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Full Metal Apache: Transactions Between…

Full Metal Apache: Transactions Between Cyberpunk Japan and Avant-Pop…

by Takayuki Tatsumi

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When I first heard of this book, I preordered and awaited it breathlessly. When it came earlier than I expected, I was thrilled. After I opened the pages, I found myself emerged in a dry, difficult-to-follow, academic book that is full of more quotes from other books than it has original text.

I am not saying that Takayuki Tatsumi isn't knowledgeable on his subject, quite the opposite. I think perhaps he is too close to the subject to be able to write to a layman audience and it shows.

My difficulties with the book ranged from it's style to references. Perhaps it is more for the academic minded; it was definitely published via an academic press, and definitely reads like a dissertation. I believe the author is somewhere between 10 and 15 years older than myself, creating a gap in the information streams in which we were exposed to. He makes reference to far too many movies/books/relevant figures (authors, playwrights, directors), etc, that I am simply not familiar with. And while normally this is not a problem, he fails to explain to my understanding who these people and their works are. I felt in the completely dark throughout this book.

But perhaps the worse part was, it was a slow, painstaking read for the 200-odd pages of half-page text that graced the pages. It didn't help that I would have to stop again and again to consult online references to who people or their works were.

Normally, I would give this kind of book only 1 star, but it covers two subjects I am very fond of: Japan and cyberpunk. So it gets an extra star, for anyone NOT deeply interested in these subjects, I recommend to steer clear away. This is not a casual read by any stretch of the imagination.

(@ Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0822337746) ( )
  mopedronin | Oct 5, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0822337746, Paperback)

Takayuki Tatsumi is one of Japan’s leading cultural critics, renowned for his work on American literature and culture. With his encyclopedic knowledge and fan’s love of both Japanese and American art and literature, he is perhaps uniquely well situated to offer this study of the dynamic crosscurrents between the avant-gardes and pop cultures of Japan and the United States. In Full Metal Apache, Tatsumi looks at the work of artists from both sides of the Pacific: fiction writers and poets, folklorists and filmmakers, anime artists, playwrights, musicians, manga creators, and performance artists. Tatsumi shows how, over the past twenty years or so, writers and artists have openly and exuberantly appropriated materials drawn from East and West, from sources both high and low, challenging and unraveling the stereotypical images Japan and America have of one another.

Full Metal Apache introduces English-language readers to a vast array of Japanese writers and performers and considers their work in relation to the output of William Gibson, Thomas Pynchon, H. G. Wells, Jack London, J. G. Ballard, and other Westerners. Tatsumi moves from the poetics of metafiction to the complex career of Madame Butterfly stories and from the role of the Anglo-American Lafcadio Hearn in promoting Japanese folklore within Japan during the nineteenth century to the Japanese monster Godzilla as an embodiment of both Japanese and Western ideas about the Other. Along the way, Tatsumi develops original arguments about the self-fashioning of “Japanoids” in the globalist age, the philosophy of “creative masochism” inherent within postwar Japanese culture, and the psychology of “Mikadophilia” indispensable for the construction of a cyborg identity. Tatsumi’s exploration of the interplay between Japanese and American cultural productions is as electric, ebullient, and provocative as the texts and performances he analyzes.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:41 -0400)

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