A Comparison on Japanese and Americans Psychological Anthropology

Psychological anthropology investigates the psychological conditions that encourage endurance and change in social systems, with the goal of better understanding the relationship between culture and the individual (Alten, 1998). Psychoanalysts like Freud and Erikson were among those who led the development of this concept.
 Learning anthropology is never wearisome task. Its different disciplines and aspects keep a dedicated learning moving and wanting to learn more. For certain, a little amount of sacrifice helps. One who studies anthropology should set aside his or her biases in order to fully understand the culture of a certain civilization. Being judgmental could lead to the discrepancies of reporting observations, but scrutinizing every detail is very important.
This paper was done to make a comparison between the psychological anthropology of the Japanese and Americans and to recognize how their personalities and identities were formed and shaped within their cultures. The first thing done was to examine their traditions through various life cycles, both male and female.
Japanese were always believed to have a very rich cultural background, which is evidenced by their artifacts, language, religion, art, and national pride. In fact, the study made by Eiko Kato-Otani in 2004 entitled Story Time Mothers Reading Practices in Japan and the U.S. reveals that Japanese mothers reported reading more folklore, and considered this an opportunity to teach important cultural values and discipline. This shows that Japanese are very conscious about their behaviors in developing interpersonal relationship with other people. They are trained with gestures, the way of bowing, and even the way how they should make payments in stores. They also have a clear description of what is respectful and what is not.

Japanese people have a deep attachment to their traditions. Even until now, you can see Japanese wearing kimonos (Japans national costume) when at home. Their rich language is also respected. In buses and other public places, you can see them reading books written in their own language. Their custom of respecting the elderly is still observed, and also their beliefs that they should be hard-working in order to achieve success in life, and should maintain health and cleanliness within themselves and in their surrounding. They are also conscious of their reputation in their society. Some of them commit hara kiri, a ritual suicide self-disembowelment on a sword, when they cannot accept loss or their reputation is destroyed.

On the other hand, Americans are very famous for their impact on globalization. They are up-to-date with technological advancements and researches. Their national pride lies on their ideals, customs, beliefs, values, arts, sports, fashion, and most especially, on their innovations, which developed vial colonization and immigration of people from other countries. Their culture is a mixture of conservative and liberal elements.

Their freedom of expression is very much observable in all types of media. Freedom can also be seen when young adults (18 years old and above) are allowed to live an independent life from his or her parents. Another proof is the allowance of same-sex marriage and of first-degree cousins in some states. Americans can also file for a divorce through a legal process. And for the elderly, they can be sent to nursing homes to be taken care of health providers.

With these two contrasting cultures, it is no wonder why Japanese people have developed and maintained their close family ties. Though Japan also has many innovations when it comes to technology, they still observe their rituals and customs. This may be the reason why their culture is not lost nor changed even with the mixture of the cultures of people who prefer to live in their country.

The progress of Japan is faster if compared to some of the countries surrounding it. This may be because of their hard work, patience, and dedication to their work. Their love of nature and cleanliness led them to become advocates of many organizations whose goal is to protect the earth and also to become more nature-friendly, which can be seen through their inventions.

Americans can be seen as ambitious, technology-dependent, fast-paced, always wanting to improve and to prove that they are better than the rest, and to help other people in need of their assistance. This could be brought about by their colonist-European side.

The United States of America may have influenced almost all countries of the world with its modern form of entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle. Their country may seem to be the most perfect place where you want to achieve success in life. But this, in turn, attracted many people from other races to migrate to their country, which led to the diversity of cultures there.

Different people have different ideologies. They may argue because of those. But when one tries to delve deeper, that is to understand the cultural background of the one he is speaking with, then there might be a better chance for them to be in harmony. Learning other peoples traditions, beliefs, customs, and rituals will enable one to widen his or her perspective about life, and not to change it. This will make us better individuals who want to make a difference by understanding the facts about life and to grab every good opportunity that comes our way.


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