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Japanese working class lives: an ethnographic study of by James E.Roberson

By James E.Roberson

This ethnographic research examines the lives of eastern employees in small agencies and research their stories of operating existence, relaxation and schooling. This specific case examine of the Shintani Metals corporation illustrates the ways that staff lives expand past their work.
Japanese operating type Lives presents a useful substitute view of operating existence open air the massive companies. Roberson demonstrates that the japanese operating classification is extra varied than Western stereotypes of be-suited salary-men could recommend.

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Example text

Even though I was told by two of the men with whom I became particularly close that on certain occasions they would forget about my being a (white) American, I was certainly never really thought of, nor came to think of myself, as having become Japanese. Other lifecourse-related aspects of my identity also influenced the fieldwork. 30 Getting there and getting in The two most salient of these were my age and being married. Being in my earlier thirties placed me in an age group at the company where I became more or less naturally categorized together with the younger men and women working there.

In this chapter I want to discuss certain of the personal dimensions of my fieldwork in Japan. Doing ethnographic research, I will argue, critically involves the social implications of the class-, gender- and lifecourse-related attributes of the anthropologist. Introduction to and “integration” into, or being accepted or tolerated by, the group of people one is interested in learning about, and from, can require that the anthropologist cease to be seen primarily as such. Who the ethnographer is perceived to be is negotiated—sometimes contested— during the course of fieldwork interactions and inter relationships.

There was no gold, not even rice—it was rationed, right? Because of that, you couldn’t really do work…. That was, I’m sure, lifted in 1954—so it was all right to use gold. From then it was open and okay to use. After that I built a sales shop in Aoyama. We started the factory in 1952 and already two years later built the sales shop. In 1957 we came to this area…. We advertised for people widely, and then from Tochigi Prefecture, Kawai, Hamabe, Imamichi [of Kinsei Fine Metals] and also Kurosawa who quit last year—those men are all around forty-eight now—those guys, at that time eleven men, responded to the advertisement.

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