Currently tossing around the idea of putting together a collection of critical essays which disrupt existing knowledges of Japan available to non-Japanese speakers.
The idea arose from the now defunct Tepido.org website, a location for critical (and not always amicable) engagement with the self-made activist cum academic Arudo Debito (debito.org).
Previous to reading Tepido, I had personally taken on board many of the knowledges available to me through print and the internet about Japan. I uncritically perpetuated stereotypes and bought into the fanfare of one-sided critique of Japanese culture, customs, economics and politics. However, as I gained Japanese linguistic and literary capability (which I have written about elsewhere on this blog) many of these stereotypes and knowledges revealed themselves to be largely untrue and frequently based on the sole experiences of a jaded minority sharing similar cultural backgrounds.
Linguistic capability enabled me to enter into Japanese society in a way, I believe, unimaginable to many of these original knowledge producers. This leads to the present: a desire to create new knowledge on Japan, in English, to counter the increasingly fixed knowledges that continue to circulate and get reproduced in world media. I am interested in multiple voices even where those voices are critical of my own opinion. The point is to assemble a group of people to speak on Japan in a critical and engaged way and to have their work critiqued by their peers. And then let the reader decide.
Sound academic? Not really, though the tone might be formal, the only academic qualifications required are solid essay writing skills and the ability to properly source where the information is coming from. Also, a bit of a thick skin. First time writers should not be put off by criticism, editorial or theoretical.
Ideally, I'd like to create a hard copy, but online only is no problem and less expensive. Authors' works would remain their own property, however, I would be interested in exclusive hosting of the final product to contributors' own sites/blogs or even a purpose built site. We have to write it first.
Ideas? Questions? Let me know in the comments and we can get this started.