Enjoy exquisite teaware, the product of a
ceramics industry revolutionized by captive Korean artisans forced by samurai to work in Japan.
In the late 16th century invasions of Korea, samurai are estimated to have slaughtered more than
a million people, women and children included, the brutality of which has been
compared to that of Nazi occupations in WWII.
No minor omission, but how else to promote the nationalist myth of Japanese cultural uniqueness?
This myth was propagated through the Way of Tea in much the same way as it was with the Way of the Samurai (see MOTIVATING THE MYTH at left).
Okakura Kakuzo's Book of Tea
(1906) sought to define for an American audience an essential core of Japanese culture, untouched by modernization, through a discourse of cultural uniqueness. Having less to do with actual formal practices than with strategic articulation of ideology,
it invoked nostalgia for a romanticized premodern past, timeless and unchanging, in order to put forth a nationalist myth of cultural unity and continuity.
The same essentialist nostalgia for "the fixity of the natives"
is at the heart of Orientalism, and thus we see the same myth being reproduced here in this exhibit today.
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