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The Second Wave of American Interest in Japanese Culture: Alan Watts, Jack Kerouac, and Gary Snyder

by Charlie Canning

Photos by John La Farge and David S. Wills

 

Since the Treaty of Kanagawa in 1853, the United States and Japan have had a long and varied history. Initially, the United States wanted trade with Japan to extend American influence in Asia as well as to compete with Britain, Russia, and France. These were mercantile and political concerns that had little to do with Japan as an extant civilization with something to offer the West. But three times in the last one hundred and fifty years, American interest in Japan has been decidedly cultural. Continue Reading…