Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sailors, Shinjuku

As the coming 1st of January will mark 60 years since the writer Donald Richie arrived in Japan, The Japan Times ran a profile and interview today. Among noteworthy comments is the following, where he mentions nihonjinron (a cultural writing genre, and some say pseudoscience, based on a claimed utter uniqueness of the Japanese and their culture) in response to a question about his focus on the individual over generalization.

"This strong interest in people is very natural in my case. It has to do with the fact that I'm interested in the details, not generalities. The more I read of the Nihonjinron, the more tired I got. I don't believe in Nihonjinron, because Japan is composed of individuals."

Just a bit of looking beyond the surface reveals that he is right. Not that all those studies ought to be completely ignored, but the conclusions should be viewed with great caution. A focus on the specific is more rewarding.
  Posted by Picasa


Post a Comment

<< Home