J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Japanese Superstitions

Japanese Superstitions

The Japanese are often described as having little interest in religion. Be that as it may, the Japanese have a great many superstitions. Some of these superstitions originated in religious belief.

For instance, it is thought unlucky for a woman to enter a tunnel construction site, for fear of offending the spirit of the mountain. There are other superstitious prejudices

Many Japanese carry talisman (omamori) and other good luck charms such as that pictured above.

If you select an unlucky fortune strip of paper (omikuji) at a shrine. then you should tie it to a tree at the shrine and leave it there, but if you select a lucky fortune strip then it is okay to put it in. your pocket as a sort of talisman for a while. (Or am I making. this up? No, someone did tell me this once.)

A modern one is, if a couple go on their first date to Disney land, in Tokyo presumably, then the couple will split up Similarly modern sounding is if you pierce your ear and a white thread appears from the hole, then if you pull it you will go blind.

New shoes should be worn (for the first time?) in the morning. I am not sure why but one website claims that it is to discourage people from venturing out at night.

The number 4 is unlucky since it is pronounce in the same way. as the word for death. The number nine is also similarly a homonym. for suffering. These numbers are therefore often avoided in hospital and hotel room and floor numbering systems

The number of strokes it takes to write the kanji in ones name. determines ones luck. This site in Japanese allows you to find. out if any particularly surname, given name combination is lucky. or unlucky. We consulted it when choosing the name of our son. www.naming.jp/

If you whistle at night a snake, ghost or monster will come and get you. Originates in the time when there was slavery in Japan and one would attract a trader (to whom one might sell someone) by whistling at night. Thus children were taught to avoid whistling. at night by stories of snakes and ghosts. This was the 3rd most popularly believed superstition among Japanese men and women in 2006.

There are many superstitions related to the Chinese calendar. and various regular unlucky and lucky days related to Buddhist. 'six day' interpretations of the calendar. A calendar related superstitions that seems to have been widely believed is that females born in the year of the fire horse (every sixty years, last time 1966) will turn into devils and cause suffering to their husband and children. The birth rate nominally declined by 25% in the last Fire Horse year, perhaps partly because those born early and late in those years are registered as having been born the year before or the year after.

Children who go to sleep with their shoes on will die before their parents (or at least that is what I think it means - literally, "will not be present at their parents death"). Apparently this. originates in advice for over protective parents, especially. considering that children use their feet to control their body. temperature so they are better off without nocturnal foot covering.

People who cut their nails at night will die before their parents. Perhaps this is because of the danger of cutting ones self. in the dark and getting an infection. There is also a pun. on "night nails" and "shortening ones time" both rendered Yotsume or Yodzume. This was the most popularly believed. superstition among Japanese men and women in 2006

If you eat seaweed such as wakame and konbu (typically. included in Japanese soups) then you will get more hair. I guess that his originates in the slight visual similarity between thick black Japanese hair and seaweed. I can vouch for the fact that this superstition is untrue, since. I like both wakame and konbu but my hair has fallen out

A cold will get better after you have given it to one hundred. people. Perhaps this is one reason why the Japanese are. particularly keen to wear masks when they have colds. The. mask prevents them from giving their cold to others. If they. did not wear the mask then they would not just be careless, but thought to be selfishly trying to give their cold to one hundred people so as to cure it. This superstition was particularly popular amongst men (4th most popularly) rather than amongst women (9th most popularly believed)

If you hiccup one hundred times you will die. Perhaps this was. a way of getting rid of the hiccups since it is know that concentrating on something (such as a counting task - typically counting backwards from one hundred) is likely to cure ones hiccups

If you see a hearse you should hide your thumb (your parent finger) lest your parent or a relative should die. This is surely partly due. to the pun on thumb (parent finger) and parent. This was the 2nd. most popularly believed superstition among Japanese men and women in 2006

There are many superstitions related to puns and the power of words. It is bad luck to say "go home" or "split" at a wedding lest the bride. or the couple should do just that.

If pull out white hair then you will grow more. This may be said in other countries, and may not originate in Japan

If you sneeze then it means that someone is gossiping about you. If you sneeze once then someone is praising you and if twice. then someone is speaking ill of you

If a tea stalk (a bit of tea) comes to the surface in your tea it is good luck.

Stupid people do not catch colds. This may be a way of consoling. people with colds - at least it proves you are not stupid.

Crows cawing is unlucky.

It rains when cats wash their faces.

If you dream of a snake you will get rich.

Snakes are generally. connected with money. People put snake skins in their wallets. Finding a snake skin around the house is a good thing.

People. born in the year of the snake (like myself) will not trouble for money, apparently.

You should not sleep with your pillow to the North since this is the. way that the dead are laid to rest so that their soul knows to go. in the right direction. I am not sure where (I would have thought to. the West since that is the direction of the pure land, but...)

You should not kill a spider that you see in the morning or night. I think that it may be reincarnated relative that has come to watch. over you. Perhaps

It is unlucky to eat eel and pickled plums (ume boshi). Both. eels and pickled plums are strong tasting salty foods. If one. had the sort of rich taste in food to want to eat both eel and. pickled plum in the same meal then one might have a blood. pressure problem

If you lie down straight after eating then you become (as fat as) a horse. Is this a superstition or just common sense?

Similarly common sensical is that yawns are infectious. They. really are, even among humans and pets.

Stupid people like high places. This is perhaps to encourage. humility. High places suggests the ability to look down on others, which is what stupid people like to do. Alas, I like high places. with good views.

Something that happens twice will happen a third time. A lot. like the Western superstition about bad/good things coming. in threes

If you make 1000 origami cranes (birds) then you will be cured. of disease. This superstition was made famous by the attempt. by Sadako Sasaki, an 9 year old girl at the time when, at home one mile away from ground zero, an atom bomb was dropped on. Hiroshima. At age eleven she developed leukaemia and made. 1300 cranes from medicine wrappers and scraps of paper, before her death at the age of 12. Her story became famous. with the publication in 1977 of "Sadako and the Thousand
Paper Cranes" by Eleanor Coerr

Next ones are a little bit sexual, so do not read on if you find that. sort of thing offensive The only 'superstition' mentioned in the Wikipedia article directly. related to Shinto is that preventing women from entering certain. places, particularly tunnels. The reason being that the god of the mountain, ("yama no. kami") would be annoyed to have another female entering her 'tunnel'. There are many places which women. due to their being defiled are also not allowed to enter such as. behind the sushi bar counter (the fish would rot), a Sumo wring. (the subject of some controversy), the baseball dugout and some. sacred mountains,

If gentlemen or boys urinate on worms then their penis will swell up, and probably not in a good way (judging from the kanji)

The above was based on these Japanese language pages.
Excellent large scale survey of most commonly believed superstitions. according to sex. www.fgn.jp/mpac/sample/__datas__/impacter/200607_29.html.
Wikipedia article on superstitions. ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%BF%B7%E4%BF%A1
Blog article about superstitions. www.mix-up.jp/sakana/archives/2006/02/post_168.html

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Friday, April 24, 2015


Do Foreigners make more Gestures?

Foreigners make more Gestures?

It is a common perception in Japan that non Japanese make more and more exaggerated gestures while talk to each other than Japanese. This excerpt from a comic (Oguri, 2010, p.8) on the differences between a Japanese woman and her foreign husband includes the copy "Well of course foreigners have much more exaggerated gestures, as we all know."

On the other hand, Western perception of Japanese gestures is mixed. On the one hand there is a perception that the Japanese wear for instance a "mask of inscrutability" and are covered "beneath courteous reserve" (Craigie, 2004, p. 172). In Japan "people have to suppress their true feelings practically all the time" (Rice, 2004, p144).

At the other extreme, caricatures of Japanese such as in the Directors Cut of Grand Blue where a Japanese diving coach works his diver so hard the later feints, or Isuro "Kamikazi" Tanaka played by Takaaki Ishibashi "who helps excite the team" with his frantic overwrought gestures in Major League 2. Japanese gestures can appear exaggerated to Westerners too. Part of the reason for both Japanese and Westerners thinking that the other's gestures are exagerrated is likely due to the fact that the gestures themselves are different, and phenomena to which one is not accustomed stand out.

Surprising though it may seem to Japanese, research on nodding beat gestures (Maynard, 1987: see also Kita, 2009) generated during speech production, showed that Japanese approximately four times more nods, once ever 5.57 seconds whereas Americans nod only every 22.5 seconds (informal study, Maynard, 1987, p602, note 4). Both Japanese and Americans nod at the beats, and baton touch turn-taking position. But Japanese nod, not only at these times and in the back channel, but also in the middle of their own statements.

So who does make more gestures. A quick comparison of a couple of wedding speakers in Japanese in English on Youtube demonstrates the source of this difference. Americans wave their hands more and use obvious exaggerated, semi iconic facial gestures (like those caricatured above) more liberally but Japanese use a great deal of nodding and bowing to emphasise what their are saying, demonstrate sincerity and as beats. No wonder Japanese speakers get "shoulder ache" (katakori). Conclusive research on the relative importance of gesture remains to be done.

The Japanese, like Italians, also have a wide lexicon of iconic gestures that can be used in place of speech. And as always, I argue that Japan is NOT a high context culture (Hall, 1966; Honna, 1988: see Tsuda, 1992) but that visual communication is the central media and in Japan language is considered to be part of the context. This means that language will often be used to express flattery and other pleasantries (tatemae, such saying "I'll think about it") in stead of "no". Whereas the true meaning (honne) is expressed in the face, posture, pause and expression. Returning to Major League 2, for all his exaggeration, famed Japanese comedian Takaaki' Ishibashi's caricature of the Japanese is faithful. His expressions move from one form to the next like a Kabuki actor, or Kyari Pamyu Pamyu, nothing is left to chance, there is in Barthes' words "perfect domination of the codes" (1989, p.10)

The closest that a Western scholar gets to recognising that gesture and the non-verbal could be central to self and meaning in Japan is Roland Barthes' "Empire of Signs" (1983) (based in part on the observations of Maurice Pinguet).

