JAPN 482: Embodying Japan: The Cultures of Beauty, Sports, and Medicine in Japan
As Japan’s global image is shaped extensively by the sophisticated visuals of anime and video games, this class returns to the physicality of the bodies inhabiting Japan’s lived realities. To think about the living body in contemporary Japan means studying diverse but intersecting events such as cosmetic surgery, radiation exposure, and chemical and dietary regulation of athletes. We will ask how the body is an instrument of state control and intervention, a vulnerable surface in need of consumer remedies, and a heroic figure of self-sacrifice. Through films, popular literature, historical accounts, and anthropological studies, we will examine how gender, sexuality, family, and nation collide with the self as biological creature and cultural identity. This class explores the cultural performance and physical enactment of the Japanese body, from skateboarding to sumo, from suicide to radiation sickness, from skin whitening to cyborg dreams. SS, BN.