CFP: Capture Japan - Book Under Contract with Bloomsbury

Marco Bohr's picture

This is the final Call for Papers for the edited book ‘Capture Japan: Visual Culture and the Global Imagination from 1952 to the Present’. The book analyses, deconstructs and challenges representations of Japan in a variety of different visual media such as cinema, documentary film, photography, visual art and computer games. The book is now under contract with Bloomsbury and due to the recent withdrawal of a contributor, we are now looking for a replacement chapter. We are particularly keen to hear from potential contributions on anime, manga, animation, graphic novels or comics which are topics that are currently underrepresented in the book. Additionally, we are also interested how these type of visual media relate to transnational contexts within East Asia and beyond. 

The book comprises of a series of case studies by an international group of experts in the field which highlight the institutional framework that has allowed certain types of images of Japan to be promoted. The book points to a vast network of global institutions, each concerned with a different type of image of Japan that fits into an ideological, political, cultural or economic agenda. Internationally, these institutions include film production companies or art museums and galleries, whereas in Japan they include local tourist boards, government agencies or computer game manufacturers. Whilst these institutions have differing interests, this book identifies common threads in the type of image of Japan that is being imagined, produced and disseminated by such institutions. The book makes the argument that these images are visual tropes that feed into a type of Japan of the global imagination.

The book identifies that the 1952 ‘Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States of America’ – commonly known as Anpo in Japan – marked the beginning of an era or unprecedented peace and prosperity. Whilst in Japan Anpo created many questions about sovereignty and political agency, particularly during the amendment of 1960, the treaty has underpinned the global economic axis of the post-war era between Japan and the west. The book argues that the institutional support for certain visual tropes of Japan thus feeds into a larger discourse of maintaining the global economic, political and ideological order of the post-war era. Japan, and how it is represented in images, is therefore inextricably linked to its role in maintaining this status quo since 1952. The book will come out at a crucial time since the re-emergence of China as the largest economy in the world is poised to affect the global economic (dis)equilibrium that has dominated much of the last 70 years. The book investigates whether the visual discourse of Japan in the global imagination is about to shift into a new era.

The word ‘capture’ in the title of the book recognizes a level of dominance, even aggression with regards to images and how they feed into a larger discourse. It is also a play on words on the photographic term to ‘capture’, as well as the notion of a spectacle that is ‘captivating’. Contributions to this book by a diverse and interdisciplinary group of scholars are conscious of the way images feed into, construct or subvert notions about Orientalism (Said) as well as self-exoticising discourses such as Strategic Essentialism (Spivak). Contributors also considered how images sought to disrupt, subvert or at least challenge visual tropes about Japan thus complicating notions about a global imagination. Contributors might draw from the legacies of Japonisme of the 19th century or the rapid shifts the way Japan was perceived, and perceived itself, through images from the Meiji, Taisho or early Showa era, however the historical timespan for case studies is strictly from 1952 to the present.

This book is already under contract and we are seeking for one final contribution to the book. Please send a 200 word abstract as well as a 50 word short biography to the editor of the book Dr. Marco Bohr marco.bohr@ntu.ac.uk by the 15th of June 2020 at the very latest. Since we are working on a tight time frame, late submission cannot be accepted. Potential contributors should also not the first deadline of the 6,000 word draft chapter which is the 31st of September 2020. Again, due to the book being under contract this deadline cannot be extended. Revisions of the chapter will occur in October 2020 with quick turnarounds expected. 

If potential contributors are unsure whether their topic suits the book, they are welcome to liaise with Dr. Marco Bohr at marco.bohr@ntu.ac.uk

https://www.ntu.ac.uk/staff-profiles/art-design/marco-bohr