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This chapter suggests that an examination of the dominant form of criticism allows us to see how questions of media theorization were framed in Japan. In particular, the mid-twentieth-century critic Kobayashi Hideo emerges as a key figure of a particular kind of media critique in the 1950s. The genre of criticism known as hihyō has defined the larger part of public intellectual discourse in Japan since the 1930s, and inevitably shaped most of the discussions of media presented in this volume. Taking place mostly in magazines and journals and situated somewhere between criticism and academic theory, hihyō was tailored to the needs and speeds of a massively productive print culture. As conceived of by Kobayashi, it deals fundamentally with the question of how to use language and thought that is always-already-hybrid – and not entirely “made in Japan” – in order to consider the specific location of modern Japan.”

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