Princeton University is intellectually isolated



Lisette Gebhardt

The media intellectual as a "medium" of cultural identity.
Notes on a sociotype of contemporary Japanese culture



In Japan, as in the West, the "media intellectual" has established himself as a representative of the "intellectual class". Media intellectuals are contributors to the current Japanese cultural discourse, which is primarily devoted to the topic of identifying oneself. As "spiritual intellectuals", well-known Japanese writers, critics and thinkers (shisôka) take part in a culturalist argument that articulates the "pains of modernity" and the nostalgia for "traditional Japan". As is assumed here as a working hypothesis, this mood, which arises from the basic attitude of many Japanese thinkers critical of modernity, is to a large extent also generated by the "identity industry" and the media associated with it.

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1. "Intellectuals", "Media", "Media Intellectuals" in Japan: Introductory Considerations
1.1 A Japan-specific intellectualism?
1.2 From "thinker" to "entertainer"
1.3 Mishima Yukio as an early media intellectual and his "Japanese cross" death

2. Prototype of the Japanese media intellectual in the era of bubble narcissism
2.1 Indigenous identity as a commodity in the identity industry
2.2 The "spiritual intellectual", the "spiritual old boy" and the Japanese "media religion"
2.3 The "postmodern shaman"

3. The Japanese media landscape as a playing field for insular actors
3.1 Sliding positions between "left" and "right"
3.2 The superfather as a moral authority
3.3. Intellectuals, media, power

4. Literature



1. "Intellectuals", "media", "media intellectuals" in Japan:
Introductory considerations


1.1 A Japan-specific intellectualism?

Karatani Kôjin, the well-known Japanese literary scholar and cultural critic, expresses himself in an article on the Japanese "intellectual status" as follows: "Nowadays hardly anyone would simply describe himself as an intellectual, and if so nobody would take him seriously" (Karatani 1998: 50). The fact that the image and the self-image of intellectuals have changed in recent decades - from an initially obviously positive assessment to the announcement that the term "intellectual" should be avoided - is a development that Japan shares with the West.

A Japanese intellectual scene can be expected to emerge around 1900. Karatani states that the "first Japanese intellectuals" probably became active during the Taishô period (1912-1926). The thinkers of the previous decades would not have been aware of the problem of living isolated from the "masses" and, as a knowledge aristocracy, would have believed in their supremacy without questioning their own role. Karatani defines the essence of the intellectual as that of a socially critical thinker with a social conscience "in his emotional mood" and emphasizes his "romantic" origins (Karatani 1998).

The renowned political scientist and contributor to the Japanese intellectual debate Maruyama Masao (1914-1996) took the view that the period from the Meiji Restoration (1868) to 1888 should be regarded as the birth phase of the modern intellectual in Japan. In his description of the history of Japanese intellectuals (1982; Kindai Nihon no chishikijin), Maruyama points out that in the Japanese case it is difficult to paint a unified picture of intellectuals as a specific class or group within society. In Japan there are already several names for what would be called "intellectual" in the West.1 Maruyama calls the terms gakusha (scholar / scientist), gakushikisha (scholar), yûshikisha (educated), chishiki kaikyû (intelligence) Class), interi (intellectuals; Maruyama 1988: 90). Here one could argue, however, that in the western area one did not necessarily limit oneself to the term intellectual alone and that the "intellectual" and its representatives from science, literature and art were located in a similarly broad field of words. For Japan, Maruyama states that due to the country-specific social structure, its class hierarchy, the separate worlds of thought of the various professional groups and the rapid specialization of art and science branches, there is little or only temporary formation of an intellectual community (the intellectual association of the early Meiji period / Meirokusha 1874-1879, the Japanese Marxists, the "community of repentance" of the Japanese intellectuals after the Second World War) in the sense of a "free-floating social class" (Mannheim) would have come (Maruyama 1988: 103). Instead of an intellectual culture of debate, the principle of the "octopus pot" (takotsubo) prevails in Japan, in which the captured octopuses are stuck and do not communicate with one another (pp. 75, 88). This metaphor symbolizes the lack of a "meeting place" for the exchange of ideas, which Maruyama considers typical of Japan, as well as the lack of a "tradition of thought that could have taken on the role of a coordinate axis for the various ideas" (p.14).

It is too early to make a definitive statement about Japanese intellectuals, their history, their impact or their - much more frequently quoted - impotence 2 and to make a conclusive assessment of any Japanese peculiarities. 3 Although there are numerous studies on individual personalities, philosophers, writers and so-called thinkers (shisôka), 4 as well as analyzes of formative development phases of modernity (encounter with the West in the 19th century, war and post-war period) and on certain subject areas 5 (reception Christianity / "Western" individualism, socialist movement, Marxism, nationalism, war and responsibility for war), 6 there is a lack of additional detailed investigations and comprehensive, systematic representations that depict intellectual events in modern Japan in its entirety and processuality from an interdisciplinary perspective would. It would be important to reconstruct receptions and encounters, to trace lines of development of the exchange of ideas and intellectual currents that unfolded on an international level and circulated in the contemporary literary, philosophical, political and academic groups 7 of Japan. Many observations are still too narrowly confined to the textual cosmos of a thinker and do not ask about his status as a thinking contemporary.

