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Japan’s Hidden Social Problems

On February 26th 2018, Professor Adrian Favell and Vincent Mirza kicked off their lecture “Japon : comment gérer et vivre dans une société post-croissance” (Japan: How to manage and live in a post-growth society) at the Université de Montréal with familiar images. Doraemon, Pikachu, Prime Minister

Shinzo Abe as Super Mario
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dressed up as Super Mario makes an appearance during the closing ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Aug. 21, 2016. (Kyodo). Photo by Deohayer

Shinzo Abe announcing the Tokyo Olympics as Super Mario… This is part of the “Cool Japan” branding Japan wants to world to see. Behind the bright futuristic Tokyo lights, manga, anime lies the side of Japan the Japanese want to hide: failed modernity. Through postmodern art, Professor Favell showed the modernity artists reject: the one that fails to protect Japan from natural disasters, the one that empties the countryside, and the one that causes the youth to withdraw.

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