preface
This book explores Japanese engagement with Jamaican popular culture.
I begin this exploration with ‘‘The Politics of Presence: Performing Black-
ness in Japan.’’ In that chapter, I locate Jamaica and Japan on the map of a
global imagination of blackness, an imagination which I argue turns signifi-
cantly on racial demography and political history. The four following chap-
ters root this broad theoretical discussion in ethnography, exploring the
lives and performances of the practitioners of Japan’s Jamaican subcul-
tures. Although I discuss performance in each subculture in general terms, I
also focus on particular modes of performance. I have done so not because I
feel each performance mode is exclusive to a given subculture, but simply
because I believe that it offers particularly interesting insights into the life
of this subculture. Chapter 2, ‘‘Music and Orality: Authenticity in Japanese
Sound System Culture,’’ explores the creative use of Jamaican music and
spoken language by Japanese sound systems members as well as DJs, trac-
ing the transnational routes these performers take to accumulate this musi-
cal and verbal symbolic capital. In the chapter, I explore how, once back in
Japan, they draw upon these resources in the process of creating an ‘‘au-
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