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The Anatomy of Self: Individual Versus Society [Hardcover]

Takeo Doi , M. Harbison
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1986
Japan's foremost clinical psychiatrist presents his ideas on the role of the individual in a society that often appears to have no individuals: the Japanese. The author is as quick to explode the myths the Japanese have about themselves as he is to defend what he sees as the genius of their society. He spreads his net wide, drawing his conclusions from an extensive knowledge of his own culture but that of the West: Freud, Weber, Max Picard, and George Orwell are every bit as influential here as sources from his own tradition.
The Anatomy of Self is a sequel to Doi's pioneering and acclaimed bestseller, The Anatomy of Dependence in which he set out his theory of passive, dependent love as the key to understanding the Japanese. More than 100,000 foreign readers have been intrigued by this work. With The Anatomy of Self, Japanese society again serves as the subject of an analysis by one of its most original thinkers.
Like Doi's renowned Anatomy of Dependence, The Anatomy of Self addresses the question of the Japanese individual and his or her integration into Japanese society. Its approach is based on an analysis of the Japanese perception of public and private. What kind of society is made up of individuals capable of a constant traversing between behavior based on two simultaneously held, mutually contradictory modes of perception? Doi discusses this feature of the Japanese psyche, often referring to Western psychology. He compares the individual trauma that classic Western psychology believes to result from such a split, to the Japanese sense that adulthood is only achieved by acknowledging and accommodating the difference. Finally, the wide-ranging references to history and psychology serve to provoke thought on Freudian notions of the unconscious.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 163 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha America, Inc (July 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870117610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870117619
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 15.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,590,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"For anyone wishing to gain fresh insights into the relationship between the study of psychology and culture, the relationship between language and mind, as well as that between the Americans and the Japanese, this book can only be considered required reading." -Edward T. Hall, Ph.D.

--Edward T Hall --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

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 Dependence. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
Like their Latin counterparts recto and verso, omote and ura are paired opposing concepts. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Doi's analysis of Japanese social conduct is illuminating, but this conduct is by no means as unique to Japan as he claims. I found many resonances with the behavioural conduct of another island nation - the United Kingdom.

The core ideas are that Omote (outer-public self) is as integral an expression of identity as Ura (inner-private) self, and the relationship between them is balanced through a code of behavioural appropriateness which he calls Tatamae. In Japan this is formalised and concretised even in language. But it is equally as present in Britain, albeit un-examined and unformalised, and is even present in language. The British love of the understatement and the ironic remark both function as a play between Omote and Ura. It is what leads British people to be so puzzled by so much foreign social conduct (ever tried shaking hands with a Brit and formally introducing yourself in an intimate situation (like a party) rather than a business one or tried making a fuss over poor service?). British Omote/Ura/Tatamae is less strong than it was in the days of the stiff upper lip and the 'done thing', but it is still very present. For a Japanese-British take on it read Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day - where a butler fails to express Ura because his identity is so strongly dominated by his Omote.... Fascinating stuff
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gets your brain juices flowing 10 April 2009
I bought this book in relation to a politics essay on individualism and society, as background reading. The more I read the more I found this book highly interesting and relevant to looking at the way we as humans interact. My interest went beyond the studies and I found myself totally engrossed in comparing Japanese culture with Western Cultures.

There is not so much theory in this book, with a huge reference list, more of a cultural observation from a highly respected Takeo Doi. This makes the book easy to read and easy to get engrossed within it, allowing the reading to relate it to his or her life. I have also read Norbert Elias' book, "Society of Individuals" which is a complex book that needs high concentration levels. The Anatomy of Self has deconstructed that book for me to make the subject a lot easier to understand.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in cross cultural look of individualism and society - the way they work together and their importance.

Cheers, Scottie
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incite to notions of self yet argues Japanese uniqueness. 11 Nov 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
For the student of Japanese Society, Culture, and language, (or any person interested in Japan or Cross-cultural psychology wanting to pursue the notions of self in a Japanese societal frame or context) The Anatomy of Self is a great starting point. Dr. Takeo Doi explains the psychological and cultural significance of inner and outer notions of the self in relation to others in Japanese society...Doi uses the terms Ura/Omote, Honne/Tatemae, Uchi/Soto rather than 'inner' and 'outer'. While Doi argues that these notions are present within all humans, he also explains the significance of the linguistic phenomenon that allows the Japanese to have explicit linguistic signs relating to these notions, thus making them unique to the Japanese. However, while Dr. Doi does give great insight to how participants in Japanese society relate to one another, he also happens to propound a particular world view of the uniqueness of The Japanese, which has been a source of great criticism by Western and Japanese intellectuals alike. (ie. The Japanese experience of nature as something uniquely Japanese) The Anatomy of Self succeeds at analyzing the complex notion of self within Japanese context, however Doi does make great leaps from one concept to another that may force the reader to re-read throughout several areas of the text. This text, I believe, also falls into the category of Nihonjinron (my translation: Discussions or Theories on Japanese (people) and Culture), which falls inline with theories of Japanese uniqueness.
5.0 out of 5 stars A great deal! 26 April 2013
By Bentong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A valuable insight on Japanese minds and how to relate to them. Could also apply to my daily living. Thanks!
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A keen perspective on individuals within any society. 13 Sep 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Dr. Doi has successfully mastered the modern art of synthesis in this book. Not only does he bring together vast literary and intellectual references to create an incisive analysis of the modern human condition, he does so in a way that keeps the reader interested. His style, though serious, is clear and readable to anyone outside the psychological profession, and his content is vital to anyone living in modern society.
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