During the middle of the nineteenth century, Japan began frequently coming into contact western nations. Because of the backwardness of its feudal state system and military power in the initial age, Japan signed some unequal treaties with westerners. The Meiji Restoration and the industrial revolution were the ideologies that Japan learned from western nations. Meiji Restoration and the industrial revolution not only changed Japan’s infrastructure, it was also a culture revolution that created a new amalgamation of Japanese culture and western culture. The book Naomi uses a love story to expose that social phenomenon in the early twentieth century in Japan. It represents the Japanese peoples’ admiration for western culture; Joji and Naomi’s characteristics represent the Japanese cultural inferiority and a new social organization of modern women. Joji and Naomi admired western cultures and felt inferior about their Japanese culture. The majority of people in Japan in the early twentieth century benefited from the ideologies from western cultures because in the last third of the nineteen-century, Japan’s national reformers learned from westerners. They built a modern state, wrote the constitution, established the modern education system, and the modern military. The characters in Naomi and other Japanese middle class believed that the practices of western culture are signs of high education and high social status. This phenomenon spurred a fanfare of expensive western social activities in Japan. The Japanese middle class went to theaters, relaxed in cafes, ate at western restaurants, and wore western style clothing. They felt proud of their western life style. Cultural inferiority fairly represented the majority in Japan. People admired western cultures which pushed them into a sightless stage. For example, when Joji dances with his teacher Madame, a white female, he believes that Madame is superior in everything in comparison to Naomi. Similarly,...
Cited: Tanizaki, Junichiro. Naomi. New York: Vintage International, 2001.
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