Download e-book for iPad: Above the Clouds: Status Culture of the Modern Japanese by Takie Sugiyama Lebra

By Takie Sugiyama Lebra

ISBN-10: 0520076028

ISBN-13: 9780520076020

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This most up-to-date paintings from Japanese-born anthropologist Takie Sugiyama Lebra is the 1st ethnographic examine of the trendy jap aristocracy. tested as a category before everything of the Meiji interval, the kazoku ranked without delay under the emperor and his relations. formally dissolved in 1947, this workforce of social elites continues to be often perceived as the Aristocracy. Lebra received access into this tightly knit circle and performed multiple hundred interviews with its participants. She has woven jointly a reconstructive ethnography from their lifestyles histories to create an intimate portrait of a distant and archaic world.

As Lebra explores the tradition of the kazoku, she areas each one topic in its historic context. She analyzes the evolution of prestige limitations and the fundamental position performed by way of outsiders.

But this e-book isn't easily concerning the elite. it's also approximately commoners and the way each one stratum mirrors the opposite. Revealing formerly unobserved complexities in jap society, it additionally sheds gentle at the common challenge of social stratification.

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Another indicator of daimyo ranking was house status (kakaku), determined by proximity to the Tokugawa family in kinship and allegiance. First, Tokugawa kinsmen were set apart from the rest and then further broken down into three classes: the three original branches of the Tokugawa main house (sanke), the three secondary branches (sankyo), and all other kin (shinpan). In the last category, the family name Matsudaira— Tokugawa Ieyasu’s earlier name—predominated. Below the daimyo of Tokugawa descent were two categories of nonkin daimyo: the fudai, “hereditary vassals,” namely those who had been Tokugawa loyalists since before the Sekigahara war, the major war between the Toyotomi and the Tokugawa, which ended with the latter’s victory; and the tozama, or “outsiders,” so named because they had submitted to their Tokugawa opponents only after the war.

Kabane titles were awarded uji chiefs by the paramount chief, the king, to mark their submission in exchange for the privilege of partaking in royal prestige and power. Miller (1974, 1) estimates that there were about thirty different kabane titles in the sixth and seventh centuries prior to Emperor Tenmu’s reign (673-86), topmost among them being kimi, muraji, and omi. Kimi were kabane for uji of royal descent; and Kiley (1983, 132) distinguishes muraji and omi as two classes of high nobles characterized in relation to the king: holders of muraji “originated as the king’s clients and received their be from him,” in return serving the king in ritual and military functions; the regionally based omi holders, in contrast, submitted and dedicated be to the king, supplied consorts to him, and took ministerial offices in his court.

The need for personal introductions, needless to say, threw statistical sampling out the window. Only at the end of the fieldwork did I risk the impersonal method of mailing questionnaires, and I later learned that some of the recipients were upset and angry. Establishing rapport was less difficult than finding informants—not so much because I shared the Japanese culture or because of my Gakushuin connection, but because I was a status outsider. I could act like an alien anthropologist by assuming the role of a culture learner from a native teacher-informant.

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Above the Clouds: Status Culture of the Modern Japanese Nobility by Takie Sugiyama Lebra


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