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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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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Crafting a Position

Crafting a Position

Becoming Japanese through the Transnational Encounter

(p.108) 4 Crafting a Position
Japanese New York

Olga Kanzaki Sooudi

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how migrants in New York City craft themselves as Japanese through their creative work and personal identities. More specifically, it considers how Japan—as an idea, an identity, and an object of reflection and crafting—operates among Japanese migrants in NYC. It shows that many migrant artists struggle with the idea of “Japaneseness” itself, as they may package themselves and their work as “Japanese” or “Asian” so as to be commercially successful. The chapter interweaves these artists' stories with parallel histories of Japanese migration from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It also juxtaposes the narratives with two texts: Natsume Sōseki's 1914 speech “Watakushi no kojinshugi” (My individualism) and Kuki Shūzō's 1930 treatise “Iki” no kōzō (The structure of “iki”).

Keywords:   migrant artists, New York City, Japan, Japaneseness, migration, Natsume Sōseki, Kuki Shūzō, individualism, creative work, Japanese migrants

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