Gift-giving in Japan: Cash, Connections, Cosmologies
Stanford University Press, 2003 - 235 pages
Gift-giving is extremely important in Japanese society, not only at personal and household levels, but at the national and macroeconomic levels as well. This book is the first in English to document the extraordinary scale, complexity, and variation of giving in contemporary Japan.
Gift-Giving in Japan is based on eighteen months' fieldwork in the Tokyo metropolitan area, as well as short-term research in other parts of Japan. The core of the study is the experience of family representatives of different ages, classes, genders, occupations, neighborhoods, and religions. The author also interviewed experts, including the author of gift-giving etiquette books, Buddhist and Shinto priests, department store and funeral home employees, and workers at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market. She participated in neighborhood festivals, election rallies, house-building rites, and other ceremonies of which gift-giving was an integral part.
Recent anthropological interest in drawing a strong contrast between commodities and gifts both reflects and reinforces the conception of the gift as part of the giver and the related distinction between the realm of the gift and the realm of the marketplace. The author argues that Japanese practices of giving and receiving challenge assumptions related to this idea of the gift.
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amount ancestors auspicious baby bamboo bowl branch families bride Buddhist altar cash celebration ceremony Chapter chocolates Christmas cycle daugh daughter death deceased decorations department store dolls Edo period envelope example exchange female festival flowers gave gift-giving gifts given giver giving and receiving glutinous rice gratitude groom guests Heian period hierarchy Hoshino’s household husband incense money Inoue Inoue’s Ishiyama Sho¯ji’s Ishiyama’s father Japan Japanese katsuobushi kiku no sekku kimono ko¯den living main family male marriage Meiji government Mitsukoshi miyage mother Nakasendo nako¯do neighbors odd numbers offerings one’s parents person Photograph by author practices of giving present recipient red beans relations relatives return gifts rice cakes rites rituals sake seasonal sekku Shinto sho¯gatsu shrine son’s spirits superiors symbolic Tanabata Tanabe tatemae tion Tokyo Ueda Ueda’s Valentine’s Day Warabi wedding White Day wife woman women wrapped Yanagita Yanagita Kunio Year’s deity
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