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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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The Pathological Migrant

The Pathological Migrant

Failures, Escape, and Weakness of Character

Chapter:
(p.172) 6 The Pathological Migrant
Source:
Japanese New York
Author(s):

Olga Kanzaki Sooudi

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824839413.003.0007

This chapter examines the many faces of fear and failure among Japanese migrants in New York City, from dealing with culture shock to coping with diagnosed mental illness. Beginning with an account of a Japanese grocery store called Ajisai Supermarket in SoHo, the chapter looks at the gossip, rumormongering, and jockeying by which Japanese migrants negotiate the specter of potential failure. It also considers the Paris Syndrome, a psychiatric illness that is believed to be the product of violent disillusionment suffered by Japanese when they come to Paris with idealized and romantic notions of the city they have absorbed at home. It compares media and medical accounts of Paris Syndrome sufferers with cases among NYC migrants as well as the mundane and ubiquitous ways in which migrants speak of failure. Finally, it discusses migrants' difficulty with self-expression and shows that they do not openly acknowledge the uncertainty of migrant life in NYC.

Keywords:   fear, failure, Japanese migrants, New York City, culture shock, Ajisai Supermarket, gossip, rumor, Paris Syndrome, self-expression

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