CHARLES PACKARD

CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 206Z

MICHAEL McCRATH

May 27, 2009

 

 

 

CHANGING JAPAN

 

BY

 

EDWARD NORBECK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHO AM  I?

 

Name of your group:

            My name is Kunistugu Taguchi and I’m from Nagasaki, Japan.  However, I was born in occupied China during World War II December 18th, 1943 before Japan unconditionally surrendered after two nuclear bombs were detonated over Hiroshima and where a majority of my lineage was located, Nagasaki City. 

            My father who was a keisatsu kan (police detective) traveled to Santon Sho, China before I was born, as he was investigating war crimes.  He resided with my mother before his trip in the urban area of Nagasaki City but they had to come back to Japan and settle in the rural area of Nagasaki prefecture as Nagasaki city was completely destroyed.  We settled in Yukinoura, Nagasaki prefecture when I was almost 2 years of age and it’s about an hour train ride from ground zero.  According to Edward Norbeck, author of “Changing Japan” we are considered commoners (1965).  

 

 Physical setting where you live:

            I am the only son of four children and spent most of my free time fishing in the Japan Sea.  Life was pleasant in the rural village and my mother never had to work; however, later on for extra money for college, I had a part time job working on a local farm.  (Norbeck, 1965, p. 3)  My father quit his job in the police force and decided to become a farmer.  My father, Minoru Taguchi traveled by train for nearly 45 minutes from the village to the recovering city conducting business with friends he knew before the atomic bomb hit Nagasaki City, later he purchased land 3 kilometers from ground zero.  We had enough money to shop in the village and eat well.  My mother Shino had a garden and grew an assortment of vegetables but spent her time as a homemaker.   

            We grew up in an old traditional home, nearly 100 years old.  We had no running water unlike most Americans did and required a well.  Likewise, we had a benjo (out house) instead of a bathroom inside the home.  Our home was single story with three separate bedrooms.  My sisters Shigeyo, Mizue, and Yumiko shared one room and I was fortunate to have my own room.  We slept on the floor using Futon, padded mats, not like the western world using bed mattresses and our meals were served on a low to the ground table called a kotatsu in the combined living room and dinning room.  We had electricity in our home growing up, and our kotatsu had a heat lamp in the center for winter and fall usage when it became cold. 

            We had no heater in the home or air conditioning, but we did have a refrigerator for storing perishable food.  In the center of the home was a special area called butsudan which is a small shrine as we are Shinto Buddhist.  Close to our home was an Ohuro, a kind of small hot tub but bigger than western bathtubs where we heat the water using wood and bath every other day.       

            We then moved to Ohashi, Nagasaki when I was 5 years of age where I lived until 18 years of age.  My father paid in cash for all his homes as he had much wealth being the last of the Taguchi family.  The house was closer to ground zero and I got sick for a year and the doctors did not know why.  Also, my parents had a sixth pregnancy during the time we lived in Ohashi and the baby boy died, possibly from the radioactive debris.  Our house was much more modern then the old home in Yukinoura.  It had the same amount of rooms and layout but had running water and plumbing.  Also, the Ohuro was heated by natural gas that we filled about every three months.        

Explanation of culture’s social structure:

Due to the war and aftermath of the A-Bomb, most of my family was vaporized like my grandparents and father’s whole family except for one younger brother who was in Tokyo at the time of the bombing.  Before then, my grandfather was served as the honke, (Norbeck, 1965, p. 4) the richest and most powerful of our patrilineal lineage, but now the family group has been altered due to war.  My father remembered what his father’s aspiration was before and after the war, which was to construct a preschool which my father later honored his wishes.  When my father, Minoru, returned with my mother and me they had a little money but the loss of wealth and family history was great.  My grandpa and his home and all of the family’s wealth were vaporized.  Minoru Taguchi had to start over again, like many other families who lost their families after the bomb.

