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Carolyn S. Stevens

In: The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies

Chapter 2: Anthropology of Modern Japan

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Anthropology of Modern Japan
Anthropology of Modern Japan
Carolyn S. Stevens

The discipline of social and cultural anthropology and the study of Japan have a long, well documented history.1 What are the strengths and the accompanying weaknesses of anthropological research of Japan? This chapter attempts to encapsulate some of the methodological approaches and thematic issues that have dominated the field in the post-war era, offer an explanation as to why anthropology makes an important contribution to Japanese studies and give a snapshot of some of the predominant themes in anthropological research in the post-war era.

At the forefront of most anthropological research is a concern for ‘human culture': describing it, interpreting it and using it to understand social relationships and practices, and to explain how and why certain events occurred around the world. Despite this, anthropologists rarely agree ...

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