosing the time and place of ones own death. It is further noted that East Asians in particular and Japanese in general tend to see the world in a more holistic way (Masuda & Nisbett, 2001; McKone et al., 2010). I think that this may be in part because the Japanese are in fact happier.

Fredrickson & Branigan(2005)は、ペンギン・自然・抽象的な模様・登山家の事故とイジメのビデオを使って、喜び・満足・無感情・恐怖と怒りの感情を被験者に持たせ、どれだけ全体的⇔局所的な注意を行っているかを調べた。下記のそれぞれの1a, 1b, 1c, 1dにおいて、上にある形状は下の右か左のどちらに似ているかという質問に対して
1 a左右
1 b左右
1 c左右
1 d左右



Fredrickson, B. L., & Branigan, C. (2005). Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought‐action repertoires. Cognition and Emotion, 19(3), 313–332. http://doi.org/10.1080/02699930441000238
Masuda, T., & Nisbett, R. E. (2001). Attending holistically versus analytically: comparing the context sensitivity of Japanese and Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81(5), 922. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/81/5/922/
McKone, E., Aimola Davies, A., Fernando, D., Aalders, R., Leung, H., Wickramariyaratne, T., & Platow, M. J. (2010). Asia has the global advantage: Race and visual attention. Vision Research, 50(16), 1540–1549. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2010.05.010

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Does the Ladder of Life Exist?

The United Nations publishes a world happiness report based upon data from a Gallup survey, ranking countries according to their level of happiness. The Danes game out top. The Japanese were 53rd, one third of the way down the 150 or so countries, which is irregular bearing in mind their high GDP per capital with which "happiness" is shown to correlate.

It transpires however that the Gallup survey does not measure anything I recognise as happiness at all. The actual, and single, question that determines national happiness is as follows.

“Please imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?” (From the statistical appendix of the report)

(In my Japanese 「0」という一番下の段から、「10」という一番上の段のある梯子を想像してください。一番上の段は、あなたにとって自分の一番よい人生で、一番下の段は自分の一番悪い人生を表しています。今現在、梯子の何番目の段に立っていると感じるといえるでしょうか?)

While the notion of a variety of lives, and the possibility of my being able to live any other life but the one I am living is a little fraught, it is at least imaginable. I might never have left the UK. I might have married someone else, etc.

As the famous song by Chiyoko Shimakura goes, people lead and we all could have lead a variety of lives. Life is varied. And by implication in the song, while life has its ups and downs, it is all good.

The notion on the contrary that these lives could be ranked and arranged in a vertical hierarchy with the "best life" at the top and "the worst life" at the bottom is far more difficult to grasp. It seems to me that certain negatives accompany positives (such as the envy of others with success), and positives with negatives (such as emotion, and humility with suffering).

That this imaginary vertical ranking of lives transpires to correlate - in most instances - with wealth may be because it is in fact encouraging respondents to economically appraise their own lives, ranking it in quantitative terms -- "I've done okay" "I've done well" -- in none other than in dollars and yen. In any event the suggestion that this one question plumbs the depths of national well-being or that it should be used to guide political policy seems to be to be quite absurd, especially in view of the way in which Westerners answer such questions in so unrealistically positive ways. But alas, this and similar measures are being used to inform political policy and the need for public spending. We are not high enough on the ladder. So, do we need to spend more?

The ladder of life does not exist so we should give up trying to climb it.

The above image contains a detail from a still from Chiyoko Shimakura's video for "Jinsei Iroiro" (Lit "Life Variety" or "Life has its Ups and Downs").

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Tuesday, June 07, 2016


US Doctors are Harder than Salary Men

Or is that more selfish? In surveys of Japanese and US doctors asking whether each would go to work at various levels of fever the results were as given above, with US doctors choosing to skip work less than Japanese salaried men and women. Particularly at the 39.5 degree Celsius, 101 -102.9 (=39.5 degree Celsius) nearly twice as many salarymen choose to skip work as compared to US doctors. This may demonstrate that they are made of sterner stuff, or that they care a little less about infecting their co-workers and clients. Bibliography Truong, K. K., Huang, S. S., Dickey, L., Cao, C., Perret, D., Swaroop, B., ... & Gohil, S. K. (2015, December). 328Do No Harm: Attitudes Among Physicians and Trainees About Working While Ill. In Open Forum Infectious Diseases (Vol. 2, No. suppl 1, pp. S135-S136). Oxford University Press. http://ift.tt/22LfFlM オリスリス(2013) . 体温37.9度は高いか低いか。何度熱が出たら会社を休む?.マイナビスチューデント調べ. http://ift.tt/22LfkQ5 http://flic.kr/p/GZKpGz

