In Search of Identity

In Search of Identity: The Japanese Overseas Scholar in America and Japan

JOHN W. BENNETT
HERBERT PASSIN
ROBERT K. McKNIGHT
Copyright Date: 1958
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 384
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttsw0p
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  • Book Info
    In Search of Identity
    Book Description:

    In Search of Identity was first published in 1958. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. Educated Japanese have been faced with a basic ideological problem emerging out of their country’s modernization program. They have had to declare themselves on the great issues involved in their nation’s planning: West versus Orient, democracy opposed to autocracy, individualism versus collectivism. To the individual this ideological debate became a search for identity, and it is this problem, the search for identity, that forms the background of this book. The authors report upon a cross-disciplinary study of the Amerikaryugakusei – “those who study in America” – in the historical context of the modernization of Japanese society and Japan’s cultural relations with the United States; they describe and portray the experiences of the individual Japanese student on the American campus and back in Japan; and they analyze the adjustment of the Japanese student to different cultural environments. One group studied included Japanese students who were enrolled at two American universities. Another group consisted of Japanese who had returned to their homeland after their American education. The study is concerned, not with education per se, but with social and psychological aspects of the educational experiences. This is the fourth in a series of monographs resulting from a program of research sponsored by the Committee on Cross-Cultural Education of the Social Science Research Council.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3752-6
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-x)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-2)
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-8)

    Two homecomings tell much of our story:

    On a hot summer day in 1874 Jo Niishima, Amherst 1870, stands on the deck of the big four-master looking out over the bustling Yokohama harbor scene for the first time in many years. Back in Japan after his covert and illegal trip to America, he feels himself on the threshold of an exciting future. The Japan he had left has changed dramatically. It is now in a mood to welcome people who can teach the new “Western knowledge,” rather than, as at the time of his departure, to suspect them, or even...

  4. PART I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDS
    • 1 JAPAN’S MODERNIZATION AND HER RELATIONS WITH AMERICA
      (pp. 11-25)

      We begin with a review of the history of Japan’s modern era—the period of her transformation from feudalism to modern industrial nationhood. Since our proper subject, the Japanese scholar trained abroad, became one of the important instrumentalities of this massive program of modernization, we shall seek to consider his experiences and accomplishments against the background of the historical events in which he played a vital role. Historical perspective is particularly essential since the contributions of foreign education to the home country, and the reception in the home country of those educated overseas, are never fixed and immutable but vary...

    • 2 THE AMERICAN-EDUCATED JAPANESE IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
      (pp. 26-50)

      Japan may be considered the prototype of the Asian nation undergoing modernization with the help of knowledge acquired from Western countries ; indeed, as we have said, its speedy and efficient use of this knowledge is recognized as one of the great cultural achievements in world history. While there is much in Japan’s experience that can serve as a model for other nations now entering the phase of modern development, it is necessary to keep in mind that there are important differences between its position in the nineteenth century and the position of such countries as India and Indonesia in...

  5. PART II. THE JAPANESE EDUCATED IN AMERICA
    • 3 CHARACTERISTICS AND AMERICAN EXPERIENCES OF THE INTERWAR STUDENT
      (pp. 53-67)

      In the next seven chapters detailed consideration is given to theAmerika-ryugakusei—the America-bound overseas student—of the contemporary era: from the end of World War I to the time of writing. The students whose experiences form the fabric of this analysis were in the United States during this period and most of them are still living members of Japanese society. The present chapter and the two to follow consider those students who received their training in America between World War I and the outbreak of World War II—the “interwar years”—while the next three chapters deal with those...

    • 4 THE INTERWAR STUDENT BACK HOME
      (pp. 68-83)

      While in the United States, the graduate student and the young alienee had on the whole quite similar experiences. For both, the freer American social environment had a liberating effect, and both encountered broadly similar academic situations and cultural opportunities. The main difference was that the young alienee was usually more deeply involved with the American scene and also was more deeply affected by it, partly because he was younger and therefore more easily influenced and partly because of his earlier predispositions. However, when the two groups of students returned to Japan, more dramatic differences in their behavior and outlook...

    • 5 PERSONAL PROBLEMS OF THE INTERWAR STUDENT
      (pp. 84-96)

      We continue with our story of the interwar student by discussing the changes in his personal outlook and behavior resulting from his experiences in America and the consequences of these experiences for his life at home in Japan. At the risk of some repetition, a parallel discussion of the postwar returnee’s problems will appear in Chapter 8, where comparisons with the interwar student will be made.

      Whereas in the preceding chapter we discussed both the graduate student and the young alienee, in this chapter we concentrate on the latter. We feel justified in so doing because the alienee changed to...

