By Roland Barthes
With this publication, Barthes deals a broad-ranging meditation at the tradition, society, paintings, literature, language, and iconography--in brief, either the sign-oriented realities and fantasies--of Japan itself.
"If Japan didn't exist, Barthes may have needed to invent it--not that Japan does exist in Empire of symptoms, for Barthes is cautious to indicate that he's no longer studying the true Japan, there is not any bad innerness as within the West, no soul, no God, no destiny, no ego, no grandeur, no metaphysics, no 'promotional fever' and at last no which means . . . For Barthes Japan is a try, a problem to imagine the unthinkable, a spot the place which means is eventually banished. Paradise, certainly, for the nice scholar of signs." --Edmund White, the hot York instances booklet evaluation
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Additional info for Empire of Signs
In pachinko, no sex (in Japan-in that eountry I am ealling 28 Japan-sexuality is in sex! not else\':hete; in the United States, it is the conttaty; sex is everywhetc, ncept in sexual ity). The machines are mangers, lined up in raws; the playet, with an abrupt gestute, tenewed so rapidly that it seems un interrupted, feeds the machine with his metal matbles; hc sruffs thern in, the way you would stuff a goose; fram time to time the machine, filled to capacity, releases its diatthea of matbles; fOt a few yen, the player is symbolically spattered with rnoney.
As for the an of playing the game, it roo differs from that of our ma chines. " Paehinko repro duces, in shorr, on the meehanieal level, preeisely the prin ciple of painting alla prima, whieh insists that the line be drawn in a single movement, onee and for alJ, and that by reason of the very quality of the paper amI the ink, it can never be correned; in the same \vay the ball, once propelled, eannot be deviated (it would be an outrageous piece of boorishness to shake the machine, as our Western sports do): its path is predetermined by the sole flash of its impetus.
T. J::'}J • I I , ~~' L_~~(r' ,~.. "":, ~t. t I 34 ... V l .. ~~ G-J:~~ ~ lII/if. I PT-- ~ 1Jf , ± r, fa ~: • : ff] F&.. 'i! J11 t~ ~ ... ) You can also, provided you al ready know where you are going, direet your taxi yourself, from street to street. And finally, request the driver tel YOll can let himself be guided by the remote visitor to whose house you are going, by means of one of those huge red telephones installed in front vE almost every shop in the streer. All this makes the visual experience a 35 deeisive ekment of your orientation : a banal enough proposi flon with regard to the jungk or the bush, but on<.