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The Anatomy of Dependence [Paperback]

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Item description for The Anatomy of Dependence by Takeo Doi...

A classic study of the Japanese psyche, a starting point for a true understanding Japanese behavior....
The discovery that a major concept of human feeling-easily expressed in everyday Japanese- totally resisted translation into a Western language led Dr. Takeo Doi to explore and define an area of the psyche which has previously received little attention. The resulting essay, The Anatomy of Dependence, is one of the most penetrating analyses of the Japanese mind ever written, as well as an important original contribution to psychology which transcends the boundaries of cultures and nations.
Published in Japan as Amae no Kozo (The Structure of Amae), Dr. Doi's work is focused upon the word "amae" (indulgence) and its related vocabulary. Expressive of an emotion central to the Japanese experience, "amae" refers to the indulging, passive love which surrounds and supports the individual in a group, whether family, neighborhood, or the world at large. Considering the lack of such words in Western languages, Dr. Doi suggests inherent differences between the two cultures-contrasting the ideal of self-reliance with those of interdependence and the indulgence of weaknesses. Yet, he finds that Western audiences have no difficulty in recognizing and identifying with the emotions he describes, and are even searching for a way to express this need.
While there is no doubt that the concept of "amae" is more developed in Japan and the feelings it engenders more profound, Dr. Doi's work is widely recognized as having a universal application. This translation of his most important essay has now been long welcomed as a major contribution-not only as an insight into the Japanese mind, but into the minds of men everywhere.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 7.5"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2002
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  4770028008  
ISBN13  9784770028006  

Availability  0 units.

More About Takeo Doi

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TAKEO DOI (b. 1920), M.D., has served as a professor at the University of Tokyo and International Christian University, Tokyo, and is one of Japan's leading psychiatrists. Born in Tokyo, he graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1942. He held a number of posts at American institutes and universities, including fellowships at the Menninger School of Psychiatry and the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute, and was visiting scientist at the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland. He also headed the psychiatric department at St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo. Doi has published a number of works and contributed to many more, including The Anatomy of Self.

Takeo Doi was born in 1920 and died in 2009.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Psychology & Counseling > Social Psychology & Interactions
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Anthropology > Cultural
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > General
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Special Groups > Ethnic Studies
6Books > Subjects > Science > Behavioral Sciences > Behavioral Psychology

Reviews - What do customers think about The Anatomy of Dependence?

A Better Kind of Nihonjin-ron  Jun 23, 2006
The Anatomy of Dependence was first published in 1971 under the title 'Amae no Kozo' and almost immediately gained national and international recognition. The author, Dr. Takeo Doi, is one of Japan's leading psychiatrists. His experience in the US, where he made several extended research stays, allowed him to reflect on the nature of the Japanese mindset. He begins his book by recording common experiences of minor alienation that every Japanese living abroad has undergone, such as being given the choice between several options of food or drink that Americans propose "as if to reassure themselves of their own freedom."

A peculiar trait of Japanese medical studies is its heavy use of terms borrowed from the German, which entered the Japanese language at the turn of the twentieth century and which are pronounced in a way that makes them understandable only by Japanese trained in the medical sciences. Doi's main breakthrough is to record the feelings and emotions held by his patients in Japanese terms, and to show that these terms form a constellation of meaning structured around the notion of `amae'.

Part of the interest of this book comes from the fact that amae is very difficult to translate but very easy to grasp--it is the emotion felt by the baby at the breast towards his mother, the need for a passive, unconditional love, the unwillingness to be separated from the warm mother-child circle and cast into a world of objective `reality'. Such a relationship implies a considerable blurring of the distinction between subject and object; it is not necessarily governed by what might be considered strict rational or moral standards, and may often seem selfish to the outsider. Doi contends that it provides an invaluable key to Japanese behavior.

