HomeJapan and its doubles. Study and representation of Japan’s territory and spatial planning through art and literature

HomeJapan and its doubles. Study and representation of Japan’s territory and spatial planning through art and literature

Japan and its doubles. Study and representation of Japan’s territory and spatial planning through art and literature

Le Japon et ses doubles. Étude et représentation des territoires japonais et de leur aménagement à travers les arts et la littérature

日本とその分身

« Ebisu. Études japonaises » – special issue

« Ebisu. Études japonaises » – numéro spécial

芸術や文化を通して見る日本の国土と国土開発に関する研究

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Published on Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Abstract

This special issue of Ebisu. Études japonaises focuses on the hypothetical heuristic value and the equally hypothetical performative role that artistic and literary representations, and even myths, play in the making of Japanese territory and the evolution of the reasoning and principles of their planning. Conversely, this issue also seeks to measure and analyse the impact of the dynamics of spatial planning on Japanese artistic and literary production, and even on possible inflections of the great myths that structure them.

Announcement

Argument

Things that would never happen in Tokyo is the provocative title of Alberto Torres-Blandina’s first novel, a parable of the travesty of what territories have become in the context of a generalized state of economic competition that substitutes material reality with marketing fantasy. This novel is also based on the assertion of constructivism, meaning that territories and regions are above all social realities rather than material or natural realities; they are constructs rather than facts. Caught in the excessive whirlwind of postmodernism, territories have become pieces of hyper-reality, where image takes precedence over materiality, and tends to reduce space, first of all, to what is seen, then to what is perceived, and, finally, to what is represented. Thus, in the economy of attention, hyper-reality has replaced space itself by its representations, which creates a reality according to an imaginary referent with very real consequences: to this end, literary and artistic myths, in the broadest sense, shape reality in their image, or simply replace it due to refusal, disgust or denial. In Japan, the process works particularly well – hence, Alberto Torres-Blandina’s choice to set his novel there – including the historical myths of Japan’s origins.

Yet, at the height of postmodernist inflation, not all principles of reality, effects of structure and resistance of materiality have disappeared. In other words, planning and intervention in the structuring of territory are not only the result of a self-referential realm of signs, images and representations: the granulometry of space, its challenges, constraints and (im)possibilities also impose inflections on myths, literature and art that are those of the contingency of actually planned space – and of its transformations. Thus, myths and territorial dynamics evolve together, sometimes very slowly, sometimes driven by accidents of history or the acceleration of societies. While territory is the result of both individual and collective mental constructions that borrow part of their substance from literary and artistic production, this substance is not totally external to this production’s materiality. How does Japan’s intense literary and artistic production influence the spatial planning of Japan and its territory? How does this spatial planning in turn influence Japanese literary and artistic production?

This special issue focuses on the hypothetical heuristic value and the equally hypothetical performative role that artistic and literary representations, and even myths, play in the making of Japanese territory and the evolution of the reasoning and principles of their planning. Conversely, this issue also seeks to measure and analyse the impact of the dynamics of spatial planning on Japanese artistic and literary production, and even on possible inflections of the great myths that structure them.

Topic Proposals

This call for papers encourages contributors to reflect on five main themes in particular:

Critical aesthetic perspectives: literary and artistic representation of territory

How are Japanese territory and spatial planning narrated, described, represented or criticised in Japanese, or even foreign, artistic and literary productions about Japan? Conversely, how do new constructions (such as the great concrete wall of Tōhoku), transformations of existing infrastructure (the accident at Fukushima power plant and post-nuclear considerations of Japan’s energy supply), or even new planning policies and ideologies influence Japanese literature and art? More generally, what do art and literature tell us about the evolution of Japanese society and about Japanese territory and spatial planning?

Operational perspectives: the narratological turning point for planning

For the last twenty years, the neoliberal turning point for planning has put an end to policies of economic and spatial planning, leading to the rise of project-based territories, making it necessary to find new rationales of popular coordination, integration and support:  this is the origin of the narratological turning point for planning and the reinforcement of the role of great narratives in territorial interventions. What are the broader narratives that structure the planning and production of Japanese space (or spaces), and what relationship do they have with art and literature? Where does operational grey literature stand in relation to artistic and literary production? How do the peritext, hypertext, paratext, even hypotext of planning fit into new transtextual and transmedia rationales that mobilise art and literature on different levels and in different ways?

Scientific perspectives of reflexive epistemology: difference, influence and cross-fertilisation between art, literature and scientific productions on spatial planning

Spatial planning is not only an act of intervention on a territory, it is also an area of expertise that produces knowledge, and is even an academic discipline in its own right, but this status is fiercely debated. To what extent do academic publications reflect the artistic sensibilities and the performativity of myths and literary and artistic representations that authors would like to find in the principles of reality that they examine? In other words, to what extent might academic production be influenced by the great myths to which scientists who analyse planning and structuring rationales in Japan and its territory subscribe and wish to see happen, whether consciously or not, whether honestly or not? Conversely, how do scholarly publications on Japanese planning influence existing myths, or even create new ones?

This theme stresses the reflexive dimension of those that produce knowledge on Japanese space compared to the representations produced and circulated by those who “fantasise” this space in art and literature. In other words, we are seeking to measure, analyse and discuss the porosity, or perhaps the imbalance, between scientific constructs and literary and artistic constructs of discourse and representations of Japanese space, starting from the premise that, outside of socially constructed mental categories, reality (the subject of science) and its analyses do not exist. This theme concerns any discipline dealing directly or indirectly with Japanese space and territory (i.e. geography, urban planning, history, economics, anthropology, sociology, political science, philosophy, ethnography, etc.).

