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Dialectical Anthropology (2006) DOI 10.

1007/s10624-005-5057-y

Springer 2006

Ruth Benedicts Japan: the Benedictions of Imperialism ELSON BOLES


Sociology, Saginaw Valley State University, 7400 Bay Road, University Center, Saginaw, MI 48710, U.S.A. (E-mail: boles@svsu.edu) Abstract. Critics and defenders continue to debate the meanings and uses of Ruth Benedicts Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture (1946). Recently reporters have used Benedicts ideas to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq, citing, for example, Pauline Kents defense of Benedict published in Dialectical Anthropology (1999; 24(2): 181192). This essay examines the aws of Chrysanthemum and Kents views, including Kents attacks on the best critique of Chrysanthemum to date by Lummis (1981). Drawing from Lummis, it highlights Benedicts radical political transformation during the 1940s, her embracement of U.S. nationalism, and subsequent reversals of her anthropological positions. It shows how in Chrysanthemum Benedict compared nationalist cultures and ideologies rather than ethnic cultures, but demonstrates that Benedicts methodology remained consistent. Finally, it scrutinizes the logic of Benedicts vision and portrayal of Japanese ethnicity as a shame culture and her argument for saving the emperor system and culturally rehabilitating the Japanese.

Inequality has been for centuries the rule of their organized life ... They have denied themselves simple freedoms which Americans count upon as unquestioningly as the air they breathe.Ruth Benedict Perhaps it was the best American liberalism could have produced under those circumstances.Douglas Lummis

Introduction Ruth Benedicts Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture (1946) is the rst major analysis of Japanese culture by an anthropologist and it remains widely read and inuential. Critics and defenders continue debating its meanings and relevance with the unfolding of historical developments, including the Iraqi war and antiJapan riots in China this year. New York Times reporter Alexander Stille mentions Benedicts work to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq and calls for new Ruth Benedicts to help U.S. ocials understand Iraqi culture as Benedict helped them understand Japanese culture. This reference to Benedict to support U.S. imperialism would seem to contradict Benedicts humanism and the liberal interpretations of her work

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by defenders like Pauline Kent whose article in Dialectical Anthropology (DA) Stille cited.1 But there is no contradiction. Benedict was both a liberal and she supported U.S. imperialism. What defenders of Chrysanthemum like Kent overlook is the fact that Benedicts images of the Japanese actually concurred with Japanese militarists own views of Japans culture. Indeed, Benedicts advocacy to retain the emperor system and to save Hirohito from being tried as a war criminal also accorded with their arguments and eorts in 19451946. The similarity of Benedicts views and that of Japans rightists is not only essential for understanding how Chrysanthemum grossly distorted reality, but also for understanding its utility to Japanese rightists after the war. Exempting the emperor from prosecution and retaining the emperor system as a symbol monarchy for U.S. purposes, as Benedict advocated, established a revamped ideological foundation for conservative rule in Japan in the postwar era.2 Former Class A war criminals and their relatives returned to government and have used these symbols to sustain and grow their inuence in and outside the government ever since. In turn, this partly explains the irony of the widespread misperception in Japan of Chrysanthemum as an authoritative account. School textbooks approved by Japans conservative Ministry of Education quoted it for years to inculcate certain political ideas about Japans traditional value system. In fact, Benedict argued that ending military hazing was more important than denying the emperors divinity or eliminating nationalistic material from school textbooks.3 Textbooks and imperial symbols remain a key divisive issue in Japan and East Asia. During the past several years Japans government shifted further to the political right and ocials of Tokyo prefecture red or disciplined hundreds of school teachers for their customary refusal to acknowledge the state anthem and ag.4 In early 2005, the Ministry of Educations approval of extreme rightist textbooks precipitated violent riots in China and protests in South Korea against the whitewashing of Japans wartime atrocities and continued chauvinism. The combination of the textbook controversy and the continued ocial visits by Prime Minister Koizumi to Yasukuni Shrine, where Japans war criminals are enshrined, sent Sino-Japanese relations to the lowest levels since normalization in 1972. Today Japans neighbors openly state their opposition to the countrys bid for a Security Council seat in the United Nations arguing that Japanese leaders have yet to fully acknowledge and atone for Japans past aggression.5 The contrast couldnt be starker between Japans postwar relations with its neighbors

