Two kinds of memory and memory itself

Max Pinckers


Saitama, Japan

“The idea of thinking about Japan as different from anywhere else, including Asia, is seductive. Yet there are many reasons to reject this notion. if we look closer, much of Japan’s supposed ‘essence’ turns out to be a relatively modern distillation.” David Pilling, Bending Adversity, 2014.

Two Kinds of Memory and Memory Itself looks at the strange place Japan holds in the collective mind of the West. Projected as other and isolated, Japan’s unique self image is in part self-created under the project of nation building, as well as being a construct of outside perspective and popular fetishisation. Japan is a target for Western fantasies, often informed by cliches of barrel chested Yakuza, manicured bonsais, cosplayers, wasted bankers, and sumo’s.

On his arrival in Japan Pinckers found little evidence of these motifs and none of these preconceived elements seemed to be the most culturally predominant. This conflicting experience resulted in him searching for these constructs within the contemporary Japanese landscape, creating staged scenes influenced by cliche and by existing images created by foreigners.

Two Kinds of Memory and Memory Itself was produced in Saitama Prefecture for European Eyes on Japan / Japan Today vol. 17 with the EU-Fest Japan Committee and the European Capital of Culture 2015.

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