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Japanese New YorkMigrant Artists and Self-reinvention on the World Stage$
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Olga Kanzaki Sooudi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839413

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839413.001.0001

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How to Live a Transnational Life

How to Live a Transnational Life

Between Heaviness and Lightness

Chapter:
(p.137) 5 How to Live a Transnational Life
Source:
Japanese New York
Author(s):

Olga Kanzaki Sooudi

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824839413.003.0006

This chapter examines the ambivalence inherent in Japanese migrants' relationships to one another in everyday life through an analysis of three stories: an extended ethnographic vignette of the relationships between the Japanese and Mexican staff in a high-end Japanese restaurant; a Japanese film entitled Hazard (Sono Sion, 2002), about a young man's dubious flight to New York City to become a gangster; and a personal history of a middle-aged Japanese artist living in Brooklyn for the past thirty years. By interweaving these experiences and cultural texts, the chapter highlights the stakes involved in living a transnational life. More specifically, it shows that migrants yearn for lightness, for freedom and autonomy, yet desire the heaviness of community and social ties based on shared language and national origin. Finally, it uses Georg Simmel's concept of the stranger to theorize Japanese migrants' ambivalence toward alliances in relation to their notion of light-footed autonomy.

Keywords:   transnational life, Japanese migrants, everyday life, Hazard, New York City, freedom, autonomy, community, Georg Simmel, stranger

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