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Troubled NaturesWaste, Environment, Japan$
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Peter Wynn Kirby

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834289

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834289.001.0001

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The Cult(ures) of Japanese Nature

The Cult(ures) of Japanese Nature

(p.69) Chapter 4 The Cult(ures) of Japanese Nature
Troubled Natures

Peter Wynn Kirby

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines rhetoric and action regarding nature and Japaneseness that could be discerned in community festivals and in the leisure sphere, along with their connection to contemporary environmental engagement. It considers how codified nature-focused activities and eco-symbols such as manicured gardens, ikebana flower arrangement, and paper houses reflect apparent ecological sensitivity to Japanese social life but often contribute to a pervasive form of detachment in urban communities. It also discusses the intersection between conceptions of nature and rural nostalgia and argues that the Japanese lavish discourse on certain highly standardized forms of nature while ignoring— if not obscuring— elements of their own ecology such as waste and pollution, or irksome animal interlopers such as vermin jungle crows, that contradict the rhetoric.

Keywords:   nature, Japaneseness, festivals, leisure, social life, urban communities, nostalgia, ecology, waste, pollution

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