Now it happens that in this country (Japan) the empire of signifiers is so immense, so in excess of speech, that the exchange of signs retains of a fascinating richness, mobility, and subtlety, despite the opacity of the language, sometimes even as a consequence of that opacity. The reason for this is that in Japan the body exists, acts, shows itself, give itself, without hysteria, without narcissism, but according to a pure - though subtly discontinuous - erotic project. It is not the voice (with which we identify the "rights" of the person) which communicates (communicates what? our-necessarily beautiful-soul? our sincerity? our prestige?) but the whole, body (eyes, smile, hair, gestures, clothing) which sustains with you a son of babble that the perfect domination of the codes strips of all regressive, infantile character. To make a date (by gestures, drawings on paper, proper names) may take an hour, but during that hour, fur a message which would. be abolished in an instant if it were to be spoken (simultaneously quite essential and quite insignificant), it is the other's entire body which has been known, savoured, received, and which has displayed (to no real purpose) its own narrative, its own text. (Barthes, 1983, p.10)

Barthes comes close. He can't help making a "text" of the Japanese body, the only way that he can admit it has meaning since in his hierarchy only language can truly mean (see Barthes, diagram p. 113).
The Hierarchy of the Sign

Barthes famously claims that "the centre (of Japan, the Japanese subject) is empty," and in the above passage that its communication has "no real purpose," but at the same time Japan has forced him to question the purpose of his own vocalisations. And he is wrong that the body talk is erotic. He is talking to and about himself. Japanese signs and selves are cute. The relative absence of words, and the erotic beguiled him to conclude that the centre of Japan is empty. The self and centre of Japan does not have or needs words, but is is far from empty rather visual and raging, fury Kyari Pamyu Pamyu barfing eyeballs full.

Finally, while Merbihain's 93% (Mehrabian & Ferris, 1967) has been rejected even by Mehrabian (Mehrabian, 1995: see Lapakko, 1997) it is clear that non-verbal communication is extremely important. Bearing this in mind the pressing question for me is how Hall (1976) had the gall (!) to claim that those cultures that do not see language as central to human communication are "high context" at all? That nonverbal communication is contextual assumes that language is central, privileged when in fact in Japan, it is often the reverse.

Taking one example, Hall claims that in Japan people expect more of others.

"It is very seldom in Japan that someone will correct you or explain things to you. You are supposed to know and they get quite upset when you don’t. ... People raised in high context cultures expect more of others than to the participants in low-context systems. When talking about something that they have on their minds, a high context individual will expect his interlocutor to know what is bothering him, so that he doesn't have to be specific." (Hall, 1976, p98)

Do Westerners really expect less of others?

I find that in interaction with Japanese I often expect them to have heard my words, the generalities that I have stated, and to apply them across multiple situations. I expect this of them. When I bothered about some situation where previously expressed verbal wishes and requirements are not being met, I expect others to know and get quite upset (like a arrogant fool) when they don't. Americans expect others to understand their generalities - their linguistic expressions - as Japanese expect others to look, mirror and behave appropriate to the situation. This is due to the fact that the central mode of meaning is different not because members of either culture place greater or lesser expectations upon others.

Dumping the hierarchy of the old Western text/context word/world dualism will help us to understand the Japanese and ourselves.

Barthes, R. (1972). Mythologies. (A. Lavers, Trans.). Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Barthes, R. (1983). Empire of Signs. (R. Howard, Trans.). Hill and Wang.
Craigie, R. (2004). Behind the Japanese Mask: A British Ambassador in Japan, 1937-1942. Routledge.
Hall, E. T. (1976). Beyond Culture. Anchor Press.
Kita, S. (2009). Cross-cultural variation of speech-accompanying gesture: A review. Language and Cognitive Processes, 24(2), 145–167. doi.org/10.1080/01690960802586188
Knapp, M., Hall, J., & Horgan, T. (2013). Nonverbal Communication in Human Interaction. Cengage Learning.
Lapakko, D. (1997). Three cheers for language: A closer examination of a widely cited study of nonverbal communication. Communication Education, 46(1), 63–67. Retrieved from www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03634529709379073
Maynard, S. K. (1987). Interactional functions of a nonverbal sign Head movement in japanese dyadic casual conversation. Journal of Pragmatics, 11(5), 589–606. doi.org/10.1016/0378-2166(87)90181-0
Mehrabian, A., & Ferris, S. R. (1967). Inference of attitudes from nonverbal communication in two channels. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 31(3), 248. Retrieved from psycnet.apa.org/journals/ccp/31/3/248/
Oguri, S. (2010). Dārin wa gaikokujin.
Rice, J. (2004). Behind the Japanese mask--: how to understand the Japanese culture-- and work successfully with it. Oxford: HowToBooks.

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Monday, April 20, 2015


Sorting by Words and Images

Sorting by Words and Images

Norenzayan, Smith, Kim, & Nisbett (2002) cool research on how Westerners and Asians sort shapes into groups (figure 4 of which reproduced above without permission) is described as a preference for formal or intuitive reasoning. Masuda (2010) describes it under the rubric of his and Nisbett's (2004) distinction between "analytic and holistic thought." Asians sort the left target images into the left hand groups and the right target images into the right hand groups whereas North Americans sort them in the reverse ways.

The reason for this difference is, it seems to me, that the Asians are sorting the target images according to visual similarity according to their face since the visual is felt to be important and alive.

W.I.E.R.D. (Henrich, Heine & Norenzayan, 2010) Westerners, infected as they are by the addiction to hearing themselves speak are looking for a linguistic rule to apply and find it in the 'hair' of the shapes right and the stalks of the flowers left and apply that rule. The hair and the stalks are in a sense in the background. The faces of the little men and flowers are focal and yet, Westerners are not talking to the "The Boss" (Masuda, 2010) the faces of the men and flowers, but to the "trees" (Nisbett, 2004) the minor background details. The reason for this is that Westerners believe that language is the vector of meaning and life.

To humans, life is meaning (Heine, Proulx, & Vohs, 2006) but Westerners hear meaning in words, and Japanese see meaning in faces and characters.

Image based upon figure 4 page 664 of (Norenzayan, Smith, Kim, & Nisbett, 2002)
Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). Most people are not WEIRD. Nature, 466(7302), 29–29.
Heine, S. J., Proulx, T., & Vohs, K. D. (2006). The meaning maintenance model: On the coherence of social motivations. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 10(2), 88–110.
Masuda. 増田貴彦. (2010). ボスだけを見る欧米人 みんなの顔まで見る日本人. 講談社.
Nisbett, R. (2004). The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why. Free Press.
Norenzayan, A., Smith, E. E., Kim, B. J., & Nisbett, R. E. (2002). Cultural preferences for formal versus intuitive reasoning. Cognitive Science, 26(5), 653–684.

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Reciprocal Resurrection of Simulacra

Reciprocal Resurrection of Simulacra

This essay explores the intersection between Derrida's Post Card (1987), and Baudrillard's simulacra (1995) in Western and Japanese culture: word/idea pairs and images respectively.

Most Western philosophers are unintentionally obfuscating. They want to tell their readers that it is okay, That the way we understand the world is not a grotesque lie. A few, larger French philosophers such as Baudrillard (1995) and Derrida (1987, 1998, 2011) attempts to pull the lie apart, to expose its untruth. But, because they are polite and the lie ingrained, they is not quite persuasive enough. Obfuscators take the mickey out of their "Parisian logic" (Mulligan, 1991).

In order to see oneself it is self-evident that one has to model the perspective of an other and or mirror. However, when talking about oneself to oneself, this need for another, real or simulated, is not apparent. Many clever people (I am thinking of Steven Heine e.g. in Heine, 2003) claim that face, or image is essentially for others whereas language, (that most social of media!) and our Western narratives selves are for ourselves.

Indeed, most Westerners think, that when they think they are thinking, talking simply to themselves (and not to Mel Gibson's Satan, above right). Seeing oneself requires a spatial distance that makes the alterity of self-observer far more apparent. But speaking, hearing oneself speak, does not seem necessarily to involve anyone else, real or imagined, at all. Derrida rejects this possibility forcefully (Garver, 1973).

The truth in my humble opinion, and experience is, that as Derrida argues, speaking to oneself does require an other, simulated or real. But few people, or atheists at least, seem to realise this. How can I convince folks of the truth, that self-narrative requires an other to be meaningful?

Derrida's gambit is something on the lines of the following.

When I talk about myself I use signs, signs like "Tim" and "I". Each time I say or think a sign I may be slurred or abbreviate but for the phoneme to mean, it needs to be one of a group of other iterations of the same sign. Signs are iterative. I can say Tim TIM Tm, tem, timu, timm, with all sorts of slurings and blurrings but for "tim" to mean me it must be member of the set of signs that are iterable. It must be one of the sayings of "Tim." "Tim" as a sign is a sign by virtue of the fact that it is recognisable and distinguishable from tin (can).

Therefore, Derrida opines, since signs have this property in themselves of being repeatable and recognisable their use implies a distance or disappearance of the subject that uses them. Derrida fundamental insight is I think that this iterability implies speech is no different from writing.

