By Takie Sugiyama Lebra
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This most up-to-date paintings from Japanese-born anthropologist Takie Sugiyama Lebra is the 1st ethnographic research of the fashionable jap aristocracy. demonstrated as a category first and foremost of the Meiji interval, the kazoku ranked at once lower than the emperor and his relatives. formally dissolved in 1947, this team of social elites continues to be typically perceived as the Aristocracy. Lebra received access into this tightly knit circle and carried out a couple of hundred interviews with its contributors. She has woven jointly a reconstructive ethnography from their lifestyles histories to create an intimate portrait of a distant and archaic world.
As Lebra explores the tradition of the kazoku, she locations each one topic in its old context. She analyzes the evolution of prestige limitations and the quintessential position performed by way of outsiders.
But this booklet isn't easily concerning the elite. it's also approximately commoners and the way each one stratum mirrors the opposite. Revealing formerly unobserved complexities in jap society, it additionally sheds mild at the common challenge of social stratification.
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Additional resources for Above the Clouds: Status Culture of the Modern Japanese Nobility
Only at the end of the fieldwork did I risk the impersonal method of mailing questionnaires, and I later learned that some of the recipients were upset and angry. Establishing rapport was less difficult than finding informants—not so much because I shared the Japanese culture or because of my Gakushuin connection, but because I was a status outsider. I could act like an alien anthropologist by assuming the role of a culture learner from a native teacher-informant. To create such a relationship I always introduced myself as a person of peasant origin and stressed the status irrelevance of my Gakushuin background.
Kiyomori operated within the existing imperial court hierarchy, became chancellor (1167), and mimicked the Fujiwara by marrying his daughter to an emperor. He was the first kuge of warrior origin. The next military dictator, Minamoto Yoritomo, opened a new era (1192) by establishing in Kamakura, away from and in parallel with the imperial court of Heian (Kyoto), a warrior government, the bakufu—an institution that would also be perpetuated until the Meiji Restoration, though under different families.
To adjust this inconsistency the Tokugawa resorted to marriage politics, giving their women to some of these powerful tozama families and granting the name Matsudaira to eleven such daimyo (KK 1966, 46). This compromise on the part of the Tokugawa reveals that what counted most was the daimyo’s political and economic power over his domain, measured by koku of rice assessed in taxes. House status, by comparison, meant much less, unless bolstered by affluence. In sharp contrast were the circumstances of the kuge, a pitiful lot indeed if we apply the daimyo standard of koku to assess their status.
Above the Clouds: Status Culture of the Modern Japanese Nobility by Takie Sugiyama Lebra