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Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan

ISBN: 9780415516501 | 0415516501
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Routledge
Pub. Date: 3/22/2013

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This book shows how the movement to define and popularize Japanese martial arts in the late Meiji period brought Japanese bodies, Japanese nationalisms, and the Japanese state into sustained contact and dynamic engagement with one another. Gainty's argument challenges dominant readings of modern bodies in and beyond Japan as constructed or dominated by power structures, using a range of disciplinary approaches to show how the metaphor of a national body and the cultural and historical meanings of martial arts were celebrated and appropriated by modern Japanese at all levels of society, allowing them to participate powerfully in shaping the modern Japanese nation and state. While recent works have cast modern Japanese and their bodies as subject to state domination and elite control, Martial Arts in Meiji Japanargues that having a body being a body, and through that body experiencing and shaping social, political, and even cosmic realities is an important and underexamined aspect of the late Meiji period. Martial Arts in Meiji Japanwill contribute to debates in Japanese and Asian social sciences, theories of the body and its role in modern historiography, and related questions of power and agency by suggesting a new and dramatic role for human bodies in the shaping of modern states and societies.

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