Thinking "Parrhesia" from the East End of Eurasia

One year has been passed upon my return from NY, where I lived for 7 years, I suddenly started to feel to switch my writings, from my native tongue Japanese to English. Not only I afraid the fossilization of my English and losing my English writing skill (in Tokyo, I do not have any chance to communicate in English!), by writing this blog, I would like to open up, and promote the cultural communication, between Japan and oversea.

Lately, the discourses of culture in Japan had been extremely domestic, and had been quite difficult to share in any other languages. The context of Japanese culture is largely created by the zeitgeist of the nation, by placing the thinking “self” to the position of the 3rd person. This is related to the unique and crooked history of Japanese modernity. Japan could not create her own history of subjectivity; the base of subjectivity (originated by "cogito" by Descartes) is created in Europe on the extension of Roman Catholicism as a result of counter reformation, but Japan does not have a structure of monotheism itself (Except "State Shinto" which caused Japan's colonialism). The concepts of modernity which has been imported right after the Meiji Restoration is now melting down, and Japan became the showcase of the fastest and worst example of post-modernity in the world.

Since most of the discourse is created in a limitation of language, to export Japanese culture became quite difficult. Also most of the so-called "cultural persons (bunkajin)" in Japan do not try to explain, or export their own history and culture in foreign language, since Japanese local market has been enough large to sustain their activities and they had no need to do so, and furthermore, their language skills have never been enough. Therefore, most of the discourse in Japan became only for the Japanese audience, which create the vicious cycle of an autosuggestion of the nation in an unconscious level, and even worse, the Japanese people who cannot get an information from foreign language does not realize it. However, I would like to search my own way of communication, which is an area where my father haven’t seen, in a larger context and perspectives.

As a person who has a nationality of Japanese and speak Japanese, I would like to open up more possibilities of communication in various fields, in various cultures. That is my challenge for Parrhesia, to speak the truth freely, for the common good, even at personal risk.


  1. I commend your efforts here. You might consier starting a group blog in English, where bloggers can all help each other and be open to gaijin bloggers as well.

    There are lots of foreign bloggers here; you might take a look at the blogroll on the right side of my blog.


  2. Thanks TokyoTom, I will take a look. Let's help each other to create a new culture of English speaking communities in Tokyo!