Contents Acknowledgments vii Chapter 1 On the Anthropologist and Her Subject 1 Chapter 2 Japan and the Ama 17 Chapter 3 Kuzaki: Making Place and Identity 49 Chapter 4 Organizing the Village: Dökyüsei,the Kumi-ai, and the Nifune Festival 74 Chapter 5 Keeping the IeAfloat: Part 1. Diving and Women’s Rituals 100 Chapter 6 Keeping the IeAfloat: Part 2. Fishing, Tourism, and New Year’s Rituals 131 Chapter 7 Elders and Ancestors: Making and Becoming 167 Chapter 8 Ritual, Gender, and Identity 198 Notes 217 References 231 Index 245.
Acknowledgments Abook this long in the making owes debts to many people and institu- tions. It would be wrong to begin this long list of thanks without acknowledging the greatest debt of all: to the people of Kuzaki who took me into their midst in 1984 and put up with me during fourteen months of ﬁeldwork and various return visits afterward. They bore my presence and queries with endless patience and good humor. On my last visit, all my div- ing friends and informants, especially, were pleased to see me properly set- tled with, ﬁnally, a family—they never nagged me about the lateness of the book. Also endlessly supportive while I was in the ﬁeld were my Tokyo Uni- versitysupervisor, Prof. Itoh Abitoh, and my informal sensei,Prof. Kurata Masakuni, who took me to Kuzaki for the ﬁrst time in March 1984. My time in the ﬁeld was made possible through a Monbusho Research Fellowship as part of the Oxford-Tokyo Student Exchange Program; the period spent writing up my dissertation was supported by the Philip Bagby Studentship at the Institute of Social Anthropology, Oxford. Throughout that time I also received support from my former partner, Matt Hohenboken.
CHAPTER 1 On the Anthropologist and Her Subject I n May 1984, during the ﬁrst few weeks of ﬁeldwork in Kuzaki, I stuck close to the grandmother (öbäsan) of the ﬁshing and diving household that had taken me in. Through her I began my participation in family and commu- nity life: I cleaned ﬁshing nets in the morning, helped with the drying of sea- weed, went to the ﬁelds with her afterward, chatted with her as she prepared meals, sat with her by the television while she repaired nets or supervised the three children of the household, and took her cue about when it was my turn to enter the bath. Along with what at the beginning seemed to me to be impenetrable monologues on Kuzaki history and gossip, she taught me the correct greetings and responses to the family and outsiders. It seemed my Japanese was much too polite and Tokyo-like for a community as close- knit as Kuzaki, where “ohayo gozaimasu”(good morning) became the much more breezy and informal “hayai desune” (lit., it’s early, isn’t it?) or even “hayai ne?” People of the same generation also referred to each other by a nickname (aishö),generally consisting of part of one’s ﬁrst name and the affectionate sufﬁx chan. Thus the grandmother was bä-chan to most and Ki-chan (short for Kisa) to the women of her own age.
CHAPTER 2 Japan and the Ama Where could they be going at this time, in the wrong direction? Catherine wondered. Was it perhaps signiﬁcant that two anthro- pologists, whose business was to study behavior in human soci- eties, should ﬁnd themselves pushing against the stream? She hardly knew how to follow up her observation and made no attempt to do so, only asking herself again where they could be going. Curiosity has its pains as well as its pleasures, and the bitterest of its pains must surely be the inability to follow up everything to its conclusion.
CHAPTER 3 Kuzaki Making Place and Identity I n contrast to the associations with the term “ama,” being identiﬁed as someone from Kuzaki was straightforwardly a matter of pride. Not every- one in the community had been born in Kuzaki—in 1984–1985 there were many women who had married into the village, and not a small number of men who had done the same—yet the idea that life could be better any- where else was only ever put forth by some of the unmarried young men and women. Most older and married villagers agreed that Kuzaki was a nice solution to the problems of life in modern Japan: You could work in the city, Toba, which was not too bad—not as inhospitable and impersonal a place as, say, Tokyo—and continue to live securely in a small, traditional commu- nity.Even disgruntled young men who worried about meeting girls had to admit that it was possible to have some sort of social life, without parents overseeing every aspect of it, by simply getting into a car or on a motorbike and going to Toba. “No one ever goes hungry in a place like this,” I was told more than once. “In the city if you lose your job, that’s it—you could be on the streets, family and all. Here, there is always family to help and work to do, even if it is only farming and ﬁshing.” Thus it could be said that community solidarity remained strong. There was little population loss due to urban migration: Kuzaki was politically part of a city. Young people did move away, of course—there had always been migration into and out of the village. But the possibility of inheriting a large house and owning some land was better for those who stayed behind, so young people who could ﬁnd jobs in Toba usually stayed and commuted.