Most Japanese worked from Monday to Saturday and spent time with their family on Sundays but rarely did we go to the Buddhist temple for our religious believes in Shinto like Western World who attends church in the morning every Sunday in Christian based religions.  We prey to seven gods in Shinto every day.  The most important gods are Kojinsama; welfare for community and illness, Toshigamisama; for security of home, Ebisusama; for good fortune.  The less important gods are Daikokusama, and the god for the well and the toilet are very old as Japan becomes more modernized with plumbing and running water.  (Norbeck, 1965, p.46, 47, 49)  My father and mother like many Japanese have a shrine in their home and they prey every morning before working, and likewise with me, before school and my sisters.  Japanese culture has consumed the practice of self worship into their private homes and keeps in touch with the taboos of the society based on ancient Shinto rites. (Norbeck, 1965 p. 47)  

 

Degree of your technology:

            Japan was a good competitor before and after World War II in industry.  In 1868 it was estimated that 85% of the population of Japanese worked in agriculture, and after 1945 about 50% and then dropping about 2% a year to now less then 30% of the population working in agriculture.  (Norbeck, 1965, p. 3).  Japan in the 60’s was becoming more advanced in electronic solid state technology than America.  For example, most Japanese households have color Televisions and more superior stereo equipment than the western world. 

                                    Japan is a nation of mass communication, second only to the United                                                 States in the number of television sets owned by its citizens.”

                                    “Outstanding contributions to international knowledge in physics,                                                     medicine, nutrition, agronomy, and other fields of scientific research.”

                                    (Norbeck, 1965, p. 1)

Japan however is not able to create weapons, like ICBMs, worships, or fighter jets due to the agreement signed after the unconditional surrender or form an army.  Japan is now working on its own cars but has not yet set up a market in the United States or abroad except for the Korean War which Japan build trucks for the war effort.

                                   

MY LIFESTYLE IN GENERAL

            I took the admission exam for just one college in Tokyo and passed.  After graduating from the private High School, Nanzan, at 18 years of age in 1961, my father gave me money for Chuo Daigaku (Central University) in Tokyo and a small apartment as at that time there was no such thing as a dormitory for school.  It was a culture shock compared to Nagasaki due to the amount of people traveling from place to place on trains, subways, buses, bike, taxi, and foot.  It took some time to get used to this very busy city which glowed at night with neon lights (Norbeck, 1965, p. 64) like an American city Las Vegas.

            My major was economics and I decided to get a part time job to help my father who is paying for tuition, food, and the apartment also for an upcoming trip to America.  Because the city of Tokyo is becoming more congested there is opportunity for part time jobs to push people into the trains and subways during rush hour and my class schedule allows me to work part time during the rush hour between 3 PM to 7 PM. (Norbeck, 1965, p. 16) 

            For my free time at the University and after my part time job, I got together with my fellow male students and we drank sake and beer.  I started the habit of smoking tobacco, cigarettes.  Now two years have gone and now it is time for me to apply for a passport and travel to the United States to study abroad. 

            For the second year studying, I took several classes teaching English which was extremely hard to speak.  Pronouncing “l” and “w” was the hardest but I was able to read English and write.  I have a passion to see Seattle and Washington State which I heard is very beautiful.  I would like to hike Mt. Rainer like I did in Fuji Yama close to Tokyo.   

 

ONE PARTICULAR ASPECT OF MY LIFESTYLE

            The institution of religion compared from Shinto-Buddhism in Japan to Christianity and Catholicism in America will be possibly difficult to lose solace which is very important for me.  There are no temples or people who worship Buddha and definitely no Shinto temples near Seattle.  Therefore, “ancestral spirits might cause harm to me or my family if not cared for”.  (Norbeck, 1965, p. 45) 

            However, there is hope; I heard about China Town in Seattle, a city within a city, for the minority group of Chinese.  The current Chinese beliefs are different than Shinto but it was traced to ancient popular Chinese beliefs.  (Norbeck, 1965, p.46) 

                              “Throughout, the acceptance of Western as well as Chinese culture resulted in                            assimilation that had a distinctively Japanese cast.”  (Norbeck, 1965, p.10) 

            Then there is the possible problem with the religious groups that exist in Seattle that might want to convert me to Catholic or Christian like the missionaries that came to Japan way before 1941.  They might say that I will burn in hell unless I convert my religious beliefs to theirs. I might lock myself away into my dorm every Sunday as that is the day American religious groups’ worship.  In addition, my dorm will be shared by most likely a native when I attend the State University of Washington and that person might be very religious and not understand the small shrine that I will bring with me from my apartment in Tokyo.