With regard to the stated specifics of Japanese thinking, one must object that these are often presented with the intention of evaluating Japanese negatively or positively, and that they are often prematurely postulated. The postulation of a great west-east difference - under the keywords orientalism and self-orientalism - is already part of the self-image and image production of the modern age, in which the intellectuals from east and west participated since the 19th century, like the positive or negative evaluations Japanism echoes the mood of the years in question.


1.2 From "thinker" to "entertainer"

Possible descriptions of a Japanese intellectual would have to take into account the time-specific dimension, which Maruyama also includes when he speaks of the intellectuals of the Meiji and Taishô eras and the post-war intellectuals. The information about intellectual life in Japan becomes more and more sparse the further one moves away from the decades before and after the Second World War. While the discussions on political, philosophical and religious questions of the thirties, forties and fifties are relatively well understood, 8 there are only a few considerations of the situation in the sixties and seventies. A comprehensive study of the so important Japanese student movement and its ideological and intellectual background remains to be missed. The eighties and the postmodern Japanese scene 9 are hardly commented on, just as one rarely comes across conclusive assessments of intellectual currents of the nineties and the millennium.

The change in the intellectual role in the industrial and media society has been discussed in Germany more and more since the 1970s. In this decade, Arnold Gehlen points to the change of the intellectual from an authentic thinker to an entertainer of the audience (see Georg Jäger's contribution to the discussion forum). Maruyama Masao, for his part, shows how the intellectual (chishikijin) is transformed into the so-called bunkajin (literally: "cultural man") in post-war Japan and notes that the new (derogatory) category is symptomatic of the changes in post-war society.

According to Maruyama, the "rapid development of the mass media, as it is particularly represented by television" and the social rise of entertainers are the basic conditions for the emergence of the bunkajin. Maruyama emphasizes the influence of the mass media, which, like Gehlen, he considers to be fatal for a - ideally thought - critical thinker looks at and states that on the one hand the interi have turned into entertainers, the entertainers themselves would have become interi (pp. 98-99). The political scientist speaks of "talented intellectuals", university professors, high school teachers, critics and journalists, "who comment on time issues on television as permanent employees" and, Maruyama suspects, may have made a name for themselves through their joint appearance with celebrities from the entertainment industry. The term bunkajin can be roughly equated with the term "media intellectual", which has established itself in German journalism in recent years (e.g. Rudolf Walther 1998).


1.3 Mishima Yukio as an early media intellectual
and his "japonesquer" death

Maruyama does not discuss in detail how the change from "thinker" to "entertainer" took place in Japan and who represents this change. Perhaps it would be instructive to see a public figure like the writer Mishima Yukio (1925-1970) in the context of the phenomenon of the media intellectual. Mishima, who continued the line of Japanese neo-romanticism in literary terms - with his first works in the post-war period - cultivated a dandy-like lifestyle in a western interior that was staged to attract the public, 10 while in many of his texts, particularly clearly in the later works, he imagined an Asian style Sought to regain tradition.

His suicide by seppuku in November 1970 was an often problematized and disconcerting act in the debates about the development of intellectual Japan in the post-war decades and, in the opinion of many critics, writers and artists, marked a decisive turning point in contemporary Japanese culture. Mishima, who commanded a paramilitary group of nationally-minded followers, had entered the Self-Defense Forces (Jieitai) headquarters in Tokyo’s Ichigaya district and delivered a patriotic speech from the balcony of the building urging the nation to return to Japanese values . To confirm the purity of his motives, he and his adjutant Morita passed away according to the traditional manner of Japanese warriors - by slitting his stomach and then having himself decapitated.

With his "traditional" death, Mishima aroused incomprehension in wide circles. To a certain extent, however, he was a trendsetter at a time when a retro wave set in in the intellectual and artistic as well as in the world of goods. A renaissance of Japanese aesthetics was celebrated, resorting to the hybridized, west-eastern aesthetics of modernity (keyword "japonesque"). Among other things, this was an indication that there was no longer any "pure" Japanese culture in modern times and that people were already communicating about themselves on an intellectual and artistic level within a hybrid culture. The intellectual atavism of Mishima corresponded with the fashion of the time of "indigenous" identity finding, with which the search for the "ethnic line" of the Japanese became a hobby of amateur archaeologists, just as critics and writers in this decade increasingly tried to find "Japanese tradition" to rediscover. 11

Mishima's self-evacuation presented the audience with a kind of "Japanese" death, in a decade in which the discovery of the genuinely "Japanese" was widely marketed as an ethno-romantic fiction by the Japanese identity industry. Mishima had already staged himself in his photo series as a "Japanese body" and the Japanese staging of death was also anticipated in the media - first as a text, then as a film. In the 1965 film "Rites of Love and Death", Mishima played the Japanese captain from his short story Yûkoku (1959; Patriotism), who committed seppuku out of allegiance. It is not clear whether it was Mishima's intention to use this consistent implementation of a traditional motif to indicate the possibility of realizing (media) visions or whether the act is to be seen as an inevitable result of his personal inclinations (political, aesthetic and sexual) to prove. It is significant that the author, who did not fail to contact journalists on November 25, 1970, the day of his suicide, has now been dedicated to a Mishima Yukio cyber museum. 12th



