Post Bubble Culture

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Japan’s Post-Bubble culture is characterized by an inherent confusion within society.  There is an apparent gender gap between pre-war and post-war Japanese, and thus there is a widespread misunderstanding not only internationally, but nationally as well as to what constitutes “Japanese” culture.

Immediately following World War II, Japan was literally bombarded with ideas of culture, government, and society from the west while trying to maintain their own Japanese ideals and values that had been the cornerstone of society since the beginning of time.  This led to chaos and confusion among Japanese citizens and thus the only aspect of their lives that they could count on to lead to positive success in their lives was business and prosperity.  The Japanese economy responded in kind and experienced a rapid growth spike unlike anything ever seen on the international scale.  Japan thus became one of the most competent competitors in the international market… until the collapse of the economy in 1990.  a.k.a. the burst bubble.  People who had been focused on business and prosperity alone found themselves desolate and searching for meaning.  Many turned to religious cults and other forms of spiritual inspiration to pull themselves out of this conglomerate societal and cultural depression.

Some Japanese, however, decided to turn back the clock and focus on the more “traditional” aspects of Japanese society, but decided to incorporate them into modern society.  Takeda Souun, acclaimed calligrapher, has done just that by drawing Japan’s younger generation into the spirituality of expressing oneself through the art of shodo, or Japanese calligraphy.  He often does performance art with thousands of people watching because he firmly believes that the method and movements behind the art are just as important as the art itself.  In regards to post bubble culture, I have chosen this animation of Takeda’s work that depicts the character “seed.”  By using this image, I believe that Japan as a whole has begun to look towards to and recognize the values that are inherently “Japanese.”  They are thus planting the seeds of traditions and ideals of the past to grow into the future, and that is what makes up this Post-Bubble culture.