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Dependency and Japanese Socialization

Dependency and Japanese Socialization: Psychoanalytic and Anthropological Investigations in Amae

Frank A. Johnson
Copyright Date: 1993
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 472
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  • Book Info
    Dependency and Japanese Socialization
    Book Description:

    "Surprisingly readable and studded with nuggets of insight." - The Daily Yomiuri "This insightful, well-written, fascinating book offers new understandings, not only of Japan, but also of American culture. It is essential for those in anthropology, psychology, sociology, and psychiatry who are interested in culture, as well as those in law and the business community who deal with Japan." - Paul Ekman, Ph.D.,Director, Human Interaction Laboratory, Langley Porter Institute, University of California, San Francisco "[A] thoughtful cross-cultural study of development...His work can only enhance the still evolving psychoanalytic theory of preoedipal development as it is being derived mostly from psychoanalytic research on child-parent interaction in American families." - Calvin F. Settlage, M.D. "Johnson's ambitious and exhaustive synthesis of anthropological and psychological treatments of dependency raises interesting questions. . . Johnson alerts the reader to issues of universalism and relativity and leads us to ask, 'What would psychoanalysis be like, if it had originated in Japan?'" - Merry I. White, Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University ". . . Johnson's erudite and critical re-examination of human dependence succeeds to re-profile dependence meaningfully and revives our interest in this major aspect of human experience. Indeed, much food for thought for both psychoanalysts and anthropologists." - Henri Parens, M.D., Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Institute Western ideologies traditionally emphasize the concepts of individualism, privacy, freedom, and independence, while the prevailing ethos relegates dependency to a disparaged status. In Japanese society, the divergence from these western ideals can be found in the concept of amae (perhaps best translated as indulgent dependency) which is part of the Japanese social fiber and pervades their experience. For the Western reader, the concept of amae is somewhat alien and unfamiliar, but in order to understand the Japanese fully, it is essential to acquire a familiarity with the intensity that accompanies interdependent affiliations within their culture. To place amae in the proper context, Johnson critically examines the western attitudes toward dependency from the perspectives of psychoanalysis, psychiatry, developmental psychology, and anthropology. Johnson traces the development of the concept and uses of the term dependency in academic and developmental psychology in the West, including its recent eclipse by more operationally useful terms attachment and interdependency. This timely books makes use of the work of Japanese psychiatrist Takeo Doi, whose book The Anatomy of Dependence introduced the concept of amae to the West. Johnson goes on to illuminate the collective manner in which Japanese think and behave which is central to their socialization and educational practices, especially as seen in the stunning success of Japanese trading practices during the past twenty years. A major emphasis is placed upon the positive aspects of amae, which are compared and contrasted with attitudes toward dependency seen among other nationalities, cultures, and groups in both Western and Asian societies. Complete with a glossary of Japanese terms, Dependency and Japanese Socialization provides a comprehensive investigation into Japanese behavior.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-4396-6
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)

    I am very pleased that Frank Johnson has undertaken to write this book about theories of dependence, specifically examining cross-cultural perspectives concerningamae, a Japanese word indicating indulgent dependence. I became interested inamaebehavior in the 1950s during my first sojourn in the United States when I was a fellow at the Menninger School of Psychiatry. Initially, the wordamaeoccurred to me as a quite appropriate term to describe the Japanese type of dependence vis-à-vis the independent spirit of Americans. Then, as I was studying psychoanalysis, and particularly as I underwent psychoanalytic training, I became aware of the...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. PART ONE Theoretical and Cultural Background

    • Introduction and Background
      (pp. 3-13)

      This book examines intersections among three areas of scholarship that address the issue of interdependency in human relationships. The first of these conceptual areas traces theories of dependency and attachment stemming from developmental psychology and social science. The second area reviews the largely indirect ways in which psychoanalysis has formulated concepts concerning dependent relationships. The third examines the prominent features of dependent relations in Japanese culture contrasted to conventions regarding affiliation in nonethnic American society. Some of this review also will involve a discussion of interconnections among psychoanalysis, social science, and developmental psychology regarding both methods and interpretation. A critical...

    • CHAPTER 1 Dependency, Attachment, and Interdependency: Definitions from Psychology and Social Science
      (pp. 14-37)

      The nature of human affiliations has long attracted commentary in literature, philosophy, and what eventually became the behavioral sciences. Among diverse human relationships, those involving the most intimate and intense connectedness occurring within families, close friendships, and relationships of fealty have been particularly fascinating. Since the turn of the century the concept ofdependencyhas been used in psychology and social science to define qualitative aspects of certain relationships based on its appearance in individual and specific role sets. At a more collective level, dependency has been implicated in its varying cultural and ideological manifestations, which qualitatively affect how larger...

    • CHAPTER 2 Psychoanalytic Formulations Connected to Dependency
      (pp. 38-62)

      This chapter will examine how the concepts of dependency, interdependency, and attachment are addressed in traditional psychoanalytic theory. Perhaps the most interesting fact is that dependency has not attained the status of a central explanatory concept in metapsychological writings, nor has it become tightly formulated in a direct way that relates to other concepts and explanations. One might ask how such a ubiquitous and significant characteristic of human relatedness became overlooked amid the comprehensive formulations generated by Freud and subsequent psychoanalytic authors. The answer is that dependency (and interdependency) has been diffused and appears as an underlying component in a...