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Monday, June 06, 2016


Masked Rider's Icon: Eye-soul

Masked Rider's Icon (Eye-soul)

The latest masked rider symbolic transformation item from the 2016 series Masked Rider Ghost (仮面ライダーゴースト) is called an "icon" using the characters for eye and soul (目魂). That the transformation item is some sort of symbol is common to all the transformation items of super sentai (power rangers), ultraman, masked riders, Mirrorman, Mito Kōmon, real members of totemistic tribes such as the Aranda, as well as the symbol collecting Japanese Shinto practitioners. The Japanese traditionally believed they received their soul vectored by a symbol received from shines in the form of shinpu, ofuda,or omamori amulet. Mirrorman, the closest to the Shinto tradition, would transform to his super form thanks to a shrine amulet, while standing in front of a mirror.

That these iconic amulets vector something supernatural from the country of light (Ultraman) is also clear. With this particular symbolic transformation item it is becoming increasing clear that these icons vector an "eye" or perspective such that their wearer or consumer may be transformed into the heroic suit or mask, representing visual appearance. One could only identify with a visual appearance by also internalising another. In the case of masked rider Ghost, these others are heroes such as Isaac Newton, Miyamoto Musashi, and the protagonist's father. Internalising the icon of the father allows the protagonists to internalise the father's eye. The "icon" as "eye soul" pun is Tsuburaya genius.

Another commonality shared by many transformatory symbols, such as Masked Rider Orz Medals, Masked Rider Ghost's Icons, and the Tjurunga or "bull roarers" of the Aranda (I made one) is that they are symbols that make a noise, as if reading themselves. If there were ever a visual symbol that could read itself it would 'prove' that the symbol is not merely formal (arbitrary) but an ontological part of a real world, and perhaps that there is of necessity a third person viewer to read it. Intrinsic icons that combine sound and vision, introduce that gap or distance into the world required for self sight. Icons that can read themselves do indeed therefore contain (or would if such things existed) "eye souls," the eye of the soul, that allow those possessed to transform into the seen.

These symbolic catalysts have the same, but 'Nacalianly transformed,' function as the Lacanian mirror image which is or appears to be a image that sees itself. The Lacanian mirror image, Superman's suit and indeed our own faces, is something that misguides or conceals our whispered identity, but it is also the condition for linguistic self-hood. The catalyst or condition for the linguistic world is that two things are the same. That is the importance of Jackson's red, all the images that Western pilgrims go to see, or the wafer in mass. They prove identity. The catalyst or condition for the visual world is that there is something that is two things, a symbol that reads itself, that can intrinsically be read. The Japanese need to prove an intrinsic distance. Westerners need to prove an intrinsic identity.

Both world views are magical but which is best? Keeping ones symbols on the outside, on ones forehead, or in ones watch or belt, is imho a lot more healthy.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Images of Japanese People

Images of Japanese People

As reported in the Softbank Group's online news paper (ITmedia, 2012), the Japanese advertising and public relations company, Dentsu asked 3772 non-Japanese in 16 regions what they thought of the Japanese.

ソフトバンのオンライン新聞(ITmedia, 2012)電通が16地域の3772人の外国人に日本人に対して持たれているイメージを調査しました。

The results given above show that words associated with the Japanese are predominantly positive despite the fact, it seems to me, the Japanese pay little attention to public relations. Positive associations, such as "creative" were strongest in South East Asian countries, where, I presume, there is especially high consumption of Japanese produced media, such as popular music and manga. Despite the fact that these positive images I rather fear that the Japanese are going to throw all this love away.


I would like to rate "meek" as positive but I have kept to the positive / negative ratings in the original article. Several of the items, such as "kodawari no aru" which I have translated as "discriminating," were rather difficult to translate. "Solidarity" is short for "have a sense or solidarity" which may be coextensive with words with a negative connotation in the West, such as "conformist" or "a herd." I wonder at how the items were selected and fear perhaps they were selected by the Japanese.

