What Makes Life Worth Living?
How Japanese and Americans Make Sense of Their Worlds
By (author) Gordon Mathews
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What Makes Life Worth Living? by Gordon Mathews
Book DescriptionHere is an original and provocative anthropological approach to the fundamental philosophical question of what makes life worth living. Gordon Mathews considers this perennial issue by examining nine pairs of similarly situated individuals in the United States and Japan. In the course of exploring how people from these two cultures find meaning in their daily lives, he illuminates a vast and intriguing range of ideas about work and love, religion, creativity, and self-realization. Mathews explores these topics by means of the Japanese term ikigai, "that which most makes one's life seem worth living." American English has no equivalent, but ikigai applies not only to Japanese lives but to American lives as well. Ikigai is what, day after day and year after year, each of us most essentially lives for. Through the life stories of those he interviews, Mathews analyzes the ways Japanese and American lives have been affected by social roles and cultural vocabularies. As we approach the end of the century, the author's investigation into how the inhabitants of the world's two largest economic superpowers make sense of their lives brings a vital new understanding to our skeptical age.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780520201330
(229mm x 152mm x 19mm)
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 1-Apr-1996
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Gordon Mathews
Hong Kong, China, Hardback (July 2007)
Explores the processes through which the people of Hong Kong are "learning to belong to a nation" by examining their relationship with the Chinese nation and state. This book considers the complex meanings of and debates over national identity in Hong Kong and is aimed at students and scholars of Chinese history, cultural studies, and nationalism.
Japan's Changing Generations, Hardback (November 2003)
This title shows how young people in Japan are thinking about their bodies and identities, their social relationships, and their employment and parenting, in new and generationally contextual ways, that may help to create a future Japan quite different from Japan of the recent past.
Global Culture/Individual Identity, Paperback (March 2000)» View all books by Gordon Mathews
Gordon Mathews opens up the complex and debated topics of globalisation, culture and identity in a clear and lively style. His book will be an illuminating and valuable read to social and cultural anthropologists and students.
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Author Biography - Gordon Mathews
Gordon Mathews is Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
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