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Troubled Natures: Waste, Environment, Japan (review)

Troubled Natures: Waste, Environment, Japan (review) Review Section Troubled Natures: Waste, Environment, Japan. By Peter Wynn Kirby. University of Hawai`i Press, Honolulu, 2011. xii, 250 pages. $49.00. Reviewed by Julia Adeney Thomas University of Notre Dame Peter Wynn Kirby refers to his book as "a penetrating cultural analysis" (pp. 2­3), but Troubled Natures would be described more accurately as a series of ruminations on contemporary Japan loosely organized around the themes of environment, waste, and pollution. Kirby's stated purpose is to trace environmental consciousness and conduct, construing "environment" to encompass both natural and social phenomena ranging from physiological reactions to toxins, crow eradication campaigns, garbage collection schemes, ideas of ritual pollution, whaling, declining birth rates, golf courses on landfill sites, questions of identity and social outcastes to changing government policies. In linking all these concrete and metaphorical arenas, Kirby hopes to reveal a distinctively Japanese mode of dealing with contamination. Although the problems of garbage and toxic pollution, along with the social policing of "clean" and "unclean" things and people, are common to all modern and many premodern societies, Kirby's goal is to reveal "the unexpectedly troubled natures at the heart of Japanese life" (p. 3). An anthropologist, Kirby focused his efforts as a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Japanese Studies Society for Japanese Studies

Troubled Natures: Waste, Environment, Japan (review)

The Journal of Japanese Studies , Volume 38 (1) – Feb 1, 2012

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Publisher
Society for Japanese Studies
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Japanese Studies.
ISSN
1549-4721
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Abstract

Review Section Troubled Natures: Waste, Environment, Japan. By Peter Wynn Kirby. University of Hawai`i Press, Honolulu, 2011. xii, 250 pages. $49.00. Reviewed by Julia Adeney Thomas University of Notre Dame Peter Wynn Kirby refers to his book as "a penetrating cultural analysis" (pp. 2­3), but Troubled Natures would be described more accurately as a series of ruminations on contemporary Japan loosely organized around the themes of environment, waste, and pollution. Kirby's stated purpose is to trace environmental consciousness and conduct, construing "environment" to encompass both natural and social phenomena ranging from physiological reactions to toxins, crow eradication campaigns, garbage collection schemes, ideas of ritual pollution, whaling, declining birth rates, golf courses on landfill sites, questions of identity and social outcastes to changing government policies. In linking all these concrete and metaphorical arenas, Kirby hopes to reveal a distinctively Japanese mode of dealing with contamination. Although the problems of garbage and toxic pollution, along with the social policing of "clean" and "unclean" things and people, are common to all modern and many premodern societies, Kirby's goal is to reveal "the unexpectedly troubled natures at the heart of Japanese life" (p. 3). An anthropologist, Kirby focused his efforts as a

Journal

The Journal of Japanese StudiesSociety for Japanese Studies

Published: Feb 1, 2012

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