Politicising motorcycles : racialised capital of technology, techno-orientalism and Japanese spatio-temporality

Miyake, Esperanza (2016) Politicising motorcycles : racialised capital of technology, techno-orientalism and Japanese spatio-temporality. East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, 2 (2). pp. 209-224. ISSN 2051-7084 (https://doi.org/10.1386/eapc.2.2.209_1)

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This article politicizes the racialization of motorcycles and critically examines the representation and material consumption of Japanese raciality and technology through motorcyclic discourses. First, referring to online discourses surrounding Harley-Davidson and Japanese motorcycles, I argue that these essentialize and racialize motorcycles, which in turn, through their material consumption, become a technology for classifying, racializing and organizing sociocultural systems of western cultural hegemony. I suggest the term racialized capital of technology as a way of examining and politicizing the ideological-material intersection of racialized technology. Second, through an analysis of Honda’s contemporary advertising discourse (United Kingdom, United States, Japan, World websites), I focus further on the racialization of technology by exploring the ways in which Japan is temporalized through technology. I re-think techno-Orientalist ideas on the future and technology as being ‘Japanized’ and, instead, explore the Japanization of the past through technology, or the historicization of Japanese technology. I argue that Honda’s dual connectivity to the past and the future marks a destabilization of techno-Orientalist discourses of Japan and technology, providing a counter-narrative against western cultural hegemony. However, I am also critical of such discourses and consider some of the historical and ontological tensions surrounding the representation of Japan and technology, relating these to Japanese temporal imperialism and capitalism.