Contemporary Japanese Arts: National Identity Making Within the Representations of Nature

  • Abstract:

    The intense and extraordinary relationship to nature is held as one crucial cultural value of the Japanese. This picture is constructed and maintained diligently not only by foreigners, but especially by Japanese themselves. Japanese like to speak about themselves as nature-loving people and for foreigners this picture of the nature-bound Japanese serves their expectations well. Notably in the field of representations of nature in contemporary Japanese arts this picture is reproduced and maintained continuously. Today, contemporary Japanese art is undergoing radical change. While artists like Murakami Takashi and Nara Yoshitomo dominated the scene from the late 1990s up to 2010 by blurring the borders between popular culture and so-called high art, after the triple-disaster of Fukushima, 2011, the wind has changed. In arts, no longer the cool and the cute construct the pillars of national identity, but representations of nature. This paper will analyze and explain, how artists through representations of nature construct the Japanese national identity. Upon that, it will give an outlook about the relevance of reproducing these pictures of a Japanese national identity for marketing Japanese arts nationally and internationally today.