2. Prototype of the Japanese media intellectual
in the days of bubble narcissism

The anti-modern (han-kindai) attitude that determined Mishima's lifestyle, his world of ideas and his theatrical departure from life has been an essential feature of the Japanese intellectual scene since the post-war period. The resentment towards western modernity and a Japanese system that denies its "indigenous" origins with an apparently unconditional adaptation of the "western" has accompanied the argumentation of Japanese intellectuals for some time, following the phase of committed debate in the context of a dichotomous east-west model make a turn to "Japanese" with western ideas. 13th

A phenomenon that could be called bubble narcissism characterized the 1980s in Japan. The products of the Japanese identity industry went into series production, so to speak, in this decade. While the desire for a concept of Japanese identity can be attributed on the one hand to the increased self-confidence through the immense economic successes (known as baburu = soap bubble), the eighties also brought about a new need for value orientations that articulates the crisis of meaning in an affluent society.


2.1 Indigenous identity as a commodity of the identity industry

Already in the Japanese cultural discourse of the fifties and sixties the regional with the key word Dochaku or minzoku Dochaku was installed as a folkloristic concept of "indigenous Japan". The regional and rural emerged as a zone of optimistic imaginations of the powerfully archaic and as an offer of identification by an "innocent" Japan without the sins of imperialism. Japanese intellectuals now had the opportunity to find a Japanese culture beyond the imperial-dominated culture of the capital, which could provide support, security and - in the opinion of many - a good basis for future-oriented development of the country. 14th

Since the 1970s, the wave of self-reflection has been increasingly shaped by commercialism. Representative here is the advertising campaign of the then still existing Japanese state railway in the mid and late seventies, which launched a new intra-Japanese travel trend to an as yet undiscovered, "exotic" Japan under the slogan "Discover Japan". This trend was accompanied by a self-reflection on the Japanese identity, a "Japanology boom", a new renaissance of the folklorist Yanagita Kunio and a "Japan boom" in the younger generation, which shows a new interest for those who have already been forgotten " Japanese things "developed. Anthropologists Jennifer Robertson and Marilyn Ivy (1995), for example, comment on these phenomena of making Japanese modernism homely. Robertson analyzes in several articles the socio-psychological significance of the so-called furusato movement in contemporary Japan as a construction of "symbolic enclaves of a more authentic Japan", which is supposed to enable the experience of "home", security and inwardness in an increasingly complicated society (Robertson 1996: 172-193).

The fact that a more or less plausibly formulated commitment to the homeland is a catchy message that the media takes up more readily than differentiated analyzes of the domestic situation would be a possible explanation for the obvious assertiveness of the nostalgic national utopian retro trend that determines the intellectual and commercial worlds of the island kingdom.On the other hand, the success of the message of the indigenous peoples is also the result of the intellectual life in Japan, which - despite the diversity of current attitudes and globally oriented lifestyles of the citizens - is stagnating due to the political representatives, the bureaucracies, the island-centricity of intellectual elites and numerous representatives of the business world . This is mainly due to the traditional methods of politics in their interaction with the information cartels of the media. 16


2.2 The "spiritual intellectual", the "spiritual old boy" and the Japanese "media religion"

The Japanese media intellectual - primarily those of the last two decades - is to a not insignificant extent also a "spiritual intellectual". This term, which pointedly expresses an important tendency in contemporary Japanese culture, was coined by the religious scholar Shimazono Susumu (University of Tokyo). It denotes a loose formation of critics and academics who have represented an intellectual movement since the late 1970s, whose representatives refer to "Japanese spirituality", with which, in their opinion, it will be possible to develop future-oriented perspectives beyond Western modernity to find and thus to overcome the stated crisis of meaning in the country.

Inken Prohl discusses in the introduction to her work "The 'Spiritual Intellectuals' and the New Age in Japan" what the intellectuality of Japan's "spiritual intellectuals" is like. By referring to Max Weber's remarks on the intellectual return to mysticism as a way out of a rationally insoluble search for meaning, she concludes that Japanese intellectuals also invoke the irrational in order to constitute "meaning" (Prohl 2000: 10-11). The religious scholar and Japanologist emphasizes how closely the work of the "spiritual intellectuals" is intertwined with the Japanese mass media. With their "spiritual discourse", which has been advised again and again under different labels, they meet the needs of the media industry, which, according to its own mechanisms, sees itself forced to always offer new topics (p.114).