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and Germanys relations with its own as the leader of Europes unication. There is then a parallel legacy of Chrysanthemum in Japan and the U.S. that intertwines their past and current international problems. Stille uses Benedicts thesis about the justice of the U.S. triumph over Japans culture in 1945 to explain the justice of a U.S. triumph over Iraqi culture today. In Stilles Experts Can Help Rebuild a Country, he claims that Chrysanthemum can provide insights into Iraqi culture because the two share a pernicious characteristic. Kamikaze pilots Stille writes, were like todays suicide bombers, symbols of a fanatical culture with no appreciation for the individual.6 In fact, the new Ruth Benedicts he calls for have been constructing just such Orientalist images of Iraqi culture in support of the U.S. invasion. Fox, for example, maintains that American eorts to reform Iraqis may well be impossible because the Western idea of liberal democracy is hindered by Iraqi marriage patterns.7 Likewise, Sailer, in Cousin Marriage Conundrum stresses the incompatibility between Iraqi culture and American values. He argues that we are almost utterly innocent of any understanding of how much the high degree of inbreeding in Iraq could interfere with our nation building ambitions.8 The New Ruth Benedicts views, including Kents, are in fact quite consistent with Benedicts rejection of cultural relativity. Kent specically defends Benedicts on this too, reasoning that cultural relativity would have required Benedict to have respected Japanese culture rather than denounce it.9 Kent thus duplicates a central faulty premise of Chrysanthemum: that Japans culture, as opposed to its government, needed defeating. This essay rebukes Chrysanthemum and Kents analyses. It does so by explaining key parts of the best critique of Chrysanthemum to date, Lummis Uchinaru gaikoku,10 and by simultaneously responding to Kents various attacks on it.11 Lummis critique deserves our attention not only because it is also considered a classic in Japan, but because it is less well-known or available outside Japan.12 Readers of DA should have an opportunity to learn the insights of Lummis critique and the faults of Kents counterattack. An introductory paragraph on each is in order. Lummis Uchinaru is a considerable contribution to the literature on Orientalism. Consisting of three parts, Part One, published independently in English in Japan as Boundaries of the Land, Boundaries of the Mind, explores the literature of Orientalism by capturing the character, mood, and pervasiveness of cultural imperialism in American perceptions

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of and encounters with other peoples.13 It undergirds Lummis critique of Chrysanthemum in Part Two by laying out his running thesis that ordinary people, ction writers, even anthropologists, create images of the Other that both reect and become part of their own worldviews. Part Two, also published independently in English in Japan, begins with Lummis puzzlement upon discovering the defects of Chrysanthemum in light of Benedicts earlier powerful and inspiring writings that militated against the very biases expressed in Chrysanthemum. His critique deepens prior criticisms and seeks to resolve the mystery of how Benedict abandoned her earlier critical approach and reversed many of her views, yet was methodologically consistent. He looks deep into Benedicts past, tracing back the development of her critical understanding of culture to personal experiences related by Benedict in her journal entries, poems, and essays. He shows that well before Benedict began her second career after earning an anthropology degree at age 34, she had abandoned cultural relativism in practice as a strong critic of Western culture. However, in the early 1940s, as the U.S. entered World War II, she dramatically reversed her criticism and squarely attacked the Other culture, the Japanese, and lauded American culture. The basic problems with Kents defense of Chrysanthemum and her attack on Lummis are of two sorts. One sort is an unrealistic defense of Benedict. Kent claims that all critiques of Chrysanthemum over the past 50 years amount to no more than invalid and petty criticisms. They have, like a game of charades, strayed from the facts to take on a life of their own. She argues that One work that has contributed to this charades [sic] is Lummis Uchi naru ...14 However, Kent doesnt review the major aws of Chrysanthemum as Lummis describes them. She thus avoids explaining the content behind the popularity of Lummis critiques in Japan, which she acknowledges only with bizarre qualications.15 The second sort of attack by Kent entails two additional kinds of weak criticism. One kind consists of faulty arguments over tedious details.16 As she attacks, Kent misrepresents even basic facts about Uchinaru in dismissive fashion, claiming, for example, that the rst half of the book is about his travels.17 A tripartite work cannot have a rst half, and although the books rst chapter is titled On Travel, no chapters are about Lummis travels.18 The second kind of non-criticism is the focus of Kents attack, one that creates a highly misleading portrayal of Lummis criticism. It centers on his description of Benedicts past and her political conversion. Again Kent doesnt cite or explain Lummis actual analysis. Instead, she indelicately depicts it as a direct