Mulligan (1998) is right to point out that it is going to be difficult to convince anyone that the iterability of signs implies anything threatening about the Western self. Conversely, the fact that signs are iterable (repeatable in time) is a phenomena that obfuscating philosophers have used as evidence for the existence of "presence:" the co-temporal, co-presence of "ideas".

That signs are essentially "iterable" is a proposition that Derrida gets from Husserl who he paraphrases in the following way.

"When in fact I effectively use words, and whether or not I do it for communicative ends (let us consider signs in general, prior to this distinction), I must from the outset operate (within) a structure of repetition.... A sign is never an event, if by event we mean an irreplaceable empirical particular. A sign which would take place but “once” would not be a sign; a purely idiomatic sign would not be a sign. A signifier (in general) must be formally recognizable in spite of, and through, the diversity of empirical characteristics which may modify it. It must remain the same, and be able to be repeated as such, despite and across the deformations which the empirical event necessarily makes it undergo. A phoneme or grapheme is necessarily always to some extent different each time that it is presented in an Operation or perception. But, it can function as a sign, and in general as language only if a formal identity enables it to be issued again and to be recognized. (Derrida, 1967, p55—56; Derrida, 2001, p.42 see Mulligan, 1992, p.5.)

Derrida also states more pithily “a sign which would take place but `once’ would not be a sign”

Hansen (1993) traces this distinction too, between sign tokens or instantiations and signs, and points out Western philosophers since Plato and Aristotle have claimed that (Aristotle writes, see Hansen, 1993) "spoken sounds are symbols of affections in the soul, and written marks symbols of the spoken sounds. And just as written marks are not the same for all men, neither are spoken sounds. But what these are in the first place signs of-affections in the soul-are the same for all; and what these affections are likenesses of - actual things - are also the same."

This is basically the same argument as presented by Husserl about 2000 years earlier. Our feeling of their being identity in difference, of a unity, despite multiple instantiations, demonstrates to us that there must be existences underpinning them. Words are somehow the same every time we use them. This is not true, but we feel it strongly.

I think it is possible to be far more persuasive, and threatening, by taking a detour through Japanese culture. The use of Japanese culture as an analogy is similar to writing a book of self addressed postcards (Derrida, 1987) to illustrate the weirdness of self-addressed speech, except that the Japanese, unlike the postcard writer of Derrida's book (ibid), are not fictional, and I believe they send themselves blank postcards - images without words (Kim, 2002) in the form of selfies, purikura (Toriyama et al., 2014), souvenir photos (kinenshashin: see Davidson, 2006 p36), third person memories (Cohen, Hoshino-Browne, & Leung, 2007), and autoscopic video games (Masuda and Takemoto in preparation).

I argue that whereas Westerners hear a shared, identical unity behind multiple slightly differing sound tokens, Japanese may feel the same way about images. A copy of a shrine, horse, bonsai tree, karate form or a face, though it changes in each instantiation call to the Japanese mind a similar sense of unity as called to the mind of Westerners when they hear words.

Despite, upon consideration there being a plurality of word phenomena, each instantiation is as good as the others. No word is inferior to another, no word is a copy of another word, since they all refer to a (illusionary) underlying unity. All words are authentic because they match up to ghostly metaphysical meanings. Westerners until Dennet (1992) find it difficult to deny the existence of these idealities, because they are one of their number. Our self, existed traditionally as an idea in the mind of God, or according to Dennet, who somehow manages to obfuscate even as he reveals the truth, is an abstraction or fiction.

Similarly Japanese may be able to feel that "foreign villages" (in Japan - gaikokumura 外国村) are as good or the same as villages abroad, or that video tapes of a deceased grandfather require funeral services just as did the body (image) of their grandfather, or that a sculpture or even a picture of a horse (ema 絵馬) is as pleasing to a god as real horse, or that a mask or face can represent the underlying unity of a person (Watsuji, 2011).

Nowhere are simulacra, or authenticopies, more visible than the Japanese religion, Shinto. Shinto shrines, especially that of the sungoddess are rebuilt (senguu 遷宮) made in miniature for household shrine shelves (神棚), and replicated (e.g. the replica of Ise shrine in Yamaguchi city's main shrine) but in all cases thought to be authentic. Japanese deities are infinity divisible (bunrei 分霊) and and transportable (kanjou 勧請) to be enshrined elsewhere (bunsha 分社). Originally this would require the copying of the object felt to contain the spirit/deity (goshintai 御神体), but more often now simply by stamping the characters on a piece of wood, card or paper to form a sacred token (神符), as in the case of the sacred talisman that serve to transport the deity into household shrines (ofuda お札) and inside protective amulets (omamoriお守り). Sometimes these sacred stamped tokens (shinpu/ofuda神符/お札) were felt to fall from the sky causing great merriment, singing, dancing and tourism("("good isn't it?" or "hang loose" ええじゃないか). Just as the Lords prayer on the lips of one bishop is the same as that on the other so the stamped names of Japanese deities are the same in all their instantiations. Conversely, in Japan words without material representation are felt to be hot air, as the Jesuits lamented being required to bring presents and not express gratitude in words.

It does not matter that faces age, seals smudge, or that there are minor differences between sculpted and real horses, just as it does not matter that I might say my name, or I, with a hoarse voice (To the Japanese the voice is always horse..!). That is not to say that the Japanese are fully identified with their bodies. Traditionally the Japanese were also aware of the field of vision, that which which sees, the mirror as soul. But that space is no different from that which is seen, or rather contains the authenticopies as they are, without their need to be unified and represented by an idea.

Narcissus is a fool for mistaking his reflection for himself but there is identity, Echo, in his voice (Brenkman, 1976). Likewise Susano'o is a fool for repeating his words but there is identity, Amaterasus, in his image. Iterability in time is like copiability in space - there is a ridiculous distance. When Narcissus falls in love with his self reflected in the water we want to shout "but that isn't you!" There is an obvious plurality, a painful not-one-ness. It is as ridiculous to a Japanese person to hear someone speaking to themselves or praising themselves as it is to a Westerner watching Narcissus love his image. in each case evaluating subject can not escape from evaluated object, and the loop is felt incomplete.

These differences in perception depend upon culture not some inherent superiority of one or other media. Writing is no more a record of speech than speech refers to writing.

This is due to the nature of the Other being simulated in the mind. There never was a layer of ideas, or metaphysical realm, just a partner in the heart. Westerners from Plato to Baudrillard (1995) tell us that is God that In the West we feel (and or do not feel) as if a super-addressee is always listening and Japanese feel (and or do not feel) as if someone is always watching.

By "and or do not feel" I mean that the Other is both felt and hidden. That on the one hand I "feel" someone is listening make this preposterous self-speech that I do, even in my head, meaningful, pleasurable but on the other if the door were to open and I were to see what I am speaking to, I would recoil in horror. So in that sense I do not feel the presence of the other. I will come back to this.

I think that the two forms of ridiculous distance should start to erase each other in those that experience them. The way in which Post Cards and images destabilise the structure of the word/idea complex is also discussed by Baudrillard (1995).

Baudrillard writes "[Iconoclasts] predicted this omnipotence of simulacra, the faculty simulacra have of effacing God from the conscience of man, and the destructive, annihilating truth that they allow to appear—that deep down God never existed, that only the simulacrum ever existed, even that God himself was never anything but his own simulacrum—from this came their urge to destroy the images.rage to destroy images." (1995, p4)

Baudrillard's term "simulacra" seems too broad, being used to mean words, images, simulated subject positions and even perhaps the imminent universe. Nevertheless he has a point. It seems to me that the two types of simulacra that I differentiate (Western words, and Japanese images or "authenticopies") should have a tendency to draw attention to the limitations of each, and not so much erase but resurrect (!) or make people aware of God, in one person or another, as intra-psychic other.

By consideration of Edo period artwork and research on Japanese artistic representation (Masuda, Wang, Ito, & Senzaki, 2012) third person memories (Cohen, Hoshino-Browne, & Leung, 2007) the Other of the Japanese is not "in the head" but outside of it, a spatial distance but still in their psyche, that is to say a simulated, undead viewpoint. Japanese ancestors look down and protect. Though simulated, I don't think they could ever be as dead as words and images since it is a simulated subject position, but in the title I am using "simulacra" to be simulated subject positions, a viewer, or hearer. It is really these that have ensured the meaning of Western Words and Japanese images.

Theists experience these subject positions as their Gods: ancestors or Amaterasu, and Jesus. Atheists may experience them as the monsters shown above Sadako of "Ringu", (Nakata, 1998) and Satan of "The Passion of the Christ" (Gibson, 2004).

When Baudrillard further writes "If they [iconoclasts] could have believed that these images only obfuscated or masked the Platonic Idea of God, there would have been no reason to destroy them. One can live with the idea of distorted truth. But their metaphysical despair came from the idea that the image didn't conceal anything at all, and that these images were in essence not images, such as an original model would have made them, but perfect simulacra, forever radiant with their own fascination. Thus this death of the divine referential must be exorcised at all costs." (1995, p4) he is correct to say that images do not require a second term, a "divine referential:" ideas. However, both word/ideas and images do require a third term a simulated hearer/view point. Images exist in the mind of their god unmediated.

Returning to the way in which the Other is and is not here.

Husserl is adamant that no one is listening to thought, and it is precisely this fact, coupled with the fact that he can yet understand himself, that convinces him that something other than what happens when we speak to others must be going on. "He believes that he finds pure expression [of another layer of ideal things] in interior monologue because, in interior monologue, my thoughts seem to be present to me at the very instant that I say them." (VP, p. xxv). This argument convinces cleverer people than me, such as Mulligan.