One of the best-known media intellectuals of the 1980s is the religious researcher and philosopher Umehara Takeshi (born 1925). Umehara is symptomatic of the Japanese media intellectual who became more and more present since the late 1970s and 1980s. Conservative thinkers and "spiritual old boys" like Umehara Takeshi, whose culturalist discourses on self-assertion related in particular to Japanese religiosity, corresponded to the zeitgeist, also because Umehara cleverly combined his conservative Japanese discourse with content from the popular esoteric current that was emerging at the time. In the course of the economic boom in the eighties, Umehara, who took the view that Japan should recommend itself to the West not only with its material successes, but also with its intellectual goods, was able to expand his position. With him, a number of omnipresent opinion leaders, among them Yamaori Tetsuo (born 1930; topics: Indian philosophy, Japanese religion), shaped the Japanese cultural discourse. They expressed themselves in many publications and television reports on questions of Japanese identity and its basis, the "Japanese", optionally "Asian spirituality". 17th

Their positions in influential social institutions allow the "spiritual old boys" easy access to daily newspapers and television stations. It is not uncommon for the publications and events of the "spiritual intellectuals" to be sponsored by corporations and influential religious and political associations. The Japanese journalist Saitô Takao speaks of an "occult capitalism" in this context. In his volume from 1997 he explains how well-known business and technology companies (Sony, Kyocera) and promoters of the "occult" from the new religions (e.g. Funai Yukio) are interested use the supernatural for marketing purposes.

In some cases, the religious associations and corporations fund publishing houses and their related projects, which are primarily aimed at Japanese corporate employees. The "angel library" of the PHP group 18 founded by Matsushita Kônosuke and its publishing house is also funded by the confectionery magnate Morinaga, while the technology group Fujitsu sponsors volumes on the subject of "animistic" Japanese view of nature (cf. Prohl 2000: 103-109). Higuchi Hirotarô (Asahi Brewery) sees himself on intercultural forums as a missionary of "Japanese spirituality", which he propagates as a future concept (cf. Gebhardt 2001). For a readership that sees itself as more avant-garde, the publishing house Hirakawa Shuppan, which belongs to the new religious association Agonshû, publishes, in cooperation with personalities from the publishing scene such as Aramata Hiroshi, "spiritual" ideas, into which an attitude that confirms the norms is woven despite subversive rhetoric against the performance society.

According to the observations made here, the reference to the media and marketing of an intellectual "spiritual discourse" can be interpreted in the direction of an offer which, on the one hand, meets the ongoing Japanese retro trend through its goods aesthetics and on the other hand promises an increased density of experiences, as in the "adventure societies" "(Gerhard Schulze) is wanted. On the other hand, the media prepared "religion" in Japan promises - in magazines and books, but one also thinks of the numerous programs of the television station NHK - finding identity and meaning.

On the basis of detailed investigations, it should be considered in more detail whether the representations of the religious in the print media and on television are subject to certain regularities. On the one hand, from an aesthetic point of view (keywords: Japonesque; Japanese neo-baroque, retro trend, kitsch) and, on the other hand, with regard to content-related, ideological aspects or the question of whether the Japanese "media religion" 19 as a facet of the cultural discourse also stabilizes the system Features includes. Another question would be which organizations or interest groups are behind the "images" that the Japanese public receives of "religion".

The staging of the religious as a performance of identity has long been one of the poses that some of the Japanese opinion leaders and the interculturally engaged salon faction of academic life assume. This tendency is also gaining in importance in the Japan-Germany axis of interaction, and in the interests of a scientific understanding committed to intellectual honesty one should ask oneself whether these pilgrimages to the "Temple of Self-Orientalism" are in the interests of all of us.


2.3 The "postmodern shaman"

The media-effective type of Japanese postmodernism is that of the "postmodern shaman", as embodied by Nakazawa Shin'ichi (born 1950). Nakazawa was impressively photographed by the well-known news editor and personality show master ("News 23") Chikushi Tetsuya as an icon of the spiritual intellectual in his volume "Wakamonotachi no kamigami" (1985; "The Gods of Young People"). In Nakazawa's work, the criticism of the modern western-rational understanding of knowledge, of the established sciences, their procedures and hierarchies is articulated. Nakazawa was also inspired by reading Carlos Casta eda's Don Juan cycle - a cult book of the western esoteric scene - whose path to academic honors and its simultaneous undermining of the academic system and its scientific claim probably inspired Nakazawa to take a similar approach. In his work, Nakazawa invokes the canon of Western postmodern literature, which he uses to underpin his criticism of modernism. His writings, in which he advocates "alternative", "other realities", were less aimed at the philosophical professional world, but were designed to introduce new accents into the cultural discourse of the time.

While Nakazawa was advancing to the bohemian of Japanese postmodernism, a heated dispute broke out over his academic qualification at the University of Tôkyô, for which a faction wanted to win him over as a teacher against the opposition of the others. In May 1988 the clashes escalated. As a result of this incident, Nakazawa became a central figure in an intra-Japanese discussion about science. The University of Tôkyô rejected Nakazawa as a candidate, with the result that the professors who had supported Nakazawa resigned, including Nishibe Susumu, a conservative leader. With the attack by the new religious association Aum Shinrikyô in March 1995, Nakazawa, who had extolled the association as an alternative model to the capitalist and ten-centrist society of Japan, lost his credibility and its attractiveness for the media rapidly declined. The case of the spiritual playboy and postmodern shaman illustrates how in the 1980s postmodern and "spiritual" arguments were merged into a message that the intellectual crowd spread with the support of the media world - as the lesson of the "other modernity" of Japan.