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personal attack on Benedict the demented poet. Kent claims that Lummis actually writes that Benedict had a schizophrenic personality (Kents quotation). However, Kent provides no citation nor could she because Lummis never uses the term schizophrenic. The quote is fabricated unless Kent implicitly refers to herself, for she uses the term three times in a prior attack on Lummis analysis.19 Finally, Kents indictment contains the kind of calumny of which she erroneously accuses Lummis. She states matter-of-factly what is no more than speculation: that Lummis alleged vilication arises from his feelings of betrayal ... that Benedict had not, after all, presented a true portrayal of Japanese society.20 This essay explains three themes in Lummis critique with additional examples from Chrysanthemum and my own views interwoven, including a fourth section of mine that details Benedicts post-war policy recommendations and how these owed from the premises of her analysis. The following section reviews the underlying methodological problem: that Benedict actually did not compare Japanese and American ethnic cultures. The next section reviews Lummis analysis of Benedicts preanthropological writings; how she developed a critical perspective and a awed methodology. The third section uncovers Benedicts nationalist political conversion in the early 1940s and her poetic portrayals of Japanese ethnicity as a manacle on human nature and as a shame culture. In the fourth section, I examine Benedicts arguments for Japans reeducation and for retaining the emperor system.

The Methodological Problem: What Benedict Actually Described According to Lummis, earlier critics had charged Benedict with portraying inequality in Japan and the ideology of Japanese militarism as integral features of Japanese ethnicity. Watsuji and Tsudas critiques are among the more poignant. Note that Kent contends that no one actually outwardly rejected the tenets put forth by Benedict at the symposium they oered their views at, but in fact, Watsuji did just that.21 With blunt sarcasm he argued: The reader can easily replace all [her] references to the Japanese, with one segment of the military, and when this is done, it is somewhat clearer that this book is about patterns of Japanese soldiers rather than patterns of Japanese culture. But this patterns of Japanese soldiers is still not sufficiently precise. It would be

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best if the book were entitled patterns of the ultra-nationalistic group of Japanese soldiers.22 What in Chrysanthemum led Watsuji to this view? He may have read in the concluding pages Benedicts citation of an ultra-patriots views on Japans hierarchy which she claimed described Japanese society quite accurately. She wrote: The officials who head the hierarchy do not typically exercise the actual authority. From the Emperor down, advisers and hidden forces work in the background. One of the most accurate descriptions of this aspect of Japanese society was given by the leader of one of the super-patriotic societies of the type of the Black Dragon to a Tokyo English-Newspaper reporter in the early 1930s. Society, he said, meaning of course Japan, is a triangle controlled by a pin in one corner.23 To corroborate just such a view, Benedict described and cited ocial Japanese government documents. For instance, she explained that The Japanese have seen the whole problem of international relations in terms of their version of hierarchy ... Their international documents have constantly stated the weight they attach to it.24 As with Watsuji, a number of Benedicts contemporaries in the U.S. recognized right away that she fused rightist worldviews and Japanese folk culture. This includes her colleague, John Embree, the only American anthropologist to conduct eld work in prewar Japan.25 He criticized the national character studies of Benedict and her colleagues Margaret Mead and Georey Gorer writing that: We could not charge the Japanese with racial inferiority, but some American anthropologists could, and several did try to show that Japanese society was not only different from western Europeanan acceptable anthropological propositionbut also tried to demonstrate that their peculiar culture made the Japanese warlike and aggressive as individuals and expansionist as a nation.26 Can Kents claim that Benedict oered an unprejudiced external reading of Japanese culture hold up to the scrutiny of even Benedicts contemporary critics? Or even to Benedicts own statements? Benedict did not speak or read Japanese, never set foot in Japan, and never studied the people of the country prior to receiving the assignment from the Foreign Morale Analysis Division (FMAD) of the Oce of War Information. The essential problem is that she did not recognize

