Death and Dying in Contemporary Japan

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Author: Hikaru Suzuki

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 0415631904

Category: Social Science

Page: 240

View: 2088

This book, based on extensive original research, explores the various ways in which Japanese people think about death and how they approach the process of dying and death. It shows how new forms of funeral ceremonies have been developed by the funeral industry, how traditional grave burial is being replaced in some cases by the scattering of ashes and forest mortuary ritual, and how Japanese thinking on relationships, the value of life, and the afterlife are changing. Throughout, it assesses how these changes reflect changing social structures and social values.

Japanese Tree Burial

Ecology, Kinship and the Culture of Death

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Author: Sébastien Penmellen Boret

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317912446

Category: Social Science

Page: 222

View: 7614

Tree burial, a new form of disposal for the cremated remains of the dead, was created in 1999 by Chisaka Genpo, the head priest of a Zen Buddhist temple in northern Japan. Instead of a conventional family gravestone, perpetuating the continuity of a household and its identity, tree burial uses vast woodlands as cemeteries, with each burial spot marked by a tree and a small wooden tablet inscribed with the name of the deceased. Tree burial is gaining popularity, and is a highly-effective means of promoting the rehabilitation of Japanese forestland critically damaged by post-war government mismanagement. This book, based on extensive original research, explores the phenomenon of tree burial, tracing its development, discussing the factors which motivate Japanese people to choose tree burial, and examining the impact of tree burial on traditional views of death, memorialisation, and the afterlife. The author argues that non-traditional, non-ancestral modes of burial have become a means of negotiating new social orders and that this symbiosis of environmentalism and memorialisation corroborates the idea that graveyards are not only places for the containment of human remains and the memorialisation of the dead, but spaces where people (re)construct, challenge, and find new senses of belonging to the wider society in which they live. Throughout, the book demonstrates how the new practice fits with developing ideas of ecology, with the individual’s corporality nourishing the earth and thus re-entering the cycle of life in nature.

Abandoned Japanese in Postwar Manchuria

The Lives of War Orphans and Wives in Two Countries

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Author: Yeeshan Chan

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136883894

Category: Social Science

Page: 208

View: 9164

This book relates the experiences of the zanryu-hojin - the Japanese civilians, mostly women and children, who were abandoned in Manchuria after the end of the Second World War when Japan’s puppet state in Manchuria ended, and when most Japanese who has been based there returned to Japan. Many zanryu-hojin survived in Chinese peasant families, often as wives or adopted children; the Chinese government estimated that there were around 13,000 survivors in 1959, at the time when over 30,000 "missing" people were deleted from Japanese family registers as" war dead". Since 1972 the zanryu-hojin have been gradually repatriated to Japan, often along with several generations of their extended Chinese families, the group in Japan now numbering around 100,000 people. Besides outlining the zanryu-hojin’s experiences, the book explores the related issues of war memories and war guilt which resurfaced during the 1980s, the more recent court case brought by zanryu-hojin against the Japanese government in which they accuse the Japanese government of abandoning them, and the impact on the towns in northeast China from which the zanryu-hojin were repatriated and which now benefit hugely from overseas remittances from their former residents. Overall, the book deepens our understanding of Japanese society and its anti-war social movements, besides providing vivid and colourful sketches of individuals’ worldviews, motivations, behaviours, strategies and difficulties.

The Price of Death

The Funeral Industry in Contemporary Japan

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Author: Hikaru Suzuki

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 9780804779838

Category: Social Science

Page: 280

View: 5140

Funerary practices have long been a classic topic of anthropological inquiry, which has tended to focus on death rituals as expressions and reinforcers of community ties and values. In this book, the author looks at funerals as an urban business, based on her fieldwork at a large Japanese funeral company. Her central theme is the progressive commercialization of what once were primarily religious rituals. The book depicts the process of contemporary Japanese funerals, the practices of those who provide commercial funeral services, and the motivations and behavior of the mourners who purchase those services. In so doing, it examines the role of funeral companies in shaping Japanese cultural practices and changing an important aspect of Japanese society. The author addresses several related questions: What cultural changes accompanied the shift from traditional community funeral rituals to commercial funeral services? How did the mass consumption of commercial funerals produce cultural homogeneity while allowing for differences in individual services? How does the marketing of professional funeral services mediate changing cultural values? How have commercial services served to objectify changing concepts of dying, death, and the deceased in contemporary Japan? The author demonstrates that the funeral industry, the purchasers of funeral services, and Japanese values surrounding death are mutually dependent and are responsible for supporting, representing, and transforming cultural practices. Throughout, the author relates vivid and often moving details and anecdotes to lend a personal element to her study of the commodification of death in Japan.

