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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.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Freud In Japanese

Freud In Japanese by timtak
Freud In Japanese, a photo by timtak on Flickr.

Freud's triparite division of the pysche into the super-ego ("over I"), ego ("I") and Id ("it"), translated into Japanese.

I believe that this tripartite division of the self applies to the Japanese too, but some (e.g. Kishida Shu) believe that the Japanese do not have a supereg. Not being a monotheistic society, and being instead collectivists, the Japanese equivalent of the super-ego is other people. Instead of guilt (or fear of god 対神恐怖症) the Japanese have social phobia (fear of other people 対人恐怖症).

Still others (such as Dov Cohen) claim that the Japanese have an even greater tendency to see themself from the position of a generalised other (Mead's version of the super-ego) and conversely that this suggests that they are collectivists.

I claim that the Japanese super ego or generalised other is alive and well. It may be a litle weaker, or softer than the Western version. It may be more granular or polytheistic, but that it exists in, or watching, "the imaginary" as represented by the dancing fat lady and the eyeballs in Kyari Pamyu Pamyu's video. For this reason I have added a red eyeball, not in Freud's original diagram.

The Japanese do not share their psyche with a listening father, but with a watching mother or perhaps even a watched mother, まぶたの母. I need to think more about this latter point.

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