Author: Richard Ronald
Release Date: 2017-12-04
Genre: Social Science
In the Japanese language the word ‘ie’ denotes both the materiality of homes and family relations within. The traditional family and family house - often portrayed in ideal terms as key foundations of Japanese culture and society - have been subject to significant changes in recent years. This book comprehensively addresses various aspects of family life and dwelling spaces, exploring how homes, household patterns and kin relations are reacting to contemporary social, economic and urban transformations, and the degree to which traditional patterns of both houses and households are changing. The book contextualises the shift from the hegemonic post-war image of standard family life, to the nuclear family and to a situation now where Japanese homes are more likely to include unmarried singles; childless couples; divorcees; unmarried adult children and elderly relatives either living alone or in nursing homes. It discusses how these new patterns are both reinforcing and challenging typical understandings of Japanese family life.
This book explores how the relationship between child and parent develops in Japan, from the earliest point in a child’s life, through the transition from family to the wider world, first to playschools and then schools. It shows how touch and physical contact are important for engendering intimacy and feeling, and how intimacy and feeling continue even when physical contact lessens. It relates the position in Japan to theoretical writing, in both Japan and the West, on body, mind, intimacy and feeling, and compares the position in Japan to practices elsewhere. Overall, the book makes a significant contribution to the study of and theories on body practices, and to debates on the processes of socialisation in Japan.
Author: Wolfram Manzenreiter
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Release Date: 2017-03-27
Genre: Social Science
Contemporary Japan is in a state of transition, caused by the forces of globalization that are derailing its ailing economy, stalemating the political establishment and generating alternative lifestyles and possibilities of the self. Amongst this nascent change, Japanese society is confronted with new challenges to answer the fundamental question of how to live a good life of meaning, purpose and value. This book, based on extensive fieldwork and original research, considers how specific groups of Japanese people view and strive for the pursuit of happiness. It examines the importance of relationships, family, identity, community and self-fulfilment, amongst other factors. The book demonstrates how the act of balancing social norms and agency is at the root of the growing diversity of experiencing happiness in Japan today.
Author: Carolyn S. Stevens
Release Date: 2013-03-05
Genre: Social Science
Disability and chronic illness represents a special kind of cultural diversity, the "other" to "normal" able-bodiedness. Most studies of disability consider disability in North American or European contexts; and studies of diversity in Japan consider ethnic and cultural diversity, but not the differences arising from disability. This book therefore breaks new ground, both for scholars of disability studies and for Japanese studies scholars. It charts the history and nature of disability in Japan, discusses policy and law relating to disability, examines caregiving and accessibility, and explores how disability is viewed in Japan. Throughout the book highlights the tension between individual responsibility and state intervention, the issues concerning how care for disability is paid for, and the special problem of how Japan is providing care for its large and increasing population of elderly people.
This book, based on extensive original research, explores the various ways in which Japanese people think about death and how they approach the process of dying and death. It shows how new forms of funeral ceremonies have been developed by the funeral industry, how traditional grave burial is being replaced in some cases by the scattering of ashes and forest mortuary ritual, and how Japanese thinking on relationships, the value of life, and the afterlife are changing. Throughout, it assesses how these changes reflect changing social structures and social values.
The balance between individual independence and social interdependence is a perennial debate in Japan. A series of educational reforms since 1990, including the implementation of a new curriculum in 2002, has been a source of fierce controversy. This book, based on an extended, detailed study of two primary schools in the Kinki district of Japan, discusses these debates, shows how reforms have been implemented at the school level, and explores how the balance between individuality and social interdependence is managed in practice. It discusses these complex issues in relation to personal identity within the class and within the school, in relation to gender issues, and in relation to the teaching of specific subjects, including language, literature and mathematics. The book concludes that, although recent reforms have tended to stress individuality and independence, teachers in primary schools continue to balance the encouragement of individuality and self-direction with the development of interdependence and empathy.