            Also, America is involved with another War, Vietnam and there might be a problem with prejudice and I know I will be expecting discrimination on campus as most Caucasian can not distinguish between Asians like Vietnamese in the current war being fought in Vietnam, Koreans in the past Korean War, and Japanese from WWII and then there is a question of prejudice.

MOVING TO THE UNITED STATES     

            August, 22nd 1963 I departed from Tokyo to Seattle and it will be my first country visited ever.  I will be staying in the United States for one year working on my undergraduate major in economics and learning English and culture. The first stop was in Honolulu for six hour lay-over before the plane takes off to Los Angeles.  I left the airport after going through customs and explored the soundings and noticed how older Caucasians and Hawaiians starred me with prejudice as it was only 22 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

            The trip from Hawaii to Los Angeles was long and once the plane landed and we got off, I had to wait for an hour for the final stop in Seattle.  Flying from Los Angeles to Seattle was amazing as I watched the landscape from my window seat.  I was impressed by the size of this country and the beauty of it.  When we reached in air over Oregon, the captain said that is Mount Hood, then we reached Washington, and he mentioned more mountains, St. Helens, Adams, and Rainer.  I was shocked by the number of mountains so large and close to each other.  I can’t wait to possibly explore the big one, Mt Rainer. 

            It took me awhile to call a cab as my English was poor, but I wrote down the address of the University of Washington dormitory which I already paid for a whole year a head a time.  The elder Caucasian cab driver asked me where I was from and then I replied, Nagasaki.  He then said, “I didn’t know there was any body left after the bomb.”  He then helped me with my luggage and told all sorts of things which I couldn’t remember as he was being over friendly about the war which I was to young too be apart of.

            I did not know that I was sharing my dorm with another student but I felt that was ok, maybe I can learn more English skills and culture from the person.  My dorm mate was a fellow named Peter Packard who talked a lot and very fast.  I was afraid of prejudice from my experience of Hawaii, but now everyone I met in Seattle are extremely nice and my fear now is not being able to listen to every word for my lack of English.

            Classes were extremely hard and I required a lot of help from my roommate who also did not get bothered by me praying every morning with a small shrine which I brought with me from my apartment in Tokyo.  Fall semester was almost over and my fears of not being able to worship and prejudice was null so far.  Peter invited me to his parent’s home for what is called Thanksgiving.  His mother and siblings really enjoyed talking to me about Japan, however his father did not say a word and I felt uncomfortable with him, like the feeling I felt in Hawaii.  Maybe it was because of the assassination of the president?  Peter told me that his father is a republican but that was not the reason.  Peter told me he was ready to fight Japan before the unconditional surrender. 

            The semester ended and everyone in school went to their homes to celebrate Christmas, I stayed in the dorm.  When Peter came back, he told me that you should try skiing.  I was afraid because it was a long way from campus and I never tried skiing.  It was a long trip over a snow covered highway 2 to Steven’s Pass.  They had three chair lifts at the time and Peter was much better then most of the people who were skiing also.  It was fun and I was able to learn how to “snow plow” which is how to stop. 

            Afterwards, we drove back and went to a family restaurant in Monroe and sat with two other friends Peter knew that were skiing with us.  When an older Caucasian waitress was ready to take our order she told us that I can’t eat in this restaurant.  This was a shock to me as so far in Seattle, I only had good rapport with everyone except Peter’s father.  This is the first time I experienced discrimination. 