When a Japanese person is looking at a mirror (which she may not need), or imagining herself, she may feel that that the person in the mirror or the image in her mind is herself. Looking at a Japanese person looking at a mirror I may want to to say "no, that is not you! Look you are on this side of the mirror not that thing over there!" But the Japanese lady is cleverer than me. She "knows", like Husserl "knows", there is no one else in her head, so there is no way someone can watch from the wings to claim "You are not the person reflected in the mirror."

To me sight is always seen by someone (an eye) just as to the Japanese (Mori, 1999) language is always heard by someone (an ear). Language in Japan is always contextual. Sight in the West is always contextual. Conversely, the "third person perspective" (Mori, ibid) exists in language in the West, and in those birds eye views that the Japanese see, feel and represent.

The experience of hearing oneself speak proves to Husserl that speech can be heard and understood without another listener (other than the one speaking) because he feels he is absolutely alone. Specifically Husserl can understand the word "I" to refer to himself.

The experience of seeing oneself imagined proves to Japanese that images can be seen and understood without another viewer (other than the one seen) because she feels she is absolutely alone facing the mirror. Specifically she can understand the image to be herself.

Addressing Husserl, Derrida says that consciousness is temporised, and that the other needed and simulated to understand the interior I is deferred in time. "You don't realise that you are writing letters to yourself in the future/ reading letters from yourself in the past." You are not alone at the level of simulacra.

Addressing the Japanese person I want to say that consciousness is spatialised, and that the other needed and simulated to understand the interior self image is distanced. "You don't realise that you are signing to yourself at a distance/ seeing yourself from a distance." You are not alone at the level of simulacra.

It is so obvious to me, a Westerner, that one can see imagine oneself from the outside. That is obvious to the Japanese too. But if the Japanese have an extra viewpoint that is horrifying, then erasing that viewpoint, and yet at the same time viewing themselves from it, they can misunderstand themselves as that which is seen, forgetting that they are not turning to meet the gaze of a monster, distanced, in the image.

It is obvious to a Japanese person that I can defer understanding, when I practice justifying myself for instance (Haidt, 2001). That is obvious to me too. But I if I have an extra ear-point, a super-addressee that is horrifying, then erasing that ear-point, and at the same time hearing myself from it, I can misunderstand myself as that I am that which is said, forgetting that all I am doing is deferring speaking to a monster deferred. Who am I going to meet?

All is needed for self is an other in mind which is too horrible to be fully aware of. That one is aware of but can not admit of, nor gaze at. Someone you know is there behind a door. Someone that will open a door one day, when Japanese people go somewhere.

That there are two ways of doing this auto-affection (which are interlinked) may at the boundary between the two make obfuscation apparent.

Am I oversimplifying? Regarding Derrida, his translator writes "In other words, if we think of interior monologue, we see that difference between hearing and speaking is necessary, we see that dialogue comes first. But through dialogue (the iteration or the back and forth) of the same, a self is produced. And yet, the process of dialogue, differentiation-repetition, never completes itself in identity; the movement continues to go beyond to infinity; the movement continues to go beyond to infinity so that identity is always deferred. always a step beyond." That sounds very complicated.

But if self-speech is just practice speech (Haidt, 2001) that we do all the time before meeting people to whom we explain ourselves to, then self speech is surprisingly mundane. Self speech might be compared to a love-song to a lover that we'll never meet, or a series of amorous post cards to yourself in the future (Derrida, 1987), or those letters that remain unopened in a Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

Baudrillard, J. (1995). Simulcra and Simulation. (S. F. Glaser, Trans.). Univ of Michigan Pr.
Brenkman, J. (1976). Narcissus in the Text. Georgia Review, 30(2), 293–327. Retrieved from www.jstor.org/stable/41399656
Cohen, D., Hoshino-Browne, E., & Leung, A. K. (2007). Culture and the structure of personal experience: Insider and outsider phenomenologies of the self and social world. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 39, 1–67.
Davidson, C. N. (2006). 36 Views of Mount Fuji: On Finding Myself in Japan. Duke University Press.
Dennett, D. C. (1992). The Self as a Center of Narrative Gravity. Self and Consciousness: Multiple Perspectives. Retrieved from ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/selfctr.htm
Derrida, J. (1987). The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond. (A. Bass, Trans.) (1 edition). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.
Derrida, J. (1998). Of grammatology. (G. C. Spivak, Trans.). JHU Press.
Derrida, J. (2011). Voice and Phenomenon: Introduction to the Problem of the Sign in Husserl’s Phenomenology. Northwestern Univ Pr.
Haidt, J. (2001). The emotional dog and its rational tail: a social intuitionist approach to moral judgment. Psychological Review, 108(4), 814. Retrieved from psycnet.apa.org/journals/rev/108/4/814/
Hansen, C. (1993). Chinese Ideographs and Western Ideas. The Journal of Asian Studies, 52(02), 373–399. doi.org/10.2307/2059652
Heine, S. J. (2003). An exploration of cultural variation in self-enhancing and self-improving motivations. In Nebraska symposium on motivation (Vol. 49, pp. 101–128). Retrieved from books.google.co.jp/books?hl=en&lr=&id=UCl0stabm54...
Husserl, E. (2001). Logical Investigations Volume 1 (Revised Edition). London ; New York: Routledge.
Kim, H. S. (2002). We talk, therefore we think? A cultural analysis of the effect of talking on thinking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83(4), 828.
Masuda, T., Wang, H., Ito, K., & Senzaki, S. (2012). Culture and the Mind: Implications for Art, Design, and Advertisement. Handbook of Research on International Advertising, 109.
Mulligan, K. (1991). How not to read: Derrida on Husserl. Topoi, 10(2), 199–208.
Watsuji, T. (2011). Mask and Persona. Japan Studies Review, 15, 147–155. Retrieved from asian.fiu.edu/projects-and-grants/japan-studies-review/jo...
Toriyama et al. 烏山史織, 齋藤美保子, カラスヤマシオリ, サイトウミホコ, KARASUYAMA, S., & SAITO, M. (2014). Awareness of Purikura in youths: A comparison of high school and university student’s. 鹿児島大学教育学部教育実践研究紀要=Bulletin of the Educational Research and Practice, Faculty of Education, Kagoshima University, 23, 83–94. Retrieved from ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/120005434882
Mori, A. 森有正. (1999). 森有正エッセー集成〈5〉. 筑摩書房.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015


Symmetry on Mars

It is often argued that there is something pleasing to the eye about symmetry and Western pottery, textiles, gardens and architecture has a tendency to be symmetrical. Japanese art in the same classes however tends to shun symmetry and aim for assymetry and the "surnatural." Part of the reason for this may be that Japan is a matriachy and it is males that prefer symmetry. In a study of Western males and females, shown above, it was found that males prefered symmetrical designs both in the real world and the abstract, whereas Western women (presumably influenced by males) show little to no preference for the symmetrical. I hypothesise that the the assymentrical looks natural, individual, non-artificial and more attractive, at least to those who prefer those characteristics. Facial symmetry is prefered to varying degree by both sexes, but I believe that women exhibit it more. I think that this because both sexes are bisexual, haunted by simulations and projections of their opposite sex parents, males more so than females. Freud had a very lopsided face. http://flic.kr/p/rU3Fzq

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Predicting Japanese Earthquakes Again

Predicting Japanese Earthquakes

The homepage of the Kakioka Magnetic Observatory shown above says that geomagnetic activity is not a good predictor of earthquakes.

But, what with all the dolphins (Melon Head Whales), 150 of them that washed up on a beach North of Tokyo I was reminded of the brilliant research by Motoji Ikeya, on the way that catfish (thought to cause earthquakes in Japanese legend), oar fish (thought to predict them in Japanese legend) and other sea and land mammals sense the rock crushing piezoelectric activity causing magnetic fields and ionization of the air and can be used to predict earthquakes.

An American company uses the same principle to attempt to predict earthquakes using magnetometers and publishes world wide data (mainly for California and Taiwan) on their Quakefinder web site. However, they do not have any sensors in Japan. QuakeFinder does have a great Google Tech Talk video explaining their quake prediction research.

There appear to be however a few places in Japan that publish electromagnetic activity, particularly the Kakioka Magnetic Observatory in Kakioka north of Tsukuba (i.e. about 100km north of Tokyo). Their main English page shown in the screen shot above says that "Geomagnetic activity from 03:00 to 06:00 (UTC) was Moderately Disturbed." I am not sure if that is near enough to Tokyo to be of any use at all, even if if magnetic activity were of use. The same site offers data from The same site has another page that shows detailed data from four places in Japan
Kakioka About 100km north of Tokyo
Memambetsu (top of Hokkaoido)
Chichijima Island a LONG way south of Tokyo in the Pacific
Kanoya (nr Kagoshima) But I am not sure how to read the plots, and there is no cute graphic (as in the above image) to show whether the readings are high or not.

A Japanese space agency measures "Sporadic E propagation" and has traffic lights indicating the level of activity at four sites in Japan (Hokkaido, Tokyo, Kagoshima and Okinawa). None of them are red right now.

None of these measuring stations are anywhere near me. Perhaps I should look at our pet goldfish, or go to see if the carp in the university pond are jumping out of the water, or arranged in lines. Fish may arrange themselves in lines so as to avoid placing their bodies across the direction of greatest magnetic field, or jump out of the water when the magnetic field becomes unbearable.

Or I could keep a catfish. Americans are blissfully unaware that catfish are earthquake predictors, so when catfish die they think it was something to do with the water despite there being no harm to another water creature. See the mystery that occurred in Texas that preceded earthquakes, and Virginia at about the same time. I am not entirely sure whether it is a good idea to be aware or not but, the late professor Ikeya felt that paying attention to pets and other animals could save lives as explained in his short children's book.

