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.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Achieving Three Dimensions by Spinning

If you you have a specular self, permanently in the mirror stage, like mirrorman, and according to me, all Japanese, then being three dimensional can present a conceptual problem, since images only have one dimension. Origami paper folding, so popular in Japan, allows one conceptualisation of the two dimensional becoming three - like cubism.

Another is the ability to spin. Spinning is rife among the heros of young Japanese such as the "Inrou Maru" of Shinkenger and the wheel helmets of Goonger (both types of Power Ranger or super sentai).

And as shown in the video above, young Japanese people like to spin. Later Japanese children perform these ("saka-agari") loops on horizontal steel bars, (tetsubou), provided at Japanese schools. I do not have to ask Ray to spin. At three, he seem to want to do it everyday.

The ability to perform a reverse spin (saka-agari) like this on the inverted U, steel bar (testubou) is a rite of passage, and a requirement of Japanese primary school children. Here is a 5 year old Japaense girl performing serial loops on a horizontal steel pole.

AFAIK we WASPs do not require our children to spin, nor do our children show much inclination to do so. I can't remember there being any spin bars at any of my schools in Britain but perhaps I am mistaken.

Until the Japanese child can, by perspective taking (but in a more literal sense that Mead had in mind), and developing the ability to mirror in the mind, she feels perhaps a sense of lonliness or unease at the back of her neck which she can touch but never see. She can overcome this sense of lack through the games mentioned above.

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