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The “National Character”

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Chapter Summary

Serious academic inquiry into the relationship between culture and personality began before World War II, when the United States was anticipating conflict with Japan, and decided to investigate the nature of its potential adversary. Alex Inkeles has examined how modernization impacts on a nation's personality and its ways of thinking and how it transforms the people in developing countries into "modern men". In the middle of the twentieth century, David Riesman proposed a model of social transformation and national personality change in three stages of society and character. Deviance is a word with judgmental connotations. From a sociological perspective, the term "deviance" refers to a violation of norms on a behavioral level. There have been a number of descriptions of Japanese national character, which again, inevitably help to form a certain stereotypical image.

Keywords: Japan; national character; social transformation; United States; World War II



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