Sociology of the Japanese, by the Japanese, for the Japanese: A short history of unintentional indigenization of sociology in Japan

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Abstract

The majority of Japanese social scientists have treated the idea of indigenization of social sciences as unrelated to them. However, sociology in Japan also has its own characteristics shaped by the structure of the Japanese society. Since long ago, Japanese sociologists have tried to analyze the unique characteristics of Japanese society and published numerous books on this subject for the Japanese public. Even their eagerness to introduce Western theories of sociology was an integral part of this effort to elucidate Japan’s ‘uniqueness’. The fact that Japan was not colonized and managed to develop an extensive domestic education/labor/language/publishing market played an important role in this predominantly domestic focus of Japanese sociology. The specific nature of the domestic public demand also contributed to this situation. Although it has been gradually changing since 2000s, this autarky resulted in a weak presence of Japanese sociology in the global academic community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-696
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Sociology
Volume36
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sep

Keywords

  • Indigenization
  • modernization
  • publishing market
  • speech act

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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