Subject to Death

Life and Loss in a Buddhist World

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Author: Robert Desjarlais

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226355733

Category: Social Science

Page: 304

View: 4743

If any anthropologist living today can illuminate our dim understanding of death’s enigma, it is Robert Desjarlais. With Subject to Death, Desjarlais provides an intimate, philosophical account of death and mourning practices among Hyolmo Buddhists, an ethnically Tibetan Buddhist people from Nepal. He studies the death preparations of the Hyolmo, their specific rituals of grieving, and the practices they use to heal the psychological trauma of loss. Desjarlais’s research marks a major advance in the ethnographic study of death, dying, and grief, one with broad implications. Ethnologically nuanced, beautifully written, and twenty-five years in the making, Subject to Death is an insightful study of how fundamental aspects of human existence—identity, memory, agency, longing, bodiliness—are enacted and eventually dissolved through social and communicative practices.

Globalisation and Japanese Organisational Culture

An Ethnography of a Japanese Corporation in France

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Author: Mitchell Sedgwick

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134064152

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 240

View: 5118

Globalisation – the global movement, and control, of products, capital, technologies, persons and images – increasingly takes place through the work of organisations, perhaps the most powerful of which are multinational corporations. Based in an ethnographic analysis of cross-cultural social interactions in everyday workplace practices at a subsidiary of an elite, Japanese consumer electronics multinational in France, this book intimately examines, and theorises, contemporary global dynamics. Japanese corporate ‘know-how’ is described not simply as the combination of technological innovation riding on financial ‘clout’ but as a reflection of Japanese social relations, powerfully expressed in Japanese organisational dynamics. The book details how Japanese organisational power does and does not adapt in overseas settings: how Japanese managers and engineers negotiate conflicts between their understanding of appropriate practices with those of local, non-Japanese staff – in this case, French managers and engineers – who hold their own distinctive cultural and organisational inclinations in the workplace. The book argues that the insights provided by the intimate study of persons interacting within and across organisations is crucial to a fulsome understanding of globalisation. This is assisted, further, by a grounded examination of how ‘networks’– as social constructions – are both expanded and bounded, a move which assists in collapsing the common reliance on micro and macro levels of analysis in considering global phenomena. The book poses important theoretical and methodological challenges for organisational studies as well as for analysis of the forces of globalisation by anthropologists and other social scientists.

Savage Park

A Meditation on Play, Space, and Risk for Americans Who Are Nervous, Distracted, and Afraid to Die

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Author: Amy Fusselman

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 0544303008

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 144

View: 2622

After visiting a playpark in Japan where children are sawing wood, hammering and building open fires, the author reassesses American culture's obsession with overprotection, decides to live a more risk-filled existence and questions the ultimate impact of excessive safety. 15,000 first printing.

A Japanese View of Nature

The World of Living Things by Kinji Imanishi

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Author: Kinji Imanishi

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136131140

Category: History

Page: 160

View: 7669

Although Seibutsu no Sekai (The World of Living Things), the seminal 1941 work of Kinji Imanishi, had an enormous impact in Japan, both on scholars and on the general public, very little is known about it in the English-speaking world. This book makes the complete text available in English for the first time and provides an extensive introduction and notes to set the work in context. Imanishi's work, based on a very wide knowledge of science and the natural world, puts forward a distinctive view of nature and how it should be studied. Imanishi's work is particularly important as a background to ecology, primatology and human social evolution theory in Japan. Imanishi's views on these subjects are extremely interesting because he formulated an approach to viewing nature which challenged the usual international ideas of the time, and which foreshadow approaches that have currency today.

Shinto

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Author: Helen Hardacre

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190621710

Category: Shinto

Page: 720

View: 7055

Distinguished scholar of Japanese religions and culture Helen Hardacre offers the first comprehensive history of Shinto, the ancient and vibrant tradition whose colorful rituals are still practiced today. Under the ideal of Shinto, a divinely descended emperor governs through rituals offered to deities called Kami. These rituals are practiced in innumerable shrines across the realm, so that local rites mirror the monarch's ceremonies. Through this theatre of state, it is thought, the human, natural, and supernatural worlds will align in harmony and prosper. Often called "the indigenous religion of Japan," Shinto's institutions, rituals, and symbols are omnipresent throughout the island nation. But, perhaps surprisingly, both its religiosity and its Japanese origins have been questioned. Hardacre investigates the claims about Shinto as the embodiment of indigenous tradition, and about its rightful place in the public realm. Shinto has often been represented in the West as the engine that drove Japanese military aggression. To this day, it is considered provocative for members of the government to visit the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors the Japanese war dead, and this features as a source of strain in Japan's relations with China and Korea. The Yasukuni Shrine is a debated issue in Japanese national politics and foreign relations and reliably attracts intensive media coverage. Hardacre contends, controversially, that it was the Allied Occupation that created this stereotype of Shinto as the religion of war, when in fact virtually all branches of Japanese religions were cheerleaders for the war and imperialism. The history and nature of Shinto are subjects of vital importance for understanding contemporary Japan, its politics, its international relations, and its society. Hardacre's magisterial work will stand as the definitive reference for years to come.

