The Material Child
Coming of Age in Japan and America
By (author) Merry I. White
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Material Child by Merry I. White
Book DescriptionAs she describes the youth culture of Japan, Merry White draws comparisons with the interests and activities pursued by teenagers in the United States and the contrasting attitudes of adults in Japan and the U.S. towards adolescence. The result is both engrossing and enlightening.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780520089402
(229mm x 152mm x 19mm)
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 29-Sep-1994
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Merry I. White
Cultural Transition, Paperback (August 2013)
This volume makes available a wide variety of cultural perspectives on education and on economic and social progress. Contributors focus on three main questions, the answers to which are vital for understanding the needs of both national policy and personal fulfilment in widely differing cultures.
Coffee Life in Japan, Paperback (May 2012)
Traces Japan's coffee craze from the turn of the twentieth century, when Japan helped to launch the Brazilian coffee industry, to the present day. This title shows how coffee and coffee spaces have been central to the formation of Japanese notions about the uses of public space, social change, modernity, and pleasure.
Perfectly Japanese, Paperback (August 2002)
Are Japanese families in crisis? This title looks back at two key moments of "family making" in the past hundred years - the Meiji era and postwar period - to see how models for the Japanese family have been constructed. It portrays the everyday reality of a range of families.
Japanese Educational Challenge, Paperback (August 1988)» View all books by Merry I. White
With this outstanding analysis of child-rearing, one of the most influential books on education in the 1980s, White has received major attention from federal policy makers, education experts, and the national media.
US Kirkus Review » An enterprising, somewhat impressionistic overview of contemporary adolescence in the US and Japan. White (Sociology/Boston University; The Japanese Educational Challenge, 1986, etc.) contrasts teenage years in the two cultures using a variety of measures based on firsthand observation and more formal sources of data. American and Japanese teenagers may seem superficially similar, she suggests, but their outlooks and daily behavior differ along with the ways they are perceived by the larger populations. In Japan, adolescence is not seen as problematic. Teenagers have less leisure time (the school year is 240 days), focus on the "examination imperative," and tend to be viewed as dependent but bound for maturity and traditional Japanese life. In the US, "teen" is a four-letter word, characterized by assorted forms of rebellion and burdened by the mixed messages of "just say no" and "just do it." Both groups find solace - and self-definition - in friendships; respond readily to questions about ideals and future plans; and are heavily influenced by marketing and the media. In Japan, market choices tend to reinforce tendencies to conform; in our larger, more diverse society, consumption tends to reinforce differences. Parents of American teenagers may be surprised to learn that Japanese adolescents spend even more time shopping than American teenagers do, primarily because smaller houses as well as custom discourage socializing at home. White repeats important concepts for her American readers (the discrepancy between tatemae - official form - and honne - true reality); includes less familiar but essential aspects of Japanese culture (the prevalence of manga - comic books - and magazines as sources of information); and emphasizes significant differences between the two student populations, including the tendency of Japanese teenagers to keep their sexual activities private ("the sexual relationship is no longer a taboo; what is taboo is the public recognition of the sexual relationship"). An instructive contrast of cultures, written in an almost casual style. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Merry I. White
Merry White is Associate Professor of Sociology at Boston University and research associate at the Reischauer Institute, Harvard. She is the author of The Japanese Educational Challenge: A Commitment to Children (1987).
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