Monday, 19 December 2011

Introduction à la culture japonaise

Walking around the rue du Bailli in Brussels, I came across a little bookshop near the church, called "Peinture fraîche" - in it, a whole different world of primarily photography, architecture and art books.  It was there that I discovered Introduction à la culture japonaise by Hisayasu Nakagawa and I just had to buy it.  I have more often than not bought a book because of the bookstore, and I've yet to be dissapointed.  The originality of the book is that it is actually written in French, not Japanese.  The author, a Japanese having studied and lived in France (specialising in Diderot and Rousseau), has the ability to understand both worlds so well, that he can provide examples and definitions to us Westerners to all "different" ideas of Japan.  The purpose, according to the author, is to prove exactly that Japan is just a different culture and not something exotic.  The book itself is small - 100 pages - and is furthermore split in chapters covering the various main ideas, making reading it very easy.  The author's personal experience and evidence in the situations described further enhances the readability - I particularly liked the difference between "I" and "we" as well as the religion split.  In the end, I may not be in a position to view the world like a Japanese, but I can say that I know why there are these essential differences between the two cultures.

I found the book to be intelligent, not only in terms of me understanding a different culture, but also in learning about my own, as it is seen by others.

Peinture fraîche: 10, Rue du Tabellion, 1050 Ixelles


  1. I just finished reading a book that would complement this one wonderfully: The Hare with Amber Eyes. It's beautiful.

  2. @alex: have already marked it for future reading




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