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The Anatomy of Dependence

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  180 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
A classic study of the Japanese psyche, a starting point for a true understanding Japanese behavior....
The discovery that a major concept of human feeling-easily expressed in everyday Japanese- totally resisted translation into a Western language led Dr. Takeo Doi to explore and define an area of the psyche which has previously received little attention. The resulting ess
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 1st 2002 by Kodansha (first published 1973)
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Ali Reda
May 06, 2014 Ali Reda rated it really liked it
Doi starts out by making a linguistic relativity hypothesis based observation that any word that exists in one language but cannot be expressed easily in others, refers to a phenomena which is culturally important in culture of the first language, but not so important in the culture of the others which lack a means of its expression. Quoting linguist Benjamin Whorf:

Every language is a vast pattern-system, different from others, in which are culturally ordained the forms and categories by which t
Jan 31, 2008 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: japan, psychology
Those of you who are paying attention might recall that I have reviewed another book by Takeo Doi, The Anatomy of Self, which deals with the problem of how one can live in a society where the primary drive of everyone is to return to the state of perfect peace and dependence that we knew as an infant at our mother's breast. In Japanese, this emotion is called amae and it's one of those great words that can only be imperfectly translated. The image of the baby at the breast is Doi's way of descri ...more
Jul 06, 2009 Lily rated it it was amazing
This book is unique because it has a more Asian-centered POV. Every other one I've picked up immediately smells of something else. At the same time, it also takes the West into account. I don't think I would have found a foothold in it otherwise. It's just that it's not written exclusively for the West; he retains a respect for his native culture and hasn't abandoned the truth for the sake of being more palatable to the American reader.

Although the translator says in the introduction that it's w
The book that got me into Takeo Doi, and by extension cross-cultural takes on clinical psychology. Doi explores the Japanese principle of amae, something universal to all human culture and experience, but only given an explicit name in Japanese language. Amae is related to intimate relationships we form with others, and how those relationships shape our behavior, and more so our total psyches. Doi draws on his own experiences in foreign cultures to define and explain what exactly is meant by the ...more
Michael Pronko
Apr 23, 2015 Michael Pronko rated it it was amazing
This classic work on the psychology of Japanese offers amazing insights to the interpersonal world of Japan. While some readers might feel impatient with the psychoanalytic approach here, the observations and careful connections the author makes are very much on target. Having lived in Tokyo for 15 years, and in China for three, the opening up of the so-called inscrutable mind of Japan shows that they are both unique and people just like everyone else in the world. That balance of uniqueness and ...more
Aug 11, 2012 Noreen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan
One of my favorite words pg 58 Hohitsu: I want someone who would leave me to take responsibility to all outward appearances but in fact would give me advice and recognition. Hohitsu can only be translated as "assist" but implies shouldering all responsibilities while conceding all apparent authority.

There are so many men and managers who want women and staff to "hohitsu" them. You do all the work and take all the responsibility but cede all the recognition and credit to them. "The Help" comes to
Mar 22, 2013 Delia rated it it was ok
The book explores an interesting theory - the term of "amae" and its impact upon the Japanese individual and social psyche - but in my opinion, the arguments are rather poor and undeveloped. It made me think of the saying "when all you have is a hammer, everything around you seems like nails".
Oct 28, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
3.5 but I'm rounding up because of the food for thought it provides.

Things I like:
Doi offers a fascinating examination of the linguistic and social permutations of the amae psychology. Especially well thought out is the chapter on The World of Amae and the ways in which such a mentality informs myriad aspects of Japanese society.

The explanations of, and situations within amae, of terms such as 遠慮、他人,気兼ね、甘んじる,and 身内 which proved incredibly enlightening to myself as a resident, and will no doubt
Sep 22, 2016 Rochelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: society, favorites
This book explains group relations in the context of the Japanese idea of amae, taking others' good will for granted. Doi argues that dependency on others in group relationships in general begins between mother and child, "that even puppies do it." And while in Japan amae is valued between close friends, and even between a leader and her people, in the West it is eclipsed by notions of individualism and freedom of choice.

I do not agree with Doi on all insights, such as that to amaeru is better
Feb 06, 2017 Marci rated it really liked it
First off, providing a star rating was difficult on this particular text. It's my suspicion that whatever issues I have with it are either based on my own upbringing or based on my own lack of understanding as a separate issue. I mean, yes, it's clearly a product of its time, but I can't fault it for that.

