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Japanese Culture

This study will provide a summary of two books on Japanese culture, Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword and Robert C. Christopher's The Japanese Mind. Benedict's work is the more anthropological work, focusing on the development of Japanese culture from the seventh century to the end of World war II. Christopher has written the more anecdotal work, focusing on Japanese culture after World War II, primarily on the decades of the 1970s and 1980s.

Christopher writes to educate Americans about Japanese culture in the late 20th century and to improve relations between the two countries, presenting "a psychic and institutional guidebook to today's Japan" (Christopher 7). Aiming at the lay reader, Christopher's book is deliberately non-scholarly, but his intentions are serious. The urgency of his book is rooted in his belief that the Japanese can serve as models for and allies of the United States in the uncertain future. Their economic and cultural recovery after the devastation of World War was an indication, says Christopher, of how they will continue to prosper in the future in the face of the great changes which will inevitably confront the world in the next century. The Japanese "have an uncommon talent for survival--which may . . . be the most compelling . . . reason that it is in America's interest to bind them to us as closely as possible" (Christopher 328).

Christopher wants American readers to learn from his own experience with and knowledge of the Japanese and to cast off their arrogant attitude toward the Japanese, lest the United States lose the opportunity to benefit from Japan's special culture and national character. Christopher, writing before the collapse of the Soviet Union, argues that the future of the United States is closely tied to the success of the U.S.-Japan alliance in economics, politics, and military security. He argues that Japan has benefitted most to date from the thirty-five year relatio...

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Japanese Culture. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:48, June 21, 2024, from