「おとなしい」を肯定的な項目として分類したいですが、元々の記事にあった肯否判断を尊重しました。"discriminating"と英訳してみた「こどなわりのある」などの項目は英訳しにくかった。項目選びはどのように行われていたかはわからず、日本人が選んだ恐れがあると思われます。「連帯間のある」は(Have a sense of)"Solidarity"と英訳してみましたが、「右へ倣え」「群れている」など少なくとも欧米では否定的なイメージのある言葉と重複するとも考えられる。

The Japanese are very interested in what people from other countries think about them since it seems to me, and as argued by Mori (1995), the Japanese lack a linguistic Other and so find it difficult to narrate themselves objectively. The Japanese have instead an autoscopic, mirror-mind, so they know what they look like and that Japan is beautiful.

The original Dentsu News Release can be downloaded from the Dentsu website in pdf form here (in Japanese). The translations are mine.

元々の電通の調査はここからPDFファイルとしてダウンロードできます. 筆者訳.


Mori, 森, 有正. (1999). 森有正エッセー集成〈5〉. 筑摩書房.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Mirrors Make Westerners Want to Kill Themselves

Mirrors Make Westerners Want to Kill Themselves

According to the central theory of this blog, the "comforter" of the self in Japan and the West observes the self in a different media. In either case the comforter is based upon the mother. Before we become aware of our mirror image or our names we identify our subjectivity with that of our mother and later learn to see (Japanese) or hear (Westerners) ourselves as an object of her subjectivity or in her frame of reference. In Japanese, more matriarchal society the mother looks and the self is seen. In the West the mother is more passive, she listens. Self expression in the dominant medium of self expression is enjoyable and enhanced, and self expression in the non dominant medium is in each case fraught. Japanese enjoy taking pictures of themselves, posing, and "making (visual corporeal) things". Westerners love expressing themselves, shooting their mouth off, and (as I am doing now) making up theories.


Japanese have a problem with linguistic self expression and Westerners have a problem with mirrors. Baumeister (1990) theorised that mirrors would increase the desire to escape from self in the most drastic way: suicide. Selimbegović & Chatard(2013) demonstrated this greater tendency towards suicide by testing the amount of time before subjects were able to recognise suicide related words (suicide, rope, wrist, hang, and attempt from nonsense words) in front of a mirror and in a control condition. It was found that subjects became quicker at recognising these words in front of the mirror and that this effect increased when the subjects were encouraged to think about how far they were from their own ideals.
一方、日本人は言語的自己表現が億劫で、欧米人は鏡が嫌い。Baumeister(1990)は鏡を見る欧米人は、「自己から逃げる」最も極端な手法である自殺に走らせると論じた。Selimbegović & Chatard(2013)は、自殺関連語(自殺・紐・手首・[首]吊り・未遂)をナンセンス語から見分けるまでの時間欧米の被験者において鏡の前で早くなるということで、自殺願望への傾向向上を示した。自我と自我理想のギャップを石示唆せられた被験者において鏡の効果がさらにつよくなりました。

In Japan mirrors are used on train platforms to prevent suicide. In the West telephones are used in same way but, as Butler (Butler, Lee, & Gross, 2009) demonstrates, linguistic expression tends to make Japanese MORE stressed.

日本では駅のホームでは鏡は自殺予防に一約を担っていますが、アメリカの自殺名所では電話が設置されます。Butler (Butler, Lee, & Gross, 2009) が示すように、日本が言語的表現をさせられると逆にストレスが増えます。

The recent use of telephones at Japanese suicide spots and Abe's initiative to make all 100 million Japanese verbalise their objectives and become "active" like Westerners (!) is from this perspective, a very bad idea. 日本の自殺名所での電話の設置や、日本人が自分らの行動を言語化し活躍する一億人総括という安倍首相の政策は、上述の立場から考えれば、名案だとは言えないと思われます。


Baumeister, R. F. (1990). Suicide as escape from self. Psychological review, 97(1), 90.
Butler, E. A., Lee, T. L., & Gross, J. J. (2009). Does expressing your emotions raise or lower your blood pressure? The answer depends on cultural context. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40(3), 510-517.
Selimbegović, L., & Chatard, A. (2013). The mirror effect: Self-awareness alone increases suicide thought accessibility. Consciousness and cognition, 22(3), 756-764.

