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Economics in Everyday Life
This collection of twenty-six essays furnishes concise explanations of everyday Japanese life in simplified economic terms. They begin with such questions as, Do Japanese live better than Americans? Why don't Japanese workers claim all their overtime? Why don't Japanese use personal checking accounts? Why do Japanese give and receive so many gifts? The essays are written in non-technical, accessible language intended for the undergraduate or advanced placement high school student taking an economics course or studying Japan in a social science course. The general reader will find the book a fascinating compendium of facts on Japanese culture and daily life.
For nearly three decades Japanese Culture has garnered high praise as an accurate and well-written introduction to Japanese history and culture. This widely used undergraduate text is now available in a new edition. Thoroughly updated, the fourth edition includes expanded sections on numerous topics, among which are samurai values, Zen Buddhism, the tea ceremony, Confucianism in the Tokugawa period, the story of the forty-seven ronin, Mito scholarship in the early nineteenth century, and mass culture and comics in contemporary times.
The Age of the Gods and Emperor Jinmu
In Japanese Historians and the National Myths, John Brownlee examines how Japanese historians between 1600 and 1945 interpreted the ancient myths of their origins. Ancient tales tell of Japan's creation in the Age of the Gods, and of Jinmu, a direct descendant of the Sun Goddess and first emperor of the imperial line. These founding myths went unchallenged until Confucian scholars in the Tokugawa period initiated a reassessment of the ancient history of Japan. These myths lay at the core of Japanese identity and provided legitimacy for the imperial state. Focusing on the theme of conflict and accommodation between scholars on one side and government and society on the other, Brownlee follows the historians' reactions to pressure and trends and their eventual understanding of history as a science in the service of the Japanese nation.
Migrant Artists and Self-reinvention on the World Stage
Spend time in New York City and, soon enough, you will encounter some of the Japanese nationals who live and work there—young English students, office workers, painters, and hairstylists. New York City is home to one of the largest overseas Japanese populations in the world. Among them are artists and designers who produce cutting-edge work in fields such as design, fashion, music, and art. Part of the so-called “creative class” and a growing segment of the neoliberal economy, they are usually middle-class and college-educated. They move to New York for anywhere from a few years to several decades in the hope of realizing dreams and aspirations unavailable to them in Japan. Yet the creative careers they desire are competitive, and many end up working illegally in precarious, low paying jobs. Though they often migrate without fixed plans for return, nearly all eventually do, and their migrant trajectories are punctuated by visits home. Japanese New York contributes to international migration studies, to the study of contemporary Japanese culture and society, and to the study of Japanese youth, while shedding light on what it means to be a creative migrant worker in the global city today.
The self serves as a universally available, effective, and indispensable filter for making sense of the chaos of the world. In her latest book, Takie Lebra attempts a new understanding of the Japanese self through her unique use of cultural logic. She begins by presenting and elaborating on two models ("opposition logic" and "contingency logic") to examine concepts of self, Japanese and otherwise. Guided by these, she delves into the three layers of the Japanese self, focusing first on the social layer as located in four "zones"—omote (front), uchi (interior), ura (back), and soto (exterior)—and its shifts from zone to zone. New light is shed on these familiar linguistic and spatial categories by introducing the dimension of civility. The book expands the discussion in relation to larger constructions of the inner and cosmological self. Unlike the social self, which views itself in relation to the "other," the inner layer involves a reflexivity in which self communicates with self. While the social self engages in dialogue or trialogue, the inner self communicates through monologue or soliloquy. The cosmological layer, which centers around transcendental beliefs and fantasies, is examined and the analysis supplemented with comments on aesthetics. Throughout, Lebra applies her methodology to dozens of Japanese examples and makes relevant comparisons with North American culture and notions of self. Finally, she provides a spirited analysis of critiques of Nihonjinron to reinforce the relevancy of Japanese studies. This volume is the culmination of decades of thinking on self and social relations by one of the most influential scholars in the field. It will prove highly instructive to Japanese and non-Japanese readers alike in a range of disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, and social psychology
In this first synthetic, comprehensive survey of Japanese sports in English, the authors are attentive to the complex and fascinating interaction of traditional and modern elements. In the course of tracing the emergence and development of sumo, the martial arts, and other traditional sports from their origins to the present, they demonstrate that some cherished "ancient" traditions were, in fact, invented less than a century ago. They also register their skepticism about the use of the samurai tradition to explain Japan's success in sports. Special attention is given to Meiji-era Japan's frequently ambivalent adoption and adaptation of European and American sports--a particularly telling example of Japan's love-hate relationship with the West. The book goes on the describe the history of physical education in the school system, the emergence of amateur and professional leagues, the involvement of business and the media in sports promotion, and Japan's participation in the Olympics.