The reason for melon head whales, and other marine mammals beaching, themselves is entirely different and explained on Captain David Williams' excellent website The Truth about Why Whales Strandings. Since, he claims and I believe him, that whale strandings are more to do with sonic seismic events, it is less likely that they would predict imminent earthquakes, but rather the fact that a submarine earthquake has already occurred. He suggests that the recent beachings in Japan are due to there having been a seismic event near Guam about a month ago. However, since seismic events occur in groups, and there were beachings prior to the big Fukushima Tsunami, and whales are linked with earthquakes in North American Mythology, there is that possibility and the connection between abnormal whale activity and earthquakes is common knowledge (see this auto translation) in whaling earthquake prone Japan.

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Friday, April 10, 2015


Markus and Kitayama weren't Quite Asian Enough: The Situational Self

Markus and Kitayama's seminal paper (1991) did not quite go far enough or too far. Westerners tend to be entity theorists, believing and to a certain extent maintaining characteristics determined solely by what they believe, and narrate to be their own dispositions. Markus and Kitayama argued that Asians feel themselves to be interdependent with their significant others and have an interdependent self draw dotted (in B).

But Markus and Kitayama still presume that the determinants of behaviour are inside the self rather than in the situation.

As argued by Hashimoto, Li and Yamagishi (2011) and the paper upon which the above image is based (Kim, Song, & Takemoto, in preparation) however, the red X's represent factors which influence East Asian's behaviour. Some of red X's are cultural (or institutional) others are the self in others.

The determinants of behaviour are not only inside us, many of them do not yet exist, others will change if the situation changes, and if we if change our situation. In some ways Markus and Kitayama (1991) therefore went too far seeing the interdependent self as porous buffeted by others. Asians are in fact influenced by societal and situational factors but they are able to actively change their situations, culture (as institutions) and selves. Asians are not porous. They do not lack autonomy. They actively choose the situations that they thereby allow to influence themselves.

I am not East Asian but I would for example, sacrifice my body for my significant others, and even my house, future house, pets and grandchildren *that are yet to exist*, because I am inside them, as well as my self.

1) The parts of self in other are drawn, but the parts of others in self are abbreviated for simplicity.

2) I believe that Cousins' (1989) "Contextual self" included non social behaviour influencing factors and as such is a major precursor but the Kyoto school, Nishida, and Watsuji, are the main theoretical proponents of the situational self.

4) The other of situational self is visual. The Other of the Japanese is not in their head. She is out of that cave. The Japanese are better at dancing (Nietzsche, 1883). It is for that reason, I believe, that behaviour influencing factors (Xs) can be external.

5) The diological self (Hermans and Kempen) concentrating on the simulation of other interlocutors, likewise implies self in others and others in self, but the "super-addressee" (which Hermans and Kempen ignore) seems to be spatially internal and only temporally differentiated. The dialogical self could be represented by the above diagram but for the non human parts. People, other than Noddy, rarely speak to their objects. The Japanese do not do Noddy

6) The Japanese simulate seeing themselves, so they see themselves with with their objects (home, car, clothes, and even since simulated, X-ray vision, underwear) and as such these things are parts of the self, or at least behaviour influencing factors (red Xs). I should add not only "Home" and "Company" but also, clothing including underwear to the above diagram.

7) Markus (with Cross: Markus and Cross, 1990) originally wrote this 'cultural psychology' theory about women, and their "different voice" (Gilligan, 1982). As long as women attempt to have a different "voice" they will be porous, dialectical, and sharing their psyche with others. Western women need to embrace the Goddess who sees learn how to dance, and get their super-addressee out of their heads. The logos will always be "phallogocentric". A recent paper by Cousins suggests that it originate in mating calls. I think in phonemes, therefore I abuse myself.

Cousins, S. D. (1989). Culture and self-perception in Japan and the United States. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56(1), 124.
Kim, Song & Takemoto (in preparation). "" ...
Hashimoto, H., Li, Y., & Yamagishi, T. (2011). Beliefs and preferences in cultural agents and cultural game players. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 14, 140–147.
Markus, H., & Cross, S. (1990). The interpersonal self.
Markus. H. & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the Self: Implications for cognition, emotion and motivation. Psychological Review, 98, 224-253. p226. Downloaded from www.biu.ac.il/PS/docs/diesendruck/2.pdf on 2011/11/11t cave. The Japanese are better at dancing (Nietzsche, 1883). http://flic.kr/p/s1vUsA

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Sunday, April 05, 2015


Funerals for Video Tapes and Symbolic Immortality

Funereal Rites for Video Tapes

The image above is part of an advert by a company offering VHS (etc) analogue tape to DVD dubbing services. People send their tapes and photograph albums to the company, which converts the analogue formats to digital and sends the data back to the customers in DVD form.

But what happens to the video tape itself? Should it just go in the trash? What happens if the video tape is of someone deceased? This Japanese company offers an additional service, in the case of one video tape at twice the price of the dubbing itself, funereal mourning rites, at an affiliated Buddhist temple. Customers pay for about $30 USD for a Buddhist priest to chant Buddhist prayers over up to twenty of their VHS video tapes, several times, before eventually disposing of them.

This question would not occur to a Westerner. But in Japan there is a far greater reticence towards destroying visual representations of people since these visual representations are far closer to the persons videoed. Similarly, for example there are also funereal rites for dolls in Japan because dolls are far more felt to have had lives.

So, is there a Nacalian transformation? Do Westerners pay our respects towards diaries, or voice recordings, especially of the dead, for instance?

Funeral rites for visual representations of persons (real or otherwise) may suggests a desire for visual representations of persons to live on - to go to a pictorial heaven as it were, where images live forever in an eternal light.

While I am unaware of a direct transformation, where Westerners pay respect to the linguistic representations of the dead, while they are alive it is found that at least Westerner strive towards 'symbolic immortality,' in the face of "mortality salience" - being required to think about their own death.

When required to think about their death, humans -- or at least Westerners -- attempt to live on in their narratives. The question as to whether Asians attempt to achieve "symbolic immortality" is controversial. Heine, Harihara, and Niiya (2002) found that Japanese do. Kashima, Halloran, Yuki, and Kashima (2004) found that mortality salience produced different effects in Japanese and Westerners. Yen & Cheng (2010) found that Taiwanese do not. Ma-Kellams and Blascovich (2012) found that Asians do other things in the face of death: rather than focus upon symbolic immortality they attempt to enjoy life more.

Heine, S. J., Harihara, M., & Niiya, Y. (2002). Terror management in Japan. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 5(3), 187–196. Retrieved from
Kashima, E. S., Halloran, M., Yuki, M., & Kashima, Y. (2004). The effects of personal and collective mortality salience on individualism: Comparing Australians and Japanese with higher and lower self-esteem. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40(3), 384–392.
Ma-Kellams, C., & Blascovich, J. (2012). Enjoying life in the face of death: East–West differences in responses to mortality salience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(5), 773–786. http://doi.org/10.1037/a0029366
Yen, C.-L., & Cheng, C.-P. (2010). Terror management among Taiwanese: Worldview defence or resigning to fate? Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 13(3), 185–194.

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Friday, April 03, 2015


For the first time, I'd like myself to praise myself: But I can't

For the first time, I'd like myself to praise myself: But I can't

The modality of self-ing is the one in which reflexivity, such as self-praise, appears to entail no contradiction or duality.

On that day nearly 20 years ago, Yuko Arimori did not praise herself. Perhaps she was aware she could not. She only expressed the desire to do so.

From a Japanese socio-linguistic point of view (Mori, 1999), to be able to praise herself Ms. Arimori would have needed to have become two people.

This is why she used her, now famous phrase "For the first time, I want myself to praise myself ." Hajimete, jibun de jibun wo hometai to omoimasu. 初めて自分で自分をほめたいと思います

Ms. Arimori writes she borrowed the phrase from the poem of a folk singer and marathon runner as explained here in Japanese but in fact her version retains the duality (myself twice, "jibun de jibun wo"), expressed in the original only by the fact that it is addressed to the song's listener "you."

Arimori could no more praise herself than Westerners can see themselves without the aid of a mirror. A duality is required. The Nacalian transformation of Arimori's statement is Narcissus's gaze but that is not to say that Ms. Arimori is a narcissist - far from it. Both express the impossibility of self reference on ones own. And yet, Westerners praise themselves, and Japanese can see themselves without any apparent contradiction.

Mori, A. 森有正. (1999). 森有正エッセー集成〈5〉. 筑摩書房.

The original version of Ms. Arimori's explanation is here

有森 あの言葉を最初に聞いたのは高校のときです。私は高校の三年間ずっと都道府県駅伝で補欠でした。その開会式に高石ともやさんがこられて、読まれた詩にあった言葉です。それを聞いて感極まるものがあって大泣きしたんですよ。
アトランタの練習中、ネガティブになっていたとき、クルーのだれかに「自分で自分をいいと思えばいいじゃないか」といわれて、ふっとその言葉を思い出し たんですね。でもそのときは、「いや、いまは自分で納得できない、ここで自分をほめたら弱くなる、するんだったらレースの後にしたい」と思いました。
I first heard those words when I was a high school student. For the three years of my high school I had always been the reserve team member for the prefectural long distance relay (ekiden). The Tomoya Takaishi (folk singer and runner) came to the opening ceremony, and the phrase was in a poem that he read. I was so moved by his words that I burst into tears. Then, when I was in training for the Atlanta Olympics, and became negative, when one of the crew said "If you think you are okay, then that'll do won't it?" I remembered Tomoya Takaishi's words. But then, I thought, "No, not now. It wouldn't fit. If I praised myself now, I'd get weaker. If I am going to praise myself, I'd like to do it after the race."

