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Table of Contents

A Philosophy of the Tourist

  • Chapter One: Tourism
  • Supplement: Secondary Derivative Works
  • Chapter Two: Politics and Its Other
  • Chapter Three: Stratified World
  • Chapter Four: Toward a Postal Multitude

Part 2
A Philosophy of the Family: Introduction

  • Chapter Five: Family
  • Chapter Six: The Uncanny
  • Chapter Seven: Dostoevsky’s Final Subject

Part1: A Philosophy of the Tourist


Chapter One: Tourism

Hiroki Azuma (translated by Christopher Lowy)

This study considers the tourist as a philosophical subject. Simultaneously, and rather counterintuitively, it also attempts to overcome the limitations of conventional philosophy by focusing on the difficulty of philosophizing the same tourist.

Tourism is a phenomenon of modernity. The father of modern tourism is Thomas Cook, with John Urry and Jonas Larsen locating its characteristics in its popular appeal. This mode of tourism is also linked to the question of cultural enlightenment. However, there has been little philosophical inquiry into what gave rise to tourism in the modern age or the meaning behind its continuation into the present. The critique of tourism by Daniel J. Boorstin from the1960s where he dismissed it as nothing more than a boring pseudo-event still has significant influence in academia today. I aim to initiate discussion on the topic and discuss the cultural meaning of tourism. In the process, I hope readers experience three secondary philosophical discoveries.

The first is a presentation of a framework useful for considering globalism in new terms. Researchers in the humanities tend to criticize globalism in generally vague terms, which, I argue, is lazy thinking. The second is a presentation of a framework from which to consider humans and society in terms of non-need (chance or contingency) rather than need (necessity). Tourism is an act of non-need. The origins of tourism are closely tied to the rise of early consumer and popular society within the middle class, the symbols of which were the Parisian passage of the 19th century and the 1851 Great Exhibition of London. I philosophize the importance of the chance gaze of consumers. The third is an attempt to establish a new intellectual discourse located just beyond the border between the serious and the frivolous, or the public and the private. I believe that deconstructing the boundary between these two concepts is necessary when considering the problem of not only tourism, but, for example, the increasing instances of terrorism in the contemporary world.


Supplement: Secondary Derivative Works

Hiroki Azuma (translated by Christopher Lowy)

Here I include two supplementary explanations to link this text with my previous work.

The first supplementary explanation is theoretical. The ideas expressed here are connected to the otaku culture outlined in Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals (2000; Eng. 2010). The concept of tourism shares a deep connection with the practice of secondary derivation (niji sosaku), a creative practice often seen in the otaku community in which an amateur fan adapts an original text into a separate new one. The creator of a secondary derivative work engages with an original work in a manner similar to the way in which a tourist engages with the occupants of the place they are visiting. We might say that the tourist makes secondary derivative works out of reality itself.

The second supplementary explanation is about my activities. I have hosted a study tour to Chernobyl for the past three years. I published a book called the Fukuichi Kanko Project in 2013. Underlying both projects is, in the spirit of dark tourism, the idea of turning the site of a radioactive disaster into a tourist destination. This proposal of mine to transform Fukushima into a tourist destination was met with severe criticism in Japan. However, I believe it impossible to have a reconstruction plan that does not prepare for the gaze of the tourist, a gaze overflowing in the contemporary world. It is because of the same reason that, in Japan today, it is impossible to create content in anticipation of the gaze of secondary derivation.


Chapter Two: Politics and Its Other

Hiroki Azuma (translated by Christopher Lowy)

The philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau maintains a duality rooted in both individualism and totalitarianism. The philosopher Ernst Cassirer has called this division “the Rousseau problem.” In reality, however, there is no division. I believe Rousseau conceived of a mathematical institution by which humans who did not wish to engage with society nor speak with others might still create a society. Since the 19th century, however, the public person and the private person were separated from one another in the sphere of political thought. Therefore, comprehending Rousseau’s philosophy became a difficult task if not an impossible one. The concept of a philosophy of the tourist became difficult in much the same way.

