Reconstructing tradition: tourism and modernity in China and Japan

Asia is one of the main destination regions for today's international tourism and it is increasingly one of the major areas originating tourism. But in China and Japan the numbers of international tourists are overwhelmed by the huge flows of domestic tourists. Ethnic and cultural tourism are growing faster than any other forms in this globalizing industry. While the civilizations of China and Japan have always valued and visited their "high cultural" traditions, burgeoning contemporary tourism has had a democratizing effect, extending the ability to travel to a majority of the population, and valuing the exotic, the foreign and the marginalized, not just for international visitors but for the urban masses who make up over 95% of tourists. This paper looks at how the newly visible rural, minority and exotic peoples are recast as having valued cultural traditions, both tangible and intangible.

Tradition; Tourism; Modernity


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