Mark Twain in Japan: The Cultural Reception of an American Icon

By Tsuyoshi Ishihara | Go to book overview

Preface

This project evolved more than ten years ago when I was an undergraduate student in Japan. Although I had not yet read many American books, it was almost impossible to live in Tokyo without having contact with American culture. America was everywhere. If you walked in the streets of downtown Tokyo, you could find advertisements for American movies everywhere and hear American pop songs as background music in a variety of places. You could watch American news programs on satellite television. You could even go to Disneyland by way of an easy 40-minute train ride from downtown Tokyo. At that time, I was one of many young Japanese who were [uncritically] fascinated with almost everything about America. In my eyes, America was the country that was free from many negative aspects of Japanese culture as I saw it, such as age hierarchy, sexism, conservatism, traditionalism, snobbism, homogeneity, and so forth.

I was an English major, and even in literary works I was looking for something [distinctively American,] different from my own country.

-ix-

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