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that Meiji oligarchs decades earlier invented nationalistpatriotic ideology and associated cultural patterns that strongly inuenced the views of the people whom Benedict interviewed and the material she read. Lummis eye-opening information on Hozumi Yatsuka, a chief Meijiperiod fabricator of the mystical familystate ideology, shows that the problem in fact runs much deeper than Benedicts insucient knowledge of Japanese history and language. Educated in Germany, Hozumi won the debates in Japan over the shape of the states new ideology, including moral education taught in schools. In fact, the issue of propagandistic government-approved textbooks dates back at least to 1908 when the government revised Japans moral education texts according to Hozumis views.27 He and likeminded oligarchs transformed previous feudal-state ideologies, including kokutai (national polity)28 and the emperors status, by infusing them with the reinvented and popularized ethic of duty to the emperor (chu) and with reconstituted feudal social values of patriarchal lial piety and fealty. The new hierarchal political system expressed in the ideology of a familystate that placed every Japanese in a relationship of loyalty, obedience, and subordination to the male patriarch of the household, in turn to local and national government leaders, and ultimately to the emperor. As Lummis observes, it was within the context of this new ideology that on, giri, gimu, chu, and the other values which Benedict analyzed took on their new, modern meaning.29 Japanese people had not voluntarily embraced this hierarchal system of values and relations as Benedict stated. Japans modern oligarchy imposed them with constant vigilance against everyday forms of resistance, periodic uprisings, and the squashed Liberty and Peoples Rights movement (18731886) decades prior to the assumption of state power by Japans militarists during the Showa era.30 Thus, as Lummis writes, To a very large degree, what Ruth Benedict extracted out of Japanese society was what the Meiji planners put into itintensied and exaggerated, of courseduring the militaristic period of Showa. It was an orderly and consistent pattern of values because it had been carefully made that way by its fabricators.31 Benedict was not entirely na ve, of course. She openly acknowledged that one reason for understanding Japanese culture was to develop more eective propaganda to ght the war. Naturally, she also recognized that Japans militarist government produced its own propaganda for American and Japanese soldiers and citizens and had manipulated the

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emperors status. Yet she was unswervingly convinced that the family state hierarchy and emperor worship ran much deeper than mere state propaganda. She believed it was a dening and ancient characteristic of Japanese culture. This then is the central premise that she locked onto and never let go. It denes Chrysanthemum. Before illustrating the depth of this problem analytically, Ill raise two more examples of my own to show how strongly Benedict held to this premise. First, as to the antiquity of this culture, when she examined Meiji history she argued that oligarchs had not reinvented or changed Japan, nor even tried to. They did not take their task to be an ideological revolution at all ... It was the opposite of revolutionary. It was not even progressive. Japan remained entrenched in its old ways. Indeed, framing the very purpose of Chrysanthemum, she argued that the familystate hierarchy, emperor worship, and the associated values of Japans shame culture were rooted in traditional Japanese character and it is the chief object of this book to discuss what that character was and is.32 Per Benedict then, Chrysanthemum would show that Japanese hierarchy, inequality, and old and dangerous patterns of aggressiveness, were timeless aspects of Japanese character, not recently engineered and inculcated through propaganda. Second, even though many of her colleagues argued that Japanese soldiers nationalist fervor and devotion to the emperor were actually the products of state indoctrination, Benedict held steadfast to her view and maintained that soldiers attitudes and behavior would most certainly not be explained by the written or spoken word of Japanese propaganda. Here, too, she claimed that soldiers ultra-nationalism was embedded in the rules and values of Japanese culture. More precisely, she argued: The draftees have often been described as coming out of their Army training with changed personalities, as true jingo nationalists, but the change is not so much because they are taught any theory of the totalitarian state and certainly not because of any inculcation of chu to the Emperor. The experience of being put through humiliating stunts is much more important ... These modern Japanese situations in middle school and in the Army take their character, of course, from old Japanese customs about ridicule and insult.33 Here then is strong evidence supporting Lummis contention that the book is essentially the product of a remarkable congruence between