The song is here.

Earlier version:

On the occasion winning of her second Olympic marathon medal, a bronze medal at the Atlanta Olympics, Arimori Yuko famously said "I want for the first time to praise myself" before bowing her head in defiance, shame and tears,. Ripples of shock rang out through the Japanese nation.

To a Westerner it is a marvel that this might be the first time she praised herself, and a mystery as to why she might wish to bow, bashfully (?) and cry afterwards. But in Japan the soundbite became famous and even controversial. This is because in Japan it is rare, and not cool to praise oneself. Generally, and in Arimori's case in Barcelona, Japanese sports persons even or especially when they are winners solely praise other people (see the first half of the same video for evidence).

For example the postwar Japanese philosopher, Susumu Iribe (Kobayashi & Irebe, 2004, p42) who believes in linguistic nature of the self and (lacking a linguistic Other) the dependence of the individual upon the socius, criticized Arimori's words as indicating that she was happy just for herself, when he feels that she should have been running for the good of the nation.

In my opinion Japanese sports persons do run for themselves as well as for their nation, but there is something preventing them saying so -- a block to linguistic self-praise. This taboo is parallel, I believe, to the Western rejection of "narcissism" a term which particularly applies to be people who are infatuated with how they look like the hero of the eponymous myth. In either case the resistance to self praise or love in each media is because that media is not perceived to be self, and as such, it involves a duality.

This distinction between enjoying how you look and self-praise may explain the gap between boasting and flattery in Japan. The Japanese are big on flattery, use it liberally and seem even to enjoy it a little. From a Western point of view, anyone vain enough to enjoy flattery would also be likely to indulge in self-praise. But this is not the case. Japanese, like Arimori praise (and perhaps flatter) others liberally, but praise themselves only once in a lifetime. How can this be explained?

If how one looks matters then flattery praises that visual aspect of the self. Self praise on the other hand, praises the narrative subject .

Why can't Japanese linguistically praise their own self-image? I think that to do so would be to introduce a gap between themselves as acting, praising subject, and their self-image, which they generally regard as themselves, except in exceptional circumstances.

This event was one such circumstance. In both occasions when Arimori praises herself there is a duality, a self-to-self gap. In the second more famous instance she does not simply praise herself, as a Western sportsperson might, but used the now famous "For the first time, I want myself to praise myself ." Hajimete, jibun de jibun wo hometai to omoimasu. 初めて自分で自分をほめたいと思います。

In the same interview, three minutes earlier however, the interviewer had suggested it must have been tough running after on her heel, after her recent heel operation. Fending off the interviewer's attempt at flattery, Arimori responded (in what was in fact, her first self/heel praise) "Rather than think about the operation and all that, I was really pleased and grateful to [my heel which] had carried me all this way, and to the start line at the Olympics." Arimori's first self praise (of her heel) in the original was
Kakato no shujutsu no koto yori, koko made sasaete moraeta koto ga sugoto ureshikatta"踵の手術のことより、ここまでささえもらえたことがすごくうれしかった。

Whether Arimori's disembodied state of mind was encouraged simply by the interviewers question, or not I do not know, but I think that at the end of a long hard race, while being videoed on national television, Ms. Arimori was in an unusually disembodied state of mind, which enabled her to praise first her heel, and then a little later herself, "for the first time".

Conversely perhaps, Westerners are in a chronically disembodied state of mind which makes it easier for them to praise themselves.

Image of Yuuko Arimori from 9:03 in this video used without permission.

小林よしのり、西部邁. (2004). 本日の雑談, Volume 4. 飛鳥新社

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Sanitary Towels Galore, but Few Tampons NOW

Sanitary Towels Galore, but Few Tampons

In Japan sanitary towels or "napkins" are tremendously popular in comparison to tampons. The above image and the image at this link show the vast selection of sanitary towels available to the Japanese buying public. On the other hand this image shows the tiny selection of tampons on sale in the same shop. While Japanese tampons are fairly primitive, generally lacking aplicators, Japanese sanitary towels are extremely advanced, thin, absorbent and body-hugging.

Japanese sanitary towels come in different sizes, shapes, thicknesses and for niche markets such as "sanitary towels to wear at night" (see note). Sanitary towels used not to be advertised on television but over the past ten years there has been a proliferation of television adverts showing smiling women walking with large strides, and blue liquid disappearing to leave only white body-shaped cotton pads.

It is not clear why Japanese prefer sanitary towels so much more than tampons. The reverse is the case in the US 70% of women used tampons in 2001 (Kohen). Use of tampons in the US depends upon race. 71% of European, 29% African American, 22% of English-speaking Latina, and only 5% of Spanish-speaking Latina women use them (Romo & Berenson, 2012).

The reasons for this difference can be traced to their history. There was initial reaction against tampons in the West by their association with sex. Bishops in the British House of Lords complained about these "sinful" products, and tampons were required to display a warning that they are not suitable for unmarried women till the 1950s (AHPMA, 2007). Likewise presumably due to the taboos on premarital sex and the importance of maintaining the hymen intact, tampons are less popular in Catholic countries (AHPM, ibid) and Latina women in the USA (Romo & Berenson, 2012).

First of all I think that the lack of popularity of tampons may be related to the lack of popularity of the contraceptive pill compared to condoms. Japan is one of the worlds biggests producers and consumers of condoms, but it was only in the late 1990's, after the legalisation of Viagra, that the contraceptive pill was introduced. Many feminists claimed that it was Japanese men that prevented the contraceptive pill from being legalised. This seems unlikely to me bearing in mind the negative effect they have on male enjoyment of sex, and the positie consequences that condoms have in the protection of women. The lack of use of the pill needs to be explained in other ways.

I think that both the lack of the popularity of the pill and tampons is reflective of the taboo on Women's sexuality (childbirth and menstruation) and sex organs in Japan. Far more than the dreaded phallus (the focus of sexual taboo in the West), in Japan it is women's sex organs that are intrinsically scary and not to be seen, thought, or interfered with.

Till the Meiji period, Japanese women would isolate themselves at childbirth and during menstruation in "parturition huts" mention in the mythology (Chamberlain, 1882//2005 p. xxxii) called "birth houses" (ubuya). The isolation of women during menstruation similar huts often on mountainsides decreased from the Meiji period but there is a report that the wives of Shinto priests living in Tsuruga City in Fukui Prefecture would live in a seperate wing for one week during menstruation even in 1979 (Fujisawa, 2008).

Upon further reading I find that the first disposable mensturation products, introduced in the 1930 (prior to which women had used reusable cotton undergarments) were tampons. There had been a history of the use of tampons like products among prostitutes in the Edo period which were refered to as "red balls," (akadama) "plugging balls" (komedama) and "packing paper"(tusmegami). Post Meiji, the use of cotton wool became more popular. Then in 1961, Anne Corp released the sanitary towels marketed as a liberation from the discomfort of blocking menstrual flow, using catch copy such as "Sorry to have kept you waiting 40 years," and please call it "Anne Day." Since that time sanitary towels have become far more popular than tampons (Takana, 2003: see Fujisawa, 2008) in Japan. According to a Yunicharm survey (2010) of 10.000 Japanese women, 76% used sanitary napkins, and only 23% tampons (including those who use both). Only 1.2% of Japanese women use only a tampon! A majory of Japanese women feel a psychological "resistance" (teikou) to using tampons, and would not use them even under special circumstances such as when entering a hot spring, pool, or the sea (Yunicharm, 2008: see chart 2).

Tampons Unpopular in Japan Now

This vast difference in the use of sanitary products between the US and Japan reflects I believe the different nature of taboos. Mensturation is *relatively* non-taboo in the West, regarded as a "curse," punishment or inconvenience. Sex on the other hand is far more taboo so there was an initial resistance towards the use of "sinful" (AHPM, 2007) tampons due to their association with sex. As taboos became less strict, and mensturation merely an inconvenience, tampons became popular.

In Japan on the other hand birth and menstruation have always been associated with the most severe taboos (Chamberlain, 1882/2005) whereas sex far less so. Chamberlain was unable to translate Shinto mythology into English due to the explicit nature of the descritpions of coitus. Such was the great taboo upon birth and menstruation however, at first Japanese women were required to isolate themselves at the time of childbirth and menstruation in huts on houses (Chamberlain, 2005, p.xxxii). Until 1979 women married to Shinto Priests would isolate themselves from their husbands for the duration of their mensturation (Fujisawa, 2008). This strong taboo required initially that menstruation be blocked. As taboos weaken Japanese women liberated their menstrual flow and moved to sanitary towels, which remain overarching popular. The "resistence" (Yunicham, 2010) felt by Japanese women towards the use of tampons is related to the fact that rather than being a "phallocentric" (Derrida, 2013) culture, Japan is the reverse (wombcentric, fallopocentric) so the taboos and reverence (Freud) for the phallus are directed instread towards women's sex organs, requiring that they be interfered with as little as possible in Japan. The taboo on things feminine in Japan, also explains why so much more Japanese horror, in traditional legend, fiction and cinema, focuses above all upon the monstrous feminine.

