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Re-finding Place: The American Japanese Garden

1 January 2010


Japanese gardens embody a distinct appeal and value as prominent and esteemed aspects of Japanese culture; yet, the precise qualities that allow for these gardens, as a whole, to maintain and perpetuate this renowned cultural status remains indeterminate. By investigating the symbolic meaning and consumption patterns associated with the overall Japanese garden space in both Japan and in the United States, specifically at the internationally renowned Portland Japanese Garden, this thesis will explore the larger question of how Japanese gardens holistically function not only as a traditional art form and practice and an approach in the engagement of cultural restoration and preservation, but furthermore, as a new function of a form of resistance to globalization. Given the data from my work in Japan and at the Portland Japanese Garden, I hope to contribute to the larger anthropological discussions of space versus place consumption along with the importance of cultural restoration of symbolic landscapes.


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