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the Japanese militarist ideology and the complex structure of Ruth Benedicts thought.34 But this congruence is more complex than just this because it results not merely from Benedict mistaking blatant and obvious state propaganda for Japanese ethnic culture. For one, Benedict did not consistently or clearly distinguish nationalismpatriotism from folk ethnicities, a point I will return to later on Benedicts method. My intention here is not to criticize Benedict for failing to consistently grasp this important distinction, but rather to establish that she did not, to explain what she argued and advocated as a result, and to discuss why in Japan the distinction between nationalismpatriotism and folk ethnicity is historically complex. If Benedict was more apt to interpret nationalismpatriotism (stateethnicity) as a folk ethnicity, the distinction was complicated by the fact that state-ethnicity had in fact become a form of culture in Japan just as it had in many states of the modern interstate system. Moreover, Hozumi intentionally designed Japans modern state-ethnicitythe new familystate emperor systemto appear ancient and thus integral to Japans folk ethnicity. It was taught this way in Japans schools and military institutions for generations prior to World War II. This is why, as Lummis explains of Benedicts sources: Her interviewees all knew it well, because it had been pounded into them by a modern, highly organized, state-controlled school system, and by all the other 20th century techniques of indoctrination which the government had available to it. It contained no idea of freedom, because that idea had been intentionally taken out of it. And if Ruth Benedict was deceived into believing that this pattern of values, repeated with such consistency by her interviewees, was Japans ancient value system, that too should not be surprising, since it was constructed so as to deceive the Japanese people in just the same way.35 Japanese scholars make similar observations. The distinguished historian Irokawa, for example, explained how the emperor system gradually became part of the landscape, disappearing into the Japanese environment until people thought it was a product of their own village community rather than a system of control imposed from above.36 Once the reach and scope of emperor system culture in pre-war Japan is recognized, it is easy to appreciate the great irony in Benedicts belief that the ideal authority for any statement in this book would be

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the proverbial man in the street. It would be anybody.37 Perhaps this is what led Lummis to ponder, eventually with surprising results, the background of her interviewees. He writes: It fascinates me to contemplate the relation between Hozumi and the other myth-makers of his time, and Ruth Benedict. Imagine someone raised in Japan in the 1910s or 1920s and given regular lessons in school from Hozumis moral education textbooks. Now imagine this person immigrating to the U.S.A., and then one day being interviewed by an elderly Columbia University professor on the value system of his or her homeland. When questioned by a teacher, one always wants to give the correct answer, and what could be more correct than the answer one learned in school? What could be more natural for Benedicts interviewees than to do their best to recite their lessons to herwhether approvingly or criticallyjust as they had been taught by Monbusho [the Ministry of Education]? (italics added)38 Lummis was more accurate than he knew at the time. In the same issue of DA containing Kents article is Suzukis discussion of Benedicts reliance on Hashima.39 Hashima, an American-Japanese, went to Japan at age 13 for 10 years and returned to the U.S. in 1941. Pulled from the Japanese concentration camps in the U.S., he became Benedicts ocial and most inuential assistant in FMAD as well as a good friend. Lummis interviewed Hashima twice in 1996 and 1997 and discovered that he t the above description almost exactly as he had written it.40 Hashima had not only learned moral education in Japanese schools, he taught it in Japan after earning a teaching degree. Moreover, the bombshell in this discovery is that Hashima also taught Benedict about Japans patterns of values, after returning to the U.S.41 In fact then, he was no mere man on the street. What is puzzling about Benedicts interpretation of Japans stateethnicity as a folk culture is that she had emphasized in earlier works the dierences between the culture and complexity of modern states and that of folk ethnicities. Criticizing Spengler, for example, she had written that, Anthropologically speaking, Spenglers picture of world civilization suers from the necessity under which he labours of treating modern stratied society as if it had the essential homogeneity of a folk culture.42 However, after 1940, she began to commit the very same error. Benedict, began to think of nationalism as a culture no dierent from folk or tribal ethnicity. In an unpublished article of hers written