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Saturday, May 07, 2016


Fun Ramen Restaurant

Tanoshii Ramen San (楽しいラーメンやさん)is a Japanese confectionary which allow children to make soda and cola flavoured Chinese pasties (gyoyza) and extruded gelatinous "ramen noodles" in a soda "soy sauce" soup. There is even a candy "naruto fish paste twirl." This is one of a series including cake and candy sushi making sets. It is educational especially in its 'hidden curriculum' that teaches children that food preparation is fun, meritorious and to be praised and respected. This and all the other 'activity foods' for adults suggests to me, even if my wife did not make it non-verbally clear, that mother rules, and implicitly that men are the "second sex". http://flic.kr/p/GMmm4E

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Two Reasons For Gattai

Japanese superheroes are always merging, with an ecstactic cry of "gattai!" This merging scene mesmerized Japanese children who rehearse similar using merging superhero toys. The merged superheroes are often much larger in size. Often its is the familiars of the super-heroes (as my son is holding top left) rather than the heroes themselves that merge. The superheroes themselves will then sometimes fly up inside the merged giant to control it. Since the superheroes are possesed by the familiars, receiving their super power from them, this tinal structure has the topography of a Klien bottle. In the past I had thought that perhaps the merging represented the way in which Japanese must merge multiple interdependent (Marks & Kitayama, 1991) or "dialogic" (Hermans and Kempen, Bakhtin, but in fact in the visual domain) self views from the view points of others, and, relatedly whether Japanese children are merging various self body views, perhaps also with that of their face as viewed in a mirror. I have more recently realised the enormous size of my first person body views and presume that this difference in scale explains the size differences between the superheroes before and after they merge. http://flic.kr/p/FFH3xk

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Thursday, April 21, 2016


Japanese Translation of Sheeple

This the above is a Japanese translation of this illustration where everyone on a train thinks that all the others present are sheeple. Research (Leuers = Takemoto & Sonoda, 1999) shows that Westerners do have a false uniqueness bias, whereas Japanese are more likely to believe that they are more normal than they in fact are. Leuers = Takemoto, T. R. S., & Sonoda, N. (1999). Independent self bias. Progress in Asian Social Psychology, 3, 87–104. Retrieved from http://ift.tt/1ScThyE http://flic.kr/p/GmP39M

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Spring Night's Dream

There is a Japanese saying "The proud don't last long, but are like a Spring night's dream." This proverb is often said to be the equivalent of "Pride comes before a fall," but it is more severe. According to the Japanese, the proud do not just fall, but disappear. In my pride, I feel I am really letting the Japanese down. My 'research,' which I tend to present only orally, claims that the Japanese too are very proud. While they don't say so, they see themselves, and present themselves, in a very positive light. Furthermore, many of Japanese including a majority of Japanese psychologists and their political leader seem to have been persuaded that they are lacking in pride and self confidence. To be proud and unaware that one is proud is a dangerous situation to be in, like being under the influence of alcohol unaware that someone has spiked your drink. So perhaps like the Heike, who were defeated just down the road, the Japanese may be in for some very bad news. In my pride and delusions of grandeur I feel I really need to try much harder to make the Japanese aware of their positivity so they do not let it blind them. Oh Japan, please take care. 驕る者久しくあらず(春の夜の夢のごとし)という日本語の格言があります。英語のPride comes before a fallに相当するものだといわれますが、日本の格言の方が厳しいですね。驕るもは「落ちる」のみならず、消えるとまで。 驕る私は日本人の厚恩にぜんぜん答えていないと思います。殆どが口頭発表という形のみで公開されている小生の研究では、日本人も誇り高いと主張しています。そうは言わずとも、日本人は非常に肯定的に自己視し、肯定的な形で視覚的に自己呈示すると思います。更に多くの日本の方、多くの日本の心理学者やその政治的指導者は、日本人には誇りと自信が足りていないと思わさされているようです。 驕りがあって驕りに気づいていないという状況は、ジュースだと思い込んでいる飲み物にアルコールを入れられて知らず知らず酔っている状態のように危ないでしょう。そう考えると、この近くで敗北した平家のように、日本人も悲報が届きそう。驕りと研究についての慢心のなか、目が見えなくならないように日本の方が日本型肯定的さに気づかれるようにもっと努力しなければならないと思っている今日です。 日本、気をつけてくださいm(._.)m http://flic.kr/p/GpvuHR

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Will Jim be Helpful?

Will Jim be Helpful?