The actors of the postmodern "Intellectual Japonesque" may well have been aware that they are posing in "Japanese costume", which probably does not offer any solutions for the stated crisis of meaning in modern Japan. The pose in "indigenous garb" is more impressive because of its stage quality than that it would prove itself in social reality. The pose serves as a signal for protest among Japanese intellectuals who, since the cultural anthropologist Yamaguchi Masao studied carnival scales, have liked to see themselves as liminal existences and "tricksters". It is accompanied by both - outwardly directed - rejection of modern civilization of Western character as well as - inwardly directed opposition to the proponents of a materialistic, achievement-oriented system, who are perceived as satraps of the West. Nakazawa's approach is characteristic of the relationship of Japanese postmodernism to religion and to Japanese religion in particular. First and foremost, "religion" has a function of separating it from Western thinking. It serves - quasi as a means of pleasure - to "experience" intense experiences and to regain an inner space that western modernity has usurped.





3.1 Sliding positions between "left" and "right"

In this discourse and in the area of ​​its media representation, since the 1980s, at first glance, contradicting positions such as the culturalist discourse of national-conservative thinkers, postmodernism and the Japanese New Age have apparently met without any problems. The author of an article on the occult currents of the Japanese cultural scene, the journalist Kimura Tatsuo, describes the esoteric wave as a reaction to the failure of the student movement and its ideals (Kimura 1998). With the decline of the student movement in the early 1970s, committed intellectuals in Japan emigrated from within. Reflecting on the "spiritual" replaces a more realistic socio-political commitment, was a common pattern of interpretation. One dealt with one's own state of mind and the question of Japanese identity, the "original Japan", the concept of which, as already mentioned, had been conceived as an alternative to the unwanted "system" in the 1950s.

If "spirituality" may initially have been a battle term against capitalism and a stagnating system, it has served as a leitmotif for the pseudo-alternative lifestyle (keyword: counterculture) of certain social classes and groups since the 1970s. They associate the "spiritual" with an attitude of protest, which can basically only be found as a label in the supermarket for meaningful offers.

While the "spiritual" reasoning of younger "spiritual intellectuals" was still carried by the myth of the alternative, the messages from "original" religious Japan that the "spiritual old boys" presented conveyed moral instructions 20 that in part conveyed the ethos of the collective corresponded to the pre-war period. It is precisely this amalgamation - not only of formerly left-wing standpoints with "spiritual", but that of left-wing and apparently liberally progressive with conservative and nationalist positions - a pattern that must astonish the observer of the Japanese intellectual scene.

The Germanist Mishima Ken'ichi notes in this context:

This torn back and forth between Europe and East Asia on the one hand, and between left-wing and right-wing positions on the other, characterizes the history of intellectuals in modern Japan, and especially in recent years, Japanese intellectuals seem increasingly to be part of a network of ethnocentric discourses as a result of their indecision to have caught.
In comparison with developments in Germany (the renaissance is mentioned by thinkers like Heidegger and Jünger, p.116) Mishima adds:
While one in Germany is trying - and hopefully in vain - to install a forum for the "self-confident nation", but on the other hand - and this seems more important to me - not a single attempt has been made, some of which are grandiose and with great intellectuality To translate the ambitious plea for a conservative revolution into a simple and popular language, the nation in Japan seems to be largely infiltrated and contaminated by the jargon of ethnocentrism (Mishima 1996: 87, 117).

3.2 The superfather as a moral authority

Mishima Ken'ichi's emphatically presented findings contain a number of references to the "traditional" Japanese beliefs expressed in the daily press by well-known Japanese thinkers, including the "spiritual intellectual" Yamaori Tetsuo, who - in denial of the history of Buddhism - is on the fiftieth anniversary the capitulation of Japan on August 15, 1995, called for the re-establishment of the Buddhist worldview, which is committed to the idea of ​​peace. Even five months after the poison gas attack by the Aum Shinrikyô, Yamaori does not seem to have lost his position as an intellectual with a presence in the media. And this although the attack shook Japanese society and the self-image of Japan as a well-protected progressive nation and raised criticism of public figures - such as Yamaori - who had supported the association with benevolent comments.

The Aum attack and its representation in the press as well as the reprimand that hit the "spiritually" committed intellectuals after the events of Aum are characteristic of the Japanese media landscape. Initially the "spiritual" was marketed as the message of the conservative ranks and as a lifestyle attribute of a younger generation, a "safety bar" was now put in place for the occult-spiritual chamber, at least for some time, until the waves had smoothed out again. Unwise, anyone who explicitly acknowledged their commitment at this stage - such as Nakazawa Shin'ichi, who was then dropped.

Scolding intellectuals is a popular motif in Japanese mass media. In many cases, of course, this criticism is surprising, as the bunkajin (media intellectual) who has just been warned is not infrequently an opinion leader, whose comments are constantly made public in the press or on television. The patterns of criticism and favoritism in the various forums and by the discussants involved are just as difficult to understand. To put it bluntly, anyone who yesterday criticized the position of a thinker can turn out to be like-minded today. This is probably also due to the fact that in Japan there are relatively many people in a small area who mostly exist as non-permanent critics, commentators, journalists, as publishing or on television bunkajin in the free market of opinions and entertainment have to.