Remaking the Modern

Space, Relocation, and the Politics of Identity in a Global Cairo

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Author: Farha Ghannam

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520230469

Category: Social Science

Page: 214

View: 3545

An ethnography of a housing project in Cairo, which demonstrates how the modernizing efforts of the Egyptian government runs headlong into the traditional customs of the area's low-income residents. Brings new meaning to the phrase "global and local."

Nature and Society

Anthropological Perspectives

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Author: Philippe Descola,Gisli Palsson

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134827156

Category: Social Science

Page: 320

View: 814

The contributors to this book focus on the relationship between nature and society from a variety of theoretical and ethnographic perspectives. Their work draws upon recent developments in social theory, biology, ethnobiology, epistemology, sociology of science, and a wide array of ethnographic case studies -- from Amazonia, the Solomon Islands, Malaysia, the Mollucan Islands, rural comunities from Japan and north-west Europe, urban Greece, and laboratories of molecular biology and high-energy physics. The discussion is divided into three parts, emphasising the problems posed by the nature-culture dualism, some misguided attempts to respond to these problems, and potential avenues out of the current dilemmas of ecological discourse.

Poverty and the Quest for Life

Spiritual and Material Striving in Rural India

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Author: Bhrigupati Singh

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226194547

Category: Social Science

Page: 349

View: 3015

The Indian subdistrict of Shahabad, located in the dwindling forests of the southeastern tip of Rajasthan, is an area of extreme poverty. Beset by droughts and food shortages in recent years, it is the home of the Sahariyas, former bonded laborers, officially classified as Rajasthan’s only “primitive tribe.” From afar, we might consider this the bleakest of the bleak, but in Poverty and the Quest for Life, Bhrigupati Singh asks us to reconsider just what quality of life means. He shows how the Sahariyas conceive of aspiration, advancement, and vitality in both material and spiritual terms, and how such bridging can engender new possibilities of life. Singh organizes his study around two themes: power and ethics, through which he explores a complex terrain of material and spiritual forces. Authority remains contested, whether in divine or human forms; the state is both despised and desired; high and low castes negotiate new ways of living together, in conflict but also cooperation; new gods move across rival social groups; animals and plants leave their tracks on human subjectivity and religiosity; and the potential for vitality persists even as natural resources steadily disappear. Studying this milieu, Singh offers new ways of thinking beyond the religion-secularism and nature-culture dichotomies, juxtaposing questions about quality of life with political theologies of sovereignty, neighborliness, and ethics, in the process painting a rich portrait of perseverance and fragility in contemporary rural India.

The Weight of Obesity

Hunger and Global Health in Postwar Guatemala

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Author: Emily Yates-Doerr

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520286812

Category: Social Science

Page: 248

View: 7812

Introduction : the richness of eating -- Disease of modernities -- Nutritional black-boxing -- Care of the social -- Contemporary body counts -- Bodies in balance -- Many values of health -- Conclusion : the opposite of obesity : re-forming the body in global health

Psychotherapy and Religion in Japan

The Japanese Introspection Practice of Naikan

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Author: Chikako Ozawa-de Silva

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134305311

Category: Psychology

Page: 224

View: 2012

Naikan is a Japanese psychotherapeutic method which combines meditation-like body engagement with the recovery of memory and the reconstruction of one's autobiography in order to bring about healing and a changed notion of the self. Based on original anthropological fieldwork, this fascinating book provides a detailed ethnography of Naikan in practice. In addition, it discusses key issues such as the role of memory, autobiography and narrative in health care, and the interesting borderland between religion and therapy, where Naikan occupies an ambiguous position. Multidisciplinary in its approach, it will attract a wide readership, including students of social and cultural anthropology, medical sociology, religious studies, Japanese studies and psychotherapy.

The Interpretation of Cultures

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Author: Clifford Geertz

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465093566

Category: Social Science

Page: 576

View: 8040

In The Interpretation of Cultures, the most original anthropologist of his generation moved far beyond the traditional confines of his discipline to develop an important new concept of culture. This groundbreaking book, winner of the 1974 Sorokin Award of the American Sociological Association, helped define for an entire generation of anthropologists what their field is ultimately about.

