This introduction examines the interrelations between the
possible existence of multiple nature-cultures and the indisputable existence
of distinct anthropological traditions. After offering some preliminary
remarks on the problems with nature-culture, the article offers
as an example the complex translations required for the Western idea
of nature to gain foothold in Japanese anthropology. Patched together
from Western and Chinese notions, Japanese ‘nature’ remains equivocal
to this day. This equivocation, however, has also been generative
of minor anthropological traditions. As this suggests, the advance of
different concepts into new territories holds the potential for shaping
‘sophisticated conjunctions’ in which traditions are mutually modified,
allowing new forms of nature and culture emerge.
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