Japanese Women in the Interwar Transnational Feminist Movement
This book traces the development of feminist consciousness in Japan from 1871 to 1941. Taeko Shibahara uncovers some fascinating histories as she examines how middle-class women navigated between domestic and international influences to form ideologies and strategies for reform. They negotiated a humanitarian space as Japan expanded its nationalist, militarist, imperialist, and patriarchal power.
Focusing on these women's political awakening and activism, Shibahara shows how Japanese feminists channeled and adapted ideas selected from international movements and from interactions with mainly American social activists.
Japanese Women and the Transnational Feminist Movement before World War II also connects the development of international contacts with the particular contributions of Ichikawa Fusae to the suffrage movement, Ishimoto Shidzue to the birth control movement, and Gauntlett Tsune to the peace movement by touching on issues of poverty, prostitution, and temperance. The result provides a window through which to view the Japanese women's rights movement with a broader perspective.
The Notorious Teijin Scandal
The Imperial Rayon Company corruption scandal (popularly known as the Teijin incident) was Japan's major interwar political bribery case. Compared to numerous Japanese corruption cases of the past century, the Teijin affair stands out as not only the most sensational of the pre-1945 era, but also the most important--perhaps because more than any other case, it has left an indelible mark on the public mind. Nevertheless, Japanese and foreign scholars have neglected this incident, which brought down an entire cabinet and produced a record-setting trial. The sixteen defendants, all prominent bureaucrats, ministers, and businessmen, were charged with illegally profiting from the sale of Imperial Rayon Company stock held by the Bank of Japan. In December 1937, after a more than two-year trial, all sixteen were found innocent when the judges declared that the case had been fabricated by the prosecution. Their verdict ranks in importance with the famous Otsu case judgment, the benchmark for judicial independence from the executive. Despite its importance, basic facts about the Teijin case remain obscure, as scholars repeat factual misinformation and produce farfetched conspiracy theories. This study, the first comprehensive, scholarly work on the subject in English or Japanese, investigates controversial and important issues regarding the origins, results, and significance of the incident. It illustrates transwar continuities within the judicial system by showing that the institutional flaws in the old criminal justice system, which were magnified by the Teijin investigation and trial, remain embedded despite reform attempts during the Occupation. While illuminating the basic institutional features that generated it, the author uses the incident to spotlight the considerable amount of political criticism and public conflict that existed in Japan in the 1930s.
Tokugawa Culture Observed
Engelbert Kaempfer's History of Japan was a best-seller from the moment it was published in London in 1727. Born in Westphalia in 1651, Kaempfer traveled throughout the Near and Far East before settling in Japan as physician to the trading settlement of the Dutch East India Company at Nagasaki. During his two years residence, he made two extensive trips around Japan in 1691 and 1692, collecting, according to the British historian Boxer, "an astonishing amount of valuable and accurate information." He also learned all he could from the few Japanese who came to Deshima for instruction in the European sciences. To these observations, Kaempfer added details he had gathered from a wide reading of travelers' accounts and the reports of previous trading delegations. The result was the first scholarly study of Tokugawa Japan in the West, a work that greatly influenced the European view of Japan throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, serving as a reference for a variety of works ranging from encyclopedias to the libretto of "The Mikado."