Choi, Nisbett, and Norenzayan (1999) that when Americans and Korean's were asked whether an individual, "Jim", would help a stranger in the situation where Jim either has plenty of money in his pocket, or where Jim has money only enough for his own fare and an important meeting to go to, the Koreans were found to be more influenced by the situation as in the above graph (based upon Choi, Nisbett, & Norenzayan, 1999, fig. 1. p. 52). It is argued that Asians are more contextual basing their decisions, and predictions of other's decisions, upon the context of the action rather than the character of the individual.

The experimental evidence is persuasive, and it fits in with stereotypes of East Asian "collectivists", lacking gumption, blown by the winds of societal, and contextual pressure.

At the same time, there is something wrong with this picture. Firstly I find that Koreans and Japanese are notably helpful, and non violent, to strangers across situations rather than showing behavioural swings, the helpful to mean, as shown in the graph above.

I suspect that there is another reason why the Koreans are being more "context" sensitive and that is that they are given no information about Jim other than his name. If the Koreans were given an equal amount of information regarding Jim, such as "Jim is a suited 25 year old business man working for a provincial bank", say, then the they would have been no more swayed by the context than the Americans because they, like the Japanese, base their decisions upon what they can imagine, animating the visio-imaginable rather than the phoneme "Jim".

In support of this hypothesis in other research it was found that when given a little more information ‘‘Kate (Yumiko in Japanese) age 20, is a student at your university," (Hamamura, Heine, & Takemoto, 2007, p.250) was given to Japanese and Canadian students, it was the Japanese and not the Canadians that gave a more outlier - further from "most other students" - appraisal of ‘Kat/Yumiko's personality (graph above bottom, based on Hamamura, Heine, & Takemoto, table 1). This difference was significant (p<.001). This is because, I believe, in this experiment the subjects were not just given a name, but also some information upon which to imagine the person that they were appraising.

The Japanese mind does not make decisions in words (Kim, 2002), but upon the surface of its mirror (Timothy Roland Scott Leuers = Takemoto & Sonoda, 1998, 2000; T.R.S. Leuers = Takemoto & Sonoda, 1999; T. Leuers = Takemoto & Sonoda, 1999; Takemoto, T., 2002, 2003; T. Takemoto, n.d.; Timothy Takemoto, 2011a, 2011b, 2012a, 2012b, 2014).

Choi, I., Nisbett, R. E., & Norenzayan, A. (1999). Causal attribution across cultures: Variation and universality. Psychological Bulletin, 125(1), 47. Retrieved from citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=
Hamamura, T., Heine, S. J., & Takemoto, T. R. (2007). Why the better-than-average effect is a worse-than-average measure of self-enhancement: An investigation of conflicting findings from studies of East Asian self-evaluations. Motivation and Emotion, 31(4), 247–259. Retrieved from link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11031-007-9072-y
Heine, S. J., Takemoto, T., Moskalenko, S., Lasaleta, J., & Henrich, J. (2008). Mirrors in the head: Cultural variation in objective self-awareness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(7), 879–887. Retrieved from www2.psych.ubc.ca/~heine/docs/2008Mirrors.pdf
Kim, H. S. (2002). We talk, therefore we think? A cultural analysis of the effect of talking on thinking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(4), 828. Retrieved from labs.psych.ucsb.edu/kim/heejung/kim_2002.pdf
Leuers = Takemoto, T. R. S., & Sonoda, N. (1998, October). 心像的自己に関する比較文化的研究(1) Cross Cultural Research on the Specular Self. Oral Presentation口頭発表 presented at the The 62th Annual Convention of the Japanese Psychologiocal Association English日本心理学第64回大会, Tokyo Gakugei Daigaku. Retrieved from nihonbunka.com/docs/shinzoutekijiko1.doc
Leuers = Takemoto, T. R. S., & Sonoda, N. (1999). Independent self bias. Progress in Asian Social Psychology, 3, 87–104. Retrieved from httyp://www.nihonbunka.com/docs/independent_self.rtf
Leuers = Takemoto, T. R. S., & Sonoda, N. (2000, November). 心像的自己に関する比較文化的研究(6) -メディア(言語とイメージ)の違いと日米比較― Cross Cultural Research on the Specular Self: Differences in Media (Language and Image) and comparison between Japan and America. Oral Presentation口頭発表 presented at the The 64th Annual Convention of the Japanese Psychologiocal Association English日本心理学第64回大会, Kyoto University. Retrieved from nihonbunka.com/docs/shinzoutekijiko6.docx
Leuers = Takemoto, T., & Sonoda, N. (1999). The eye of the other and the independent self of the Japanese. In Symposium presentation at the 3rd Conference of the Asian Association of Social Psychology, Taipei, Taiwan. Retrieved from nihonbunka.com/docs/aasp99.htm
Takemoto, T. (2002). 鏡の前の日本人. In 選書メチエ編集部, ニッポンは面白いか (講談社選書メチエ. 講談社.
Takemoto, T. (2003). 言語の文化心理学―心の中のことばと映像(The Cultural Psychology of Language: Language and Image in the Heart). In 武本, ティモシー & 古賀,範理, あなたと私のことばと文化―共生する私たち―. 五絃舎.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016