Methodological and technical perspectives: the structure of vehicles of reality, artistic devices, and the nature of the regimes of the production of space

Since Walter Benjamin, a close relationship has existed between techniques of image reproduction and the nature of political regimes. To what extent and in what way do artistic and literary media, techniques and forms used in representations of Japanese territory impact how they are developed and, beyond that, the political and economic regimes of how they are produced and exploited? The question is especially pertinent in Japan because the country is a leader in the digital industry, which has important consequences in terms of the digital visualisation of territory and even on how images of Japan are circulated.  This is something that Cool Japan has largely surfed on, which is not unrelated to the recent increase in tourism and use of space in Japan. From a broader perspective, how do the nature of the media and the structuring of the production and circulation of artistic and literary representations of planning and space impact Japanese political regimes (past and present)?

Institutional perspectives: 100 years of reflection and exchange, the role of art and literature in the spatial planning of the Maison franco-japonaise (and vice versa)

On 7 March 1924, Eiichi Shibusawa, the father of Japan’s economic modernisation, and Paul Claudel, a famous poet who was French Ambassador at the time, founded the Maison franco-japonaise (MFJ). The institution is dedicated to cultural exchange between France and Japan, and also serves as a gateway to French culture on the archipelago; it is a tangible and intangible hub for Franco-Japanese relations in Japan. The MFJ is both the product of an idea where multiple representations and identities are brought face to face, and a physical space that partly determines access and expression of these representations within its walls. What role has this tangible and intangible space played in disseminating representations of French territory in Japanese literature and art and in disseminating representations of Japanese territory in French literature and art? What role have these representations had on both the material making of and the evolution of the MFJ, and more generally, on the production of spaces in France and Japan? In other words, to what extent has the Maison franco-japonaise been a place of exchange, transition and even hybridisation of artistic and literary representations of Japanese space and planning in France, and French space and planning in Japan? To what extent does it also constitute a space or mechanism that produces narratives, is produced by narratives or is the subject of literary and artistic narratives? This final theme is part of the 100-year anniversary of the existence and activities of the Maison franco-japonaise in Tokyo, and reframes the four previous themes of this call for papers in an institutional light. 

This call for papers refers to art and literature in a deliberately broad sense. All kinds of artistic production are concerned here: fine arts, cinema, poetry, comic books, consumer literature, anime, manga, theatre, opera, puppets, music, dance, architecture, modern and digital art… and even craftwork involved in the production of images, imagination, discourse and perceptions on space, territory and planning – this applies to pottery, fashion, screens, lanterns, stamps, etc.

How to apply

Paper proposals should be sent by e-mail as an attachment (.doc or .docx) to the following addresses: ebisu[add @]mfj.gr.jp and languillon[add @]mfj.gr.jp.

Before 1st September 2022

They should include a working title, an abstract of no more than 800 characters, a biography of each contributor with their name, institution and their e-mail and postal address. They should also include the list of source of funding for the research and a select bibliography.

Instructions for authors

Articles should be no longer than 50,000 characters. Please read the instructions below carefully: https://journals.openedition.org/ebisu/1057.

All contributions are sent to a minimum of two independent expert reviewers to assess the scientific quality of the paper. The Editorial Comittee is responsible for the decision regarding acceptance or rejection of articles.

The papers submitted in English will be translated into French.

Calendar

  • Deadline for article proposals: 1st September 2022
  • Deadline for articles: 15 April 2023
  • This special issue will be published in 2024.

About the journal

Ebisu. Études japonaises is a peer-reviewed journal created in 1993 and published by the French Institute of Research on Japan at the Maison franco-japonaise.

About the guest editor

Raphaël Languillon-Aussel is a researcher at the French Institute for Research on Japan in Tokyo, as well as a research fellow at the University of Geneva and the University of Strasbourg. He is a graduate of the ENS, a specialist in geography and a doctor in urban studies and planning, and his research focuses on the relationship between the dynamics of urbanisation, the nature of political regimes that provide their legal framework, and the evolution of capitalist regimes that predicate capital accumulation. He wrote his thesis on urban revival in Tokyo, which he defended in 2015 at Lumière University Lyon 2, under the supervision of Philippe Pelletier. He has also published Les Japonais (Ateliers Henry Dougier) in 2018.

For more information, please see his personal page:

https://www.mfj.gr.jp/recherche/equipe/chercheurs/raphael_languillon-aussel/.

Editorial committee

  • Gilles Campagnolo,
  • Guillaume Ladmiral,
  • Raphaël Languillon-Aussel,
  • Sébastien Lechevalier,
  • Adrienne Sala
  • Bernard Thomann,
  • Amira Zegrour

Places

  • 3-9-25, Ebisu, Shibuya-ku
    Tokyo, Japan (150-0013)

Date(s)

  • Thursday, September 01, 2022

Keywords

  • représentation, territoire, aménagement, art, littérature, esthétisme, narratologique, épistémologie

Contact(s)

  • Amira Zegrour
    courriel : ebisu [at] mfj [dot] gr [dot] jp

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Amira Zegrour
    courriel : ebisu [at] mfj [dot] gr [dot] jp

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Japan and its doubles. Study and representation of Japan’s territory and spatial planning through art and literature », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, https://doi.org/10.58079/18xr

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