A Lifetime of Memories: Studying with My Family in Japan

Open to the Public
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Popper room
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 5:30pm
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

"I noticed recently that I have been working in Japan for a little more than 40 years, which is more than half of my lifetime, so I thought I would offer the audience in Budapest a quick resume of the personal side of my work. As an anthropologist, my fieldwork – that which we carry out in the country we choose to study -- is dependent on good relations with the local people so the professional actually depends on the personal, and the story of my memories will at the same time bring much about my findings in Japan to the audience as well.

When I first went to Japan in 1971, I was studying the Japanese language, and I lived in a house with young Japanese people who became my friends and with some of whom I have kept in touch ever since. We have grown up and grown old(ish) together so we have shared our experiences of moving through the various stages of life as we have made them. I have also carried out fieldwork in Japan several times, including twice with my two children, and for periods with my husband, all of whom brought a different dimension to my ability to do good research.

I propose in the lecture to show something of the two places where I have done the longest periods of fieldwork, to illustrate the economic base of life in those places, and to introduce some of the local people on whom I depended for cooperation. I will try at the same time to show how rural life differs from urban life, and how social relations are worked out in each of two communities. Since I will be covering a period of 43 years altogether, the lecture will also demonstrate some of the extraordinary change that Japan has witnessed in that time."

Joy Hendry is Professor Emerita of the Social Anthropology of Japan at Oxford Brookes University, founder of the Japan Anthropology Workshop and the Europe Japan Research Centre, which she also presently directs, and a Senior Member of St. Antony's College, University of Oxford.

She was educated at Kings College, London University, and at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, and has held visiting associations with the Tokyo University and Keio University in Japan, the CNRS in Paris, the University of Melbourne in Australia McMaster University, in Hamilton, Canada and Otago University in New Zealand as well as shorter visits to the Institute of East Asian Studies, the University of Vienna, Ludwig University of Freiburg, Charles University, Prague, and the University of the South Pacific, in the Cook Islands.

Joy has carried out long-term fieldwork in Kyushu, the southernmost island of Japan and in a seaside town some two hours south of Tokyo, and visited several other sites in Japan and other countries for her fieldwork. Her publications include Marriage in Changing Japan, recently reprinted by Routledge, Becoming Japanese (Hawaii University Press, 1988), Wrapping Culture: Politeness, Presentation and Power in Japan and Other Societies, Oxford University Press, 1993; The Orient Strikes Back: A Global View of Cultural Display Oxford: Berg, 2000; and Reclaiming Culture: Indigenous People and Self-Representation, New York: Palgrave, 2005, as well as several editions of textbooks on Japan and Anthropology. Understanding Japanese Society (Routledge 2013) recently came out in a 4th edition, put together with the help of some of her (ex) students, and has been translated into Polish!