The above line of arguement suggests that is the Japanese Women who are behaving irrationally, while Western women are free from irrational taboos. Another possibility may be that while Western tampon manufacturers claim that "A tampon is neither felt during wearing nor does it restrict movement or hinder a woman from engaging in any sporting activities" (Edana, 2006), tampons may be indeed, as Japanese (Fujisawa, 2008) claim, intrusive and a little uncomfortable to use. Due to the way in which Western society is modeled on the man ("Mankind" see De Beauvoir) and phallocentric, women are encouraged (and internalise the desire) to get in line with men even if that involves some discomfort. In Japan however, the model of the human is I believe the mother, and so demanding that women undergo the discomfort in order to man-up as it were, is neither appropriate or allowed. In Japan men are encouraged, and (and internalise the desire) to get in line with women even to the point of wearing man bras.

The packaged designs marks and brand names, such as
Elis, 'New Bare Skin Feeling'
Elis, Ultra Guard
Elis, Perfect Block
Elis, Rustling Silk
Shiseidou, Center-In Daytime Use Snug/Downy Touch
Shiseidou, Center-In Nighttime Use
are trademarks of their respective owners.

Chamberlain, B.H.(2005/1882). Kojiki. Record of Ancient Matters. Tuttle Books. Retrieved, 2015/04/03 books.google.co.jp/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en|lang_ja&...
Fujisawa. M. 藤澤美和子.(2008). 生理用品 (ナプキン) の選択基準. ~消者が重要視するポイ ントと、 生理用品に. 対する意識の違い.流通科学大学.修士論文.http://blog.nikkeibp.co.jp/nb/academic/university/pdf/ryutsu1_ryutsu_yamashita11.pdf
European Disposables and Nonwovens Association (EDANA) (2006). Tampons for menstrual hygiene; modern products with ancient roots,
AHPM, Absorbent Hygene Products Manufacturers Association. (2007). Menstruation and Sanpro/Femcare Market Facts and Fig’s. Retrieved 2015/04/03 www.ahpma.co.uk/docs/Menstruation Facts and Figs.pdf
Kohen, J. (2001). The History of the Regulation of Menstrual Tampons. Retrieved 2015/04/03 dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/8852185/Kohen.pdf?seq...
Romo, L. F., & Berenson, A. B. (2012). Tampon Use in Adolescence: Differences among European American, African American and Latina Women in Practices, Concerns, and Barriers. Journal of pediatric and adolescent gynecology, 25(5), 328-333.
Yunicharm ユニチャーム(2008). 生理と生理用品に関する1万人女性の意識調査. Retrieved 2015/04/03 http://www.unicharm.co.jp/company/news/2010/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2010/05/06/nr100506_01.pdf

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Flying Tiger Fish that Barf Water

Flying Tiger Fish that Barf Water
The fish mounted at the ends of Japanese rooves, where the ridge meeds the gable, are in fact a mythical beast called a "tiger fish" (shachihoko) with the body of a carp and the head of a tiger. Should their be a fire the tiger will cause rain to fall, or spit water from its mouth to put it out.

These days they are made of ceramic or cement and some are guilded. The largest roof top tiger fish, on a temple, is over 2 metres tall.

I see that Japanese rooves are teaming with fish symbols. There are also the fish gable end ornaments, just below the peak called "cast fish" (gegyo 懸魚), and Skipjack tuna poles (Katsuogi 鰹木) pointing upwards from the ends of shrine and temple gable peaks. The "cast fish"gable ornaments, were, like the tiger fish a form of sympathetic magic to encourage water to fall or be cast upon rooves in the event of fire. It is claimed that the skipjack tuna poles (katsuogi) on shrine rooves were an architectural reinforcement that merely resembled skipjack tuna.

Sympathetic magical thinking - that like attracts like - is popular in Japan. For example guests not meant to mention "parting" or "returning" at Japanese weddings since the utterance of these words is said to encourage the parting of the couple or returning (to the parental home) of the bride. So I do not doubt that part of the reason for these various types of fish being on Japanese rooves is by their association with water, which occupants hope would put out fire.

However, I think that I also once heard a theory that the shape of Japanese shrine rooves was related to their having originally been made by overturned boats. That may be related to the presence of water barfing tiger-fish on their ridges.

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Thursday, April 02, 2015


Almost No Show of Hands in Japan

Almost No Show of Hands in Japan

The founder of the Panasonic corporation claimed that the reason why putting things to a vote was unpopular in Japan, and the emphasis on consensus, is not because the Japanese are sheep who feel the need to move in a heard, but conversely there are always so many big egos that would be offended if their faction lost the vote (Tanisawa, 1995, p60). Vote made visible, by a show of hands or by standing up, are only very rarely used, and never in any Japanese committee meeting that I have attended. To lose, and lose visibly in this way would be for the Japanese extra specially painful and ego-damaging because the Japanese are who they see themselves to be.

パナソニック株式会社の創業者・松下幸之助は、欧米人と比較して日本人の方は自尊心があまりにも高いとする稀な見解を示した。松下によれば、欧米と違って民主主義的な多数決が日本人に馴染まない理由は、「全員の自尊心を満足させなければならない。自尊心が日本人ほど強いと、多数決は絶対に成立しない」(谷沢永一, 1995, p60)。ましてや、挙手投票や起立投票は私が参加した日本の会議では使われたことがない。自分が自分を見る存在は自分自身ですので、目に見えてまけるというのは特に痛くて「顔がつぶれる」と感じられるであろう。

MEPs vote by show of hands by European Parliament, on Flickr

谷沢永一. (1995). 松下幸之助の智恵. PHP研究所.

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Graven Images as Expressions of Self

There is a strong tendency even among psychologists, to believe that the visual is presentational and external and therefore not really pyschological in the same way as linguistic thought.

There is no denying that the visual is external. The environment in which we were raised (Mori's fields and mountains), our faces or mask (Watsuji) are on our outsides as well. To say that the visual is psychological is not to deny its exteriority, but to assert the following:

1) One can imagine oneself and world of vision in ones psyche. This is obvious
2) In order to imagine oneself one needs the viewpoint of an Other who is physically external but simulated within the psyche.
3) Language likewise requires an other interluctor, who is external (or should be!) simulated within the self.

I think that the horror that (3) entails - that they are sharing their heads with someone, something else - is so great for atheisits at least, it tends to be rejected, or concealed behind claims of a metaphysical presence of "ideas," or "meanings."

Once one can accept these three assumptions however, it is clear that visual expressions are equally psychological and of self. In this video I introduce the dolls made by my wifes mother to express her aspirations for her granddaughters - things like health, wealth, happiness and a happy marriage - throught the use of graven images. In Japan I believe that these expressions are felt to be "paired-images" (guuzou,偶像) or like words, authenticopies of the aspirations which they represent. These are not worshipped in the same way as a Catholic worships Yahweh, but regarded fondly, important, and sincere. As such I think that they fall under the definition of graven image as defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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Honest Japanese, Proud Americans?

Honest Japanese, Proud Americans
In linguistic scales of self worth, such as self esteem, Japanese are inclined to rate themselves on average a little above the median point of the scale. This is to be expected if they are rating their worth honestly and accurately.

The above results show the self-esteem distribution of Japanese (who have never been abroad, since just visiting the west is inclined to inflate pride) and for North Americans (Canadians, I believe a US sample would be even more extreme). In the USA the only population that evaluates themselves realistically are the clinically depressed (Taylor and Brown, 1988).

When Japanese are asked to rate themselves using manga - a visual test of self worth - there is a similar self-evaluation distribution to Americans, quewed towards the positive, boastful side of the graph.

The above image is reproduced without permission from pages 776 and 777 from Heine et. al. (1999). I am always quoting this research so I felt that it should be viewable on the Internet, as it already is in pdf form but, I will cease and desist immediately should you require m(_ _ )m.

Heine, S. J., Lehman, D. R., Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1999). Is there a universal need for positive self-regard?. Psychological review, 106(4), 766.
Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1994). Positive illusions and well-being revisited: separating fact from fiction.

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Myself Vs Others Scale: Japanese for the Win

Myself Vs Others Scale: Japanese for the Win

The "Me versus Others Scale" (Campbell, et al., 2004) shown above (without permission) is a non-verbal measure of self-importance which is found to correlate positively with entitlement and narcissism. More than one paper on narcissim, that uses the scale on US subjects does not however mention the median score on the scale.

In fact among US subjects, which contain a lot of Western style  - I would say verbal/linguistic - narcissists (Twenge & Campbell, 2009), the mean score is only 4.15 (Piff, 2014) just a fraction higher than the fourth picture, in which the self is shown to be the same size as others. How can this be?

Japaense usually rate themselves at a similar just-above-the-middle point in linguistic scales of self-worth such as the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale (Heine, et. al. 1999). I predict that if given this test, the Japanese will rate themselves at approximately where Americans rate themselves on verbal scales, at the boundary of the upper 4th quartile, at about the 6 on this scale.

Please try it on your Japanese friends and family. My informant scored a six.

Campbell, W. K., Bonacci, A. M., Shelton, J., Exline, J. J., & Bushman, B. J. (2004). Psychological entitlement: Interpersonal consequences and validation of a self-report measure. Journal of personality assessment, 83(1), 29-45. 
Heine, S. J., Lehman, D. R., Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1999). Is there a universal need for positive self-regard?. Psychological review, 106(4), 766.
Piff, P. K. (2014). Wealth and the Inflated Self Class, Entitlement, and Narcissism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(1), 34-43.
Twenge, J.M. &  Campbell K. W.(2009) The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement,  Free Press.

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Hanae Mori's Colours are Herself

Hane Mori s Colours are Herself

Hanae Mori is the most famous female fashion designer from Japan. Her book (1993) "Fashion – A Butterfly That Flew Across the Border" starts by describing how she flies to Paris for the haute culture collection season and gives orders to an ingratiating French designer, so I thought it might be a series of brags - like my blog - but in fact the book and her life is strikingly humble.

