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Dependency and Japanese Socialization

Psychoanalytic and Anthropological Investigations in Amae

Frank A. Johnson M.D.

Publication Year: 1992

"Surprisingly readable and studded with nuggets of insight."
The Daily Yomiuri

"This insightful, well-written, fascinating book offers new understandings, not only of Japan, but also of American culture. It is essential for those in anthropology, psychology, sociology, and psychiatry who are interested in culture, as well as those in law and the business community who deal with Japan."
—Paul Ekman, Ph.D.,Director, Human Interaction Laboratory, Langley Porter Institute, University of California, San Francisco

"[A] thoughtful cross-cultural study of development...His work can only enhance the still evolving psychoanalytic theory of preoedipal development as it is being derived mostly from psychoanalytic research on child-parent interaction in American families."
—Calvin F. Settlage, M.D.

"Johnson's ambitious and exhaustive synthesis of anthropological and psychological treatments of dependency raises interesting questions. . . Johnson alerts the reader to issues of universalism and relativity and leads us to ask, 'What would psychoanalysis be like, if it had originated in Japan?'"
—Merry I. White, Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University

". . . Johnson's erudite and critical re-examination of human dependence succeeds to re-profile dependence meaningfully and revives our interest in this major aspect of human experience. Indeed, much food for thought for both psychoanalysts and anthropologists."
—Henri Parens, M.D., Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Institute

Western ideologies traditionally emphasize the concepts of individualism, privacy, freedom, and independence, while the prevailing ethos relegates dependency to a disparaged status. In Japanese society, the divergence from these western ideals can be found in the concept of amae (perhaps best translated as indulgent dependency) which is part of the Japanese social fiber and pervades their experience.

For the Western reader, the concept of amae is somewhat alien and unfamiliar, but in order to understand the Japanese fully, it is essential to acquire a familiarity with the intensity that accompanies interdependent affiliations within their culture. To place amae in the proper context, Johnson critically examines the western attitudes toward dependency from the perspectives of psychoanalysis, psychiatry, developmental psychology, and anthropology. Johnson traces the development of the concept and uses of the term dependency in academic and developmental psychology in the West, including its recent eclipse by more operationally useful terms attachment and interdependency.

This timely books makes use of the work of Japanese psychiatrist Takeo Doi, whose book The Anatomy of Dependence introduced the concept of amae to the West. Johnson goes on to illuminate the collective manner in which Japanese think and behave which is central to their socialization and educational practices, especially as seen in the stunning success of Japanese trading practices during the past twenty years. A major emphasis is placed upon the positive aspects of amae, which are compared and contrasted with attitudes toward dependency seen among other nationalities, cultures, and groups in both Western and Asian societies.

Complete with a glossary of Japanese terms, Dependency and Japanese Socialization provides a comprehensive investigation into Japanese behavior.

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

I am very pleased that Frank Johnson has undertaken to write this book about theories of dependence, specifically examining crosscultural perspectives concerning amae, a Japanese word indicating indulgent dependence. I became interested in amae behavior in the 1950s during...

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pp. xiii-xvi

This book is a culmination of study and reflection about dependency theory that began in 1968. At that time I was a young academic psychiatrist at the State University of New York, Health Sciences Center in Syracuse. During my own postgraduate training in psychiatry I had been..

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pp. xvii-xix

Since this project has occupied me for over fifteen years, my indebtedness to colleagues and other scholars is correspondingly extensive —particularly to the thinking and writings of Takeo Doi. Through continued contact with his own work and some of his students I have found the concept...

PART ONE: Theoretical and Cultural Background

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Introduction and Background

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pp. 3-13

This book examines intersections among three areas of scholarship that address the issue of interdependency in human relationships. The first of these conceptual areas traces theories of dependency and attachment stemming from developmental psychology and social science. The...

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1. Dependency, Attachment, and Interdependency: Definitions from Psychology and Social Science

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pp. 14-37

The nature of human affiliations has long attracted commentary in literature, philosophy, and what eventually became the behavioral sciences. Among diverse human relationships, those involving the most intimate and intense connectedness occurring within families, close friendships, and relationships of fealty have been particularly fascinating...

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2. Psychoanalytic Formulations Connected to Dependency

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pp. 38-62

This chapter will examine how the concepts of dependency, interdependency, and attachment are addressed in traditional psychoanalytic theory. Perhaps the most interesting fact is that dependency has not attained the status of a central explanatory concept in metapsychological writings, nor has it become tightly formulated in a direct way that...

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3. Cultural and Historical Background of Amae: Dependency Experience in Japan

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pp. 63-104

As defined earlier, amae is a commonly used Japanese word denoting "the ability and prerogative of an individual to presume or depend upon the benevolence of another" (Doi 1956, 1962^). This mandate for special and continued leaning on selected others is embedded into Japanese...

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4. Japanese Childrearing and Early Socialization: Implications for Amae

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pp. 105-136

In all cultures, the period of early childhood is a high-water mark for dependency, when caregivers are responsible for providing security, physical nurturance, and emotional comfort. Qualitative and quantitative differences in childrearing have been studied crossculturally, partly...

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5. Japanese Education and Later Socialization

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pp. 137-152

Educational institutions operate to provide graded instruction, furnishing students with skills in literacy and computation, along with information concerning science, history, health, and social studies. At the same time, schooling constitutes a context for progressive socialization...

PART TWO: Psychocultural Aspects of Japanese Dependency and Self

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6. A Multilevel Analysis of Doi's Theories of Amae

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pp. 155-191

The formulations of Takeo Doi and the commentators who have responded to his writings concerning amae provide a central framework for a multidimensional description and explanation of dependency. Summarizing Doi's published work, however, gives rise to complications that...

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7. A Summary and Synthesis of Amae Theory

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pp. 192-213

Since the mid-ip/os, Doi's publications concerning amae have received increasing attention from researchers and scholars within developmental psychology, psychoanalysis, and Asian studies. This is reflected by the number of citations in other scholarly works and both supportive and...

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8. Psychocultural Characterization of the Japanese Self

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pp. 214-266

Indigenous descriptions of Japanese personality and attributions of self abound in documentaries from anthropological, psychological, and literary sources. These can be summarized and integrated into a psychocultural picture of the Japanese self—based primarily on emic terms and descriptions...

PART THREE: Conceptual and Theoretical Dimensions

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9. Modifications of Psychoanalytic Theory by Cross-Cultural Evidence

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pp. 269-327

The purpose of this chapter is to compare anthropological evidence concerning juvenile and adult behavior with some prevailing psychoanalytic theories of human development and personality. Psychoanalytic theories have traditionally emphasized intrapsychic topography and unconscious...

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10. Current Issues in Anthropology and Psychoanalysis: Some Concluding Observations

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pp. 328-372

Earlier chapters have presented information about aspects of dependency theory, psychocultural observations of Japanese behavior, and methodological issues concerned with research in both cross-cultural and developmental contexts. This concluding chapter represents a synthesis, and...

Glossary of Japanese Terms

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pp. 373-382


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pp. 383-418

Name Index

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pp. 419-426

Subject Index

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pp. 427-452

E-ISBN-13: 9780814743966
E-ISBN-10: 081474396X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814743195
Print-ISBN-10: 0814743196

Page Count: 452
Publication Year: 1992

OCLC Number: 47011237
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Dependency and Japanese Socialization