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Japan's Cultural Code Words: Key Terms That Explain the Attitudes and Behavior of the Japanese
by:Boye Lafayette De Mente
Westerners have traditionally been intrigued by Japanese attitudes and behaviors which have been perceived as ranging from cute, quaint, and seductive to strange and sometimes savage. The traditional dual character of the Japanese is generally attributed to cultural conditioning—strict conformity to standards set by the ruling powers and to...
Westerners have traditionally been intrigued by Japanese attitudes and behaviors which have been perceived as ranging from cute, quaint, and seductive to strange and sometimes savage. The traditional dual character of the Japanese is generally attributed to cultural conditioning—strict conformity to standards set by the ruling powers and to sanctified custom—at the expense of individuality and personal freedom. Since World War II, the traditional conditioning and orientation of the Japanese has diminished and continuing influence from the West has wrought fundamental changes in the attitudes and behavior of the Japanese. Nevertheless, Japan's traditional culture is still so powerful that it continues to be the prevailing force in molding and tuning the national character of the Japanese, with the result that they still have two faces—one modern and rational, the other traditional and emotional.The best and fastest way to an understanding of the traditional and emotional side of Japanese attitudes and behavior is through their "business and cultural code words"—key terms that reveal, in depth, their psychology and philosophy. In 234 essays, arranged alphabetically from "Ageashi / Tripping on Your Own Tongue" to "Zenrei / Breaking the Molds of the Past", old Japan hand Boye Lafayette De Mente offers personal insights into the extremes of Japanese behavior and into the dynamics of one of the world's most fascinating societies.
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