By Christal Whelan

In Kansai Cool, anthropologist, author and filmmaker Christal Whelan deals deep insights into the conflict of previous and new, conventional and glossy that performs out each day in Japan's historical heartland.

The western sector of Japan is called Kansai—centering round the historical capitals of Kyoto and Nara, and the sprawling, sleek port towns of Osaka and Kobe. Kansai is Japan's "second quarter" after Tokyo—and is instantly domestic to Japan's most standard cultural facilities and its latest culture.

From the traditional ideals of Kyoto to the modern otaku or "geek" tradition of manga, anime, gown play, robots and games, readers will see how cultures collide in:

  • the desires of the spirit: Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples
  • the humanities: dance, portray, anime and martial combat
  • the connection among hi-tech and old-tech: motorcycles and robots
  • model tendencies: from beautiful kimonos to hip haute couture
  • The that means of panorama: man-made islands and the magical energy of water

In this specified number of 25 essays, Whelan dives underneath the outside of Japan to permit readers adventure how paintings, technological know-how, religion and heritage mesh within the Kansai sector to supply a unique wellspring of conventional and smooth eastern tradition.

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Even supposing either Kyoto and Osaka are recognized for his or her gentle delicacies, in comparison to one another, the emphais of Kyoto simply shifts to style because the announcing demonstrates: Kyo no kidaore, Osaka no Kuidaore (Kyoto humans spoil themselves for garments, and other people of Osaka on food). humans from Shiga, identified for his or her company savvy, have lengthy cultivated a philosophy of sanpo-yoshi or “three-way pride” during which purchaser, vendor, and the society at huge should still all be beneficiaries of any fiscal transaction for it to be thought of successful. From the quarter have come the founders of such remarkable businesses because the buying and selling monstrous Marubeni and Wacoal, the famed manufacturer of underwear. occasionally the distinction among Kansai and Kanto is solid as old pique on account that Kyoto misplaced its prestige because the nation’s capital within the 19th century. however, Kyoto not just keeps a status because the birthplace of jap tradition yet can be usually charged because the keeper of Japan’s traditions within the current whereas Tokyo will get frequently blamed for all sorts of standardization. whereas this usually smacks of mere comic strip, it's exciting how the excellence among Kansai and Kanto used to be sufficiently intact sixteen West of the Toll Gate as to persuade international coverage through the Allied hearth bombings in international battle II. whereas bombs devastated loads of Sakai and Osaka, Kyoto, the country’s capital for over 1000 years, was once spared due to its cultural and old value. Tokyo not often acquired such attention and used to be now not spared from heavy bombing. consequently, Kyoto was once capable of proceed to show pride in its obvious background of old temples and castles whereas Tokyo misplaced such a lot of its personal. Japan’s smooth capital had no selection yet to rebuild and modernize. for this reason, a lot of Tokyo is relatively new, having been equipped inside simply the final six and part a long time. In scripting this ebook i needed to come back to an prior time while I first set foot in Japan and skilled every thing as surprisingly new. packed with questions yet with few prepared solutions, my enthusiasm carried me in a number of instructions immediately. at the moment, i'll have benefited from a guidebook, no longer one chock-a-block with historic personages and dates too simply forgotten (for such books exist aplenty), yet one who might have served extra as a cultural compass to permit me to find styles and developments and support me locate my very own method. This booklet is meant to be simply that sort of advisor, the single I didn’t have, to aid those that wish to transcend the cultural stereotypes, predictable vacationer websites, and could delight in a mixture of latest concentration with extra interpretive intensity whereas touring via a colourful and everevolving quarter. This ebook is additionally meant for the numerous eastern i've got identified through the years who for one cause or one other expressed remorse they had scant chance to discover their very own nation. i've got heard this grievance time and again from jap at domestic and overseas and try and reply to it with this ebook.

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