I suspect that this is a book I should come back to in a year or two, after the ideas have had some time to settle in my mind, and see how I react to it then. As it stands, I find the core psyc
Aug 09, 2011 Matthew rated it liked it
An interesting book, describing a core aspect of Japanese cultural psychology, encapsulated in one word, "amae". No English equivalent exists, though the title uses the concept of "indulgence", i.e., the desire of the Japanese to be pampered or babied, and/or give such pampering to others.

This was a surprise, considering my own understanding of the Japanese as all business and serious. It turns out that face is designed especially for the outsider, contrasted greatly with deeply intimate friends
Devin Curtis
Jun 10, 2016 Devin Curtis rated it it was amazing
While ostensibly talking about the Japanese psychology Doi essentially adds a whole new component to the understanding of basic human psychology (which was a huge relief to me because this could have easily been another book mystifying/fetishizing the Japanese) His concept of Amaeru being fundamental to human development and it's indulgence or repression being the subsequent cause of various psychological phenomena is well argued almost all of the time. It's a little uneven in spots, but over al ...more
May 27, 2012 Michael rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fascinating. Though I think any critical reader would be skeptical when hearing how many things are to be interpreted as amae, the breadth and depth of Doi's thesis is astonishing. At times it seems the ideas might be better expressed in poetry or drama but really no other form could encompass so much. Jiyo, jibun, giri, ninjo, wabi sabi-Doi interprets everything through the lens of amae. Even when not utterly convincing, his descriptions are eye opening about Japan as well as the uni ...more
Jun 05, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan-nonfiction
Psychoanalyst Takeo Doi describes the foundation of all interpersonal relationships in Japan, which is a concept called “amae”. Doi does an excellent job of describing Japanese terms and concepts that do not exist in a western framework and is careful to note connotations of these words,which may be different from their western counterparts. A must read for anyone interested in dealings with Japan, especially anyone wishing to spend an extending period of time there.
Jan 02, 2009 Jojo rated it really liked it
Took me forever to get through this - required a bit more brainpower than my typical reading material these days (probably more a sad statement on my reading choices than the readability of this book). Very interesting though. It was recommended for me to read before moving to Japan, but I suspect it might be better after I've lived there for a while.
Rebecca Radnor
Aug 16, 2011 Rebecca Radnor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan, anthropology
A must-read for anyone wanting to understand one of the basic reasons why Japanese society is fundamentally different from American -- co-dependent relationships are considered HEALTHY. Once you get that, all the rest of paradigm shifts make perfect sense.
Mark Williams
Apr 02, 2013 Mark Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is THE book to read of you wish to understand the Japanese psyche.
Apr 10, 2011 Phorapheedroll rated it it was ok
Jun 19, 2015 Maggie rated it liked it
I liked his discussion of language, but the philosophy he liked to quote didn't impress me.
Aug 13, 2008 Karen added it
After living in Japan, this book explained a lot of cultural quirks that the Japanese have. I loved it!
Mar 05, 2014 Menthink rated it really liked it
Good insight.
a Japanese reader
Sep 02, 2016 a Japanese reader rated it liked it
The translation was very difficult,though the Japanese original copy wasn't.
Mar 05, 2013 Rufus rated it liked it
this book is referenced in the wikipedia article regarding the japanese hikikomori (shut-in) phenomenon.
Feb 12, 2014 John rated it it was ok
Probably a great book, but not an easy read. Under different circumstances I think I would have enjoyed it much more.
Peter rated it liked it
Apr 24, 2014
Pat Sand
Pat Sand rated it it was ok
Feb 18, 2016
Jay rated it really liked it
Oct 12, 2007
Aaron Benson
Aaron Benson rated it really liked it
Jul 28, 2010
Middlethought rated it it was amazing
Jun 17, 2017
Gary Bourke
Gary Bourke rated it it was amazing
Jul 22, 2016
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“Every language is a vast pattern-system, different from others, in which are culturally ordained the forms and categories by which the personality not only communicates, but also analyzes nature, notices or neglects types of relationship and phenomena, channels his reasoning, and builds the house of his consciousness.” 3 likes
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