Discusses the complex economic, emotional, biological, cultural, & religious ties & relations among family members of Japanese family-owned businesses. Details the everyday lives of three such families. Hamabata also describes his own unexpected search for personal discovery & acceptance as an unmarried, third generation Japanese-American male attempting to fit in to tradition-bound Japanese society. He portrays Japanese society as a balance between tradition & modernity, culture & person, & authority & emotion. Includes an extensive bibliography.
"In an America of lonely careerists and fragmented families, do we have something to learn from the tightly knit Japanese? Or does Japanese culture confine singular people in a straitjacket? Hamabata . . . essentially answers 'yes' to both questions in Crested Kimono, a book with case studies as emotionally charged as Kabuki drama."—Los Angeles Times Book Review
"This superb study of Japanese society portrays it as a balance between tradition and modernity, culture and person, and authority and emotion. Defying the bounds of traditional social science concepts that obliterate the individual, the book brings out 'real people' in situations where they will act and feel. A work of sociology that truly reads like a novel."—Virginia Quarterly Review
- Publisher's Weekly
Sociologist Hamabata's anecdotal look at four wealthy households in Japan demonstrates how their traditional, dutiful, hierarchical family life is a framework for dealing with day-to-day dilemmas, tragedy and intense conflicts. PW called this ``a nuanced, enlightening study.'' (Oct.)
As a graduate student in Japan during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Hamabata found himself in an unusual situation--a third-generation Japanese-American, he could pass for a Japanese, but in cultural background he was treated primarily as an outsider. Writing from this dual perspective, Hamabata (sociology, Haverford Coll.) discusses a number of aspects of traditional and contemporary Japanese society--succession within family businesses; funeral rites and the role of ancestors; patterns of family authority; and attitudes regarding love and marriage. Throughout, he takes care to correlate his personal experiences with the literature in the field. An important contribution to the subject that deserves the attention of general readers as well as specialists. --Scott Wright, Coll. of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.