Title: Social milieu of 'tradition' as interstitial heritage: an example of Japanese intangible cultural heritage

Authors: Sumiko Sarashima

Addresses: Department of Anthropology, University College London, 14 Taviton Street, WC1H 0BW, UK

Abstract: This article aims to clarify the establishment of the social milieu of 'tradition' as a means of safeguarding cultural heritage. I view this milieu as functioning through the construction of interstitial elements that interact with aspects of cultural heritage, such as 'traditional' cultural forms, their practitioners, as well as members of the public, who experience these forms as 'tradition' in the context of a modern lifestyle. By referring to Alfred Gell's art theory, I highlight the dynamic character of Japanese intangible cultural heritage (ICH) as a representation of a sphere of human activity that fits into the contemporary Japanese lifestyle. Examining its commercial, cultural and educational interactions with both the public as a whole and individual persons, I explore certain social functions - specifically, mass media, kimono as a hobby interest, and school education - that promote people's physical and visual experience of cultural forms defined as 'tradition', and thereby empower the notion of 'cultural heritage' and so facilitate the production and consumption of that 'tradition'.

Keywords: social milieu; tradition; agent-patient; production; consumption; mass media; kimono hobby; school education; bodily experience; modernity; interstitial heritage; Japan; intangible heritage; cultural heritage.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2013.058631

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2013 Vol.3 No.2, pp.150 - 169

Received: 21 Nov 2012
Accepted: 16 Sep 2013

Published online: 12 Jul 2014 *

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