Identity, Gender, and Status in Japan


As one of Japan’s leading post-war anthropologists, the writings of Takie Lebra have had significant impact on Western understanding and appreciation of the structures and workings of Japanese society. In particular, her research into the notions of self and self-other relationships, issues of gender and women and motherhood has provided a new paradigm in the way these issues are now addressed. Similarly, her analysis of the status culture of royalty and the aristocracy in Japan, based on extensive field study, which culminated in her book Above the Clouds: Status Culture of the Modern Japanese Nobility (1993), has been widely regarded as the most important contribution of its kind to date. This volume brings together twenty-four of the author’s key papers on the three principal areas of her research over the last thirty-five years, and includes a complete Bibliography of her published writings, subdivided into books, articles in journals or as book chapters, and book reviews. The collection is introduced by Takie Lebra herself, in which she first ‘reviews’ selected essays appearing in the volume, along with a consideration of the contemporary controversy surrounding the imperial succession. In conclusion, by way of a personal ‘mini memoir’, she offers what she terms ‘a sentimental reverie on my own self as a “native outsider”’.
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Biographical Note

Takie Lebra is Professor Emeritus, University of Hawai’i, and most recently author of Self in Cultural Logic (2004). Her earlier writings include Japanese Patterns of Behaviour (1976), Japanese Women: Constraint and Fulfillment (1984), and Above the Clouds: Status Culture of the Modern Japanese Nobility (1993).

Table of contents

Introduction; PART 1: Self, Identity, and Interaction; 1 The Logic of Salvation: The Case of a Japanese Sect in Hawaii; 2 The Social Mechanism of Guilt and Shame: The Japanese Case; 3 Acculturation Dilemma: The Function of Japanese Moral Values for Americanization; 4 Religious Conversion and Elimination of the Sick Role: A Japanese Sect in Hawaii; 5 Reciprocity-based Moral Sanctions and Messianic Salvation; 6 The Interactional Perspective of Suffering and Curing in a Japanese Cult; 7 Taking the Role of Supernatural 'Other': Spirit Possession in a Japanese healing Cult; 8 Ancestral Influence on the Suffereing of Descendants in a Japanese Cult; 9 Non-confrontational Strategies for Management of Interpersonal Conflicts; 10 The Cultural Significance of Silence in Japanese Communication; 11 Migawari: The Cultural Idiom of self-other Exchange in Japan; PART 2: Gender; 12 Sex Equality for Japanese Women; 13 The Dilemma and Strategies of Aging Among Contemporary Japanese Women; 14 Autonomy through Independence: The Housewives Labor Bank; 15 Japanese Women in Male-dominant Careers: Cultural Barriers and Accommodations for Sex-role Transcendence; 16 Gender and Culture in the Japanese Political Economy: Self-portrayals of Prominent Businesswomen; 17 Confucian Gender Role and Personal Fulfillment for Japanese Women; 18 Non-Western Reactions to Western Feminism: The Case of Japanese Career Women; PART 3: Status; 19 Adoption Among the Hereditary Elite of Japan: Status Preservation through Mobility; 20 The Socialization of Aristocratic Children by Commoners: Recalled Experiences of the Hereditary Elite in Modern Japan; 21 Resurrecting Ancestral Charisma: Aristocratic Descendants in Contemporary Japan; 22 The Spatial Layout of Hierarchy: Residential Style of the Modern Japanese Nobility; 23 Skipped and Postponed Adolescence of Aristocratic Women in Japan: Resurrecting the Culture/Nature Issue; 24 Fractionated Motherhood: Gender and the Elite Status in Japan; Bibliography; Index of Names; General Index


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