In this chapter, I discover theoretical clues for philosophizing the tourist by discussing two contemporaries of Rousseau: Voltaire and Immanuel Kant. Proceeding chronologically, I demonstrate the difficulty encountered when tasked with philosophizing the tourist in a post-Hegelian paradigm and within the contexts of Carl Schmitt, Alexandre Kojève, and Hannah Arendt.

In Candide (1759), Voltaire criticized Leibniz’s notion of philosophical optimism. The essence of optimism lies in our attitude toward the reality in which we all live. The supporters of optimism believe that there can be no errors in reality because God can only ever be perfect. Candide, a critique of such a philosophy, is written as a travel novel. There are mistakes in reality, and tourism enables us to recognize these mistakes.

Kant published Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (1795), about 40 years after the release of Candide and in the throes of the French Revolution. Kant argued that all nations must become republican states in order to achieve perpetual peace. Mature citizens create a mature nation-state, and a mature nation-state creates a mature international order; he believed that world peace would be achieved through such an order. However, such a provision would also call for the exclusion of all non-republic nation-states. This notion of exclusion has survived at the center of liberalism to our age through the work of both John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas with their acceptance of the necessity to exclude so-called rogue states. In Perpetual Peace, Kant also defined the right to visit, the “right of temporary sojourn […] which all men have.” We might also read this as a right to tourism. I focus on this aspect of Kant’s text. The tourist travels the world regardless of the political system of their home country, irrespective of whether their home state is republican or not; tourism becomes a new path for creating perpetual peace outside a Hegelian linear History led by the matureness of our humanity.

However, 20th century thought was not capable of imagining such a touristic path. In The Concept of the Political (1932), Carl Schmitt maintained that politics should clearly distinguish between friends and foes. As neither friend nor foe, the tourist is not subject to Schmitt’s philosophy. Behind this exclusion are Hegel’s views of the human and society. Hegel believed that humans mature spiritually by creating nation-states and engaging in politics. It is here that the path imagined by Rousseau, wherein a human who does not wish to create a state but still creates a nation, fails to be considered.

This is the origin of the refutation of globalism. Schmitt’s text was written as a critique of liberalism which then signified the affirmation of the free economy. In Introduction to the Reading of Hegel (1947), Alexandre Kojève referred to humans living in the mass consumption society of the 20th century as “animals.” Humans who do not create nation-states or engage in politics—regardless of the technology they have or the sophistication of their culture—are not worthy of the title.

We can see similar thinking in the work of Hannah Arendt. She, too, was careful to indicate the boundaries between politics and the economy. In The Human Condition (1958), through references to Ancient Greece, Arendt argued that engagement at the polis, or the political sphere, is the condition in which humans fully become humans not in the biological sense but the spiritual sense. Shared among Schmitt, Kojève, and Arednt, is the desire to critique a flattened mass consumption society driven by economic rationality and devoid of politics and the friend/foe divide. They all try to revive a romanticized definition of the human. In other words, they all used an established philosophical tradition to reject an animalistic utopia that uprising global capitalism might make possible.

I hope to overcome this unconscious desire by philosophizing the tourist. 20th century thought positioned the realization of mass society and the appearance of animal-like consumers as the arrival of something not human. In this paradigm, the tourist must be treated as nothing more than an animal. The possibility of rereading Kant’s remarks on the right of visitation as that of tourism cannot be thought of in terms of a Hegelian linear history of a mature human, a mature society and a mature nation. Here we need a new philosophy.


Chapter Three: Stratified World

Hiroki Azuma (translated by Christopher Lowy)

We cannot begin to philosophize the tourist as long as we assume a Hegelian-based  world image of history that moves from the family to the citizen, from the citizen to the national subject and, finally, from the national subject to the world citizen. We are in need of a new world image.