CHAPTER 4 Organizing the Village Dökyüsei, the Kumi-ai, and the Nifune Festival I n the last chapter, various divisions of age and gender that were central to Kuzaki life were referred to; all of these divisions are brought together in the household, or ie.1 Legally, the ie—as a patrilineal and multigeneration cohabitating entity in which the Confucian ideals of the young obeying their elders and women obeying men were upheld—was abolished by the new constitution of 1947. By dismantling the basic unit of production and repro- duction—which in prewar nationalist ideology had been linked to the emperor, who was portrayed as the nation’s father—it was hoped that more democratic forms of life would be easier to adopt. Yet the ie as an ideal still lingers on in modern Japan. In rural areas and among some business fam- ilies, it remains the basic unit of production and an important part of eco- nomic organization.2In Kinship and Economic Organization in Rural Japan, Nakane describes the ie as the “most important structural element in the analysis of kinship and economic organization in rural Japan” (1967, 2). For Kuzaki in the mid-1980s, I would go further and say that the ie remained the basis for village social, political, and religious life.
CHAPTER 5 Keeping the IeAfloat Part 1. Diving and Women’s Rituals W hen introducing themselves, almost everyone in Kuzaki added which iethey belonged to, referring to the household by its shop name. The use of these shop names indicates how strongly the iewas still perceived to be an economic as well as a kin unit. Almost every village household still retained the shop names that they used before the Cooperative took over the marketing of the ie’s produce. Under these names—generally com- posed of a favorite Chinese character around which the names of most of the men in the family were constructed and the word “ya”(shop) added— a household would do business. Many households also had a sign (shiru- shi)associated with it, and all their equipment was marked with the iesign.
CHAPTER 6 Keeping the IeAfloat Part 2. Fishing, Tourism, and New Year’s Rituals A s previously noted, ﬁshing and running inns or working in the tourist industry were not the only economic strategies open to men in order to help support their households. Yet for many Kuzaki men, the transition from poor ﬁsherman to comparatively rich innkeeper was an important goal, and other jobs—in construction or public service—were considered a poor second. Fishermen and innkeepers were seen to be alike: In both, men felt they were their own bosses, even if they were dependent on the vagaries of the outside world; both were jobs that involved the whole ieand not just one member; and both allowed a man to take part in wider village life. The transition from one to the other seemed a natural progression.
CHAPTER 7 Elders and Ancestors Making and Becoming T his is a good point to review some facts about the concepts of making and becoming. In Japanese, the use of the verb “to become” (naru)as an auxiliary verb in the inﬁnitive is quite common: It is becoming spring (haru natte imasu);a person is in the process of becomingan adult (otona natte imasu);one has becomenothing—a polite euphemism for being dead (naku narimashita). The verb is both a polite way of making statements about states of reality and/or being—rather than the harsher phrase forma- tion that indicates something or someone issomething (desuor iruor aru, which are used also)—and perhaps a way of indicating that life is abouta continuous process. In talking about differences in Japanese and Western attitudes toward the dead, I have heard various Japanese friends and students argue that it is this notion of process—of becoming—that is a key difference between Japan and an undifferentiated West.1While this approach ignores the vast array of practices to do with the dead in the West, there might well be a ker- nel of truth in relation to an idea of self. As much of Western discourse talks of the adult self as a fully formed entity, then it is this self that endures (or not) after death in heaven, hell, or purgatory. In Japan, the self is always in the process of becoming, and this process continues after death. This is not the paradox it might seem, for in many uses of the verb“naru” there is the implication that the process is brought about through action either of the self or something or someone else. To have become angry often implies that a person was made angry. In relation, then, to human life (and death), “to become” is often part and parcel of having been made (tsukuru).2 Living humans are not passive in this process; they have agency. The dead, how- ever, must be helped to become nothing.
CHAPTER 8 Ritual, Gender, and Identity She turned a page at random. “It would, however, be dangerous at this stage to embark on any extensive analysis . . .”, she read. “Oh, what cowards scholars are! When you think how poets and novel- ists rush in with theiranalyses of human heart and mind and soul of which they often have far less knowledge than darling Tom has of his tribe. And why do they ﬁnd it so difﬁcult to begin or start anything—they must always commence—have you noticed?” —Barbara Pym, Less than Angels T he last chapter ended with what was a deceptively neat model: the ways in which the different and complementary abilities of men and women are used in Japanese ritual. Women can deal with the wild, the unfettered; after all, they socialize children. Men maintain the boundaries between the wild and the social. Women can cross these boundaries, calling the dead in, for example, or moving from being an outsider to an insider in the house- hold, in a way that most men don’t have to. Men are, despite their promi- nence in the public outside, of the inside, of the patriline. This is not nec- essarily a new observation about women in Japan; they are after all polluted creatures, menstruation being an old and powerful source of pollution in Japan. And Buddhism was no kinder to women in this regard than Shinto- ism or Confucianism, although Shintoism appears to have respected women for the power that the ability to pollute conferred on them. It is probably no coincidence that women become more important in public ritual, in the household care ofthe dead, long after they cease being fertile.