Kansai Cool: A Journey Into The Cultural Heartland Of Japan by Christal WhelanKansai Cool: A Journey Into The Cultural Heartland Of Japan by Christal Whelan

Kansai Cool: A Journey Into The Cultural Heartland Of Japan

byChristal Whelan

Paperback | April 4, 2014

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In Kansai Cool anthropologist, writer and filmmaker Christal Whelan offers profound insights in the only collection of essays to focus on Kansai, Japan's ancient heartland.Kansai - the region in Western Japan that boasts the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara, the bustling commercial city of Osaka and the cosmopolitan port city of Kobe - has a character all its own, right down to its dialect, mannerisms, and cuisine. It is home to some of Japan's oldest history and an area where the country's most time-honored arts and crafts still thrive. Worldly and otherworldly, spirited and spiritual, trendy and traditional, it's a place where past and future live side-by-side, sometimes at odds.Part Japanese travel book, part cultural commentary, these 25 spirited essays and 32 pages of color photos paint a broad yet penetrating portrait of the unique Western Japan region, covering such diverse topics as: - The needs of the spirit: shrines, temples and the call to pilgrimage - The arts in Kansai-dance, painting, anime, and combat - The relationship between hi-tech and old-tech-material culture-bikes, robots, and dolls - The culture of fashion in Kansai-from kimonos and obis to modern fashion designers, and the Lolita complex - The meaning of landscape- human-made islands and the mystical power of water - The hidden meaning of food-an anthropology of coffee and traditional cuisineFrom the deep-seated ancient beliefs of Kyoto to modern teen otaku culture, costume play and haute couture of Kobe and Osaka-Whelan delves below the surface to let readers eager to travel to Japan experience how art, science, faith and history swirl together in the Kansai region to produce this unique wellspring of Japanese culture.
Christal Whelan is an anthropologist and interpreter who has lived and worked in Japan and Mongolia. She studied at Harvard University, Boston University, and Brown University. Many of the chapters in Kansai Cool originated from her former columns in Kansai Culturescapes, which ran in The Daily Yomiuri .
Title:Kansai Cool: A Journey Into The Cultural Heartland Of JapanFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8 × 5.13 × 0.73 inPublished:April 4, 2014Publisher:Tuttle PublishingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:4805312807

ISBN - 13:9784805312803

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from A look outside of Tokyo So many books filled quick glimpses of Japan focus almost entirely on Tokyo or the Kanto region. It was refreshing to have that glimpse through the lens of Kansai - the area around Kyoto and Osaka. And it was nice to see the cultural profiles stretch from the past all the way to the oft neglected present. Worth a gander.#plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-16

Editorial Reviews

This fascinating collection of essays illuminates the mind-blowing diversity of "cool" in contemporary Japan. From Lolita fashion to Buddhist microtemples, this is a must-read for anyone interested the hidden treasures of Kyoto, Osaka and Nara." -Ian Condry, MIT professor and author of The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan's Media Success Story "Christal Whelan's highly intelligent new book on the essence of Japan seems to manage to include a revelation on every page? Endlessly engaging and supremely readable." -Simon Winchester, OBE, journalist, author of The Professor and the Madman "A very fun read. I read this before spending a year in the Kansai region (Kyoto prefecture, to be precise) and as soon as I landed I was hearing all these wonderful Kinki words! Without this book giving me a basic understanding, I would have struggled a lot more. As well as being very light-hearted, it's very informative. And unlike some other books I've seen on Kansai-ben, it's very clear that there are a lot of differences between the different parts of the region." — Goodreads "