This short work presents a configuration of the important elements to be found in contemporary Japanese social life, and attempts to shed new light on Japanese society. Nakane deals with his own society as a social anthropologist using some of the methods which he was accustomed to applying in examining any other society. However, its form is not that of a scientific thesis (as may be seen at once from the absence of a bibliography; the author also refrains from quoting any statistical figures or precise data directly obtained from field surveys). Nakane has tried to construct a structural image of Japanese society, synthesizing the major distinguishing features to be found in Japanese life. He has drawn evidence almost at random from a number of different types of community to be found in Japan today--industrial enterprises, government organizations, educational institutions, intellectual groups, religious communities, political parties, village communities, individual household and so on. Throughout this investigation of groups in such varied fields, Nakane has concentrated my analysis on individual behavior and interpersonal relations which provide the base of both the group organization and the structural tendencies dominating in the development of a group.
Chapter One: Criteria of Group Formation
1. Attribute and Frame
2. Emotional Participation and One-to-One Relationships
Chapter Two: The Internal Structure of the Group
1. The Development of Ranking
2. The Fundamental Structure of Vertical Organization
3. Qualification of the Leader and Interpersonal Relations in the Group
4. The Undifferentiated Rôle of the Group Member
Chapter Three: The Overall Structure of the Society
Chapter Four: Characteristics and Value Orientation of Japanese Man
1. From School to Employment
2. The Web of Comradeship
3. Localism and Tangibility
Chie Nakane is Professor Emerita of Social Anthropology at the University of Tokyo.
"A brilliant wedding of 'national character' studies and analyses of small societies through the structural approach of British anthropology. One is of course reminded of Ruth Benedict's Chrysanthemum and the Sword which deals also with Japanese national culture. Studies by Margaret Mead and Geoffrey Gorer deal with other national cultures; however, all of these studies take off from national psychology. Professor Nakane comes to explanation of the behavior of Japanese through analysis rather of historical social structure of Japanese society, beginning with the way any two Japanese perceive each other, and following through to the nature of the Japanese corporation and the whole society. Nakane's remarkable achievement, which has already given new insight about themselves to the Japanese, promises to open up a new field of large-society comparative social anthropology which is long overdue."
"This is an important book!"--Robert E. Cole, Journal of Asian Studies "If you have time for just one book on Japan, try this one."--David Plath, Asian Student "Should be taken to heart by everyone who has dealings with Japan. . . .Even those--or, perhaps, most of all those--who know Japan intimately will be grateful to Professor Nakane for her brilliant study."--Times Literary Supplement