Couple's Valley: Thei Modern Conception Of National Identity

Decent Essays
National Identity, as well as culture, has transitioned throughout Japan’s history in result of the modernization and industrialization of the country as a whole. National identity has become a sort of mantra in contemporary discussions of culture and the forming of a nation-state. In Japan, the connection to the natural and spiritual world have formed this concept of visions of nature, which have built up the national identity of the country through this cultural thought. The modernization of Japan has interrupted these visions of nature that have molded the imagery of nationhood throughout the history of the country. In the short story, “Kuchisuke’s Valley”, this interruption of the natural world can be seen through the building of a dam, which in turn creates a setback in both the natural and spiritual world which the Japanese have made a part of…show more content…
To understand this better, we must go back in history to the Tokugawa shogunate and examine the developing concepts of nature during eighteenth and nineteenth-century Japan. The concepts noted by Morris-Suzuki, who considers visions of nature central to modern constructions of national identity, are looked at through a religious perspective. In Suzuki’s chapter “Nature” from her book Re-inventing Japan, the neo-Confucianism twin concepts of ki and li are explained and used to illustrate the vision in which human beings are integrated into the web of natural relationships. This goes to show that nature is a big part of the developmental thought of Japan and can be seen as something to be worshiped, for nature means much more than just the common western ideology of a “physical environment”. Going from this, as Japan continues to become a more developed country, the less this concept of a connection between humans and nature holds
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