S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) 국제지역연구 국제지역연구 vol.12 (2003)
일본문화를 보는 세 가지 눈 - 루스 베네딕트, 나카네 지에, 노마 필드
Three ‘Eyes’ to Japanese Culture: Ruth Benedict, Chie Nakane, and Norma Field
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 국제대학원
- 국제지역연구, Vol.12 No.1, pp. 45-66
- This paper compares and contrasts works by Ruth Benedict, Chie Nakane, and Norma Field on Japanese culture. Belonging to different time periods, they have affected Japanese studies in significant ways. The three scholars, however, diverge from each other in epistemological and methodological positions, and, in a sense, provide "three different eyes(perspectives)" to Japanese culture. The Chrysanthemum and the Sword by Ruth Benedict, The Japanese Society by Chie Nakane, and In the Realm of a Dying Emperor by Norma Field are thus analyzed for comparison. Major contrasts are summarized as follows.
First, as a core member of the Culture and Personality School of American cultural anthropology, Benedict pursues psychological motives underlying distinct behaviors of the Japanese people. Nakane, trained in the tradition of British social anthropology, relies heavily on the concepts of structure and social network in her analysis. Coming from Japanese literature criticism, Field applies a sort of "text analysis" to a few extended cases in order to reflect on the larger society.
Second, for Benedict and Nakane, key concepts for examining Japanese culture are "patterns" and "structures," respectively. As a result, there is little space for individual autonomies in their analysis. Field, on the other hand, focuses on practices and agencies, and tries to illustrate natures and forces of the social structure.
Third, as for the relative explanatory power, Nakane"s framework is very effective in clarifying the so-called Japanese groupism, in-group factions, and loyalties to the group. Benedict provides very keen insights into the ethos (motivations, world views, values, and moral restrictions, and so forth) of the Japanese. However, both are inept in incorporating cases diverging from group" expectations and rules, and Field shows invaluable insight in this regard.