Monday, February 20, 2012

The Flash of Capital

Hey Ya'll! If you guys are interested in Japan, Japanese Film, and the evolution of Japanese Capitalism then ya'll gotta read this book The Flash of Capital. I hear ya'll saying "what's all that about?" well read on and all shall be revealed.

Last semester I took a class at my university (that's U of T a.k.a. University of Toronto) called "Approaches to East Asia". Upon enrolling in the course I had no idea what to expect, as the title appears rather ambiguous dose it not? I mean, I know what East Asia is, and I know you approach it via Vancouver (or Hawaii for all ya 'mericans out there) *this is me trying to be funny* But anyway I was quite curious about what this course had to offer as it was mandatory for my specialist degree in East Asian Studies. Well suffice it to say the course was pretty solid, awesome, interesting, eye opening, and actually gave me a new perspective on studying history, which is something I do in abundance. Basically the course was broken down into three major areas. History, geography, and subjectivity, which, my professor explained to us, were all problems often prevalent in the study of history. He showed us articles and films that either were examples of or addressed these problems so that us, his students, could see for ourselves the problems inherent in much historiographical documentation and general approaches to historiography in general. While I'm not going to go into the whole course in detail (because I could easily devote an entire blog to its subject matter) I will simply say this. Awesome course, awesome prof. Who is this mystery prof. you ask? That would be Professor Eric Cazdyn, the author of the book I finished not long ago, The Flash of Capital.        

Being much inspired by this course I found out, through one of my TA's (teaching assistants) that Professor Cazdyn had written some books which highlighted some of the issues in the course. I suppose it should have been little surprise that my prof. writes books about his ideas and stuff but the idea never crossed my mind for some reason. Anyway the book I managed to borrow off one of my TA's was the one you see above, The Flash of Capital: Film and Geopolitics in Japan. Each chapter of the book analyzes a certain era or time-space within modern Japanese history (the last 100 years or so) and capitalism's place within it, and then, the coolest part in my opinion (as an ex-film student and East Asian film buff), talks about certain films from that era, and how various scenes or themes (and other elements) from the films highlight the zeitgeist of the times in relation to capitalism and various sociopolitical issues. It's tremendously interesting if you dig this stuff.

If your interested in Japan and have gotten over your Japanophile phase or world politics, READ THIS. Not only is it a lesson in modern Japanese history but also a lesson in the inner workings of Japanese society, political systems (not just Japanese) and film analysis in general. Seriously, there's a lot here. Though I cannot say its an easy read, its certainly an interesting one. I honestly had a hard time putting it down... and I have A.D.D.!

Chances are, if your reading this blog, your probably at least somewhat interested in Japan, so do yourself some learning, go to a book store or library and check out this book! *note that this is not an advertisement. Seriously though... check it out!                  

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