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05 - Ethnic Families in America (Elsevier, 1998, 1976)

Page history last edited by 林彥廷 10 years, 4 months ago

05 - Ethnic Families in America. (Elsevier, 1998, 1976)

Morrison Wong,“The Chinese American Family”, 

Harry Kitano,“The Japanese American Family”. 




作者以Nakane (1970) 的研究為基礎,提出了 ie (家庭)和 enryo えんりょ (讀 en li o,日文漢字寫作遠慮,意近中文謙遜)兩個極重要的傳統觀念。 ie 是日本人成長的核心, enryo 則是待人處事最重要的準則。日本傳統文化隨著移民來到美國,隨著環境也有了新的變化。



Of the many ethnic groups discussed in the volume, one of the most stereotyped is the Japanese American.


one of the basic reasons behind the facile generalizations remains the overall ignorance about this ethic minority population. 


These were conditions faces by most groups, and if these were the only problems, then the history of Japanese might be similar to those of other immigrants.


Early History

Although there is evidence of Japanese in America prior to 1890, the significant immigration occurred after this date.


Most settled along the Pacific Coast and founds employment as laborers, especially in California agriculture.


The American-born children of the Issei, called the Nisei, were generally born between 1910 and 1945 and were primarily products of the American culture.


Role of discrimination

It would be difficult to ignore the role of discrimination when discussing the history of Japanese American. 


The hostility against the Japanese was constant, harsh, and relentless.


Although the Japanese faces many barriers, the discriminatory laws were the most damaging.


World war II set the stage for a final solution to the "Japanese problem".


The group has made rapid progress since that time.


Japanese Culture

Prior to any discussion of the Japanese American family a brief analysis of the social structure in japan must be presented.


However, Nakane (1970) provides a number of concepts that describe the Japanese social strcture in a fashion that Japanese Americans will recognize even today.


1. Japanese membership is by situation rather than by qualification.

2.The "ie" or household unit is the most important frame for early socialization and upbringing.

3. The power of the group is one of the strongest elements in the Japanese system.

4. The Japanese system encourages loyalty to one "frame".

5. Rank and status are determined primarily by age, sex, and order of entrance, and the period of service, as contrasted to a model that rewards competence, additional traing, or efficiency. 


One term that describes this relationship is oyabun-kobun, literally, of parent to child.

It is similar to the master-apprentice or tutor-learner models, and appropriate reciprocal behavior is expected from the respective parties.


The identification of rank and status within the frames is important because they determine the type of expected interaction within the unit.


There have been changes in Japan since Nakane presented her framwork, but her concepts remain helpful in explaining much of Japanese behavior, which appears contradictory unless placed in such a perspective.


This system encourages high in-group unity and cohesion but a general isolation from other structure.


Cultural Continuity: Japan to America

The family unit survived in modified from in the early Issei era.


"Good" Issei families provided an enriched cultural background for their children (e.g., Japanese language schools, music lessons) and attempted to teach proper role behavior, homemaking, and other skills that would be a reflection of their ability to socialize desirable Japanese American.


The emphasis on adapting to a smaller, ethnic world has long been a part of the Japanese American system.


One common complaint of the more acculturated Japanese American woman relates to the limited world of her male counterpart.


There are other ramifications in settling for a smaller world.


The influence of the Japanese culture was especially strong among the Nisei.


ENRYO. Since the majority of Japanese immigrants came from the middle and lower classes, most were aware of their power positions in the Japanese social structure.


Enryo was one of the important norms in shaping Japanese behavior. The norm is related to power -- how the "inferior" was to behave to the "superior" through deference and obsequiousness.


Enryo helps to explain much of Japanese American behavior. As with other norms, it had both a positive and negative effect on Japanese acculturation.


Enryo also meant that if one were in a superior or more powerful position, one could behave accordingly.


In the family, the paternal position was associated with power and its privileges.




Family characteristics




Family solidarity






Comments (1)

林彥廷 said

at 11:40 am on Mar 30, 2012

Chinese American VS Japanese American: In Family

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