[a continuation of Education and Spontaneous Learning]
The Face of Another (Japanese: 他人の顔, Hepburn: Tanin no kao) is a 1964 novel written by the Japanese novelist Kōbō Abe. Like other stories written by this author, the novel explores the alienation of modern man from urban society. It is written in the first person narrative mode, and is divided into a prologue, three “notebooks” (black, gray, and white), and a concluding letter from the protagonist’s wife. In 1966, it was adapted into a film directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara.
An industrial accident has severely burned the face of an unnamed plastics scientist. His wife is repulsed by his disfigurement and refuses to have sexual contact with him. To regain the affection of his wife, he attempts to create a prosthetic mask in a rented apartment. With this new “face,” the protagonist sees the world in a new way and begins a clandestine affair with his estranged wife. Although the mask gives the man newfound freedom, at the end of the story, it becomes difficult to determine if the mask has taken ownership of the man or the man has taken ownership of the face.
There is also a subplot following a hibakusha woman who has suffered burns to the right side of her face. In the novel, the protagonist sees this character in a film; in the film version, this is deliberately obscured.
- Hoover, William (2019). Historical Dictionary of Postwar Japan, 2nd edition. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 11. ISBN 9781538111550.
- Abe, Kobo (1980). The face of another. Internet Archive. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 978-0-399-50484-6.
- Teshigahara, Hiroshi (1967-06-09), Tanin no kao (Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi), Teshigahara Productions, Tokyo Eiga Co. Ltd.
- Rush, Zachariah (2014). Beyond the Screenplay: A Dialectical Approach to Dramaturgy. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. p. 59. ISBN 9780786466030
La Belle Image by Marcel Aymé, a novel with a similar premise.
(from MERICS China Monitor)
To the surprise of many, China has emerged as a destination country for immigration: As China’s population ages and its workforce shrinks, China needs more immigrants.
The background of immigrants to China is becoming more diverse. While the number of high-earning expatriates from developed countries has peaked, China is now also attracting more students than ever from all over the world, including many from lesser developed countries. Low-skilled labor and migration for marriage are also on the rise. The main areas that attract foreigners are the large urban centers along the coast (Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing) and borderland regions in the South, Northeast and Northwest, but smaller numbers are also making their way to smaller cities across China.
In the new MERICS China Monitor “How immigration is shaping Chinese society” [archived PDF], MERICS Director Frank N. Pieke and colleagues from other European universities and institutions discuss the most salient issues confronting the Chinese government and foreign residents themselves.
According to their analysis, for many foreigners China has become considerably less accommodating over the last ten years, particularly with regard to border control, public security, visa categories, and work and residence permits. China’s immigration policy is still driven by narrow concerns of regulation, institutionalization and control. It remains predicated on attracting high-quality professionals, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors. Long-term challenges like the emerging demographic transition, remain to be addressed.
The authors detect a worrying trend towards intolerance to ethnic and racial difference, fed by increasing nationalism and ethnic chauvinism. They argue that the Chinese government, civil society, foreign diplomatic missions, employers of foreigners and international organizations present in China should take a clear stance against racism and discrimination. China’s immigration policy needs to include the integration of foreigners into society and provide clear and predictable paths to acquiring permanent residence.