The book ends (in the penultimate section) with some observations on Japanese culture, such as that it is a blend of other cultures and that it aims at simplicity (kanso). Ms. Mori's book also has a lot to say about colour and contains the following passage, moving at least in the original.

"The things that we experience in childhood become attached to our person. They become a part of us. For example, seeing some colour it is not that I recall some scene from my past. It's like, "My green is that green." Sometimes it is the colour of rice fields, at others that of mountains. But it is not that I am recalling them, rather those things from my childhood are the basis upon which I build my life." (Mori, 1993, p17)

Having a narrative self means that we do not narrate a something else but we are created through the act of self narration. Hanae Mori's colours are part of herself, and the basis from which she creates herself.

Mori, H. (1993) "Fashion – A Butterfly That Flew Across the Border" 森 英恵.(1993).ファッション―蝶は国境をこえる. 岩波新書.

Original quote

Mori's text continues
Today, fashion has become integrated into human lifestyle (lit fashion has become human living the very thing). Fashion makes our lives more luxurious and fun. For this reason the way in which humans coexist with nature is the basis of my work. I am faced with the profound realisation now that, even when involved in fashion design, I am at real advantage as a result of having had close contact with nature and the passing of the seasons during my upbringing.

And all this time I had been thinking that "humans coexist with nature" ("ninngen ga shizen to kyouzon suru") meant simply not dropping litter! The Japanese co-exist with nature in a far more radical way, and this informs the way in which Japanese designers see fashion as life. Living in the visual world entails the radical coexistance of human life, nature and clothing both of which go to form the self as visually experienced rather than narrated.

Image Hanae Mori by Justine C., on Flickr

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Izanami, Self-Esteem and Japanese Birth Rate, Fail

Izanami, Self-Esteem and Japanese Birth Rate, Fail
In Japanese mythology the primal female, Izanami (top left), "the female inviter", who together with the primal male, Izanagi, created the first entities - the islands of Japan, mountains and finally fire, at which point she died and went to the underworld.

Such was her partners mourning, he spoke to himself liberally, that he decided to go to the underworld to get her out. Despite her warning he looked at Izanami, and saw that she was dead! This should not have been a surprise, but he was horrified and fled. Izanami gave chase and the two parted at the gates of hell with the following promise.

Inazami: "If you trap me in the underworld with that rock I will kill 1000 children a day"
Inazagi: "I will make 1500 parturition huts (where japanese women go in myth and relatity to give birth)."

Like the myth of the Fall, in Genesis, this creation myth has a taboo (on birth hence the "parturition huts" rather than fig leaves hiding sex) and explains the origin of death, the seperation of two worlds, and the beginning of going forth and multiplying.

The Japanese population has increased ever since, until, five years ago, when in 2010 it started to fall. It occured to me that Izanami must be out and about. But I did not know what that might mean.

More recently I have tended to believe that these primal females that are shut in caves, hell or our breasts, are the interluctors that some Western psychologists and philosophers claim underpins the narrative self. I met her a long time ago, in a brief moment of psychosis and presumed it was only me. Still more recently I have seen that Freud and Derrida are hinting at the same structure. It is not only me. Izanami is listening to everyone who talks 'to themselves'.

Who was she? Izanami helps her partner drip brine from his "pond lance" to create the first "self-stiffening" island. She accepts (but must not give) invitations to sex. When she invites the results are disasterous, so she just says yes, "Ah! what a fair and lovely man!". Izanami affirms. Until that her partner realied that she was dead, Izanami made him feel really good about himself. She completed him. Izanami is the great male-ego-massager.

This is what the narrative self does for you. Our self-narratives allow us to spin self-evaluations in a positive direction, and in the West this tendency has spun out of control (Twenge & Campbell, 2009; Ehrenreich, 2009). While there are still lots of people with low self esteem the USA, and they are maintaining the birth rate, it has been pointed out that self-esttem correlates with low teen pregnancy, (Mecca, Smelser, & Vasconcellos, 1989), high use of contraceptives (Ager, Shea, & Agronow, 1982; Cvetkovich & Grote 1980: Herold, Goodwin, & Lero 1979; Hornick, Doran, & Crawford 1979: see Mecca, Smelser, & Vasconcellos, 1989) and the singles culture that has exploded since the 1960's and 70s in the USA (Twenge & Campbell, 2009) . .

A Japanese television presenter (Hasegawa, 2014) has made a similar claim regarding the declinging birth rate in Japan. "The decline in the Japanese birth rate does not stop because young people love themselves more than raising children." (日本の少子化が止まらないのは、若者が子育てよりも自分のことが大好きだから).

The opinion of one commentator is all very well but what about hard research?

Nagahisa, Kashiwa, (2003) gave adult married women a questionnaire about how they felt about their lives containing containing 21 questions (Table 3, p 42 bottom three factors shown), upon which they performed an exploratory factor analysis to see which items grouped with which others. They found that there were four main factors in the womens lives which they named (reordered to match Table 4)
1) Satisfaction with husband
2) Satisfaction as parent.
3) Satisfaction with self
4) Impatience and disillusment with own individuality.
Unfortunately for my theory, self esteem correlates positively, and self-dillusionment negatively with satisfaction with parenthood. My hypothesis was not upheld. I thought that hypothesis may have been supported when I first started writing this post since the factors are ordered diferently in Table 3 and 4 in the original paper.

Still the paper tested satisfication with parent child relationship and not the intention to have more or less children. I shall have to do my own research. The prediction is that self-esteem will be related to sexual self-worth (see Anderson, 1990) rather than as valuations of and as a parent. It is probably more appropriate to investigate Japanese male self esteem and desire for children.

The Japanese have been pushing self-esteem on their children since the 1990s. They now have a large sector of their population that not only see themselves positively (in the usual Japanese autoscopic manner) but narrate themselves positively as well. As Hasegawa (2014) says, these hybrids are unliklely to want involve themselves in childrearing.

Ehrenreich, B. (2009). Bright-sided: How the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America. Macmillan.
Hisanaga, Kashiwagi (1999) 永久ひさ子, & 柏木惠子. 成人期女性における資源配分と生活感.教育心理学研究 Vol. 47 (1999) No. 2 p. 170-179
Hasegawa, Y. 長谷川富.(2014).日本の少子化が止まらないのは、若者が子育てよりも自分のことが大好きだから. Blog post.
Mecca, A. M., Smelser, N. J., & Vasconcellos, J. (Eds.). (1989). The social importance of self-esteem. Univ of California Press.
Jean M. Twenge, W. Keith Campbell (2009) The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement,  Free Press.

The "pond spear" of Izanagi and Izanami is usually translated as jewelled spear from a reading of the 沼 character used in the Kojiki to mean jewel. But the Kojiki rarely uses characters phonetically alone unless it says so ("these three characters should be read phonetically") so the lance was jeweled and one from a bog or pond. Weapon's entering a reflective pond, is repeated in the next section of the Kojiki when Susano'o meets Izanagi's replacement above the "well in the middle of heaven" and allows his sister to chew up his sword and spit it into this new pond.
Much of Japanese mythic creation takes place over water often dripping upon them. I think that this is an attempt to illustrate the "contradictory" (Nishida) looping of the klien bottle of the visual self. For that which sees, consciousness, to see itself, the face in the mirror must at the same time cover it, become it. So Japanese heroes and heroines, and the first person of Japanese songs, are often crying, spitting, and dripping impure symblos above mirrored surfaces.

Jean M. Twenge, W. Keith Campbell (2010) The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement
At the same time that the interest in self-esttem and self-expression ramped up, the culture begam to move away from community-oriented thinking. As Robert Putnam showed in his bestseller, Bowling Alone, membership in groups such as Kiwanis, the PTA, and even bowling leagues began to decline in the '70s. Personal relationships showed similar trends. The divorce rate skyrocketed, young people began tomarry later, and the birth rate plummeted. Singles culture, practically nonexistent in the 1950's and 1960's was all the rage, with singles only aparment complexes springing up and disco rooms full of gold-chain wearing bachelors and young bachelorettes trying not to spraing their ankles dancing to "Stayin Aliv" in four inch platform heels. A few other atuhors have also pegged the roots of the narcissim epidemic to the 70's..."the "Me" Decade"

Four of the five studies investigating the association between selfesteem and contraceptive use report similar findings: low self-esteem is associated with less frequent or less sustained use of contraceptives. ...No study demonstrates a link between low self-esteem and effective use of contraceptives.

Ager, Shea, and Agronow 1982
Cvetkovich and Grote 1980
Herold, Goodwin, and Lero 1979
MacKinnon Self-Esteem Scale
Hornick, Doran, and Crawford 1979
Rogel and Zuehlke 1982

high self-esteem has been associated with effective contraception primarily for white adolescents, thereby limiting the applicability of these findings to other groups. Nevertheless, there is sufficient correlational evidence to further consider a possible causal link between self-esteem and contraceptive use.

Males become sexual predators whose self-esteem rests on mastering women, maneuvering them to relinquish sexual favors without commitment or support from the man.35 A male's status will actually be enhanced to the extent his mastery of women allows him to parasitically draw economic and material support from them.
Elijah Anderson, Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1990), pp. 112-119.

Self-esteem, values called tools to help curb teen pregnancy.

Dr. Adamu: Giving them information on how to control their reproduction and get health care - and that there is a choice - empowers them and gives them the self-esteem to choose the number and the spacing of their children.

Dr Potts: If you respect women and give them a choice, they will tend to have fewer children.

日本の少子化が止まらないのは、若者が子育てよりも自分のことが大好きだからフリーアナウンサ 長谷川豊

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.