    • CHAPTER 3 Cultural and Historical Background of Amae: Dependency Experience in Japan
      (pp. 63-104)

      As defined earlier,amaeis a commonly used Japanese word denoting ʺthe ability and prerogative of an individual to presume or depend upon the benevolence of anotherʺ (Doi 1956, 1962a). This mandate for special and continued leaning on selected others is embedded into Japanese life in ubiquitous and complicated ways. Although previously intuited by many observers of Japan, the psychological and cultural consequences ofamaewere not explicitly formulated until Takeo Doi furnished an interpretation of their significance. As a psychoanalytically oriented academic psychiatrist with clinical and cultural experiences in the U.S. and Japan, Doi expanded his original insights about...

    • CHAPTER 4 Japanese Childrearing and Early Socialization: Implications for Amae
      (pp. 105-136)

      In all cultures, the period of early childhood is a high-water mark for dependency, when caregivers are responsible for providing security, physical nurturance, and emotional comfort. Qualitative and quantitative differences in childrearing have been studied cross-culturally, partly with the objective of illuminating processes connected to distinctive adult adaptations. There is a large literature of cultural descriptions, ethnographic studies, and popular information concerning childhood socialization in Japan. These contain descriptions of actual practices as well as social-scientific and folk explanations that justify and rationalize these practices. These can be examined to address Pelzelʹs (1977) question about the relationships between childrearing and...

    • CHAPTER 5 Japanese Education and Later Socialization
      (pp. 137-152)

      Educational institutions operate to provide graded instruction, furnishing students with skills in literacy and computation, along with information concerning science, history, health, and social studies. At the same time, schooling constitutes a context for progressive socialization confirming social and gender roles and reinforcing habits of self-control, courtesy, and discipline. At a more abstract level, schools provide a gatekeeping function for the selective induction of persons into specified work roles, materially dependent on the degree of success or failure in the school setting. Moreover, educational institutions operate as a transition from the family to the broader society, and are involved in...

  7. PART TWO Psychocultural Aspects of Japanese Dependency and Self

    • CHAPTER 6 A Multilevel Analysis of Doiʹs Theories of Amae
      (pp. 155-191)

      The formulations of Takeo Doi and the commentators who have responded to his writings concerningamaeprovide a central framework for a multidimensional description and explanation of dependency. Summarizing Doiʹs published work, however, gives rise to complications that must be addressed. In the evolution of his writings, he initially focused on dependency as a psychological motive passively expressed during infancy and childhood, but also observable in later life. This was described in terms of individual psychology, sometimes as a ʺdrive,ʺ need, or ʺdesireʺ (Doi 1956, 1962a, 1962b, 1964, 1969). From the beginning, however, Doiʹs explanations also furnished a semantic and...

    • CHAPTER 7 A Summary and Synthesis of Amae Theory
      (pp. 192-213)

      Since the mid-1970s, Doiʹs publications concerningamaehave received increasing attention from researchers and scholars within developmental psychology, psychoanalysis, and Asian studies. This is reflected by the number of citations in other scholarly works and both supportive and critical commentary from various sources. Thus, it seems timely to summarize Doiʹs major conclusions and to synthesizeamaeaccording to an interpersonal model (as outlined in Hsu 1971b).

      In addition to the publications already cited, some spontaneous comments generated in a radio interview with Hiroshi Wagatsuma entitled ʺAmaeand Personalityʺ were subsequently transcribed (Doi and Wagatsuma I984).¹ In this interview, Doi emphasized...

    • CHAPTER 8 Psychocultural Characterization of the Japanese Self
      (pp. 214-266)

      Indigenous descriptions of Japanese personality and attributions of self abound in documentaries from anthropological, psychological, and literary sources. These can be summarized and integrated into a psychocultural picture of the Japanese self—based primarily onemicterms and descriptions. Other social-scientific formulations concerning modal personality styles can be examined as combinations of emic and etic formulations.

      The concept of self in Western psychology may be topographically divided into ʺinner self,ʺ ʺinterpersonal self,ʺ and ʺpublic selfʺ (as summarized in F. Johnson 1985). Theinner selfis associated with a fluctuating flow of consciousness, including anticipation of actions and the subjective awareness...

  8. PART THREE Conceptual and Theoretical Dimensions

    • CHAPTER 9 Modifications of Psychoanalytic Theory by Cross-Cultural Evidence
      (pp. 269-327)

      The purpose of this chapter is to compare anthropological evidence concerning juvenile and adult behavior with some prevailing psychoanalytic theories of human development and personality. Psychoanalytic theories have traditionally emphasized intrapsychic topography and unconscious dynamisms evolving through an unfolding series of relationships to a complex extrapsychic object-world. Until recently, theories based on anthropological descriptions have exclusively proceeded in the opposite direction: heuristically defining the ʺstructuresʺ and functional dynamisms of the social environment in terms of their extrapsychic and collective characteristics. The effects of the cultural environment on individual persons are conceptualized as socializing processes operating through the agency of particular...

    • CHAPTER 10 Current Issues in Anthropology and Psychoanalysis: Some Concluding Observations
      (pp. 328-372)

      Earlier chapters have presented information about aspects of dependency theory, psychocultural observations of Japanese behavior, and methodological issues concerned with research in both cross-cultural and developmental contexts. This concluding chapter represents a synthesis, and will cover three conceptual areas: the first concerning dependency manifestations and theory; the second regarding epistemology and method in the human sciences; and the third involving the juxtaposition of theory and practical considerations in psychoanalysis and anthropology.

      The utility of ʺdependencyʺ as a constructional term in social and psychological research has been seriously questioned in the last twenty years. As reviewed in chapter 1, the concept...

  9. Glossary of Japanese Terms
    (pp. 373-382)
    Regina J. Garrick
  10. References
    (pp. 383-418)
  11. Name Index
    (pp. 419-426)
  12. Subject Index
    (pp. 427-452)