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Klaus K. Yamamoto-Hammering


Klaus Yamamoto-Hammering’s research and ethnographic writing focuses on current issues relating to the effectivity and failures of statist discourse in the context of Japan. Among other topics, he has written of: the refusal by public school teachers to stand for and sing the national anthem; hate speech by the so-called “internet right-wing”; the demand for violent revolution by the “radical left”; the aftermath of “Fukushima,” social disintegration, and suicide; and the marginalization of construction workers in the vanishing day laborer district of Tokyo, Sanya. Using critical theory, he is invested both in explicating techniques through which the state produces obedient subjects, and in facilitating an ethnographic imagination of socialities expelled from general society.

Research Focus

State Ideology in Contemporary Japan, and its Marginalized Others

By focusing on the symbolic dimension of contemporary state authority and its relation to subjectivity, my project examines how the Japanese state’s failure to fully subjectify its citizens activates both a reinvigoration of statist discourse, and the formation of counter-discourses. My project thus explores flip sides of one phenomenon. On the one hand, it analyzes the effective workings of state ideology or fascism, as it is condensed in the Japanese emperor. On the other, it seeks to enable an ethnographic imagination of the abject socialities that fascism banishes from the social. During this year at Cornell, I will be working on a set of essays that explicate the normative force of state rituals, and on a book that addresses the sociality espoused by a group of marginalized day laborers in Tokyo.


  • Society for the Humanities