日本人、外人、行人。柄谷と俺 KARATANI KOJIN
The time for me has come to recapitulate the encounter with KARATANI Kojin 柄谷行人 through my very subjective perspective. Before I pass away, some personal anecdotes should be made public for my dear readers of ART+CULTURE.
As you know, irregularly, in the coming months and years, in random order so to say, I shall write down actual and old occurrences regarding the many private interactions with cultural personas like MISHIMA Yukio 三島由紀夫, ONO Yoko 小野洋子, KUSAMA Yayoi 草間彌生, Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita レオナール・嗣治・フジタ, NARA Yoshitomo 奈良美智, MURAKAMI Takashi 村上隆, ISOYA Hirofumi 磯谷博史, KAZAMA Sachiko 風間サチコ, SHIOTA Chiharu 塩田千春, HARAGUCHI Noriyuki 原口典之, SEKINE Nobuo 関根伸夫, NAGASHIMA Yurie 長島有里枝, SHIRAGA Kazuo 白髪一雄, ARAKI Nobuyoshi 荒木経惟 and Joseph Beuys ヨーゼフ・ボイス, – check via https://art-culture.world/people/
I regard Karatani as one of the most interesting, stimulating brains to discuss the meaning of socialisation of a human being, who is restricted by human-made boundaries like country borders, social contracts and constricted “motherly education”.
Myself had to experience one more time, that despite being a Permanent Resident, who pays taxes, insurances in Japan, had a Japanese wife, was forced by the Japanese government to NOT enter this country during COVID-19. Means, I had been discriminated!! Was not free to move!!
However, all Japanese could freely fly from and to Europe!!!
Let me repeat, what I wrote already here on ART+CULTURE: The greatest reward of self-sufficiency is freedom! And in this case, this fucked-up, beloved country called Japan, doesn’t let me freely do my artistic practice!
Most Japanese people behave like prisoners of conscience.
I don’t think, that you, with your 天皇-島国根性 Tenno-God-Insularism education, aka madhouse with straitjacket, understand what I’m saying.
In this context, long before Bitcoin and NFTs, I highly valued Karatani’s concept of a neutral, state-free monetary policy as an outstanding and extremely visionary, influential manoeuvre.
As we know each other for over 30 years, drinking together in Berlin and Tokyo, the chosen pics might show you a different character than usual. That’s my intention. Obviously I don’t want to approach Karatani’s Gesamtkunstwerk with any sort of solemnity. You may imagine, that solemnity always has something hypocritical about action.
KARATANI Kojin 柄谷行人:
charismatic per se, witty and carefully listening, sometimes has to control his “hot temper”, socialising with a humanist approach by refusing to be or act “Japanese-like”, postpostmodern-, antifeminism-, ironical-existence, never ends to question his own condizione umana, to some extent a simulacra à la japonaise, a bad kisser who can’t dance.
I was twice involved in rewriting the history of Japanese literature; first with KAWAMURA Jiro 川村二郎 and KAWAMURA Minato 川村 湊, the second time with INOUE Hisashi 井上ひさし and KOMORI Yoichi 小森陽一.
My German book on Japanese literature (produced by me) had and still has an influence on translations of Japanese novels and to some extent towards the Nobel Prize in Literature regarding Japanese candidates.
During the last 20 years, attentive readers may have noticed that I, as an influential artist from Japan, am actually determining, to some degree, the documentation of Japanese art history, plus the vector of Japanese contemporary art, too.
Just as a side note, throat clearing, come to think of it, can you figuratively imagine why Japanese artists and novelists are always kissing the ring on my right hand…, lol?
As a matter of fact, my creation of The Japanese Contemporary Art Transparency Prize (JCATP) continues to make big waves in the Japanese art world. This prize will be awarded annually to a person in Japan who helps to debate about actual censorship, corruption, nepotism, discrimination or stimulates freedom of curatorial practice in the local art world.
Or check this year’s winner:
Artist OKAMOTO Mitsuhiro wins 2022 Japanese Contemporary Art Transparency Prize
My dear readers also know, that I was born as an artist, everything I do is art (like writing this sentences), and I will die as an artist.
Consequently, in todays’ context, the academic artist in me analyses the problematic egocentrism by Karatani, his notion points towards a “spectre” of simulacra(s). His quotes about foreign academics texts. One expedient would seem to be, to reciprocally relativize this special case of Karatani’s simulacra, and get them to mutually belie one another – to feign to feign. In this specific, with a political agenda infused, Japanese literature world, where power-plays conceal themselves so effectively in the underground shadows, all what remains is to opt for Mishima’s metaphorical mask in its turn.