This book relates the experiences of the zanryu-hojin - the Japanese civilians, mostly women and children, who were abandoned in Manchuria after the end of the Second World War when Japan’s puppet state in Manchuria ended, and when most Japanese who has been based there returned to Japan. Many zanryu-hojin survived in Chinese peasant families, often as wives or adopted children; the Chinese government estimated that there were around 13,000 survivors in 1959, at the time when over 30,000 "missing" people were deleted from Japanese family registers as" war dead". Since 1972 the zanryu-hojin have been gradually repatriated to Japan, often along with several generations of their extended Chinese families, the group in Japan now numbering around 100,000 people. Besides outlining the zanryu-hojin’s experiences, the book explores the related issues of war memories and war guilt which resurfaced during the 1980s, the more recent court case brought by zanryu-hojin against the Japanese government in which they accuse the Japanese government of abandoning them, and the impact on the towns in northeast China from which the zanryu-hojin were repatriated and which now benefit hugely from overseas remittances from their former residents. Overall, the book deepens our understanding of Japanese society and its anti-war social movements, besides providing vivid and colourful sketches of individuals’ worldviews, motivations, behaviours, strategies and difficulties.
Author: Peter Ackermann
Release Date: 2007-03-06
This exciting new book is a detailed examination of pilgrimages in Japan, including the meanings of travel, transformation, and the discovery of identity through encounters with the sacred, in a variety of interesting dimensions in both historical and contemporary Japanese culture, linked by the unifying theme of a spiritual quest. Several fascinating new approaches to traditional forms of pilgrimage are put forward by a wide range of specialists in anthropology, religion and cultural studies, who set Japanese pilgrimage in a wider comparative perspective. They apply models of pilgrimage to quests for vocational fulfilment, examining cases as diverse as the civil service, painting and poetry, and present ethnographies of contemporary reconstructions of old spiritual quests, as conflicting (and sometimes global) demands impinge on the time and space of would-be pilgrims.
The idea that Japan is a socially homogenous, uniform society has been increasingly challenged in recent years. This book takes the resulting view further by highlighting how Japan, far from singular or monolithic, is socially and culturally complex. It engages with particular life situations, exploring the extent to which personal experiences and lifestyle choices influence this contemporary multifaceted nation-state. Adopting a theoretically engaged ethnographic approach, and considering a range of "escapes" both physical and metaphorical, this book provides a rich picture of the fusions and fissures that comprise Japan and Japaneseness today.
Author: Anne Mette Fisker-Nielsen
Release Date: 2012
Genre: Social Science
Presenting a study of politics at grassroots level among young Japanese, this book examines the alliance between the religious movement Soka Gakkai (the 'Value-creation Society') and Komeito (the 'Clean Government Party'), which shared power with the Liberal Democratic Party from 1999 to 2009. Drawing on primary research carried out among Komeito supporters, the book focuses on the lives of supporters and voters in order to better understand the processes of democracy. It goes on to discuss what the political behaviour of young Komeito supporters tell us about the role of religious organizations, such as Soka Gakkai, in Japanese politics. Unlike most other books on politics in Japan which tend to concentrate on political elites, this book provides extremely valuable insights into political culture at the grassroots level.
Author: Christoph Brumann
Release Date: 2009-12-16
This book examines the making of heritage in contemporary Japan, investigating the ways in which particular objects, practices and institutions are ascribed public recognition and political significance. Through detailed ethnographic and historical case studies, it analyses the social, economic, and even global political dimensions of cultural heritage. It shows how claims to heritage status in Japan stress different material qualities of objects, places and people - based upon their ages, originality and usage. Following on an introduction that thoroughly assesses the field, the ethnographic and historiographic case studies range from geisha; noh masks; and the tea ceremony; urban architecture; automata; a utopian commune and the sites of Mitsubishi company history. They examine how their heritage value is made and re-made, and appraise the construction of heritage in cases where the heritage value resides in the very substance of the object’s material composition - for example, in architecture, landscapes and designs - and show how the heritage industry adds values to existing assets: such as sacredness, urban charm or architectural and ethnic distinctiveness. The book questions the interpretation of material heritage as an enduring expression of social relations, aesthetic values and authenticity which, once conferred, undergoes no subsequent change, and standard dismissals of heritage as merely a tool for enshrining the nation; supporting the powerful; fostering nostalgic escapism; or advancing capitalist exploitation. Finally, it considers the role of people as agents of heritage production, and analyses the complexity of the relationships between people and objects. This book is a rigorous assessment of how conceptions of Japanese heritage have been forged, and provides a wealth of evidence that questions established assumptions on the nature and social roles of heritage.
