Japan Times ’ imagined communities

Symbolic boundaries with African Americans, 1998–2013

Authored by: Michael C. Thornton , Atsushi Tajima

Routledge Handbook of Japanese Media

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138917415
eBook ISBN: 9781315689036
Adobe ISBN:


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Japanese elites have used blackness to negotiate their place in the world. This chapter examines the strategy via 100 articles from the Japan Times, the country’s leading English-language newspaper. Two narratives arise in this coverage. One the one hand, African Americans are portrayed as remaining marginalized in their country of birth. In contrast, Japan is epitomized as a modern nation, hospitable and embracing to non-Japanese cultures, as it is in turn accepted by the international community. This assessment relies on a narrow range of stereotypes related to Black culture, while ignoring other typecasts of reporting such as crime, sports and contemporary music.

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