عنوان مقاله [English]
This paper aims to discuss the background, purpose, and methodology of The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture by American anthropologist Ruth Benedict. It was written at the invitation of the U.S. Office of War Information, in order to understand and predict the behavior of the Japanese in World War II by reference to a series of contradictions in the traditional culture. The book was influential in shaping American ideas about Japanese culture during the occupation of Japan, and popularized the distinction between guilt cultures and shame cultures.
Benedict's book was based on her research carried out in war time in Washington, and this naturally limited the research methodology and techniques in several ways. The most noticeable limitation will be found in the selection of samples for the interview purpose. The majority of the sample is made up of Japanese who had been in the United States for many years, and obviously they cannot be fully representative of Japanese society. The written materials and movie films used for analysis of Japanese culture are also inadequate for the purpose of studying contemporary Japan. Also many readers think that this book is not creditable because Ruth Benedict had not lived in Japan.
However, this book holds key to understand motivation and reason in why Japanese do and say things that would be hard to understand by Occidental standard.