The Other Face of the Moon

Gathering for the 1st time all of Claude Lévi-Strauss’s writings on jap civilization, The different Face of the Moon types a sustained meditation into the French anthropologist’s dictum that to appreciate one’s personal tradition, one needs to regard it from the perspective of another.

publicity to eastern artwork was once influential in Lévi-Strauss’s early highbrow development, and among 1977 and 1988 he visited the rustic 5 instances. The essays, lectures, and interviews of this quantity, written among 1979 and 2001, are the fabricated from those trips. They examine an stunning variety of subjects—among them Japan’s founding myths, Noh and Kabuki theater, the uniqueness of the japanese musical scale, the artisanship of Jomon pottery, and the connection among eastern photo arts and delicacies. For Lévi-Strauss, Japan occupied a special position between international cultures. Molded within the old earlier by way of chinese language impacts, it had extra lately included a lot from Europe and the U.S.. however the substance of those borrowings used to be so conscientiously assimilated that eastern tradition by no means misplaced its specificity. as if considered from the hidden aspect of the moon, Asia, Europe, and the United States all locate, in Japan, pictures of themselves profoundly transformed.

As in Lévi-Strauss’s vintage ethnography Tristes Tropiques, this new English translation provides the voice of 1 of France’s so much public intellectuals at its such a lot personal.

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At the temporal axis, one is older, the opposite youn­ ger; at the spatial but additionally the useful axis, one * Kojiki, publication 1, chaps. 41–46. † Nihongi, e-book 2, chaps. 24–50. 15 where of jap tradition on the planet devotes himself to searching, the opposite to fishing— that's, to actions linked, respectively, with the mountains and the ocean. on the instigation of the youn­ger brother, the 2 try and neutralize the useful competition via replacing their gear: fishhook for bow and arrows. The brothers fail, yet from that failure itself a brief good fortune effects: as long as the ­union among one brother and the ocean princess lasts, the spatial competition among land and sea will seem to be conquer. yet simply as nobody individual can reach combining inside his individual the presents of hunter and fisherman, so too a mediator can't with impunity betray her twin nature: that of human and that of sea monster. the fee to be paid for the mediation is just too excessive, the husband and spouse separate, and the spatial competition be­comes irrevocable. The Nihongi say so explicitly, concluding the episode of separation with those phrases: “That is the explanation there's no ­longer any conversation among land and the realm of the ocean. ”* doesn't Japan’s insular nature make it consubstantial in a few feel with that competition among land and * Ibid. , ebook 2, chap. forty eight. sixteen t h e p l a c e o f j a p a n e s e c u l t u r e i n t h e w o r l d sea and with the never-ending efforts imposed on people to beat it? allow us to entire the research. first and foremost of the series, the abridged length of human lifestyles presents a solution to the antinomy among lifestyles and loss of life, which belongs to the temporal measurement. on the finish of the series, the antinomy among land and sea, which belongs to the spatial measurement, additionally unearths an intermediate solution: the hero returns from his stopover at to the king of the seas because the grasp of tides. The phenomenon of tides offers the virtue occasionally to land over sea, occasionally to sea over land, yet in line with a periodic rhythm that after extra belongs to the temporal order. The beginning of Emperor Jimmu, which resulted from the solution of those cosmic oppositions, completes the circle: at the very least within the minds of the compilers, delusion is left at the back of with the appearance of his­tory. What are we to finish from this instance, to which a number of others drawn out of your historical mythology may be additional? not one of the incidents i've got summarized belong appropriately to Japan. they're stumbled on, as I stated, in a variety of components of the realm. The motif of the rejected trade is attested even 17 where of eastern tradition on the earth in Africa (which we all know had repeated touch with Asia). yet nowhere else have been those dispersed parts so forcefully or­ga­nized, nowhere else did they supply the cloth for thus sizeable a synthesis, as on your eighth-­century texts. whether or not they symbolize vanished types or ideas, they illustrate spe­cific features of jap tradition.

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