In Search of Identity

The Japanese Overseas Scholar in America and Japan


John W. Bennett, Robert K. McKnight, and Herbert Passin

In Search of Identity was first published in 1958. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Educated Japanese have been faced with a basic ideological problem emerging out of their country’s modernization program. They have had to declare themselves on the great issues involved in their nation’s planning: West versus Orient, democracy opposed to autocracy, individualism versus collectivism. To the individual this ideological debate became a search for identity, and it is this problem, the search for identity, that forms the background of this book.

The authors report upon a cross-disciplinary study of the Amerikaryugakusei – “those who study in America” – in the historical context of the modernization of Japanese society and Japan’s cultural relations with the United States; they describe and portray the experiences of the individual Japanese student on the American campus and back in Japan; and they analyze the adjustment of the Japanese student to different cultural environments.

One group studied included Japanese students who were enrolled at two American universities. Another group consisted of Japanese who had returned to their homeland after their American education. The study is concerned, not with education per se, but with social and psychological aspects of the educational experiences.

This is the fourth in a series of monographs resulting from a program of research sponsored by the Committee on Cross-Cultural Education of the Social Science Research Council.

John W. Bennett was a professor of anthropology at Ohio State University. He is the author of, Of Time and Enterprise: North American Family Farm Management in a Context of Resource Marginality (1982) and co-author (with Iwao Ishino) of Paternalism in the Japanese Economy: Anthropological Studies of Oyabun-Kobun Patterns (1963), both published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Herbert Passin, an anthropologist, was a member of the Congres pour la Liberte de la Culture in Paris.

Robert K. McKnight was an anthropologist with the U.S. Department of the Interior in the Trust Territory of the Pacific.

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