Kant thought of the nation-state as if it were a unified personality. Hegel theorized the state to be a civil society’s self-consciousness. In the 19th century, the nation was often imagined to comprise a duality consisting of a society and a state in much the same way that a human comprises both a body and a spirit. The nation-as-human was thought of as unifying these two aspects of being, and the plurality of nations-as-humans would gather to create an international society in much the same way humans create a society. This was the representative image of the world during the age of nationalism.

However, today is a different time. If we consider a civil society to be the body and the state to be the spirit, then in the 21st century we should adopt an image of nations’ bodies (the global economy) becoming one unified and connected platform while their spirits (each nation’s politics) has been separated from it. I call this the Era of the Stratified Orders (lit. two-level structure or niso kozo). Our world is ordered along two different and independent political strata that are not reconcilable with each other: so-called politics (in the Hegelian sense) and economics or its theoretical expressions, nationalism and globalism. We might say that this is also the stratification between the sphere of humans and animals, or communitarianism and libertarianism. The concept of the tourist is conceived of as a new subject who is able to move between these two strata freely.

This text presents a world image similar to that found in Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt’s Empire (2000). They referred to the stratified order of globalism as the sovereignty of Empire, while that of the plural nation-states correspond with the stratified order of nationalism. They also presented the concept of the multitude as an existence resisting the order of the Empire. It is similar to my concept of the tourist but remains too mystical and too vague. Their theory of the multitude exhibits characteristics of “negative theology” (in the Derridian sense) in its sole focus on the existence of solidarity while erasing the singularities of each independent movement. The concept of the tourist is born out of the theoretical drive to overcome this fault.


Chapter Four: Toward a Postal Multitude

Hiroki Azuma (translated by Christopher Lowy)

I believe that the multitude as proposed by Negri and Hardt is a negative theological concept. In this chapter, I attempt to overcome its faults by proposing what I call a postal multitude (yubinteki multitude). At the same time I will illustrate how the tourist reifies this postal multitude. Postal— Derrida’s term—encompasses the many possibilities inherent in failures of communication. Although Negri and Hardt’s negative theological multitude is an existence born from nothing and connected by nothing (which is also the basic philosophy for their political strategy), my postal multitude (i.e., the tourist) is an existence born from misdelivery (gohai) and connected by misdelivery.

What is misdelivery? In this chapter I use mathematics to clarify the mechanism of misdelivery, a concept I first discussed in Ontological, Postal: On Jacques Derrida [Sonzaironteki, yubinteki: Jacques Derrida ni tsuite] (1998). In network theory it is known that human society has three distinguishing characteristics: large clustering coefficients, small average distances, and a scale-free network. A large clustering coefficient means that there are many similar entities (clusters); a small average distance means that the world is narrow or “small”; a scale-free network refers to the unfair distribution of connections, for example, that of wealth or power, and means that their unfair distribution takes on the same statistical form as many natural phenomena. The two characteristics of large clustering coefficients and small average distances are collectively referred to as a small world. Human society mathematically contains both small-worldness and scale-freeness.

This finding can be philosophically construed as the mathematical basis of the stratified orders explicated in the previous chapter. Negri and Hardt’s contraposition of the order of nation-states and that of the Empire is built upon the theoretical contraposition of the two contrasting social structures of “tree” and “rhizome” proposed by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus (1980). However, the concept of the rhizome was too ambiguous to be productive as a foundation for debate. In my study, I propose an update to the work of Negri and Hardt with network theory: here the order of nation-states can be theorized to correspond with human society’s small-worldness while the Empire emerges with the organization of its scale-freeness. The coexistence of two stratified orders of the nation-states and the global Empire is a kind of mathematical consequence of the complicated networks we humans are dynamically creating.