            I talked to Peter about this and then asked questions about discrimination of Chinese who have a portion of downtown Seattle to themselves and then the blacks whom I seldom see at the University.  I explained to Peter that in Japan we have a group of people that look just like Japanese but are discriminated by the rest of the society named buraku. (Norbeck, 1965)

            The winter semester is almost through and it’s ready for spring but before I return to Tokyo to graduate, I need to explore Mt. Rainer.  Peter told me that he needs to work at the railroad the next week after classes are finished, as his parents are not paying for his tuition and due to the Vietnam War, if your not enrolled in college you can be drafted.  Therefore, I need to plan this last trip well. 

            To not deal with discrimination from the towns away from Seattle, I made bento boxes (lunch box) for us.  Peter asked me if I want to drive, but I never learned how in Japan which is opposite from driving in America, therefore I declined the offer.  When we arrived on the mountain, there was a little snow on the trail and people were friendly.  I did not experience discrimination. 

            Peter also had his cousins; the Loves join us who were wonderful people.  His Aunt Pam and his uncle who is a Judge in Bellevue an urban city near Seattle talked to me the whole time.  I know at this time in history, the discrimination from past wars and racism of Asians due to the current war would make it hard to find employment that pays well in America.  Now with my English skills and bit of culture of America, I will be more valuable asset in Japan and will ignore the bit of discrimination that I experienced. 

FUNCTIONAL/DYSFUNCTIONAL CHART

COMPLEX ‘DISCRIMINATION’

 

FUNCTIONAL

 

manifest

latent

Sociological

1

4

1

3

 

3

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psycho-

2

3

2

3

Biological

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DYSFUNCTIONAL

 

manifest

latent

Sociological

1

4

1

2

 

5

6

4

5

 

 

 

6

7

Psycho-

1

3

1

3

Biological

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FUNCTIONAL EXPLANATION

1 – A shared power of the society which is discriminating another group.

2 – Self-worth feeling being greater than discriminate group

3 – Warning for group if being discriminated for their boundaries of danger.

4 – Opportunity to focus on school work being locked down to campus than doing free time non related to school activities. 

5 – Possibly better school work and exam, quiz tests etc.

                                                 DYSFUCTIONAL EXPLANATION       

1 – Low self-worth psychological.

2 – Poor test scores and work.   

3 – Enhanced flight/fight stressors causing medical problems, lack of sleep, diet, etc.

4 – Due to fear, missing out of exploration of new areas and experiences.  

5 – If learning Language in environment which discriminates, prevents one to learn. 

6 – Less Power and subornation of culture to group.  

7 – Then if the subordination group grows in a discriminated place that group becomes a distinctive identity.

8 – The element racism will follow with distinctive identity and violence can turn to serious injury to death. 

ANALYSIS OF FUNCTIONAL/DYSFUNCTIONAL CHART

            Prejudice as an institution of thought and being a complex of doing which is discrimination is harmful in many ways as I listed in the Dysfunctional/Functional chart.  In the functional portion, 1, 2 and 5 is the only benefit, the two first being if you are the portion of the one who is discriminating kind of like a fascist view and you feel good sharing that with your group.  Number 5 is the only positive portion I think as being locked-up able to read and study but not good if you’re trying to learn from the environment.  Then 3 is for survival which visiting other country which are less complex or have hatred toward your group.

            I was able to come up with more dysfunctional explanation then functional.  The opposite of the psychobiological functional as being low self-worth and flight/fight stressor causing issues a person to not be well mentally or physically.  In addition, since this is 1963, the issue with being injured or killed by having a distinctive identity, kind of like possibly being black but the person in question is Asian which is probably worse than being black in 1963 during the Vietnam War, as racists or people that discriminate are ignorant to distinguish between Asians nationalities, like Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, etc.   

            I listed sociological problems with lower test scores and then if your were just a student and your goal was to learn as much as you can in the culture missing out of learning in number 4 due to being afraid to leave ones dorm or travel into the city.  I tried to imagine myself going to school in Beirut on this one.  Then I tried to imagine myself being my grandpa who was known as bigot and discriminated people when he owned his own insurance company.  In this paper, I made it clear my grandpa or Peter’s father made Kunistugu feel uncomfortable.

 

References

Norbeck, E (1965).  Changing Japan.  Holt, NY:  Rinehart and Winston