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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Events
23. March 2017

Towards an Intellectual History of Japan’s 1980s Bubble Culture and Economy

In the popular imagination of contemporary Japan, the so-called ‘Bubble Economy’ of the late 1980s has become a place of nostalgia by itself. In it, the 1980s live on as a spectacular feast with endless excitement and seemingly bottomless resources, while contemporary Japan seems mired in dearth and boredom of the everyday. Of course, things were not quite what they seem, as 1980s Japan was also a deeply neurotic society, beset by anxieties and fears that were shared by many cold-war societies, but in part also entirely local. Thus, studies of the culture of the period either focus on the sense of loss and of nostalgia for vanishing traditions (whatever their claims to authenticity) or on the relentless commodi­fication that went hand in hand with it but seemed strangely disconnected.