With this update, the philosophical concept that links misdelivery and the political role of the postal multitude becomes clear. Today, any critique of globalism or the Empire must choose between two alternatives of locating its justification, one of which is to believe the value of something historically inherited outside the Empire (nationalism) while the other is to believe in something contemporaneously arising as a self-negating power (multitude) from inside the Empire. However, we can imagine yet a third option if we think of the order of nation-states as the expression of the world’s small-worldness and the order of the Empire as its scale-freeness. Network theory elucidates how the rewiring (tsunagikae) of connections controlled by a given probability is crucial for the emergence of the network’s small-worldness while the supremacy of the scale-freeness erases the randomness of rewiring the operation itself. In philosophical terms, rewiring or misdelivery creates the nation-state while also simultaneously creating the Empire. For this reason, we can think of a third form of political resistance: a strategy by which we do not look for the foundations of the Empire in its exteriority nor continue to dream about its interiority. Instead, we might trace the origins of the Empire and enact a reactivation of misdeliveries. This is the strategy of the tourist as a postal multitude. We should initiate any counter-Empire actions with a reconfiguration of misdelivery: I call this the tourist principle.

In the context of philosophy, the argument outlined above is similar to that of Richard Rorty. Rorty proposed the political position of the liberal ironist in Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989). The basis of his claim is a rupture between two principles of public behavior and personal belief; this is consistent with the theory of the stratified orders outlined here. Proceeding from this rupture, Rorty then discusses the possibility of a new solidarity devoid of the universal. He then places at the base of solidarity a singular, contingent empathy between individuals. This concept of contingent empathy is similar to the concept of misdelivery described above; it is also reminiscent of Rousseau’s idea of pity in his Discourses on Inequality. Without misdelivery or pity we have no society, no solidarity. In this sense we can name both Rousseau and Rorty philosophers of misdelivery.

Part2: A Philosophy of the Family: Introduction


Chapter Five: Family

Hiroki Azuma (translated by Christopher Lowy)

In the Era of the Stratified Orders, the identity of people is also split into two. The individual supports the Empire or globalism while nationals support the nation-state or its nationalism. We must think of a third identity that transcends both in order to move beyond choosing between the Empire and the nation-state. This will be the basis for our tourists’ solidarity within a postal multitude.

In order to create this third identity I propose a reevaluation and deconstruction of the concept of family. Today, the word family is regarded as an expression of conservative ideology and viewed unfavorably by Japanese liberal intellectuals (this context might be largely different from that of North America and Europe). However, I choose it because there seems to be no other concept—not the individual nor the nation-state—that can serve as the core of a sustainable social identity. Emmanuel Todd showed how the family structure regulates social order even in contemporary society; Kojin Karatani argued that we must reconsider the idea of donation, a primitive form of exchanging goods, which is inherent in the family, to critique capitalism or the order of the Empire. This reevaluation of family follows Todd and Karatani’s studies.

First we should acknowledge three characteristics of the family. The first is its compulsoriness (kyoseisei). One cannot easily enter or leave a family by free will alone. Therefore, it can serve as the basis of a political movement. The second is its contingency (guzensei). Family is essentially an assemblage of coincidences. All people have parents even though we are not able to choose who they are. Parents, too, are not able to choose their children. While Heidegger’s existentialism philosophizes a human’s fate from his or her inevitable isolated death, if we turn our attention to the unpredictability or contingency of birth connected with the other’s body, we can conceive of another kind of existentialist philosophy. The third is its expandability (kakuchosei). It is possible to easily expand one’s family through adoption and other measures. Wittgenstein’s philosophical concept of “family resemblance” will prove helpful in understanding my approach. The sense of family sometimes extends beyond the boundaries of species. Philosophy has devoted little attention to these strange and complicated characteristics of the family.


Chapter Six: The Uncanny

Hiroki Azuma (translated by Christopher Lowy)

The postal multitude is a multitude. Negri and Hardt argued that the multitude makes movement through postmodern networks possible. This chapter considers the subject of the multitude as that of an information society.