Although Seibutsu no Sekai (The World of Living Things), the seminal 1941 work of Kinji Imanishi, had an enormous impact in Japan, both on scholars and on the general public, very little is known about it in the English-speaking world. This book makes the complete text available in English for the first time and provides an extensive introduction and notes to set the work in context. Imanishi's work, based on a very wide knowledge of science and the natural world, puts forward a distinctive view of nature and how it should be studied. Imanishi's work is particularly important as a background to ecology, primatology and human social evolution theory in Japan. Imanishi's views on these subjects are extremely interesting because he formulated an approach to viewing nature which challenged the usual international ideas of the time, and which foreshadow approaches that have currency today.
Author: Christoph Brumann
Release Date: 2012
Genre: Social Science
As the historic capital of the country and the stronghold of the nation's most celebrated traditions, the city of Kyoto holds a unique place in the Japanese imagination. Widely praised for the beauty of its townscape and natural environments, it is both a popular destination for tourists and home to one and a half million inhabitants. There has been a sustained, lively debate about how best to develop the city, with a large number of local government officials, citizen activists, urban planners, real-estate developers, architects, builders, proprietors, academic researchers, and ordinary Kyotoites involved in discussions, forming a highly peculiar social arena that has no match elsewhere in Japan. This book, based on extensive fieldwork and interviews, provides an ethnographic study of this particular social field. It analyses how people in Kyoto deal with their most cherished traditions, such as the traditional town houses and the famous Gion matsuri festival, which calls into question several of the standard social scientific assumptions about the functions of cultural heritage for present-day societies. The book looks at the way concerned citizens, government bureaucrats, and other important players interact with each other over contentious modern buildings, often with the best intentions but constrained by set role expectations and by the superior power of national-level regulations and agencies. This book contributes to debates on the social uses of tradition and heritage, and the question of how to create sustainable, liveable urban environments.
Author: David C. Lewis
Release Date: 2017-09-22
Genre: Social Science
Are Japanese people religious – and, if so, in what ways? David Lewis addresses this question from the perspective of ordinary Japanese people in the context of their life cycles, and explores why they engage in religious activities. He not only discusses how Japanese people engage in different religious practices as they encounter new events in their lives but also analyses the attitudes and motivations behind their behaviour. Activities such as fortune-telling, religious rites in the workplace, ancestral rites and visits to shrines and temples are actually engaged in by many people who view themselves as ‘non- religious’ but express their motivations in terms other than the conventional ‘religious’ ones. This book outlines the religious options available, and assesses why people choose particular religious activities at various times in their lives or in specific circumstances. The author challenges some widespread assumptions about religion in urban and industrial contexts and also shows how some of the underlying motivations behind Japanese behaviour are expressed both in religious and non-religious forms.
Author: Gordon Mathews
Release Date: 2012-10-02
Genre: Political Science
This book argues that 'the generation gap' in Japan is something more than young people resisting the adult social order before entering and conforming to that order. Rather, it signifies something more fundamental: the emergence of a new Japan, which may be quite different from the Japan of postwar decades. It argues that while young people in Japan in their teens, twenties and early thirties are not engaged in overt social or political resistance, they are turning against the existing Japanese social order, whose legitimacy has been undermined by the past decade of economic downturn. The book shows how young people in Japan are thinking about their bodies and identities, their social relationships, and their employment and parenting, in new and generationally contextual ways, that may help to create a future Japan quite different from Japan of the recent past.