In a way, the Anatomy of Dependence belongs to the field of Nihonjin-ron, or commentary about Japanese-ness, a genre much reviled by social scientists but that still enjoys a high degree of popularity among the Japanese public. Its quest for `the soul of a nation' or `the structure of the Japanese personality' will appear as naive and uncouth to sophisticated readers, who might nonetheless remember that Freud also made sweeping generalizations about the future of Western civilization. To those who might object that Dr. Doi's analysis lacks intellectual rigor and smacks of culturalism, one may object that, first, the description of Japanese behavioral traits is grounded in language structures and that, second, these structures are enacted through speech acts and clinical situations.

Takeo Doi spends some time discussing the New Left and the students movement of the 1970s, which he interestingly compares with Momotaro, the monster-slaying character born out of a giant peach. Interestingly, he doesn't apply his frame of analysis to the most evident of all dependency relationships: that of Japan towards the US, all at once the indulgent motherly figure and the domineering hegemon that blocks Japan from becoming a power in its own right. The anatomy of this political and societal dependence has yet to be written.
Anatomy of Dependence - A culture of Amae  Sep 28, 2004
The Anatomy of Dependence by Takeo Doi is a look at one facet of Japanese society. Unlike other authors who study Japan as an entire society, Doi focuses on the aspect of unconditional love between parent and child and how it relates to the overarching characteristics of Japanese social structure. Doi relates many theories from many fields of study, notably psychology, anthropology, and sociology. Doi relates his theory of amae with Western schools of thought and how these schools relate to Japan. He is remarkably capable of writing without expressing culture bias, and much credit needs to be given to John Bester for translating the book so well. With Anatomy of Dependence, Doi is able to explain many traditional Japanese behaviors to a Western audience by relating them all to the concept of amaeru, a verb expressing a concept that has no equivalent word in English. Amaeru is `to act in a self-indulgent, or childish, manner toward people with whom one is very close' and Doi's main argument is that amae is the crux of Japanese psychology. It is the attempt to explain the full nature of amae that allows Doi to explain the connections as a psychologist.
The concept of amae is a characteristic of humanity and many other mammalians such as dogs and apes. The term itself and its implications are mostly ignored or misunderstood by people in Western cultures. A basic definition of amae is `to depend and presume upon another's benevolence.' This definition may be applied to common everyday relationships such as mother-child, master-apprentice, sempai-kohai, and between friends. Amaeru, described above, is best stated as the need to be loved, to depend and to be dependent on others. The way that every native Japanese citizen handles amae is the core of the mental psyche. He is able to write confidently about Japanese social nuances and psychology after being a psychologist himself for over twenty years. Amae is the root of the Japanese psyche because everything relates back to it, from apologies to the development of the self-awareness. The instinctual awareness of amae is in every human being, but Japanese society is more in touch with it. This is the crux of Doi's thesis and argument, an argument that has valid arguments and falters only every so often.
Doi does a very good job of explaining things in this account. Anatomy of Dependence is not a book for someone who does not understand psychology. Psychology and its many ways of analysis are the bases of Doi's perspectives. Oftentimes in the book he will recall a patient of his whom suffers from a lack of amae or one who fails to amae properly. He does this with care and ease to the subject, explaining social concepts like enryo, tanin, giri, and sumanai. These four words relate to the Japanese sense of companionship, its inner and outer circles, its duty or loyalty, and its way of apologizing. There are many concepts explored in the book and they are explained with appropriate depth for the time spent on them. Doi is definitely a highbrow writer, assuming that his reading audience is as intelligent as he is. While the more casual reader will be put off by this tactic, it allows for more knowledge and depth to be conveyed. Additional reading can benefit almost every topic that Doi speaks of. There are entire books on the insider-outsider social structure, but Doi can only focus on them for just a few pages. The basis of Anatomy of Dependence then is not to make someone intimately familiar with all the social ambiguities of Japanese society but to make the readership aware that each aspect is influenced by the amae.