Doutaku and Doguu: Destroying the internal Other

Doutaku and Doguu: Destroying the Other
Doutak bells are a quite mystery to me.

They are found dating from the Yayoi period when, I believe the previous, indigenous Japanese Joumon ("rope pattern") Japanese culture that had existed in Japan for millennia was invaded by horse mounted invaders from the continent. These bells were probably originally horse-bells, to allow horse mounted warriors to know where their horses are in the dark for instance. They started out being about the size of the bell that Ray is holding in the above photo, but were gradually made in larger and larger sizes.

My guess is that these larger and larger bells were in part to prove regal (or invader) hereditary, "My father or (great great..) grandfather was a horse mounted warrior." And with each passing generation the bells were made in larger sizes, perhaps.

The Japanese themselves have a tendency to believe that there was no "invasion" and that the Joumon people evolved into Yayoi people, and subsequently Kofun people, due to the arrival of "technology" from the continent rather than due to subjugation. The Japanese tend to believe, traditionally at least, imho, that their culture is continuous or contiguous from the year dot. And they may be right.

The genetic record however seems to point to a considerable differences (in height for instance) with at the same time much overlap, so at least there was interbreeding between an indigenous and arriving race. On the other hand, I suppose that genes might also be described as a "technology," and Japanese culture may have survived changes to the gene pool. I think it very likely.

I imagine Yayoi warriors arriving and breeding (no offence intended) with the indigenous Joumon people, and then later a second wave of invaders (related to the first) arriving in the Kofun (ancient burial mound) period. This two wave hypothesis is suggested by some (Korean) historical interpretations of Japanese mythology. After the latter wave vast tombs were created. The creation of vast tombs, all around Japan, makes me think that there was great stratification within society. I imagine that those that were related to the invaders rounded up and forced vast numbers of indigenous and mulatto stock Japanese and had them build tombs the size of the Egyptian pyramids for their new masters. But this is all my imagination. Korean and Western historians tend to present a sort of "Japan was invaded" type of history, whereas, as I say, the Japanese tend to portray their history as one of continuous evolution with changes in society being attributed to the arrival of new technologies such as for rice farming. I guess that the difference in historical outlook is one of degree. The Japanese are, and their culture is, great at maintaining continuity, of which a great deal remains. This post is about the possibility of continuity between doutaku (as held by my son Ray) and dogu (pictured above right).

Returning to the dotaku bells, they have peculiar characteristics. They appear to have been kept, while not in use, buried in the ground, being unearthed at specific occasions. One theory has it that they were buried in order to soak up and be replenished with the spirit of the earth. The bells often have pictorial inscriptions that may be rebuses, punning on that which they represent. They seem to have a lot of water related imagery and a preponderance of images of deer.

Ah yes, I remember now (I make the same observations over and over again): it seems to me that these doutaku bells may be the origin of the temple bells that are used to ring in the new year in Japan in the "joya no kane" (除夜の鐘) ritual, which are even more massive than the largest doutak. They look similar. They are likewise inscribed. These "joya no kane" bells are now associated with Buddhist ritual to purify the ringers of sins, of which there are said to be 108.

The "rope pattern", Joumon culture indigenous Japanese, who existed for millennia, seem to have created first person body view (McDermott, 1996) figurines or dogū (土偶) which have similarities with the Venus figurines found all over the palaeolithic world. These figurines in Japan were often destroyed. I wonder if they were destroyed (and perhaps buried) in an attempt to exorcise their owners from the mother that occupied their, and perhaps all our, minds.

