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.

Thursday, March 05, 2015


Photography not Prohibited at the End of the World

Japan Today and Rocket News ask why Photography is Prohibited at Japanese concerts.

Vision is central. Japan is one of the few countries where one owns ones image to the extent that taking pictures of other people without their consent in public places is against the law (unless for a registered media corporation). Things *are* what they look like, there is little sense of their being interior qualities that define authenticity. So for example, Ise Shrine can be built new every 25 years but still felt to be Ise Shrine,. Likewise copies of foreign towns are felt to be authentic (authenticopies) if they look the same as that which they are copying, just as we believe that words manage to mean the same thing. Japanese Gods are happy with mirrors and sculptures and pictures of horses (ema) since to be is to be seen. All this is because the Other of the Japanese psyche is not something that listens but something that looks -- a mirror -- so the 'centre of gravity of the Japanese self', is not their self-narrative (which gets in the way) but their face or mask. So if one were able to take photos at concerts one would be stealing the essence of the experience..

The lead singer of the one Japanese band which is allowing photography to be allowed at its concerts, The End of the World / Sekai no Owari, who made a visit to a psychiatric hospital after an attempt to study in the USA, seems to be wise to the nature of Japanese "apparitional life" (Maboroshi no inochi with English Captions), their first single.

Watsuji, T. (2011). Mask and Persona. Japan Studies Review, 15, 147–155. Retrieved from asian.fiu.edu/projects-and-grants/japan-studies-review/jo...

Images of Sekai no Owari: Sekai No Owari Free Live "Tree" in Tokyo: Fukase by Dick Thomas Johnson, on Flickr

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