My conclusion suggests strong tendencies of masochism in the radical Japanese intellegentia интеллиге́нция world.
As antipode, why should it be necessary to use such a word length comparison? Our life reveals more than five times that under your mask lies the next mask. Obviously it triggers one conclusion that the older you are, the more wisdom and s/m power you allow to develop, the more adrenaline you can use effect-fully for productiveness. Hence, no waste of time and energy. In other words, the more you shoot around, the more you fuck around. The more you fuck around in Tokyo, the more you will find out in Tokyo. Ergo, you’re fucking the brain of Nippon.
Karatani’s preference for the ephemeral, for the artificial apparition, for all that is questionable, to some extent, even false.
This bias, in the mind of Karatani, would in addition permit a separation between his alter ego and the place of birth, aka his mother’s womb, between expression and argumentation, which is impossible for a pure novelist or poet. Therefore, during this long period it was fascinating to see his personal, evolutionary, Duchamp-nesque, Broodthaers-nesque transformation in the fields of literature, economy and philosophy.
Said that, his answer to the ultimate and crucial question for “society”, spiritual seekers: “Where did God come from?” remains in limbo. Why is God unable to prevent evils like Putin, Trump or Mohammed bin Salman? Why is God unable to stop nucleomituphobia, the doctrine “fear through nuclear bombs”?
During all these years, watching from the sideline, I asked myself: where could Karatani become influential, top of the rock, so to speak?
The reader would not guess, that Karatani’s mother womb, family background remains a secret until today, nevertheless he revealed his real name: KARATANI Yoshio 柄谷善男.
However, the more he tries to eliminate his roots of origin, the more one may guess that his mother and/or father belonged to Japan’s “outlaws” (= another wide range of topics in Japan). It’s NOT my conclusion, but the vague explanation of my friend SHIMADA Masahiko 島田雅彦. It makes sense, as he vehemently pushed and is still pushing hard for NAKAGAMI Kenji 中上健次 being accepted as Japan’s literature giant.
On the other hand, I strongly criticised him for being related to the “religious group” SOKA GAKKAI 創価学会 with its fascist, political party KOMEITO 公明党.
We have to change in Japan the word “artist” into the word “Art Worker” (similar to “Essential Worker”, “Sex Worker” or “Social Worker”)
Some of Karatani’s books had been published by SOKA GAKKAI’s publishing house Daisanbunmei-sha 第三文明社. One could even argue, but I don’t know, that he could be affiliated to the SOKA GAKKAI, which has a global network via SOKA GAKKAI INTERNATIONAL, where some members are living in the U.S. and teaching in American universities.
I had always this kind of problem, for what genre should I categorise him?
His eclectic timeline offers the following professions:
– critic in literature
– historian of literature
– historian of philosophy
– university professor/lecturer
Does Karatani get excited when the Japanese team beats Germany @ the World Cup in Qatar? And for what philosophical reason? What does it mean, when the team of Morocco shows the Palestine flag?
I repeat: Palestine Flag.
For my artistic practice/works and actual world-power politics: the crucial, extremely complicated, socio-historical topic. Whereas Karatani’s writings don’t give answer, ergo become negligible, to some extent even obsolete.
Cross-check the following links:
Symbol of Palestinian-Israeli Friendship: Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
反ユダヤ主義や「ドクメンタ15」という文脈で：昨日のメロン・メンデル氏 (フランクフルトのアンネ・フランク教育センター所長) のクネセト選挙に関する記事
In the Context of Antisemitism and documenta15: Yesterday’s Article by Meron Mendel (Director of the Anne Frank Educational Center in Frankfurt) regarding the Knesset Election
I am a descendant of ROBERTO (Axis Roma-Berlin-Tokyo) . documenta15 should be closed down. Because there’s no weed. (lol)
「カッセルのユダヤ人雌豚」”Die Judensau von Kassel”
German Green Party Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck visited Palestine today
What is this Japanese Woman thinking, actually? さて。
Has sport something to do with the notion of cultural identity and Realpolitik? Why are the masses actually getting crazy and happy all over the world? Despite the fact, that the fucking Russians bomb traumatised Ukrainian children? In this regard, may I say, Karatani belongs to the wrong side of history.
