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The Women of Suye Mura First Printing Edition

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0226763453
ISBN-10: 0226763455
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert J. Smith, Goldwin Smith Professor of Anthropology and former chairman of the department at Cornell University, is the author of Ancestor Worship in Contemporary Japan and Kurusu: The Price of Progress in a Japanese Village. Ella Lury Wiswell is emerita professor of European Languages at the University of Hawaii. Among her publications is a translation of V. M. Golovnin's Around the World on the Kamchatka 1817-1819.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; First Printing edition (November 15, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226763455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226763453
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,475,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book although it was stiched together by Smith almost 50 years after Wiswell created the raw material in her journal notes--because it simply has no competition. Ella Wiswell was John Embree's wife and co-ethnographer in Suye Mura in 1935-36. She returned to her original calling as a Professor of European languages after his death in 1951, just filing her notes and journals away until Smith came along and talked her into opening them up. This volume reveals a pre-war rural Japan of gossipy, lusty, and surprisinglyly independent women; flexible families, gobs of divorce and remarriage (initiated by women as well as men), independent and defiant youths of both sexes. It goes a good deal further than Embree's original monograph to make the ability of Japan to industrialize as early as it did understandable. These are not strong Confucian or samurai families extending from the past above to the future below, but horizontal families with sometimes comically permeable boundaries--weak families in the demands that can effectively be made on members, weak in their ability to retain even central members (like wives or husbands). And where family is weak, individuals are able to shine--and these people do.
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