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.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Nature in Phallocentric and Uterocentric Cultures

I often remark on how little the Japanese like to be in nature. If you ask a Japanese person they will all say "we love nature," (and they do) but something strange is going on.

Rural Japan is suffering from a lack of inhabitants because the Japanese prefer to live in cities. Upstart gaijin (foreigners) with only a modicum of income are able to purchase beach side houses.

Beaches are not visited.

City-central riverside parks are - apart from certail ritual times of year (such as hanami) - empty.

Riverside cafes and restaurants almost do not exist. There are mountains near and overlooking cities, without paths to their peaks.

The Japanese that love nature, do not go there, or do they?

Japan is a uterocentric (my term for Japan), not phallocentric (Lacan's term for the West), culture. Maybe the late great Hayao Kawaii's terms "boseigenri" (mother architypical) and fuseigenri (father architypical) are better. Not least because, in "phallocentric" cultures, phalli, are hidden. In uterocentric cultures the uterus and its doings are taboo.

"Phallocentric" refers to a idealisation of the male adult who, "castrated," made gentle, a gentleman, Christ-like, is everyone's friend and idol. The Father. Not allowed to be lewd and laviscious, he sublimates himself, kills dragons, champions causes, makes money, creates, becomes rich, fulfills the American dream, and as his (or her) reward, purchases a house in the "stockbroker belt," in nature, on a river, over-looking the sea.

Uterocentric refers to the idealisation of the female adult who is perfected, removed of any hint of womb or menstrual blood, has no desire to give birth, and is every Japanese persons' idol. The Mother. Not alllowed to be base and cowlike (forgive me) she sublimates herself and attends to her (or his) children. As a reward she surfs the ocean of "childhood animism," she sets sail into the uncharted waters of the less-than-seven-year-old infant who, as the Japanese saying goes, is "among the Gods."

Uterocentrists have no need of a haven. They can live in apartments by the station. But in those apartments, and in nearby parks, the Japanese infant Gods frolic, and there is nature in spades.

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