Thus Doi is able to explain amae in the Anatomy of Dependence. He does not leave many stones unturned by the end of the account. There are a few places where Doi falters, however. A section on Eastern and Western appreciation for aesthetic beauty falters. Doi is a psychologist, not an artist. He is able to make surprisingly few cultural generalizations, but one that he does make is that the Japanese have a greater appreciation for aesthetic beauty because they are in a culture where amae is recognized and practiced many times daily. While the Japanese society has been hailed for centuries as having many beautiful pieces of artwork, poetry and philosophy on the subject of aesthetic beauty, the explanation Doi gives is a little weak. Apart from this, Doi makes about .1% of the cultural generalizations that Ruth Benedict makes in Chrysanthemum and the Sword. Doi's highbrow writing may also be considered a pitfall of the book, but it was written for people in the psychiatric field and not for the layperson uneducated in Japanese society. This book is not a casual read for a person who is just getting into the study of Japan.
That said, the book fulfills its primary objective. The primary objective is to make people, namely psychologists, aware of the Japanese sense of amae, a cultural sensitivity that is not to be found in Western cultures due to the greater sense of individuality that is placed on them as soon as babies develop self-identity. Doi writes and speaks as a psychologist and that can be perplexing to the reader. However, he is able to explain amae with such remarkably clarity and his experiences as a psychologist make the book highly credible.
Amae - Central to Japan  Sep 28, 2004
In The Anatomy of Dependence, Takeo Doi presents a psychological study of Japanese society through the concept of amae. Amae is a Japanese word that means to act in a self-indulgent, or childish, manner toward people with whom one is very close. It is this idea that Doi believes is "the essence of the Japanese psychology" (65). However, he makes it clear that amae is universal to everyone and that even animals show signs of it. What makes the Japanese unique is that they have the only language with a word for amae. This difference in vocabulary, Doi believes, is one of the reasons why the Japanese and the West have developed such different psychologies.
Doi does a really great job explaining how having a word for amae can shape the way Japanese people think. Doi argues that "it should be possible to discuss the psychological characteristics of a people in terms of the language it speaks" (66). This is because one must use language to express oneself. If there is no word for a certain emotion in a language, it is difficult for the native speaker to logically think about or express that emotion. In this way, the Japanese are able to speak of and deal with amae; whereas Westerners have trouble with it. Since Western languages do not have any words equal to amae, the concept of amae has not taken hold. This is part of the reason why, Doi asserts, the West considers feelings of dependence on or "passive love" (21) from a group to be inferior to individualism - we do not fully understand it.
Doi shows us that this concept of "amae lurking in the heart of each individual Japanese" (61) is the underlying cause of many social norms. For example, the honorific language system in Japan is an attempt to amaeru (the verb form of amae). By using language that exalts the listener, the speaker is allowing the listener to indulge in their own selfish desires. In other words, it is used to baby one's superiors. Another example comes from the fact that Japanese tend to prefer doing things with a group. Doi shows that amae's origin is the need to cope with separation from the mother during early childhood. Due to this fact, the group is most important because it takes the place of the mother by allowing individual members to amaeru without fear of rejection.
Compared with Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, Doi's work is much more credible. Whereas Benedict was not able to do any field work in Japan, Doi is able to give us specific examples of where he gets his ideas. For instance, Doi tells us of his experience of traveling to America for the first time and how the phrase "help yourself" struck him as terribly rude. He took it to mean "nobody else will help you" (13), when it simply means to "do as you please." He also refers to an English patient of his who switched into speaking Japanese solely to be able to use the word amae during a session. Examples like these really help give this book credibility. They help show us that the author is not making rash generalizations in an attempt to prove a theory.
With The Anatomy of Independence, Doi is able to present us with a convincing argument for one of the reasons why Japan has developed in such a different fashion than the West. Although I enjoyed reading this book, I believe that Doi spends more time explaining Freud's theories, especially in the chapter 5, than is hardly necessary. I also believe that parts of the book rely too heavily on the assumption that the reader has read many other psychological studies, leaving the reader unsure of how an idea makes sense. Despite these two flaws, Doi's psychological analysis of Japan is worth reading for its insights into the Japanese mind, especially if one has not read any other books on Japanese psychology.
