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Railways as Japanese identity Riding between confidence and inexperience.pdf (750.22 kB)

Railways as Japanese identity: Riding between confidence and inexperience

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-02, 16:15 authored by Taku TamakiTaku Tamaki

Does railway technology represent Japanese national identity? This paper focuses on the narratives indicating railway technology as a form of Japanese national identity representation. Using Japanese government pronouncements and interviews given by people involved in the Japanese railway supply industry appearing in Japanese vernaculars, I show that railway technology constitutes an integral component of the contemporary Japanese identity narrative, which has been built up through a particular technopolitical regime. These narratives consistently refer to the purported safety, reliability, and punctuality of Japanese railways as one manifestation of the high-quality technological skills underpinning Japanese identity construction. However, the narratives also reveal an inherent irony, whereby the confident Japanese Self at once reveals a countervailing, inexperienced Japanese Self, in which the Japanese railway technopolitical regime realizes that its own domestic strength has resulted in a lack of international experience compared to its European, and increasingly Chinese, rivals. I conclude by suggesting that the Japanese railway identity follows a complex construct involving a confident Self in contradistinction to an inexperienced Self both reproduced in opposition to the European and Chinese Other.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • International Relations, Politics and History

Published in

Contemporary Japan

Publisher

Taylor and Francis

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Author(s)

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Taylor & Francis under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC-ND). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

2023-05-22

Publication date

2023-05-29

Copyright date

2023

ISSN

1869-2729

eISSN

1869-2737

Language

  • en

Depositor

Dr Taku Tamaki. Deposit date: 23 May 2023

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