In the case of the critic Fukuda Kazuya, a new talent of the nineties, the well-known gossip "Uwasa no shinsô" ("The true face of the rumor") speaks of a lobbyist (sôkaiya) in its August 1998 issue on the subject of bunkajin rebuke public opinion. The critic would aim for the most favorable position for himself by skillfully manipulating his interlocutors from both left and right-wing journalistic, literary and political circles. Fukuda managed to achieve a brilliant rise through a sophisticated cultivation of social contacts, which included a comforting pat on the back and invitations to dinner from a snubbed counterpart (called "aftercare"), although he hardly had an intellectual profile (Uwasa no shinsô, p.225).

The criticism of media intellectuals in a commercial magazine based on sensational journalism is of course not to be judged uncritically, especially with regard to the moralizing tone that the magazine takes in its bunkajin scolding.Incidentally, the moral focus is the moment when Japanese press organs of the most varied of convenience and orientation meet. The paternalistic moralizing speech forms the basic motif of many pronouncements in the Japanese media and acts as an integrating factor in a media structure that sees its priorities not in the area of ​​educational work, but in the harmonization of social currents.

In her study of the Japanese press system, Laurie Anne Freeman points out that the media in Japan pursued a homogenization of news and opinions and acted less as "agenda setters" than as "social managers". This tendency is explained by the close connection of the media to politics, with the business structures of the Japanese media world, the historical development of the Japanese publishing industry, which was regulated by the censorship at an early stage, with the self-image of media producers as people's instructors with state mandate and with their role as the propaganda vehicle of imperialist Japan (Freeman 2000: 168-171). 21

The criticism of personal misconduct and attitudes that are condemned using the example of a certain person, expressed from a paternalistic point of view, may be a tried and tested means within the Japanese press system, as this means, unlike time-consuming research, is available at all times and therefore also off is preferable for economic reasons. Assuming that the Japanese media representatives must and want to see their work primarily as an integrative, harmonizing act, public censure is a means of giving citizens the impression of the "justice" of the society in which it exists.

The ideal of justice is one side, the other is to install a forum that allows frustrations and glee to act out. The warning of a person may to a certain extent channel and soothe the displeasure of the citizens, but it rarely reaches a meta-critical level that would expose structures and thus open up a higher level of clarification. The scolding of the "media" father nonetheless affects all children in the island state, the right-wing barkers, elitist intellectuals and even the prime minister if he does not fulfill his "father duties" 22 and thus creates a collective feeling (which arises when being punished) and at the same time for a reduction of the discussion horizon.


3.3. Intellectuals, media, power

The noted change in form of the Japanese critic and intellectual from the authentic thinker to the "lobbyist", who no longer shows any consistency in his intellectual attitude, is certainly not a phenomenon that - if it could be confirmed in this way - would be limited to Japan alone. It was mentioned at the beginning that in the West a social structure of the adventure society (or the polycontextural society, see the article by Georg Jäger) that is detrimental to the speaking role of the intellectual is registered and the media is ascribed a negative effect on the "intellectual class" and its conditions of existence. Even the media intellectual, such as can be seen on German television, has been increasingly wrapped in a pleasant cover of pc-impregnated cellophane in recent years.

There are still too few studies on the structures of public opinion formation and the socio-political impact of the Japanese media 23 to be able to make clear statements about how the interaction between media, politics / power and intellectuals is shaping up in contemporary Japan. There are hardly any comparative studies within which - taking into account the extensive material on the situation in western countries - different differentiations would have to be made, such as those suggested by Siegfried J. Schmidt (Schmidt 2000) for the western area. Therefore, the considerations made here on Japanese media intellectuals, their status and their function are to be understood as an introduction to a complex topic.

Whether the media intellectuals in Japan hold their own convictions or are calculating using populist means in order to enjoy the attention of the publishing world and a wide audience, 24 as well as to gain favor with certain influential political and economic circles by turning to conservatism, and whether and to what extent these circles exercise "power", control the Japanese media and with them influence "the opinion" in the country, are questions that must be discussed further.

In the case of statements regarding the function of media intellectuals and the topics they deal with - such as "Japanese spirituality" as an element of identity - as well as possible manipulative intentions of certain contributors to the debates, further differentiations are certainly appropriate, as well as references to media theory. For the discussion about the media and power, Schmidt notes that the differentiation is first here

Types and forms of power, rulers and those subject to power, according to means and forms of exercise of power, acceptance and legitimation of power, dispositifs and the microphysics of power (Foucault), according to intended, technical or structural power, according to empirically identifiable rulers (actors, elites) vs. decisions set in motion (also over the heads of actants) and after observations or interpretations of such developments
is necessary (Schmidt 1999: 117).

Watanabe Takesato, in his article from 1996, names the authorities exercising power as companies that steer the media with financial investments - for example the company Kyocera, which invests in the Kyoto Broadcasting Station Co. and prevents critical statements against Kyocera and its activities. Both detailed investigations in this and a similar environment as well as theoretically ambitious reflections on social media effects 25 are a desideratum for future analyzes and can provide further clarification in the case of Japanese intellectuals and their appearance in the media.






Arima Tatsuo (1969): The Failure of Freedom: A Portrait of Modern Japanese Intellectuals. Harvard: Harvard University Press.