    • 6 SOCIAL BACKGROUNDS AND TYPES OF POSTWAR STUDENTS
      (pp. 97-113)

      As a result of World War II, Japan was cut off from intellectual contact with most of the Western world for more than ten years. After 1931 the number of Japanese government-scholarship holders abroad had fluctuated between one half and one fifth of the average of the preceding eight years; and in 1937, the number of fellowships granted by the Ministry of Education fell sharply and then disappeared entirely during the war years. Universities with regular programs of sending faculty members abroad had to drop them, so that there was a whole generation of professors who, unlike an earlier generation,...

    • 7 THE POSTWAR STUDENT IN AMERICA AND JAPAN
      (pp. 114-135)

      The postwar Japanese student arrives in America with the desire to explore and “test” as an important part of his baggage: to find models for Japan to emulate; to resolve serious ideological questions about Japan’s role in international society; and above all to search for fresh perspectives on his own personal problems. Although all this is most characteristic of the idealist, the adjustor of course is not immune either.

      One idealistic young man explained:

      I decided to come to the United States definitely two years ago and so I took the required tests. Academically, I came to study literature, later...

    • 8 PERSONAL PROBLEMS OF THE POSTWAR STUDENT
      (pp. 136-153)

      Before World War II the American-educated Japanese at odds with his country’s policy tended to formulate his ideological position as Japan versus America. Japan was antidemocratic, feudal, reactionary, backward; America the antithesis of all these. His political position could be defined as American-style liberalism, which contrasted with both conservative and European socialist ideologies. As an exponent of this position, and these critical views of Japan, he was relatively isolated and could associate only with small circles of like-minded individuals, or in the fringe areas of Japanese-American relations.

      After World War II the situation changed drastically. The antitraditional position expanded enormously,...

    • 9 THE JAPANESE WOMAN EDUCATED IN AMERICA
      (pp. 154-176)

      Probably more has been written about the experiences of the Japanese woman student than about all other aspects of Japanese-American cultural exchange. A few autobiographies by these women have appeared in Japanese and a great many in English¹—all of them studies of the liberated Japanese woman who found happiness in America and frustration in Japan. This considerable output has had its reformist motives; but in addition it has been, in the frank statements of some of the writers themselves, a means of catharsis, of relief from the tensions and restrictions of life in Japan.

      Our decision to consider the...

  6. PART III. THE JAPANESE STUDENT AND INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCE
    • 10 PATTERNS OF INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCE
      (pp. 179-224)

      In Part III we shall consider the Japanese overseas student as a problem for the study of “intercultural experience”: a proces we may define as movement by an educated person across the boundaries of national cultures, with some degree of awareness of what this movement may imply for him as a person and as an actor in the social scene. We stress awareness because we are dealing with people who possess relatively articulate images of themselves in relation to the environments they experience. They are representatives of the educated classes of modern nations and consequently share in some degree a...

    • 11 SOCIAL NORMS, NATIONAL IMAGERY, AND INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS
      (pp. 225-252)

      Intercultural experience can be seen to include two important phases : first, the experience of learning from the host society and its institutions; and second, the application of this learning after the visitor’s return home. In this chapter we shall examine the texture of interpersonal relations among Japanese and Americans during the sojourn, with special reference to the manner in which the images of nations and conceptions of social position combine to affect communication and learning. We do not imply that learning is nonexistent if communication is restricted, because obviously learning of some kind takes place even through mere visual...

    • 12 INTERCULTURAL EDUCATION AND SOCIAL CHANGE
      (pp. 253-258)

      Throughout this study we have tried to analyze the role that foreign education has played in Japan’s modern development. In more general terms, this is the problem of the relationship of intercultural education to acculturation and innovation. In this final chapter we shall summarize the detailed information on these matters presented in Parts I and II.

      There are three things that seem important to us about the nature of Japanese development.

      1. Japan modernized herself as an independent state, not as the dependent colony of an imperial power. Since Japan managed to preserve her independence, she was able, in contrast to...

  7. APPENDIXES
    • APPENDIX A DATA ON AMERICAN- AND EUROPEAN-EDUCATED JAPANESE FROM WHO’S WHO VOLUMES
      (pp. 261-274)
    • APPENDIX B METHODOLOGY AND EMPIRICAL FINDINGS OF THE SOJOURNER STUDY AND PROBLEMS OF COORDINATING SOJOURNER AND RETURNEE DATA
      (pp. 275-306)
    • APPENDIX C THE OVERSEAS STUDENT, THE UNIVERSITY SOCIETY, AND AMERICAN CULTURE: SOME OBSERVATIONS ON GUIDANCE OF THE VISITOR
      (pp. 307-318)
      J.W.B. and R.K.McK.
  8. NOTES
    (pp. 319-348)
  9. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 351-363)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 364-369)