Double Exposure

Memory and Photography

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Author: Olga Shevchenko

Publisher: Transaction Publishers

ISBN: 1412852706

Category: Social Science

Page: 245

View: 7861

Over the past decade, historians and sociologists have increasingly used visual materials, in particular photographs, in their work. This volume brings together historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and media and visual scholars to articulate how photography, as a practice and as a visual medium, can provide insights into national memory, collective identities, and the historical imagination. This collection allows the reader to trace parallel conceptual developments occurring in the sociology and anthropology of memory and in the history and theory of photography, and to illustrate the unique "angles of vision" these disciplines offer. Photographic images commonly accompany historical accounts, from documentaries to family scrapbooks, and since the early days of commercial photography, pictures have been viewed as tools to capture memories. Later critical writing has challenged this equation by inverting it: photos, along with other archival practices, were often viewed as falling short of their supposed function as vessels of memory and at times even denounced as devices that distorted memories. How does photography participate in the formation and maintenance of collective identities and shared memory discourses, from the family to the nation? Furthermore, how can we begin to conceptualize photography's effects on the historical imagination of individuals and groups? Double Exposure endeavors to answer these questions by calling attention to the variety of contexts in which images circulate and to the narratives from which they spring and which they, in turn, shape. This is the latest volume in Transaction's Memory and Narrative series.

Precarious Japan

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Author: Anne Allison

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822377241

Category: Social Science

Page: 256

View: 1024

In an era of irregular labor, nagging recession, nuclear contamination, and a shrinking population, Japan is facing precarious times. How the Japanese experience insecurity in their daily and social lives is the subject of Precarious Japan. Tacking between the structural conditions of socioeconomic life and the ways people are making do, or not, Anne Allison chronicles the loss of home affecting many Japanese, not only in the literal sense but also in the figurative sense of not belonging. Until the collapse of Japan's economic bubble in 1991, lifelong employment and a secure income were within reach of most Japanese men, enabling them to maintain their families in a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. Now, as fewer and fewer people are able to find full-time work, hope turns to hopelessness and security gives way to a pervasive unease. Yet some Japanese are getting by, partly by reconceiving notions of home, family, and togetherness.

Death in a Church of Life

Moral Passion during Botswana’s Time of AIDS

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Author: Frederick Klaits

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520945840

Category: Religion

Page: 368

View: 9928

This deeply insightful ethnography explores the healing power of caring and intimacy in a small, closely bonded Apostolic congregation during Botswana’s HIV/AIDS pandemic. Death in a Church of Life paints a vivid picture of how members of the Baitshepi Church make strenuous efforts to sustain loving relationships amid widespread illness and death. Over the course of long-term fieldwork, Frederick Klaits discovered Baitshepi’s distinctly maternal ethos and the "spiritual" kinship embodied in the church’s nurturing fellowship practice. Klaits shows that for Baitshepi members, Christian faith is a form of moral passion that counters practices of divination and witchcraft with redemptive hymn singing, prayer, and the use of therapeutic substances. An online audio annex makes available examples of the church members’ preaching and song.

Consuming Life in Post-Bubble Japan

A Transdisciplinary Perspective

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Author: Katarzyna J. Cwiertka,Ewa Machotka

Publisher: Consumption and Sustainability in Asia

ISBN: 9789462980631

Category: Consumer behavior

Page: 256

View: 6698

The bursting of the economic bubble in the 1990s shook the very foundation of the post-war economic 'miracle' and marked the beginning of a gradual shift in the environmental consciousness of the Japanese. Yet, it by no means removed consumption from the pivotal position it occupied within Japanese society. Consuming Life in Post-Bubble Japan argues that consumption in Japan today is no longer simply a component of everyday economic activities, but rather a reflection of a society guided by the 'logic of late capitalism'. The volume pins down the contradictory nature of the setting in which consuming occurs in Japan today: the veneration of material comfort and convenience on the one hand, and the new rhetoric of recycling and energy conservation on the other. Theoretical insights developed as part of an art-historical enquiry, such as notions of socially engaged art and its critique, offer a new paradigm for investigating this dilemma. By combining case studies analysing the production and consumption of contemporary art with ethnographic material related to ordinary commodities and shopping, this volume provides a novel, transdisciplinary approach to exploring how a 'society of consumers' operates in post-bubble Japan and how contemporary life is a 'consuming project'.

Japanoise

Music at the Edge of Circulation

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Author: David Novak

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 082235392X

Category: Music

Page: 292

View: 8077

Drawing on more than a decade of research in Japan and the United States, David Novak traces the "cultural feedback" that generates and sustains Noise, an underground music genre combining distortion and electronic effects.