Amae and the West  Sep 26, 2004
Takeo Doi's "The Anatomy of Dependence" is in truth a psychological analysis of Japanese society through his linguistic interpretation of the Japanese concept of amae. Though the title of the book translates amae as "dependence", the semantic meaning of the word has a much deeper importance in Japanese culture and has a more positive connotation. The originality of Doi's hypothesis of Japanese psychology stems from his refusal to accept that the peoples of Japan and the rest of Asia cannot be understood through psychological analysis. Here, Doi explains his basic argument against using Western terminology to describe Japanese emotions, "...the forms of a person's thoughts are controlled by an inexorable laws of patterns of which he is unconscious. These patterns are the unperceived intricate systematizations of his own language-shown readily enough by a candid comparison and contrast with other languages, especially those of a different linguistic family, " (67). What Doi proposes is that Western psychology has yet to understand Japanese culture because it lacks a Japanese vocabulary.
Doi's text ventures to create a Japanese psychological vocabulary branching off from his concept of amae and built on the structure of Western principles of psychoanalysis. Amae, as Doi interprets it, is the interdependence of indulgences afforded between Japanese people of close relations. In Japanese society, Amae is expected to be given by parents to their children throughout their lives. Amae is also afforded to the elderly, leading some outsiders to wrongly assume that the elderly in Japan are in some way slighted, being treated like babies or small children. Within romantic or marital relationships, amae is expected to be exchanged freely as a way of expressing love and affection. The idea of dependence in Western psychology has connotations of weakness or inability to cope with reality. This is mostly due to the individualistic structure of modern Western culture, in particular, America.
Some of the most satisfying and convincing analysis in Doi's text are the parts of his argument where he openly attacks the Western interpretation of Japanese society. Doi daringly takes apart almost 20 years of Western analysis when he confronts Benedict's conclusion on Japan's total lack of guilt in her pivotal book, The Chrysanthemum and The Sword, "...[Benedict] seems to postulate guilt and shame as entirely unrelated to each other, which is obviously contrary to the facts, " (48). Benedict tried to say that Japanese people feel shame towards the group to which they belong but have no sense of guilt on an individual level. What Benedict is really talking about is the concept of betrayal.
Guilt in Western thought, as Benedict uses it in her text, is defined as a betrayal to oneself. This inner conflict is an individual experienced when there is a conflict between the id, ego and super-ego as Freud used them. Though Japanese people may not feel guilt towards themselves in the Western way, they do feel guilt towards the group. This is what Benedict defines as shame. Doi uses this idea to conclude that, "Even with the Western sense of guilt one might, in fact, postulate a deep-lying psychology of betrayal, but the Westerner is not normally conscious of it, " (49). Doi continues to hypothesize that at one point in history Western civilization did feel guilt towards the group as they do in Japan. With the advent and spread of Christianity, guilt was shifted from the community to one's individual relationship with god. With the industrial age, god was essentially dead. This left the only source of guilt to be found within oneself.
Doi is able to, within a page of text, turn the West's perspective on Japanese culture right back around at itself to create a very convincing and audacious psychological analysis of both the West and Japan. This book is one of the few satisfying texts written about Japanese society and the Japanese self. For the first time I feel that Japan can be described as something more concrete than merely inscrutable.
A good look at the american psyche thru japanese eyes  Dec 26, 2001
This is a great look at the Japanese mind that is actually turns out to have universal applicablility. After reading it I saw the western world in quite a different way, there are so many things that we can not see because we live in one culture. I did have a problem with the book though , which might be the author's or translator's fault, the constantly sexist language. The word man is used over and over again for both sexes which makes the book confusing at times. The author is also a died hard fruedian and so the book carries with it all the applicable baggage.

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