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New Japan: Debunking Seven Cultural Stereotypes Hardcover – March 1, 2007
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About the Author
David Matsumoto, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and director of the Culture and Emotion Research Laboratory at San Francisco State University. Matsumato is a recognized expert in the study of emotion, human interaction and culture; is author of 250 works on these subjects; and serves as an intercultural consultant to many international corporations. He is chairman of the development comittee for the U.S. Judo Federation.
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Drawing on decades of social-psychology studies and scientific surveys, Matsumoto convincingly shows that, while these stereotypes were true in the past, even up into the economic boom days of the 1970s and even the 1980s, they are all absolutely inaccurate in describing Japan at the beginning of the 21st century. This is true to some extent all across society, but overwhelmingly so in the younger generations. Younger Japanese, especially, are more individualist and less collectivist than Americans. Employees are more in more in favor of pay and advancement based on ability, not merely seniority, and lifetime employment is very much a thing of the past. Young people no longer suppress their emotions and have rejected arranged marriages in favor of marriage-for-love. Because they are far more individualistic than previous generations, younger Japanese are also far more likely to commit violent crimes; the "shame culture" is also rapidly becoming a thing of the past. In other words, any outsider who lived in Japan even in 1990 would find a greatly changed country and culture if he returned there today. This book ought to be required reading for any novelist setting a story in Japan, for all writers of travel books, and for thoughtful Japanese themselves.