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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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(p.1) Introduction
Japanese New York

Olga Kanzaki Sooudi

University of Hawai'i Press

This book examines the everyday lives of Japanese migrants who have reinvented themselves as artists in contemporary New York City. Drawing on research carried out between 2005 and 2006 in New York City and between 2003 and 2007 in Tokyo, the book explores the tension between optimistic self-reinvention and material and logistical constraints on self-realization, as well as the more ephemeral and intangible qualities in NYC that migrants value so highly. Focusing on the bohemian, artistic class of Japanese migrants—visual artists, graphic designers, fashion designers and stylists, dancers, musicians, and writers—the book approaches migration as well as the narrative and representational practices surrounding it as forms of aspirational self-making. It shows that the story of Japanese migrant artists in NYC offers important insights about Japan beyond its borders. This introduction uses everyday life as a framing device rather than an explicit theoretical concept, drawing from Michel de Certeau's notion of the everyday as the mundane moments where the “ordinary man” or “common hero” subverts and resists hegemonic power in creative ways.

Keywords:   everyday life, Japanese migrants, New York City, self-reinvention, self-realization, migration, self-making, migrant artists, Japan, Michel de Certeau

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