What Makes Life Worth Living? How Japanese And Americans Make Sense Of Their Worlds / Edition 1

What Makes Life Worth Living? How Japanese And Americans Make Sense Of Their Worlds / Edition 1

by Gordon Mathews, G. Mathews
     
 

ISBN-10: 0520201337

ISBN-13: 9780520201330

Pub. Date: 04/05/1996

Publisher: University of California Press


Here is an original and provocative anthropological approach to the fundamental philosophical question of what makes life worth living. Gordon Mathews considers this perennial issue by examining nine pairs of similarly situated individuals in the United States and Japan. In the course of exploring how people from these two cultures find meaning in their daily…  See more details below

Overview


Here is an original and provocative anthropological approach to the fundamental philosophical question of what makes life worth living. Gordon Mathews considers this perennial issue by examining nine pairs of similarly situated individuals in the United States and Japan. In the course of exploring how people from these two cultures find meaning in their daily lives, he illuminates a vast and intriguing range of ideas about work and love, religion, creativity, and self-realization.

Mathews explores these topics by means of the Japanese term ikigai, "that which most makes one's life seem worth living." American English has no equivalent, but ikigai applies not only to Japanese lives but to American lives as well. Ikigai is what, day after day and year after year, each of us most essentially lives for.

Through the life stories of those he interviews, Mathews analyzes the ways Japanese and American lives have been affected by social roles and cultural vocabularies. As we approach the end of the century, the author's investigation into how the inhabitants of the world's two largest economic superpowers make sense of their lives brings a vital new understanding to our skeptical age.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520201330
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
04/05/1996
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,025,232
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. 1The Cultural Foundations of Ikigai
Introduction: What Makes Life Worth Living?3
1The Varieties of Ikigai in Japan12
2Individualism, Community, and Conformity in the United States27
3The Comparison of Japanese and American Selves41
Pt. 2Ikigai in Japanese and American Lives
4Ikigai in Work and Family57
Ikigai and Gender94
5Ikigai in Past and Future106
Ikigai and Dreams144
6Ikigai in Creation and Religion155
Ikigai and Significance193
Pt. 3Ikigai and the Meaning of Life
7A Phenomenological Analysis of Ikigai207
8Ikigai and the Meaning of Life232
References257
Index271

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