Dismantling the East-West Dichotomy

Essays in Honour of Jan van Bremen

Edited by Joy Hendry, Heung Wah Wong

© 2006 – Routledge

238 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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About the Book

It has been customary in the appraisal of the different approaches to the study of Japan anthropology to invoke an East-West dichotomy positing hegemonic ‘Western’ systems of thought against a more authentic ‘Eastern’ alternative.

Top scholars in the field of Japan anthropology examine, challenge and attempt to move beyond the notion of an East-West divide in the study of Japan anthropology. They discuss specific fieldwork and ethnographic issues, the place of the person within the context of the dichotomy, and regional perspectives on the issue. Articulating the influence of the East-West divide in other disciplines, including museum studies, religion, business and social ecology, the book attempts to look towards a new anthropology that transcends the limitations of a simplistic East-West opposition, taking into account the wealth of regional and global perspectives that are exhibited by contemporary scholarship on Japan anthropology. In concluding if the progress achieved in anthropological work on Japan can provide a model for good practice beyond this regional specialization, this timely and important book provides a valuable examination of the current state of the academic study of Japan anthropology.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Japan Anthropology: A Model for Good Practice in a Global Arena? 2. Against "Hybridity" as an Analytical Tool 3. Fear and Loathing of Americans Doing Japan Anthropology 4. The Relationship between Anthropological Theory, Methods and the Study of Japanese Society 5. Japan, Anthropology and the West 6. When Soto becomes Uchi: Some Thoughts on the Anthropology of Japan 7. Anthropological Fieldwork Reconsidered: With Japanese Folkloristics as a Mirror 8. The Discipline of Context: On Ethnography among the Japanese 9. Tinkering with the Natural: Lessons from Japan for an Anthropology of the Body 10. Japanese Ryokan and an Asian Atmosphere: Always East of Somewhere 11. Joint Research Project as a Tradition in Japanese Anthropology 12. "De-Orientalizing" Rice? The Role of Chinese Intermediaries in Globalizing Japanese Ricecookers 13. Two Wests Meet Japan: How a Three-Way Comparison of Japan with Canada and the United States Shifts Culture Paradigms 14. The West in the Head: Identity Issues of Latin Americans Living in Japan 15. East and West Unite in Culture 16. Wandering Where: Between Worlds or in No-Man's-Land? 17. West/Japan Dichotomy in the Context of Multiple Dichotomies 18. Neither "Us" nor "Them": Koreans doing Japanese Anthropology 19. Re-Orient-ing the Occident: How Japanese Travellers to Asia Reveal the Changing Relationship between Eastern Membership and Perceived Western Hegemony 20. Contending with the Strong: Okinawa’s Adaptation to World History 21. When West met East and made it West: Occidentalizing the Ainu 22. Japanese Collections in European Museums 23. Dismantling the East-West Dichotomy: What Happens with Religion? 24. Legacies of East-West Fusions in Social Ecology Theory in Dismantling ‘Views of the Japanese Nation' 25. Japanese Management and Japanese Miracles: The Global Sweep of Japanese Economic and Religious Organizations 26. Somewhere In between: Toward an Interactive Anthropology in a World Anthropologies Project 27. If Anthropology is a Science, then the East-West Dichotomy is Irrelevant: Moving Towards a Global Anthropology 28. Writing for Common Ground: Rethinking Audience and Purpose in Japan Anthropology 29. Native Anthropology as a Cultural System: An Analysis of the Notion of a Native Anthropology as a Situated Response to the Anthropological Gaze 30. Japanese Anthropological Scholarship: An Alternative Model? 31. What Enlightenment can Japan Anthropology Offer to Anthropology?

About the Editors

Joy Hendry is Professor of Social Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University and a Senior Member of St. Antony's College, Oxford. She has worked for many years in Japan, but recently seeks to put Japanese material in a global context. Her publications include Wrapping Culture: Politeness, Presentation and Power in Japan and Other Societies and The Orient Strikes Back: A Global View of Cultural Display.

Heung Wah Wong is Associate Professor at The Department of Japanese Studies, The University of Hong Kong. His research interest lies in the study of Japanese companies. He is the author of Japanese Bosses, Chinese Workers: Power and Control in a Hong Kong Megastore.

About the Series

Japan Anthropology Workshop Series

Editorial Board:
Pamela Asquith, University of Alberta
Eyal Ben Ari, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Hirochika Nakamaki, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka

Kirsten Refsing, University of Copenhagen
Wendy Smith, Monash University

Founder Member of the Editorial Board:
Jan van Bremen, University of Leiden

Routledge is very proud to be publishing this important series, which has already signed up a good list of high quality books on interesting topics, and has a truly international range of authors and editors.

A key aim of the series is to present studies that offer a deep understanding of aspects of Japanese society and culture to offset the impression of constant change and frivolity that so tempts the mass media around the world.  Living in Japan brings anyone into contact with the fervent mood of change, and former residents from many other countries enjoy reading about their temporary home, but there is a demand also to penetrate less obvious elements of this temporary life.  Anthropologists specialise in digging beneath the surface, in peeling off and examining layers of cultural wrapping, and in gaining an understanding of language and communication that goes beyond formal presentation and informal frolicking.  This series will help to open the eyes of readers around the world from many backgrounds to the work of these diligent anthropologists researching the social life of Japan.

Submissions from prospective authors are welcomed, and enquiries should be sent in the first instance to the series editor Professor Joy Hendry (jhendry@brookes.ac.uk).

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HIS021000
HISTORY / Asia / Japan
SOC002000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOC008000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General