Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Concrete Abstractions: Gotô Meisei's Hapless Danchi Dwellers and Japan's Economic Miracle

Concrete Abstractions: Gotô Meisei's Hapless Danchi Dwellers and Japan's Economic Miracle This essay discusses—and introduces to English-reading audiences—the short story “Dare?” (“Who's There?,” 1970) by Gotô Meisei (1932–99). Gotô's story exemplifies his danchi shôsetsu , works of fiction critics found striking for the fact that they were set in spaces heretofore unrepresented in Japanese literature, not least because they were still so new. This was the space of the danchi , enormous apartment complexes designed to house thousands of people and essentially comprising self-contained “new towns” built on the outskirts of Japan's rapidly growing cities during the high-speed growth period (1955–73). Central to my reading of “Dare?” as social critique is the notion, propounded by Henri Lefebvre, that each mode of production produces spaces through which its imperatives are enacted. For this reason, I regard the danchi space as metonymical of the productivist ethos ( seisansei ) integral to Japan's postwar economic resurgence. Prior to engaging Gotô's story, I demonstrate that the danchi was but one aspect of a thoroughgoing attempt to rationalize all aspects of urban existence; this was essentially Taylorism on a macroscopic scale. I move on to discuss Gotô's depiction of the sterile concrete world of the danchi as evincing how—largely through the unconscious movements of their daily lives—people lived increasingly reified existences, effectively becoming “concrete abstractions.” Gotô elicits an awareness of this condition through two competing chronotopes—spatio-temporal axes of narrative—that are central to “Dare?” One of these is “nature” in a reductive guise. The other is “danchi dailiness,” which comprises the intersection of danchi space with the newfound banality characteristic of nichijôsei , “dailiness,” a term that critics of the time increasingly used to reference everyday life. Qualitatively different from the everyday life ( nichijô seikatsu ) of earlier points in Japan's modernity, nichijôsei connoted banality as a newly all-subsuming condition. Through the juxtaposition of such chronotopes, Gotô deconstructs the discourse of “miraculous” economic growth. Danchi space Gotô Meisei chronotype high-speed growth urbanization seisansei dailiness nichijôsei http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

Concrete Abstractions: Gotô Meisei's Hapless Danchi Dwellers and Japan's Economic Miracle

positions asia critique , Volume 23 (2) – May 1, 2015

Loading next page...
 
/lp/duke-university-press/concrete-abstractions-got-meisei-s-hapless-danchi-dwellers-and-japan-s-XsVEL1qgwK
Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Duke Univ Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-2860978
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This essay discusses—and introduces to English-reading audiences—the short story “Dare?” (“Who's There?,” 1970) by Gotô Meisei (1932–99). Gotô's story exemplifies his danchi shôsetsu , works of fiction critics found striking for the fact that they were set in spaces heretofore unrepresented in Japanese literature, not least because they were still so new. This was the space of the danchi , enormous apartment complexes designed to house thousands of people and essentially comprising self-contained “new towns” built on the outskirts of Japan's rapidly growing cities during the high-speed growth period (1955–73). Central to my reading of “Dare?” as social critique is the notion, propounded by Henri Lefebvre, that each mode of production produces spaces through which its imperatives are enacted. For this reason, I regard the danchi space as metonymical of the productivist ethos ( seisansei ) integral to Japan's postwar economic resurgence. Prior to engaging Gotô's story, I demonstrate that the danchi was but one aspect of a thoroughgoing attempt to rationalize all aspects of urban existence; this was essentially Taylorism on a macroscopic scale. I move on to discuss Gotô's depiction of the sterile concrete world of the danchi as evincing how—largely through the unconscious movements of their daily lives—people lived increasingly reified existences, effectively becoming “concrete abstractions.” Gotô elicits an awareness of this condition through two competing chronotopes—spatio-temporal axes of narrative—that are central to “Dare?” One of these is “nature” in a reductive guise. The other is “danchi dailiness,” which comprises the intersection of danchi space with the newfound banality characteristic of nichijôsei , “dailiness,” a term that critics of the time increasingly used to reference everyday life. Qualitatively different from the everyday life ( nichijô seikatsu ) of earlier points in Japan's modernity, nichijôsei connoted banality as a newly all-subsuming condition. Through the juxtaposition of such chronotopes, Gotô deconstructs the discourse of “miraculous” economic growth. Danchi space Gotô Meisei chronotype high-speed growth urbanization seisansei dailiness nichijôsei

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: May 1, 2015

There are no references for this article.