Cover of Unmasking Japan by David Matsumoto
Unmasking Japan
Myths and Realities About the Emotions of the Japanese
David Matsumoto


200 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804727198



The last twenty years have seen a growth of fascination with the Japanese, and the emergence of Japan as a world economic power has stimulated many works that have attempted to understand Japanese culture. The focus of this book is not on Japanese culture or society per se: rather, it is on how Japnese culture and society structure, shape, and mold the emotions of the Japanese people. All cultures shape and mold emotions, but the degree to which Japanese culture shapes emotion has led to several misunderstandings about the emotional life of the Japanese, which this book attempts to correct.

Describing the findings of over two decades of research, this book persents the Japanese as human beings with real feelings and emotions rather than as mindless pawns caught in the web of their own culture. In the process, it unmasks many myths that have grown up around the subject and reveals important similarities as well as differences betweeen the emotional life of the Japanese and that of people of other cultures.

Given our increased theoretical understanding of Japanese culture and society, we are now better able than before to link culture with individual behavior and emotions. Owing in part to the advancement in methods of examining emotions scientifically, the study of emotion has gained considerable standing in the scholarly community, and systematic research on emotion in Japan has produced a substantial body of knowledge that lifts what was previously unsubstantiated speculation to well-accepted facts.

The author's work has been an important factor in this growing field, as his research in Japan has spanned a wide range of topics on emotion, with in-depth assessments of hundreds of individual Japanese living in various areas of Japan. In the present work, he also addresses the fact that many studies of Japanese culture hold to a single point of view—sociological, anthropological, or to a lesser extent sociological. In response, he integrates these three points of view in a new theoretical framework for understanding Japanese culture.

About the author

David Masumoto is Professor of Psychology at San Francisco State University. He is the author, most recently, of Culture and Psychology.