The topos of the artist as wanderer has an extensive tradition in the history of literature and art all over the world. We could even claim that a longing for the strange and distant is to some degree immanent to most works of art. As Aristotle, Melville, Goethe, Matsuo, Ōgai, Tawada and many others do proof, representations of the global can be found throughout all eras and places.
I will present first results of my PhD research on globalization in the epic, dramatic, and cinematic œuvre of the Japanese countercultural artist Terayama Shūji (1935-1983). I argue that Terayama was a global artist. He simultaneously appeared as a product and as a creator of globalization. And as he understood life as an ongoing spectacle and declared steadily “my job is Terayama Shūji”, he performed the global as one facet of his role.
By acting as a global artist, Terayama dissociated himself from the mainstream cultural landscape, Japan’s imperial past and the newly upcoming debates on its uniqueness. His endeavor of establishing himself as a world artist documents nothing less but his longing for both a new type of artist and a Japan that finds its place as peaceful nation in the globalized world.
Carolin Fleischer is a PhD candidate at the Japan Center of Munich University (LMU). Currently she is conducting research in Japan on a DIJ grant. Her research interests center on modern Japanese literature, theater and film.