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circa 19411942, she referred to the great political consequences of nationalism yet, nevertheless, regarded it as a cultural trait rather than a political construction: Nationalism too is a cultural trait which is relative in regard to its functioning. Nationalism is a culture trait which functions in various ways. Our form of nationalism today is disruptive of world order, but the anthropologist cannot be satisfied with nationalism as an adequate explanation of that disruption. He knows that in many societies, intense tribal feeling has functioned to maintain loyalty and cohesiveness.43 Here then we begin to see the broader analytical problem of Benedicts understanding of state-ethnicity as distinct from her lack of familiarity with Japanese language and history. Benedict de-historicized the modern political context that created state-ethnicities (the capitalist world-system) by interpreting them as a cultural phenomena essentially no dierent among ancient tribes than among citizens of the interstate system. To be sure, she rened this view before the end of World War II by distinguishing the fascist form of nationalism in Germany as indeed a political phenomenon, from nationalism in Japan and the U.S. which she continued to describe as a cultural trait. There isnt much excuse for this. Benedicts colleague, Embree, recognized the problematic premise of national character studies, including those of Japan. He also recognized that such views suited the imperialist interests of the allied powers: In much of the character structure writing about the Japanese there is an ethnocentrism which fitted in well with the social needs of the war period during which the scientific conclusions as to their character were made. Racist interpretations were socially as well as scientifically unacceptable at this time but character structure interpretations were all right and served just as well ...44 Given that Chrysanthemum compares Japanese and American stateethnicities as though they were homogenous cultural traits of folk cultures, technically her abandonment of cultural relativity and her bias in Chrysanthemum was not that of ethnocentrism as Embree argues, since she did not privilege her own ethnicity. Rather, her bias was that of state-ethnocentrism, the privileging of U.S. nationalism patriotism over Japanese nationalismpatriotism, as we shall detail below.

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The additional element in this methodological problem is Benedicts de-historicization of value systems through her omission of agency. By omitting the historical role of Japans state and ruling classes from her analysis, Benedict could believe that the national character she described was not socially constructed, but was given, ancient, static, and, therefore, voluntarily embraced. As a result, she developed an ahistorical and circular explanation of hierarchy and Japanese imperialism as products of Japanese culture. This is a point stressed by Minear regarding the national character studies by Benedict and her colleague Gorer. He explains that: wartime researchers into Japanese national character were poor historians. They were insensitive to the historical setting in which they worked and from which they tried to abstract Japanese national character. What is more, most of them came to see their analyses of Japanese national character as an explanation of Japanese history, an answer to such questions as why Japan invaded China and why Japan attacked the United States.45 Lummis encapsulating insight on this point is that hidden beneath the mild and tolerant tone of the book there is an absolutely devastating hypothesis: that it is possible to fully explain the situation of the Japanese nation up to 1945 without ever using the concepts of fascism, totalitarianism, imperialism, social class, or political oppression.46 This is devastating and ahistorical because: It is a picture of total oppression without any oppressors, and without any of the political institutions of oppression ... each Japanese person is his own self-oppressing mechanism ... While in Germany totalitarianism is a particular political system, in Japan it is the foundation of the culture itself. Japanese culture is totalitarian to the roots; it has no other concept or potentiality within it. To be totalitarian and to be Japanese are the same thing.47

Patterns in Benedicts Patterns of Culture The arguments and method of Chrysanthemum seem at rst quite puzzling along side Benedicts powerful criticisms of Western culture in earlier works. In fact, years before her previous career as an English literature instructor she had formed a strong critical view of cultural patterns in general. She also made vivid critiques of her own culture in

