“Genron” is an English-based web portal for critical discourse in Japan managed by Genron Co., Ltd. Intimately coordinated with Shisouchizu beta, the journal published in Japanese by Genron Co., Ltd since 2010, it will present ambitious and cutting-edge articles translated into English that capture the “here and now” in Japan and its society.
On the launch of “genron”
Japanese society has undergone a major change both politically and culturally during the quarter-century from the end of the Showa period and the Cold War to the burst of the economic bubble. Living conditions changed significantly and so did the beliefs and norms and the sense of “selfhood”. However, perhaps because an easily perceptible indicator did not accompany this change, much of what is said about Japan still fails, unfortunately, to adapt to it. This gap in awareness is wide enough in Japan, causing a discommunication between generations, but it is even more serious outside of the country. For example, what people talk about or who the opinion leaders are on Twitter in the Japanese-speaking world, remain largely unknown abroad. This is despite the fact that it is said that Japanese accounts for 25% of all the messages posted on Twitter!
Japan is a large country. It has a population of over 100 million people, the third largest economy after the U.S. and China, and a cultural tradition that dates back to almost two millennia. The products and cultural values that Japan gives life to are appreciated around the world. However, although Japanese intellectuals and people in the publishing industry have been extremely passionate about analyzing the latest trends abroad to present them to a Japanese audience, very few have shown interest in doing the opposite, analyzing changes in Japan to present them to an international audience. “genron” is being established to blast a hole into such a situation.
Japan is now trying to overcome the shock and loss brought by the Great East Japan Earthquake, in order to become a new country. Or more to the point, without becoming a new country, Japan can only head for a decline. The country is up against such a significant turning point.
For the next 5 to 10 years, Japan will become a sort of testing ground for diverse political, social and cultural undertakings. We believe that persistently sending out messages from this “site for testing” to English speaking readers beyond the Japanese speaking world, will be of benefit not only to some researchers and fans, but also to the general public. “genron” starts as a website for presenting Japanese critical discourses, but it is not limited to that and is in fact potentially intended for anyone who thinks about the new societies and cultures of the 21st century.
Once again, welcome to the world of new discourses that “genron” opens up!
A few final words.
“Genron” does not receive any support from the public sector. The operating costs of this website are entirely funded by Genrons’ publishing business and the membership fee paid by members of “Genron Supporters”.
If you would like to support the ideas and aims of this website, we would appreciate it if you bought a copy of Shisouchizu beta, or became a member of “Genron Supporters” (although the periodical for members is only available in Japanese). For donations, any other form of support and questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We thank you in advance for your support.
President and Editor-in-Chief
Writing in the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto
May 10 2011
About Genron Co., Ltd.
Genron Co., Ltd is a Tokyo based publishing company established by critic and author Hiroki Azuma in April 2010. Faced with the drastic changes in contemporary times, it aims to become the launching base of new thought provoking activities that cut across different fields of intelligence. Shisouchizu beta, the annual journal that it publishes, has become the leading voice in contemporary Japanese socio-cultural criticism.
We welcome comments and questions. Please send us an email, or we can also be reached at:
Il Mondo Bldg. 2F, 1-16-6 Nishigotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, Japan 141-0031
Company name Genron Co., Ltd.
Date of establishment April 6, 2010
Capital fund 4,300,000 yen (As of January 31, 2011)
President / Editor-in-Chief: Hiroki Azuma
Editors: Tetsuro Irie, Koshiro Owaki, Noriyasu Tokuhisa
Design: Takayuki Ichinose
Genron English Website Editor: Naoki Matsuyama
Products and services
- Planning, editing, designing and publishing of books
- Information services that utilize the internet, mail order shopping service
- Development, planning and designing of various contents
- Planning, designing, and managing of various events
- All operations related to the above items