japonisme: i just want to say....

30 November 2006

i just want to say....

...that there are many things to be learned here, some of which i'd just as soon never have learned. part of it may have been what led americans to put us citizens into "interrment camps" during the second world war: while we relished many of the gifts of the japanese, many of her first western visitors in over 200 years did not see the japanese as people. certainly not as equals.

"they" were either "toys" (being so little when compared to many westerners), erotic playthings (what else to think of a culture of "heathens" where sex is not a sin, and where the women of highest education and stature were the courtesans), or simply curiosities.

"conquerers" have always done that of those they seem to "better." blacks were only "part of a person--was it 5/8?-- in america for how long? women didn't have souls in many cultures.

maybe the japanese had traits that distinguished them from other cultures--what culture doesn't? but just as the octopus is only two chromosomes away from humans (or whatever), every single human on the planet has so overwhelmingly more in common than different that the difference is a trifle, even if it's a trifle that intriques, terrifies, and delights.

we can talk all we want about xenophobia being genetically coded in all of us, but on a practical basis, since refrigeration has been invented, functioning on that level only leads to war.

and i hate to give it up too! the idea of a people all luxe, calme, et volupte, skilled at things like tea, and flower-arranging, and empowering beauty above all things is a lovely fantasy. and ignored the humans for the humans they were.



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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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