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Aporia of Omotenashi: Hospitality in Post-Oriental and Post-Imperial Japan

  • Author(s): Nishijima, Ryoko
  • Advisor(s): Tamanoi, Mariko
  • et al.
Abstract

The Japanese tourism industry, from its formation in the early 20th century to today, bears in many ways the postcolonial contradictions of Japan as a nation that has been at once the colonizer and the Orient. Engaging with the complex power dynamics inherent in the seemingly friendly gestures of “hospitality,” my dissertation analyzes the inconsistent ways in which the Japanese tourism industry has defined and dealt with foreign visitors, comparatively looking at tourists from the “West” and “Asia.” I divide the dissertation into four chapters: “Hospitality Infrastructure: Pursuing the Civilized,” which uncovers the mixed sentiment of national pride and shame behind the ardent discourse of hospitality in Japan, “Tourist Gaze: Searching for the Oriental,” in which I illustrate how Orientalist imaginings of Japan have continued to transform and endure in the tourist gazes today, “Roles of a Host: Performing the Hospitable,” which takes an ethnographic look at social relations between hosts and guests, and “Guests from Greater China: Welcoming the Ex-Colonized,” where I identify the legacy of Japan’s colonial history in the increasing number of visitors from the Greater China Region.

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