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Week 4 Discussion 1: Japan Facing West Discussion Topic The article by Judith Snodgrass (“Japan Faces the West…”) describes Japan’s exhibit at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The exposition included exhibits from countries around the globe, and is described as intending to demonstrate a sort of evolution or hierarchy of civilizations. Discuss evidence of this ranking, as well as Japan’s response to it, in your answers to the following 2 questions. 1) According to the article, what was the message about the position of Japan in the global hierarchy as envisioned by the organizers of the exposition? Give at least one example from the article. 2) How might Japan’s exhibit at the exposition seem to challenge Western views of Japan at the time? Give specific examples from the article in your answer. Week 4 Discussion 2: The Western gaze in Japan Discussion Topic In contrast to the Snodgrass article, which showed Japan going to the West––of sending a representation of itself to an Expo in 1893, our reading from Lafcadio Hearn, circa 1894, is representative of Westerners looking at Japan in Japan. Taking both the excerpts from Hearn and from Donald Richie as a basis, what can we say about this enterprise of foreigners putting Japan under the microscope, in a manner of speaking? The scope of possible answers is meant to be broad, and can include the early 19th century as well as contemporary times, and can include reflections on those doing the looking as well as those being examined. You may also use information from other course materials in addition to the Hearn and Richie excerpts.


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