At the end of 20th century, the term “cyberspace,” first introduced by William Gibson in his influential piece of science fiction Neuromancer (1984), carried much influence in discourse on information societies. The term created the illusion that the Internet was something like a single cohesive space. Coupled with its tendency to create misunderstandings about the basics of an information society, this illusion gave rise to a form of political euphoria. This was because cyberspace was viewed as the new frontier – or new America – of capitalism. John Perry Barlow’s A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace in 1996 is an example of such euphoria.

In this study, I argue that we cannot grasp the essence of an information society with the use a spatial metaphor; rather, I contend that it should be theorized with the Freudian concept of the uncanny. The subject of an information society should not be described as an avatar in cyberspace but as that being ensconced in the uncanny. On the one hand, I find its literary expression in the works of a science fiction writer from the generation before Gibson: Philip K. Dick. On the other hand, I describe its psychoanalytical structure through a rereading of Lacanian theory. My conclusion is that the subjectivity of an information society can be schematized as the construction of two stratified identities, where his or her imaginary identity is made to coexist with his or her symbolic identity on a single world screen, in other words, an interface. More concretely, the coexistence of imaginary identity with symbolic identity refers to the state of a single subjectivity simultaneously receiving two different messages mediated through both images and symbols (language). We can model this on a viewer’s experience with Nico Nico Doga, something I discussed in detail in General Will 2.0 (2011; Eng. 2014).


Chapter Seven: Dostoevsky’s Final Subject

Hiroki Azuma (translated by Christopher Lowy)

The age of the tourist is also the age of terrorism. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s literature features terrorists. In this chapter, I consider the subject of the tourist while tracing the dialectical developments seen in the work of Dostoevsky.

Dostoevsky gave life to the Underground Man in his 1864 novel Notes from Underground. He is an entity critical of socialists at a time when utopian socialists such as Nikolay Chernyshevsky enjoyed great popularity in Russia. The contemporary political equivalent of the utopian socialist is the liberal intellectual who places hope in information technology and globalism. The Underground Man is a masochist who harshly criticizes them and exposes their hypocrisy, resonating greatly with today’s terrorists.

Dostoevsky presented Nikolai Stavrogin in Demons (1871-72), a new antagonist that overcomes the Underground Man. Stavrogin is a sadist. In today’s world, his position corresponds to that of libertarian IT billionaires. Gilles Deleuze posited that a masochist is nothing but ego while a sadist is nothing but superego. Following such a logic, the Underground Man has only ego while Stavrogin has only superego. Though Stavrogin manipulates the fate of other terrorists, he is a nihilist with no goal. I argue that Dostoevsky’s dialectical relationship among utopian socialists, the Underground Man, and Stavrogin here is the narrative counterpart of the philosophical dialectics among liberalism, communitarianism (nationalism), and libertarianism (globalism) I discuss in Part One.

In his posthumous The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80), Dostoyevsky offers a fourth subject that transcends all three of these: Alyosha. The logic behind this conquest, however, is not clearly elucidated in the Karamazov we have today. It is known that Dostoyevsky planned a sequel to this work. To reconstruct his narrative dialectic, I reference the sequel as imagined by renowned scholar of Dostoevsky, Ikuo Kameyama. My study arrives at the conclusion that the final (but not actually written) Dostoevskian subject must be imagined as an impotent (funo) father surrounded by Underground Man-like children. It will be the model of the new subjectivity of the postal multitude.

The word father and family here do not necessarily assume a biological position or relationship. They are much broader in scope. The philosophy of an individual is not capable of transcending Stavrogin’s superhuman ideology. In other words, as long as we live as isolated children we are not capable of transcending Heidegger’s existentialism which in turn leads us to the affirmation of the nation. To overcome both the individual and the nation, we must stand in the position of a parent within intertwined communications of misdelivery and family resemblance. That is the experience of the tourist.