No Music, No Message, No Meaning: Japanoise

"I wanted to compose real surrealistic music in a non-musical way. Surrealism is also reaching unconsciousness. Noise is the primitive and collective consciousness of music. … [Read More]


Blood-Spattered Innocents: The Cachet of the ‘Grotesque Cute’

by Gregory Ranzini Introduction: Attack of the Cake-Demon At 11:56, on January 20, 2011, the popular Western imageboard 4chan's (link not safe for work/life/anything) … [Read More]

Uh, ouch?

Coming to America: J-Horror

by Mary Grob Film critics and fans alike agree that the American horror genre entered into a slump during the 1990’s that it has yet to recover from. Gone are the … [Read More]

Ringu 2

Standing Out and Fitting In: Street Fashion and the Search for Identity and Power in Post Bubble Japan

by Tori Szczesniak Fashion is the means of expressing identity. Dressing is a ritualistic, symbolic, everyday practice that we use to situate ourselves in the chaotic, … [Read More]



ZERO by Nakahashi Katsushige

The twenty-first century global market has been inundated with Japanese cultural products that have redefined Japanese identity in the postbubble era.  This cultural dominance takes the place of an economic dominance that evaporated with the crash of the “bubble economy” of the early 1990s. This “soft power” has been criticized as a new form of imperialism, an aggressive cultural marketing that is especially troubling given the prominence of war imagery in these new media arts and the concurrent rising tide of neonationalist sentiment in Japan.

Works such as Nakahashi Katsushige’s “Zero” (1999) comment on the troubled relationship between postbubble Japan and its wartime past. Yet the surface-oriented nature of this “Superflat” art can also distance the viewer from the deeper, more painful memories of national and individual bodies. These postbubble cultural products are invading the global market, but there is a danger in their appropriation of Japan’s past through a postmodern obsession that lacks historical depth.