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Is Japan different from other countries?. If so, what makes Japan different?. Change. and. Continuity. Material and Non-material Examples of Japan’s Differences. Change. and. Continuity. Four Key Concepts. Culture Group orientation Individual self-expression Universalistic principles

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Is Japan different from other countries?

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four key concepts
Four Key Concepts
  • Culture
  • Group orientation
  • Individual self-expression
  • Universalistic principles
  • Readings: Text chapters 12-16
  • A process of transmission or passing on of traditions
  • A process of innovation, adaptation, and creation of new traditions
components of culture
Components of Culture
  • Material Things
  • Non-Material Things
  • Patterns of Behavior
Politics remains a family affair in JapanSons of parliamentarians account for many election hopefuls
  • Talk of reform is dominating Japan's upcoming parliamentary ballot, but is not affecting one long-standing political tradition - children following in the footsteps of their lawmaker parents.
  • The tradition is deeply rooted. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's father and grandfather were lawmakers, and when late prime minister Keizo Obuchi suffered a fatal stroke in 2000, his daughter Yuko ran for his seat and won.
  • This year will be no different. A quarter of the 480-seat lower house is made up of second- or third-generation lawmakers, and about 40 per cent of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's candidates are descendants of parliamentarians.
patterns of behavior
Patterns of Behavior
  • A pattern of behavior is a way of acting that is shared with few people or with many and which ties them together.
why social capital
Why?: Social Capital
  • Relationships have value enhancing productivity and improve quality of life
  • Some benefits go directly to individuals others are shared by society (externalities)
  • Creates norms of trust and reciprocity that reduce cheating and other forms of opportunism
  • Bonding SC creates exclusive binds exclusive groups into strong identities (e.g. ethnic groups, families).
  • Bridging SC creates inclusive ties bringing people from different backgrounds together (e.g. professions, politics).
structures of relations
Structures of relations

are ordered and set linkages among people


  • Two way relationships among people
  • Networks
  • Hierarchies

Formal and Informal

  • Organizations
  • Society
patterns of behavior22
Patterns of Behavior
  • Are a shifting balance between group orientation, universal principles, and individual expression
group orientation
Group Orientation
  • Group orientation is the tendency of people in a society to see themselves primarily as members of a group and to behave according to the values and rules of the group.
japanese groups
Japanese Groups
  • the family (kinship patterns);
  • neighborhoods and villages;
  • classrooms and schools;
  • sport clubs and art schools;
  • companies and inter-firm groups (keiretsus);
  • Political parties and government departments;
  • Alternative groups (e.g. Yakuza, motorcycle gangs, cosplay, hip-hop, lolitas, etc.).
universal principals
Universal Principals
  • Universal principles are the common values and rules that bind together the people of a society or a nation.
japanese universal principals
Japanese Universal Principals

Based on:

  • Confucianism;
  • Religion (Shinto, Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity);
  • Scientific rationality;
  • Socialism and Capitalism;
  • Authoritarianism and Democracy.
individual expression
Individual Expression
  • Individual expression is the common need of all persons to establish self-identity and pursue their own interests.

Is individual expression achieved alone or with others?

  • The most important feature of individual expression in Japan is that strength of character is not judged by how independent a person can be, but by how they can work with people.
what balance between the group the individual and universal principles
What balance between the group, the individual, and universal principles?
  • In Hong Kong?
  • In Japan?
the japanese balance
The Japanese Balance
  • “Universalistic principles, group orientation, and individual self-expression are all three present to some degree in all societies, but the Japanese may differ from other modernized peoples in recognizing more openly their conflicting pulls and bending more clearly than in most in the direction of group solidarity” (Reischauer 1995:140).
relation to the rest of the course
Relation to the rest of the course
  • The Setting
  • History
  • Society
  • Economics
  • Politics
culture review
Culture Review
  • Japan is Different: why?
  • Culture: way of transmitting that difference over time
  • Patterns of behaviour: most important difference because they shape human welfare
    • They have value and structure
    • Patterns persist over time, but evolve
  • Three main influences: group orientation, universal principals, and individual expression
  • Human behavior is a balance of these three needs
next section
Next Section
  • The Setting
    • The Natural Environment
    • Agriculture and Natural Resources
    • Isolation and Impacts