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PD Dr. Lisette Gebhardt
FB II - Japanese Studies
University of Trier
E-mail: [email protected]

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Remarks

1 It must be said in advance that the intellectual in the West has also been defined differently and judged differently since his characterization on the occasion of the Dreyfus Affair of 1898 as a writer who (unduly) criticized politics

2 For example Arima Tatsuo (1969). In her prologue to the volume "Intelli", Steffi Richter also speaks of the "weak" intellectuals that are characteristic of Japan - in contrast to the ideal type of "strong" intellectuals of western modernism envisioned by Maruyama (Richter 1998: 20-21). Richter derives the concept of the "weak intellectual" on the one hand from the socio-political realities of a hierarchical island state (in which non-systemic thinkers were eliminated) and on the other from considerations of Japanese postmodernism, which sees the "fragile" as a Japanese element of thought and communication. Of course, the complaint about weakness and inability is also a constant of the Western debate about intellectuals (see Georg Jäger's contribution to this forum), which contains a criticism of society (which leaves intellectuals no chance) and in this respect envisions an intellectual, which corresponds to an ideal picture. The volume, which introduces a number of people from the history of Japanese ideas, art, literature, the media world and criticism (e.g. Watsuji Tetsurô, Sano Manabu, Inose Hiroshi, Murai Jun, Nishibe Susumu, Hiromatsu Wataru, Matsuoka Seigô, Yokoo Tadanori and Tezuka Osamu) clarifies the problems of the meaningful assignment of an intellectual moment. & # 160back

3 The history of the intellectuals in the West has not yet been dealt with exhaustively, just as the deliberations on the definition of the term intellectual must be continued (see, for example, Britta Scheideler's introduction and Jost Schneider's contribution to the discussion forum)

4 As an example, reference is made here to the volume "Japanese Thinkers in the 20th Century" (in the original: Nihon no shisô, 1998) by Ueyama Shunpei, recently translated into German (Ueyama 2000). & # 160 back

5 The volume "Modern Japanese Thought", published in 1998 by Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi, contains a number of representative articles by well-known researchers on the topics of socialism, Marxism, the reception of Western ideas, and a return to "Japanese" (e.g. Hirakawa Sukehiro, Kenneth B. Pyle , Peter Duus, Irwin Scheiner, Tetsuo Najita, HD Harootunian and Andrew E. Barshay). & # 160back

6 On the subject of intellectuals in imperialist Japan, see, for example, the contribution by Tsurumi Shunsuke (1986)

7 In the area of ​​the history of science in particular, many areas are still unexplored. & # 160back

8 The debate about the so-called change of attitudes (tenkô), which many writers and politically committed people underwent under pressure from the military regime in the 1930s, is a subject that is often - if not exhaustively - treated. Texts by important contributors to the post-war debate (e.g. the writers Kobayashi Hideo and Haniya Yutaka) have been presented in individual studies

9 Johann P. Arnason (Arnason 1995) gives a shorter, metacritical commentary on Japanese postmodernism. Miyoshi Masao edited a volume on postmodernism in Japan in 1989 (Miyoshi 1989), which contains contributions from him, Tetsuo Najita, Naoki Sakai, Karatani Kôjin and Asada Akira, among others. However, all of the scientists mentioned are also representatives of postmodernism and pursue postmodern-typical, postcolonial argumentation strategies. & # 160back

10 Mishima set up a villa in Jiyûgaoka, which was mainly equipped with casts of ancient statues and (reproduced) antique furniture of various styles; the establishment represented an attempt, so to speak, to appropriate European culture in the form of a private museum. Mishima - an early Japanese homestory - had himself photographed by the press at home; his villa also served as the backdrop for the photo series Barakei, which showed Mishima in various (erotic) poses and which can probably be considered a unique document by a Japanese writer, even if one takes into account that quite photogenic authors such as Akutagawa Ryûnosuke (1892-1927) and Dazai Osamu (1909-1948) were "stars" of their time and appeared as such in the media. However, Mishima showed himself to be media-conscious throughout his career and was in close contact with various media

11 The anthropologist Marilyn Ivy brings the keyword "japonesque" (or "The Neo-Japonesque") to Japan research with her volume from 1995. Gebhardt (1996, 2001 and 2001a) discussed the trend of the current Japanese intellectual scene towards the regional, "indigenous" and ethno-esoteric as well as the ethno-romantic wave of the decades after the war

12 The address is: http://www.vill.yamanakako.yamanashi.jp/bungaku/ mishima /index-e.html.  back

13 The phenomenon of the so-called Nihon kaiki (return to Japan) can be traced back to Japanese modernism around 1900. Japan-centrist arguments were the order of the day in the thirties and forties (under the heading of "overcoming modernity"). While efforts were made in the years immediately after the war to "work up" nationalism, a restorative tendency set in as early as the 1950s, within which one again referred to Japanese values ​​and traditions, a tendency that was also opposed Maruyama Masao applied (see Maruyama 1988: 14-15). A volume published by Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit in 1996 comments on the attempt by some Japanese thinkers at the end of the twentieth century to try to overcome ("Western") modernity again

