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Above the clouds [electronic resource] : status culture of the modern Japanese nobility /
Takie Sugiyama Lebra.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1993.
description
xvii, 430 p., [14] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520076001 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1993.
isbn
0520076001 (alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
11662884
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 395-407) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1993-09:
Through interviews, Lebra, an anthropologist, has collected more than 100 autobiographies of the abolished aristocracy of modern Japan. Her research provides rare glimpses of the intimate lives of the elite, and she illuminates the significance of the former aristocracy in prosperous, democratic present-day Japan. Her attempt to reconstruct the experience of the nobility from its creation in 1884 to its demise in 1947 is less satisfactory; interviews with a few individuals cannot support broad generalizations about educational, military, and political experiences of a century ago. Moreover, Lebra does not relate the notion of the aristocracy as a bulwark of the imperial institution, a concept she stresses, to the widely held retrospective view that the emperor was the embodiment of the system that doomed Japan to continental aggression and, as a consequence, to destruction in the Pacific War. Nevertheless, this is the first major scholarly study in English of the Japanese aristocracy, and it promises to stimulate further research by both anthropologists and historians. Graduate; faculty. S. A. Hastings; Purdue University
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 1993
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Summaries
Long Description
This latest work from Japanese-born anthropologist Takie Sugiyama Lebra is the first ethnographic study of the modern Japanese aristocracy. Established as a class at the beginning of the Meiji period, thekazokuranked directly below the emperor and his family. Officially dissolved in 1947, this group of social elites is still generally perceived as nobility. Lebra gained entry into this tightly knit circle and conducted more than one hundred interviews with its members. She has woven together a reconstructive ethnography from their life histories to create an intimate portrait of a remote and archaic world. As Lebra explores the culture of thekazoku, she places each subject in its historical context. She analyzes the evolution of status boundaries and the indispensable role played by outsiders. But this book is not simply about the elite. It is also about commoners and how each stratum mirrors the other. Revealing previously unobserved complexities in Japanese society, it also sheds light on the universal problem of social stratification.
Main Description
This latest work from Japanese-born anthropologist Takie Sugiyama Lebra is the first ethnographic study of the modern Japanese aristocracy. Established as a class at the beginning of the Meiji period, the kazokuranked directly below the emperor and his family. Officially dissolved in 1947, this group of social elites is still generally perceived as nobility. Lebra gained entry into this tightly knit circle and conducted more than one hundred interviews with its members. She has woven together a reconstructive ethnography from their life histories to create an intimate portrait of a remote and archaic world. As Lebra explores the culture of the kazoku, she places each subject in its historical context. She analyzes the evolution of status boundaries and the indispensable role played by outsiders. But this book is not simply about the elite. It is also about commoners and how each stratum mirrors the other. Revealing previously unobserved complexities in Japanese society, it also sheds light on the universal problem of social stratification.
Unpaid Annotation
This latest work from Japanese-born anthropologist Takie Sugiyama Lebra is the first ethnographic study of the modern Japanese aristocracy. Established as a class at the beginning of the Meiji period, the "kazoku ranked directly below the emperor and his family. Officially dissolved in 1947, this group of social elites is still generally perceived as nobility. Lebra gained entry into this tightly knit circle and conducted more than one hundred interviews with its members. She has woven together a reconstructive ethnography from their life histories to create an intimate portrait of a remote and archaic world.As Lebra explores the culture of the "kazoku, she places each subject in its historical context. She analyzes the evolution of status boundaries and the indispensable role played by outsiders.But this book is not simply about the elite. It is also about commoners and how each stratum mirrors the other. Revealing previously unobserved complexities in Japanese society, it also sheds light on the universal problem of social stratification.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Illustrations
Orthographic Note on Japanese Words
Acknowledgments
Studying the Aristocracy: Why, What, and How?p. 1
Creating the Modern Nobility: The Historical Legacyp. 28
Ancestors: Constructing Inherited Charismap. 62
Successors: Immortalizing the Ancestorsp. 106
Life-Style: Markers of Status and Hierarchyp. 147
Marriage: Realignment of Women and Menp. 196
Socialization: Acquisition and Transmission of Status Culturep. 243
Status Careers: Privilege and Liabilityp. 285
Conclusionp. 334
Epilogue: The End of Showap. 356
Notesp. 363
Glossaryp. 383
Referencesp. 395
Indexp. 409
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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