At first sight Japan would appear to be what might be called “degree zero of `creolity' ”. By geographical chance but also as a result of the vicissitudes of its history—Japan was closed to almost all foreign penetration from the 17th to the 19th century— the particular laws that presided in its cultural and economic development seem to radically distance Japanese society from any permeability to the problematics raised by creolity. However, the word “creole” is nowadays called upon to support the most current questions of Japanese society. In what way can the Japanese situation be called “creole”? Although Japan is an eccentric case and in many respects displaced in the unstable network of creole studies, that does not make it less revealing of new issues of thought that are being constituted around the figure of the creole at the very places where they were not expected.

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