If so then, by a vast leap of conjecture, it might be argued that the practice of making first person body view figurines and then breaking and burying them, may have evolved into the practice of making vast bells and ringing then (at first) burying them.

This conjecture parallels the hypothesis of Lacanian (and Freudian but less explicitly) psychology which has it that the self evolves by first being represented visually as a body view, then narrativally in phonemes.

In each stage the self is paired with an other-of-the-self that witnesses the self representation.

Lacanian psychology seems to lack reference to self-person body views. The visual or "mirror-stage" is purported to be one in which the the mirror self, or third person body image such as represented in mirrors, and the form of other children with whom infants identify, is seen from the perspective of real others and is therefore groupist, and interpersonal, rather than intra-psychic (in the mind).

It is only, according to Lacan and Mead, with the arrival of language that humans internalise an imaginary friend or Other or ear (of the Other). In Lacan and Mead, and Western philosophers in general, ears are argued to be internalisable but eyes are not. They claim that one can speak, whisper and eventually "think" in words to "oneself," or rather that hidden friend, a generalised other, super ego, super addressee. Eyes are always, interpersonal, groupist, social, out there in the world.

Till the discovery of mirror neurons, our paper on Mirrors in the Head, McDermott's first person, Nishida's Mephistopheles in 'active direct vision', and the lyrics of David Bowie ("Your Eyes" in Blackstar) it was not realised that people can create a watcher within their minds.

Western theorists seem to have missed out on autoscopic potential of the mirror neuron, or McDermottian possibility that eyes are just as internalisable.

Until recently I had thought that the "eye of the Other" was internalised in an abstract, ineffable way. Japanese pictorial art is often represented from the perspective of "an eye apart," typically looking down, from the sky such as one can experience when playing Mariokart, Final Fantasy or other third person view Japanese video games (Masuda, et al., in preparation).

At the same time however, it also seems possible to model an eye within the self in a more concrete way, as the the first person view of self, such as may be represented by dogū, and the first person view that we have of their own brow nose and limbs. When I look at myself in the mirror I can see the noses and brow of the person on this side of the mirror. I can hold out my hand and caresses the surface of the mirror. Narcissus is portrayed attempting to scoop up his image from the surface of water, using his this-side-of-the-mirror hands.

In a sense perhaps the phonic equivalent of the nose and brow is the voice. I can narrate myself and when I do, when I call myself names, such as "Tim" or "I," the in that situation, there is likewise a "this side of the mirror" in the voice that expresses these names. Mead, and Derrida, rightly point out that hearing oneself speak (s'entendre parler in Derrida) introduces a believable duality. But I think that Nishida is right to point out (at least I think he is pointing out) that a similarly believable, or en-actable (kouiteki) duality exists in seeing. Since we can see our brow, and our nose(s), and often our hands, we see ourselves see. We do not even need a mirror to do so.

So, aware of the fact that self always presupposes and entails a self loving drama (with [less than/not?] one actor and two personae), in an attempt to rid themselves of their self-loving sin, the Japanese may have moved from destroying images of the self-person view in the act of destroying and burying dogū figurines, to destroying the phoneme in the act of a DONNGG, of a doutaku or joya no kane bell.

One can hear the sound of a bell on the Japanese joya no kane wikipedia page and in this Youtube Video.

McDermott, L. R. (1996). Self-representation in Upper Paleolithic female figurines. Current Anthropology, 37(2), 227–275. websites.rcc.edu/herrera/files/2011/04/PREHISTORIC-Self-R...

I have also argued that Japanese attempted to destroy inner ears (converting them to external ones) by snapping their earrings. The more you love others the less you love yourself, and vice versa.

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Thursday, March 31, 2016


Photo Props Boom in Japan

Photo Props Boom in Japan
Rather than being "phono logo phallo centric" (Derrida) the Japanese are not so much animist (as they claim) but "Video Ergo Sum" (Lenggenhager, et al. 2007). This is due to the fact that the other of the Japanese is a gaze rather than an ear (Derrida). The Japanese mind is a mirror and the centre of gravity of the self is the face or "mask" (Wasuji). For that reason the Japanese have a fascination with photography and especially trick photography since if something looks like it is, then in a sense, it is. He I am photographed with Ray and May surrounded by "Photo Props" which are pieces of paper to change ones appearance in photos and are currently booming in Japan. Before the arrival of "photo props" of course, Puri Kura (Print Clubs) provided portrait photography post processing.

This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.