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A Companion to the Anthropology of Japan

A Companion to the Anthropology of Japan

Jennifer Robertson (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-405-14145-1

Apr 2008

544 pages

$52.99

Description

This book is an unprecedented collection of 29 original essays by some of the world’s most distinguished scholars of Japan.

  • Covers a broad range of issues, including the colonial roots of anthropology in the Japanese academy; eugenics and nation building; majority and minority cultures; genders and sexualities; and fashion and food cultures
  • Resists stale and misleading stereotypes, by presenting new perspectives on Japanese culture and society
  • Makes Japanese society accessible to readers unfamiliar with the country

Synopsis of Contents viii

Notes on Contributors xviii

Part I: Introduction 1

1 Introduction: Putting and Keeping Japan in Anthropology 3
Jennifer Robertson

Part II: Cultures, Histories, and Identities 17

2 The Imperial Past of Anthropology in Japan 19
Katsumi Nakao

3 Japanese Archaeology and Cultural Properties Management: Prewar Ideology and Postwar Legacies 36
Walter Edwards

4 Feminism, Timelines, and History-Making 50
Tomomi Yamaguchi

5 Making Majority Culture 59
Roger Goodman

6 Political and Cultural Perspectives on ‘‘Insider’’ Minorities 73
Joshua Hotaka Roth

7 Japan’s Ethnic Minority: Koreans 89
Sonia Ryang

8 Shifting Contours of Class and Status 104
Glenda S. Roberts

9 The Anthropology of Japanese Corporate Management 125
Tomoko Hamada

10 Fashioning Cultural Identity: Body and Dress 153
Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni

11 Genders and Sexualities 167
Sabine Fru¨hstu¨ck

Part III: Geographies and Boundaries, Spaces and Sentiments 183

12 On the ‘‘Nature’’ of Japanese Culture, or, Is There a Japanese Sense of Nature? 185
D. P. Martinez

13 The Rural Imaginary: Landscape, Village, Tradition 201
Scott Schnell

14 Tokyo’s Third Rebuilding: New Twists on Old Patterns 218
Roman Cybriwsky

15 Japan’s Global Village: A View from the World of Leisure 231
Joy Hendry

Part IV: Socialization, Assimilation, and Identification 245

16 Formal Caring Alternatives: Kindergartens and Day-Care Centers 247
Eyal Ben-Ari

17 Post-Compulsory Schooling and the Legacy of Imperialism 261
Brian J. McVeigh

18 Theorizing the Cultural Importance of Play: Anthropological Approaches to Sports and Recreation of Japan 279
Elise Edwards

19 Popular Entertainment and the Music Industry 297
Shuhei Hosokawa

20 There’s More than Manga: Popular Nonfiction Books and Magazines 314
Laura Miller

Part V: Body, Blood, Self, and Nation 327

21 Biopower: Blood, Kinship, and Eugenic Marriage 329
Jennifer Robertson

22 The Ie (Family) in Global Perspective 355
Emiko Ochiai

23 Constrained Person and Creative Agent: A Dying Student’s Narrative of Self and Others 380
Susan Orpett Long

24 Nation, Citizenship, and Cinema 400
Aaron Gerow

25 Culinary Culture and the Making of a National Cuisine 415
Katarzyna Cwiertka

Part VI: Religion and Science, Beliefs and Bioethics 429

26 Historical, New, and ‘‘New’’ New Religions 431
Ian Reader

27 Folk Religion and its Contemporary Issues 452
Noriko Kawahashi

28 Women Scientists and Gender Ideology 467
Sumiko Otsubo

29 Preserving Moral Order: Responses to Biomedical Technologies 483
Margaret Lock

Index 501

""This groundbreaking symposium will serve scholars well as a reference volume ... Challenging yet accessible, this is essential stock for all academic libraries, and for reference libraries with any interest in disciplines spanned or in Far East Studies. Blackwell Companions are setting an admirable standard as they blaze new trails.""
Reference Reviews

""This is a handsomely produced volume in the recently launched Blackwell series of companions to the major fields of anthropology. ... Well-written and comprehensively documented.""
Ethnic and Racial Studies

“Despite the magnitude of the task, Robertson has succeeded in this collection. Taken together, these 29 original chapters provide historical and theoretical grounding across a range of subjects. The diverse approaches taken here offer insight into a great variety of cultural aspects and social players, but articulate a ‘Japan’ that eludes any claims of homogeneity.”
Steffi Richter, Universität Leipzig


“This Companion provides amazingly wide coverage on contemporary Japan. What's more, it challenges the very idea of anthropology in interesting ways. Although written by experts in the field, it will be of such great interest to students and others new to the field that it may well spark the imagination of the next Ruth Benedict in the making.”
Kazue Muta, Osaka University


A Companion to the Anthropology of Japan is a rich collection by Japanese and international researchers that demystifies Japanese culture and society. Challenging static and ahistorical perceptions of Japan, it ranges widely across space and time to provide an innovative and critical study of minorities, gender, culture, education, family, ritual, citizenship, and more.”
Mark Selden, Binghamton and Cornell Universities

""This is without doubt a creative, informative, and conscientiously argued book from which anthropologists and other students of Japan will have much to learn.""
Current Anthropology


  • Comprises 29 original essays by some of the field’s most distinguished scholars
  • Covers a broad range of issues, including the colonial roots of anthropology in the Japanese academy; eugenics and nation building; majority and minority cultures; genders and sexualities; and fashion and food cultures
  • Resists stale and misleading stereotypes, by presenting new perspectives on Japanese culture and society
  • Makes Japanese society accessible to readers unfamiliar with the country