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poems published under the pen name Anne Singleton and in her journal entries describing her personal experiences. Lummis traces back elements of her critical view, as well as her discovery of Other worlds of beauty, to her fathers death in childhood and to her mothers ritualized breakdowns and mourning. It is according to Benedict the adult, that Ruth the child experienced great pain from her mothers patterns of depression and for this reason idealized her fathers life as complete and serene. To escape the living nightmare of her mothers ritual grieving and despair she discovered a quiet and peaceful world in the perfected memories of her dead father. In a journal entry written with the insight of adulthood understanding, she reected on these two opposite worlds: the world of my father, which was the world of death, which was beautiful, and the world of confusion and explosive weeping, which I repudiated. I did not love my mother; I resented her cult of grief, and her worry and concern about little things. But I could always retire to my other world, and to this world my father belonged. I identied him with everything calm and beautiful that came my way (italics added).48 She frames these experiences as moments that decisively shaped her outlook on the living culture as negative and the world of the deceased as positive. In fact, she described an Other world of beauty to which she retired as a place of friendly life without recriminations and brawls as the unparalleled beauty of the country over the hill. This is roughly parallel to her adult criticism of her own culture and her fascination with the dying cultures of American Indians. In another early entry written about 1915, she expressed a perfervid skepticism for ritualized behavior in general, whether it concerned mourning or marriage: All our ceremonies, our observances, are for the weak who are cowards before the bare thrust of feeling. How we have hung the impertinent panoply of our funeral arrangements over the bleak tragedy of death! And joy, too. What are our weddings, from the religious pomp to the irrelevant presents and confetti, but presumptuous distractions from the proud mating of urgent love?49 Lummis cites several more powerful examples, including perhaps Benedicts most desperate assessment of the human condition as doomed to unthinking patterns and stagnant character. She writes, The majority are lost and astray unless the tune has been set for them,

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the key given to them, the lever and the fulcrum put before them, the spring of their own personalities touched from outside ... The stench of atrophied personality.50 This horror of pattern, as Lummis puts it, is a consistent theme in her private writings, indicating that Benedict formed a robust cultural skepticism. Lummis paints a portrait of an insightful critic-in-themaking who would extend and deepen the critical spirit of her selfcultural criticism upon writing anthropology. But academia also required her to temper, if not sometimes conceal, her general disdain of pattern and its restrictions on her own freedom. It was, therefore, in her poetry as Singleton that Benedict could fully explore and release her horror of pattern. Clearly, this is not a depiction of Benedict the demented poet or a person with a schizophrenic personality as Kent portrays Lummis view. Lummis actually nds that Benedicts skepticism was a source of personal independence, empowerment, and social critique that became woven subtly into her anthropological writing. He writes, for instance, that Never openly, but in the background there is always the subversive voice of Anne Singleton whispering, Now that you have learned the existence of pattern, surely you never again can allow yourself to be bound by one, can you?51 Parallel to her cultural criticism, Benedict developed an appreciation of beauty and freedom of the Other world. She expressed it in her poetry and by the act of writing poetry freely. Lummis cites Benedicts (Singletons) poems, including Love that is Water, Countermand, and Preference, as clear evidence. These poems suggest a joy in the free will of stylized self-expression. In content, they illustrate a tragic celebration of the free ow of water, re and smoke; as beautiful symbols of ephemeral spontaneity; as struggles for release; as eeting moments of love. They indicate Benedict desired and needed a humanity that liberated people from alienating shackles of cultural orthodoxy, from rote and unquestioned patterns and mores. Ultimately, Lummis argues, these poems are poetic manifestoes of rebellion against the restrictions of the human condition itself.52 Lummis thus observes two contrasting aspects in Benedicts work that would come to characterize the underside of her anthropology: her horror of pattern and her appreciation or contemplation of perfected and poetic visions of strange Other worlds. The pristine images of vanishing cultures in Patterns of Culture, for instance, stand in utter contrast to her poetic criticism of the atrophied personality of living culture. It is in this sense, Lummis argues, that for Benedict:

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Culture Patterns then have a double meaning. When the culture is dead, its pattern has the same beauty that Benedict found in the faces of dead peoplethe aesthetic beauty of something complete, whole, reconciled, and nished. But for the living, the patterns are a kind of death-in-life. They are an oppressive, imprisoning force, and if the living do not struggle to overcome them they will never be fully alive. The living who live only by pattern and custom have neither the beauty of death nor the joy of life; they are in a state of life resembling death, a state of atrophy.53 In this sense, Benedicts studies of Native American ethnic groups can be understood as tributes or obituaries to dead or vanishing cultures for future generations to appreciate. In fact, Benedict was attracted to anthropology in part because she could save cultures from historical annihilation by aesthetically reconstructing and preserving the memory of their exotic patterns for posterity and as counter-examples of cultural possibilities. Margaret Mead, Benedicts younger colleague and onetime intimate, described Benedicts anthropology precisely as collecting masses of vanishing materials from the members of dying American Indian cultures ... fragments of the picture of life that could be reconstructed of earlier days when costume and house, the means of livelihood, and the ways of relating to themselves to one another and to the universe were congruent and esthetically satisfying wholes (italics added).54 In light of Benedicts strong impressions about death and beauty and her escapes into Other worlds, Lummis thus sees a pattern in Benedicts patterns: Dying cultures! It is not dicult to imagine how Anne Singleton might see beauty in this enterprise. Is it not precisely in anthropology that she could make a career of quietly exploring the country over the hill, and contemplating the beauty of the dead? ... The task of the anthropologist is clear enough. It is (as Mead says she learned from Benedict) to rescue the beautiful patterns ... death is precisely what enables the anthropologist to write about it with beauty, honor, and respect.55 Political Education as Anthropology If Benedict found satisfaction in rescuing the beauty and honor of a culture, there can be no doubt that her chief objective was to create

