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Amae: Japan’s deep connection to childish relationships

thomas

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The BBC on amae, a concept that does not seem to be unique to Japan.


Power sharing, babyish begging or narcissistic manipulation, amae can be all this and more, and chances are you’ve done it too.

Amae appears in any relationship, at any age, and can be positive or negative,” says Kazuko Behrens, who has extensively studied amae in both her native Japan as well as in the US, where she is an associate professor of psychology at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “It’s unique in Japan because one word takes care of so many phenomena, behaviours and interactions”, from a toddler crying to be picked up to a wife begging her husband for an expensive gift, “but amae exists everywhere beyond Japan and people can identify it in their lives, even if they didn’t know what to call it.”

 

Buntaro

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Hey Thomas, have you read The Anatomy of Dependence by Chie Nakane?
 

musicisgood

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Amae, never heard of it. But I just learned something about "soft power". Interesting.
Thanks Buntaro, book sounds to be interesting.
 
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thomas

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Hey Thomas, have you read The Anatomy of Dependence by Chie Nakane?

Not yet. I have read Doi Takeo’s book by the same title (?), but that was over 20 years ago. Time to reread on the topic, thanks!
 

joadbres

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There does not seem to be any such book by that title written by Chie Nakane. Nakane wrote Japanese Society. I think the two are being conflated here.
 

Buntaro

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I have read Doi Takeo’s book by the same title (?), but that was over 20 years ago.

Oops, I got two books mixed up.

The Anatomy of Dependence by Takeo Doi

Japanese Society by Chie Nakane

I consider these two books to be essential to anyone who wants to understand Japanese society.

Thomas, I also read both of them many years ago.
 

Buntaro

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I want to add that Dr. Nakane was/is a giant in the world of Women's Lib in Japan. She was quite a role model back in the day.

"In 1970, Nakane became the first female professor at the University of Tokyo, where she served as Director of the Institute of Oriental Culture in 1980-1982. She was also Professor at Osaka University and the National Museum of Ethnology and Visiting Professor at Cornell University in 1975-1980. Nakane retired from the University of Tokyo in 1987.[4] In 1995, she became the first and only female member of the Japan Academy."

 
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