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Introduction

In our previous article, we introduced Nihonjinron, a pseudo-scientific and political discourse concerned with corroborating the homogeneity and uniqueness of Japanese culture. This time, we shift our interest from this particular political discourse to explain some more theory about discourse, the Other, and culture.

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To set the tone of this series of articles straight away: the Japanese culture does not exist. Despite many ‘scientific’ attempts, all under the banner of nihonjinron, to describe and prove the uniqueness of Japanese culture and its people, there is no unique Japanese essence, passed on from time immemorial, that units each and every Japanese subject. The idea that there is something like such essence is no more than a fiction, an imaginary narrative construction. By categorizing the Japanese essence as a narrative construction, we imply that there is a constructing force behind this fiction, this nihonjinron.

In this first article, we want to introduce nihonjinron in general terms. In future articles we aim to get a deeper understanding of this nihonjinron, to explain the aspects of construction, and to underline the fictionality of any nationalism.

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