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Toward a new perspective for Japan studies reflecting overseas field experiences

Research period:2020.10-2023.3



fieldwork abroad,anthropology back home,Japan 


The objective of this inter-university research project is to propose new perspectives for a cultural anthropological understanding of Japanese society and culture through ethnographic experiences of conducing fieldwork abroad. Except for a period of time following WWII, cultural anthropology in Japan has mainly developed as a study of intercultural understanding through conducting fieldwork abroad. Because the act of intercultural understanding compares the other culture against one’s own, it inevitably becomes a kind of study of one’s own culture. But in most cases, this is embedded between the lines of the ethnography without the researcher being fully conscious of it. However, there is an exceptional intellectual tradition in Japanese anthropology of proposing unique hypotheses on Japanese culture by anthropologists who carried out outstanding ethnographic research abroad such as Tadao Umesao, Komei Sasaki, and Chie Nakane. Continuing this tradition, the researchers participating in this inter-university research project will leverage their extensive experience conducting ethnographic research in other countries to propose new possibilities for Japan studies stemming from fieldwork conducted abroad by making Japanese culture, which has been assumed as an implicit reference, the object of research.