PROGRESS & HYGIENE. The two important stimuli in the development of a socio-cultural, humanistic structure. As I lived in West-Berlin, close to the Berlin Wall, visited the Sowjet Union, North Korea, India, Latin America, South East Asia a.o. as a back-packer, my view on humanity remains clear. Trade in Mesopotamia or during the Inca period made the world go round. The aspect of discrimination regarding gender and race remains a huge task for humanity. Philosophy is extremely male-oriented, biased, ergo wrong on multiple conclusive arguments. Therefore people should not listen to philosophers’ masturbating, orgiastic expressions and conclusions. Just relax, open a bottle of wine and kiss your beloved partner.
The only raison d’être of a philosopher is to act as a pretentious person. A thinker who yearns for attention. Which is o.k.. The more difficult and non-understandable the arguments are, the better. lol.
Karatani has long been involved with Post-structuralism. The problem with this kind of French “Black Philosophy” lies in the perfidious manoeuvre to include the counterarguments immediately in its theses. Spoilsport per se, a kind of childish performative self-contradiction attitude. You can’t argue, as these texts are eely.
Karatani proclaims that his philosophical practice regarding Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari is purposely purposeless, for that reason I show my empathy.
Because human existence is burdened by facticity and contingency, but on the other hand condemned to freedom, Karatani is condemned to write. His only raison d’être.
Parlerie théorique. BRAVO, Monsieur Karatani！！！
At least, we could agree that Lacan belongs to literature and not to philosophy.
Still writing… sorry to have kept you waiting… we all have to make preferences in our life, right?
The last hours and days were so exciting, as Morocco, France, Argentina and Croatia won their games at the World Cup. How can one concentrate on writing about philosophy when actually your heart beats for those amazing soccer/football players? Wild & crazy things are actually happening…¿QUÉ MIRÁS, BOBO?
Another aspect Karatani and me intensively and passionately discussed about, was the problem of translation in general versus translating Japanese novels into foreign languages. Implying a discriminating tone, as the goal remains Oslo.
Around that time, I already had my discussions with OOKA Makoto 大岡 信, then PEN president, who, with others, selected which translations should receive monetary assistance by the state.
An extra budget by the government had been consequently allocated. I commented to Ooka that political activism could be witnessed, as conservative forces have actually the power of decision-making.
A typical representative of rightwing power brokers is former Japan’s top Culture Minister, Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs MIYATA Ryohei 宮田亮平, who afterwards became Chief Director of the old-fashioned, extremely conservative NITTEN 日展, the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition group.
我が国にっぽんの恥「日展」”Nitten”, the Shame of our Nation Nippon
At that time I asked Karatani, how will you translate the difficult Japanese in the works of HANIYA Yutaka 埴谷 雄高?
He replied that what cannot be translated directly should be explained with footnotes.
There is nothing wrong with that, but we agree that only an excellent writing style in translation has a chance to be chosen for the writer to the short list of Nobel Literature Prize candidates. Actually, Japanese novelists have no idea, how extremely underpaid their translators are. A shameful situation, indeed.
We’re in big trouble, if Karatani or anyone else translates the word empathy with ‘kyokan’ 共感.
It is not for nothing that Donald Keene urged MISHIMA Yukio 三島由紀夫 to write in a way that is easy to understand in order to remain translatable, i.e. to ensure an excellent flow of language.
Donald Keene and I had an intimate relationship in 1990, during the Frankfurt Book Fair. I was able to ask him about some episodes from his private life.
In the end, the intimate relationship between Keene (translator) and Mishima (novelist) holds a certain tragicomedy. Late at night, after attending Kabuki theater together, they both got horny, kissed, and Mishima gave Keene a blow job. Later they spend 3 nights in Nara, alone.
A fatalistic relationship, because Keene selected KAWABATA Yasunari 川端康成 as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature instead of Mishima. The rest is history.
Thank you very much for your beautiful St. Sebastian.
There is a lyricism of brutality. Your Sebastian seems to be shot by arrows as every part of his body where was particularly loved and admired.
Enclosed are pictures in process of HARAKIRI, but the entrails’ scene was cut by censorship on the film.
I am going to be out of town from tomorrow up to 12th of June. Please do not write at my absence. I do expect your next letter at the middle of June.
10 April 1967
Dear Mr. Jan von Adlmann,
Enclosed is a picture for your collection which was once printed in a Japanese magazine.
I am very happy to hear you are coming to Japan soon. I like to know your itinerary and hotel as soon as it will be fixed up, since my schedule will be not always free and in the case of your phone-call my servant does not speak English. I think it would be the best way to contact you that I’ll call you on the phone to your hotel as soon as you’ll arrive in Japan.
Saint Sebastian is the very, very peculiar theme in Japan, this non-catholic country. I am sure you could have very seldom opportunity to talk about the theme in Japan.
