Keliyan, Maya
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge (ISSK at BAS). Professor

Matsuri as a cultural resource for studying Japanese local community

Japan has a developed postmodern society, and the country is world leader in postmodern global urban culture. But despite of growing globalization and internationalization, many traditional elements have still continuing to play a significant role as important resources of understanding local community culture, identity and solidarity. Matsuri, as a part of the cultural heritage of local communities, are among the most crucial resources of national and local culture. Local festivals solidify relationships between individuals and their community, making spirit of belonging stronger; they play the role of socio-cultural instruments and resources for constructing and re-constructing community. In postmodern environment they become important part of locality versus global forces, showing not only the continuity and connection with past, but also the local culture creativity and potential for transformation.

The empirical basis of the theoretical analysis are three empirical sociological surveys conducted in Matsugasaki, Northern part of Kyoto city conducted in 2012-2013, 2015-2016, and 2018-2019 during local community festivals - Obon matsuri, Aki matsuri and Natsu matsuri. The investigations were based on the case study method. The choice of this particular local community was not coincidental: on the one hand, its lifestyle is based on traditional structures and elements; on the other hand, it is located in postmodern urban environment and the local people are living postmodern and dynamic life.