Pitt ANTH 1784 - “Japan” and “the Japanese”: Stereotypes

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Japanese Society Midterm 1Lecture 1 – 9/9/13“Japan” and “the Japanese”: Stereotypes- History in a Nutshello From 1603, the country was isolated from the outside world for 250 years (Tokugawa Period)o 1854, Commodore Perry’s black ships open Japan’s portso Rapid industrialization and from 1933 Japanese imperialism (Korea, Taiwan, China)o Quick recovery from defeat in WWIIo Three decades of spectacular economic growtho Major economic slowdown in the 1990s (1986-1991) Due to arrogance, recession about a decade long- Geography, Economy, Religiono Area: 380,000 square km (around the size of California, but arable land is only 12%)o Natural Disasters: volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunami, and typhoono GDP Composition by Sections Agriculture – 1.3% Industry – 24.6% Services – 74.1%o Religion: both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)- Peopleo Population: 125 million (half of the US population)o Ethnic Composition: Japanese 99%, other 1% (from Korea, China, Brazil, Peru, Philippines, etc)o Life Expectancy: the highest in the word: male – 77.86 years, female – 84.61 yearso Aging Society: (very low birthrate, shrinking working population and decreasing number of children, 1.39 children per womanRespect for Hierarchy (Itami Juzo: Tampopo Chapter 5)- Ordering/eating- EtiquettePreoccupation with Tradition- Tradtional vs. Futuristic Sterotype- Sexualized Womeno Memoirs of a Geisha- Violent Meno Last Samuraio Japanese Gangsters- Isolated Societyo Idolized English Wrong English, like ChinaJapanese Society Midterm 1Definition of Culture1. We are all unique individuals, but we share certain assumptions (nose blowing, slurping noodle soup or spaghetti)2. Learned behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, values, and ideals that unit a particular population3. Culture is a means of adaption (this definition is commonly used in Western studies of Japan)a. Ex. Japanese cities are overcrowded  this makes the Japanese status consciousThe Politics of Representation- Euro-American portrayals of Japan enact power relations between Japan and the West- In the context of economic competition (or war), Western portrayals of Japan construct Japanese society as understandable, therefore, manageableCulture and Personality School- Through the examination of dominant patterns of behavior, broader generalizations can be made about specific cultures- From dominant personality types we can understand national charactero Ex. there IS a relationship between culture and personality-Psychological Approacho Draws on Gestalt psychology that believed in integrated behavioro Considers culture as an integrated wholeo Analyzes cultures as if they were persons with coherent and stable personalitieso Identifies the characteristic patterns of culture and describes its dominant personality typesWhat sources of data did Benedict work with?- She did not do extensive fieldwork in Japan- She interviewed Japanese war hostages in the United States- She conducted extensive textual analysis- She used the following sources of data: propaganda, historical and contemporary movies, military intelligence reports, folktales, novels, Japanese mythology, proverbs, anthropological literature and Japanese historyLecture 2 – 9/16/13“Japan” and “the Japanese”: Ethnographic Representations- The Politics of Representation (Review)o Representations are changingo They are not “objective” descriptionso They reflect the specific concerns of specific eras- Preoccupations with Tradition: Is Japan Trapped in the Past?o Traditional: origami, tree trimming, sword fightingo Future: transformers, robotics, - Japan as Threat?o 1987 – Predator – blurring the line between the past and the futureo The Vapors – I’m Turning Japanese (1980)Japanese Society Midterm 1o The Styx – Mr. Roboto – alienationo Pet Shop Boys – Flamboyanto The Black Eyed Peas – Just Can’t Get Enough – very different world, future inaccessible to the public- Cute – the most lucrative export item of the 1990s, Japan’s Gross National Cool (GNC)o Japanese policymakers tried to coin the ideology of the gross culture of cuteo Cool/CuteOrientalism (Edward Said)- Geography is a human construction- The Orient is a European invention- The Orient has helped define EuropeDefinition of Orientalism1. Is based on a distinction made between the Orient and the Occident2. Is a discipline by which the West controls the OrientStereotypes in Orientalism- Stereotypes create “otherness” that is knowable- Stereotypes constitute a form of knowledge- Stereotypes create difference, where difference isn’t so obviousA Work Is Orientalist if…1. It exoticizes a culture2. It offers a homogeneous portrayal3. It does not explain how a condition has evolved4. It describes a society as isolatedThe Chrysanthemum and the Sword by Ruth Benedict- Culture and Personality School (Review)o Cultures are persons with coherent and stable personalitieso Dominant personality types reveal national charactero Identifies patterns of culture and dominant personality types- What sourced of data did Benedict work with?o No extensive fieldwork in Japano Interviewed Japanese war hostages in the USo Extensive textual analysis- Patterns of Japanese Cultureo Hierarchical Social Structure “Accepting his/her position within social hierarchy.”o Traditional Society Indebted to the past “Righteousness in Japan depends upon recognition of one’s place in the great network of mutual indebtedness that embraces both one’s forebears and one’s contemporaries.”o The Principle of Reciprocity On – obligations and sense of indebtednessJapanese Society Midterm 1 Gimu – the partial repayment of on Giri – repayment of the exact amount of on- Japanese are obligation-centered, bound by obligations and duties, rather than motivated by rights and choiceo Giri/Ninjo Obligation/Feelings & Desireo Sincerity (Makoto)o Self-Respect (Jicho)o Self-Discipline (Jiko Jiritsu) Japanese are more disciplined than westernerso Shame Culture vs. Guilt CultureCritique- Treats Japanese culture as homogenous- Treats Japan as the exact opposite of the West- Problematic use of Japanese literature- Ahistorical- Use of proverbs is problematic- Orientalist representation of Japan?o “Different,” “bizarre,” “phenomenally strange”- Pathologizing Japan?o “Such acute sensitivity about trifles, such painful vulnerability occurs in American records of


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