30 March 1970
Donald Keene and Yukio Mishima, a fatalistic relationship
三島由紀夫のホモエロティシズム写真作品 © 細江英公
MISHIMA Yukio’s homoerotic photoworks © Eikoh Hosoe
Thanks to Keene, the artist in me proclaims that Mishima’s performative act of Seppuku 切腹 (Mishima wrongly used HARAKIRI, see his letter, sic!) is the ultimate art work. Made in Japan. No other artist can top this masterpiece in the history of Japanese art. Unfortunately, psychopath Mishima hid his homosexuality, instead he should have followed his buddy, novelist James Baldwin’s public practice.
Please make a comparison with American novelist James Baldwin
Another interesting aspect between Karatani and me is our rivalry regarding the “pushing” of our favourite Japanese novelists as candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Let me first explain you the status quo. Three Japanese-born authors have won the Nobel Prize in Literature since it was first awarded in 1901: KAWABATA Yasunari in 1968 (Keene’s influence), ŌE Kenzaburō 大江 健三郎 in 1994 (my influence), and Kazuo ISHIGURO in 2017. Each is thought to have had one or two correspondingly strong Japanese rivals. These were TANIZAKI Jun’ichirō 谷崎 潤一郎 and Mishima (see above sentences) for Kawabata, ABE Kōbō 安部 公房 for Ōe, and MURAKAMI Haruki 村上 春樹 for Ishiguro.
If Ishiguro is considered by the Swedish Academy as Japanese, Murakami will have to wait at least another decade before receiving the award. Based on the cycle to date, the next chance would be around the 2040s, when he would be very elderly, if still alive. And a younger generation of rivals like TAWADA Yōko 多和田 葉子 is already on the rise.
I am pushing hard to get Yoko (my former girl friend) the recognition she deserved.
See our collaboration:
F THE GEISHA
出版社 publisher：河出書房新社/Kawade Shobo Shin-sha 刊行年 year：1999
I have to admit, that Karatani had chosen an excellent rival, the late TSUSHIMA Yuko 津島佑子. In this context, Japan’s highly competitive world in the literature scene manifests also the readers’ educative knowledge and analytical integrity.
In relation to the explanations above, for the record, so to speak, I regarded the late novelist MARUYA Saiichi 丸谷 才一 as the best Japanese candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Of course, I would not want to deprive my ART+CULTURE readers of another anecdote from the “history” of literature that is relevant to Japan. Colleague and friend of Karatani: ASADA Akira 浅田 章, currently the Dean of the Graduate School at the Kyoto University of Art and Design. Both were co-editors of the influential magazine “Critical Space” 批評空間 (1990-2000).
Let me mention, that both do not consider themselves as “Green”, like me. Ergo, you won’t find decarbonization of mother earth on their agenda list.
Same circumstances; I’ve been watching ASADA Akira’s practice for about 40 years. A snobby mama’s boy who brought the “Black Philosophy” of the French to the Japanese public in the 80s. Honestly speaking, his out-put is not very original, being only a summary of foreign receptions from French and English. Everything else is being purposely ignored, means lazy academic research.
There were several instances here, in front of Tokyo’s audiences, where he quite impulsively, in a hysterical manner, criticised positions and exhibitions that did not suit him. This kind of hysteria indicates a lack of empathy, lack of common sense and a desire for conflict. The sarcastic masochism in him could also be interpreted as suffering under micropenia combined with impo-coendi, according to my friend SHIMADA Masahiko.
On the positive, beneficial side, I would like to point out that he can lecture on Robert Mapplethorpe’s viril dex quite animatedly and multifacetedly. Therefore we love cute Asada Akira.
Somehow funny to see him eloquently explaining fist-fucking. Since his mental, intellectual and spiritual teacher, philosopher Michel Foucault taught the world, that fist-fucking was the only sexual practice invented over the course of the 20th Century and can be regarded as “Yoga-anal”, Asada’s notion of noblesse oblige is part of his ethic.
In the multi-layer psycho-analytical genre, I would even argue that the apparent resilience of Asada, as well as his invulnerability to all rigours, facilitates the enjoyment of sadomasochistic literature and the arts, ergo a proximity to the function of catharsis in classical Greek tragedy.
I anal-yse Asada’s sympathy for the aesthetic sensibility in Mapplethorpe’s homosexual art as somehow outdated, even dangerously tending to be greco-roman-fascistic.
Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946 – 1989) Cock 1986
メイプルソープ再考 Reconsider Mapplethorpe
In case of censorship by Asada:
39,412 views Apr 29, 2017
4月22日 13:30 – 14:30
@ 誉田屋源兵衛 竹院の間
In contrast to Mapplethorpe, he sees ARAKI Nobuyoshi’s 荒木経惟 art practice as “unpatriotic”, “Araki is a disgrace to Japan”.
Well, here one notices the tone with which he acts. Pretentious, a joke as an art critic, who has no idea about global contemporary art, sorry to say: ASADA Akira is out of touch.
Writes sophisticated nonsense, lacks a sense of the contemporary, ergo a non-relevant voice in Japanese literary and art criticism, who has no ‘fashion sense’ 超ダサい and most importantly: can not kiss, nor dance.
There exist many examples of Asada’s sarcastic masochism. Calling the Japanese people “Dojin” 土人 “a primitive living, native race” or the Imperial Palace in Tokyo a place of nothingness. Well, imagine if I would say something like these provocative comments. I was twice (Asada never) in the Imperial Palace (see my body of work “néo japonisme”) and for me, with European roots, it’s an interesting, beautiful spazio imperiale of simplicity and tranquility. In comparison to Rome or Versailles or London… Plus, you can’t deny the history of “Tenno-ism”, which is close to the practice of shamanistic, ritual traditions in Korea.
Several foreign literature connoisseurs asked if Nakagami Kenji’s roots (besides being Burakumin) are Korean. Indeed, his lecture at the International Frankfurt Book Fair in 1990, organized by KODANSHA Publishing House, The Japan Foundation, paid with Japanese tax money, points directly to this question.
Sitting between TSUSHIMA Yuko, (later Nobel Prize Winner) OE Kenzaburo, and FURUI Yoshikichi 古井由吉, his paper read, “Am I Japanese?” 「私は日本人なのか」.
After the lecture, with Tsushima, Oe and Furui looking somewhat dismayed at the audience, the publisher of Iwanami Shoten 岩波書店, Mr. Midori, stood up and felt compelled to utter a few clarifying words. With regard to possible misunderstanding reports of the present press.
This self-victimization, the so-called victim narrative, is typical of the postmodern left, to which Karatani and Asada belong.
In the evening, together with others, I had a sip of wine with Nakagami. On this occasion I told him that he was not actually invited to Frankfurt, but ABE Kobo 安部 公房. Since Abe had to cancel for health reasons, the choice fell on him. I got this information from the first source, from Mr. Onoda, Kodansha International 講談社インターナショナル, who had organized the symposium and Gala event during this “Japan Year” at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Nakagami was shocked. Meant, he had been chosen only as a fix.
We kept in regular contact after that and he sent postcards from Hawaii to my Berlin address.
In retrospect, I regret having told him the truth. Indeed, sometimes it is better to invent white lies in order not to psychologically burden the other person. Too often I start from myself, since I am very psychologically resilient….
2 years later, Nakagami Kenji died at a very young age.
During his funeral I stood very close behind translator and novelist Hideo Levy, his wig had slipped, his face and armpits stank with sweat. My memory of Tokyo’s humid summer 1992.
The funeral eulogy of KAWAMURA Jiro went very close to my heart. He was the first literary critic to whom Nakagami opened up and asked for help and advice.
Karatani and Asada deny this historical fact because they want to place themselves at the center of Nakagami’s world. They also ignore the fact that it was more important for Nakagami to have a dialogue on television with renowned and respected critic ETO Jun 江藤 淳 than with Asada or Karatani.
One of the many anomalies of Karatani and Asada regarding Nakagami is their claim that with Nakagami’s passing, Japanese Literature is also at an end.
This grave statement suggests wanting to follow in Francis Fukuyama’s footsteps.
Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, (Macmillan, Inc., 1992).
The same pretentious bullshit was uttered by MURAKAMI Takashi 村上隆 in the context of Japanese Art.
The Man Who Ruined The Japanese Art World? An Unhappy MURAKAMI Takashi…
“The less you remember, the better.”
Just ask the persons you want to meet.
History repeats itself.
text to be continued, still writing…
P.S. 追伸 – all still and moving images are taken by me, except of MISHIMA + Mapplethorpe.
Literatur Abend @ KAZAHANA 風花. NAKAGAMI Nori 中上紀, KARATANI Kojin 柄谷 行人
Literatur Abend @ KAZAHANA 風花 NAKAGAMI Nori 中上紀, KARATANI Kojin 柄谷 行人
Literatur Abend @ KAZAHANA 風花 NAKAGAMI Nori 中上紀, KARATANI Kojin 柄谷 行人