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By Wittgenstein Ludwig

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As Moriguchi and Hamaguchi indicate, Benedict showed Japanese scholars that the ‘anthropology’ of the everyday patterns of behaviour—rather than the more serious study of culture—could be an interesting and acceptable approach in Japanese studies (1964:659). In addition to The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, there are a series of works Japanese thinkers produced to identify the peculiarities of Japanese social culture and to characterise them as feudalistic obstacles to the democratisation of Japan.

The sense of difference of the Japanese from the others (Westerners) in the prevalent discussions of Japanese uniqueness has been basically that of horizontal difference or difference in kind. ) Many of the nihonjinron of the 1970s have presented the image of the Japanese as simply being very different without explicitly claiming superiority, though some literature has discussed the strengths of Japanese society, as will be seen in detail in chapters 7, 8 and 9. The important point to be noted here is that explicit claims of Japanese superiority have not been so common as nonJapanese readers, who may equate the Western style of racism with race thinking tout court, might have supposed.

Both cases are typically those of ‘primary’ or original nationalism which is concerned with creating a nation and/or ‘nation-state’, rather than ‘secondary’ nationalism which preserves and enhances national identity in an already long-established nation. In fact, most of the literature on nationalism focuses on primary nationalism. Limiting our discussion to primary cultural nationalism, we may make two further generalisations. Ideas of national distinctiveness 33 The first of these—and our second broad generalisation—is that the examples suggest a tentative answer to the question with which we shall be concerned in the rest of this study: to what extent ideas of national distinctiveness are formulated on the basis of a nation’s historical memory, and to what extent on the spatial boundary differentiation of ‘us’ and ‘them’.

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