14 The revaluation of the elitist imperial people into a simple "indigenous people" made possible the idea of ​​a Japanese collective system which, so to speak, was originally and purely reborn. It no longer had anything in common with the collective that waged the war and lost it. Many intellectuals certainly intended to criticize the Tennô system.With the formulation of the "indigenous Japan" misused by the Tennô system, a projection surface had also been created on which new unified visions and a new cultural discourse, at least on its surface cleared of imperialist ideology, could arise

15 In his sociological study "Cultural Nationalism in Contemporary Japan" Kosaku Yoshino examines national conservative tendencies among business people (businessman) and partly also among intellectual elites (Yoshino 1992)

16 For the practice of "inheriting offices" see the work of Verena Blechinger (e.g. Blechinger 1998), for the structures of the Japanese press and the characteristic journalist clubs (which have a monopoly of information) see the current studies by Laurie Anne Freeman (Freeman 2000) and Ellis S . Krauss (Krauss 2000). & # 160 back

17 In this respect, the "spiritual discourse" is also part of the Japanese boom in Asia, which the country has been experiencing since the 1980s and which experienced an upswing with the numerous announcements about the coming Asia-Pacific era. & # 160back

18 PHP stands for "Peace and Happiness through Prosperity"; According to Prohl, the PHP group publishes an average of 40 new titles a month; in addition, numerous periodicals such as "PHP" (monthly circulation 1.5 million copies), "Voice", "The 21" or "Asia 21". & # 160 are back

19 How "religion" is used on television, in the print media and in advertising is indeed a topical and important question on which there is not yet much research. In the western world, the catchphrase "media religion" has been around for around five years, and it is often claimed that "media religion" is a cultural development of postmodernism. In Schmidts' current volume, it is rightly stated that the "media religion", especially the "television religion", initially only manifests itself as something that is rumored. Schmidt differentiates between various aspects under which one would have to relate media and religion (Schmidt 2000: 199). In the case of Japan, similar investigations have hardly been carried out. How do media and religion relate to one another here? How present is the topic of religion in the media? Is "religion" a prominent part of the media offering? Or do media offerings take over religious functions?

20 The messages of the New Age, regardless of their "alternative" or seemingly anti-authoritarian surface, contain guiding principles that are not alien to those of modern capitalist ethics

21 The author relativizes her assessments with references to the English and American press ("No country has an entirely free and open marketplace for information [ ]"; p.170) and thus maintains her findings with regard to one of politics and the entertainment industry certain Japanese media affairs more moderately upright than Ivan Hall in "Cartels of the Mind: Japan's Intellectual Closed Shop" (1998)

22 The freelance journalist Minoguchi Tan remarks in a personal e-mail message that the Japanese press essentially attaches Prime Minister Mori's failure to his behavior on the occasion of the submarine incident: The reason why Mori had to resign is now because that he had continued to play golf instead of rushing back to his State Chancellery and "looking concerned" when the news of the US submarine accident reached Hawaii. Mori gave the television journalists the following information - plausible but incompatible with the Japanese paternalistic ethos: "What could I have done if I had been sitting in the office [ ] I play golf for my health". The journalist notes: "So he will resign, not as a politician, but as a 'raven father' who enjoyed himself when his 'children' drowned." Minoguchi also puts forward considerations on the differences between German and Japanese press coverage (see http://home.munich.netsurf.de/Tan.Minoguchi/shinbun.htm). 

23 Japanese media culture in its entirety and in its history has not yet been grasped. There is currently a limited number of Japanese, English and German-language analyzes or essays on individual media (press, television, "television drama" / soap = project H. Gössmann / University of Trier, film, magazines, women's magazines, internet, video) about history of the mass media, about the communication industry or communication technology (Inose Hiroshi / NACSIS, state monopoly; Murai Jun / freenet, Internet founder in Japan in the early 1990s, community thinking, global connectivity), media criticism (human rights in the Japanese media, Weaknesses of selective reporting) and media phenomena that shape society (e.g. otaku). Within Japanese media theory and media studies, a field of research that has been gaining in importance parallel to Western media research since the early 1990s, attempts are also being made to constitute a media world specific to Japan (e.g. Matsuoka Seigô's theory of the fragile, which was proposed by Imai Jun as an alternative to American model is presented), which a more application-oriented group (Kumon Shunpei) considers impractical. For an overview of Japanese media behavior and media structures specific to Japan, see the article by Watanabe Takesato (1996)

24 Here one would have to discuss whether "the public" is actually interested in Japanese-centrist slogans and what is the situation in this regard with the relationship between supply and demand. & # 160back

25 Three research areas or approaches from the theory of media effects must be taken into account: (1) the relationship between media and power, (2) the relationship between media and social integration and (3) the relationship between media and social change (cf. Schmidt / Zurstiege 2000: 106). The relationship between media and power is certainly not only one-dimensional, but is subject to various refractions (Schmidt 1999: 115-117). In the case of Japan, however, some preliminary work has to be done before more complicated levels of reflection can be approached. In his current study, Krauss points out that the Japanese media relations are by no means based on a "cultural inability of Japanese citizens", but rather on "the way state and media institutions have developed and become linked to each other in postwar Japan" (Krauss 2000: 272). & # 160 back