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counter-examples by which she could critique features of her own culture. This and her lucid prose, not the historical facts, are what made Benedicts work so popular. The most scathing of her numerous essays written after World War I in my view is her manuscript, The Uses of Cannibalism. In it she mocked the Wests capacity for total war and asked sarcastically, While there is yet time, shall we not choose deliberately between war and cannibalism? Benedict didnt oer a simplistic answer to this seemingly perverse question. She did not merely state, as Lummis puts it, that these people who you thought to be savages live lives which, by their own standards, are as reasonable and honorable as your own.56 She went admirably further and protested against Western civilization itself. In Lummis words, she argued in eect: See, your own behavior is even stupider, more destructive, and more horrifying than the behavior of savages.57 Clearly, Benedict was politically alienated from modern society and for good reason. Lummis argues that Benedicts interest in anthropology as political education was rooted in a deep hatred of militarism and injustice, and went beyond her role as an academic.58 For example, in Patterns of Culture she contrasted the irrational patterns of daily American lifematerialism, consumerism, homophobiato the seemingly more tolerant, less wasteful and destructive patterns of indigenous ethnic groups. She also expressed dismay over the broader spread of white culture and struggled intensely against racism. Anthropology became an important venue for her cultural critiques because it was grounded in science and for this reason was accorded a legitimacy that poetry or political commentary wasnt. Lummis explains that for Benedict, anthropology: gave one the capacity to see ones own culture from the outside, to see that it is only a culture, made not by God or natural law but by human beings, and expressing only one small part of the range of human possibilities. But what is the value of this kind of education? In the cases of war and racism the answer is clear: Cultural perspective reveals the absurdity of these practices; it teaches us not only that we must abolish them, but that we can (original italics).59 But it is vital to recognize that the political lessons in Benedicts anthropology (as well as Meads) have in fact outlasted the anthropological facts. This brings us to the deeper methodological problem of her anthropology that precedes the national character studies. The

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problem with the facts she oered is not that they became outdated, but that her patterns of cultures were frequently too perfect to begin with. Mead herself observed the distant quality in Benedicts method, that she never saw a whole primitive culture that was untroubled by boarding schools for children, by missions and public health nurses, by Indian service agents, traders, and sentimental or exiled white people. No living esh-and-blood member of a coherent culture was present to obscure her vision or to make it too concrete ...60 Historical details and contexts merely stood in the way of Benedicts task of creating countermodels to criticize her own culture. The most stunning example of this, raised by Lummis, is Benedicts description of the Kwakiutl, a Native American ethnic group of Vancouver Island. In this case Benedict constructed patterns largely from the eld notes of her mentor Boas. The political lesson again entailed criticizing the materialism of American culture and the premise of human behavior typied in the concept of Economic Man as a rational materialist being. She blasted it by comparing it to the Kwakiutl potlatch, in which the chiefs ceremonially burned their material wealth. In contrast to the potlatch, she described the obsessive rivalry of Middletown [America] where houses are built and clothing bought and entertainment attended that each family may prove that it has not been left out of the game ... It is an unattractive picture ... that individual choices and direct satisfactions are reduced to a minimum and conformity is sought beyond all other human gratications.61 The problem with this contrast isnt the political lesson, which is legitimate and hence now classic. Its that Benedicts description of the Kwakiutl is partly ctional. She failed to observe that European colonization had transformed Kwakiutl culture. As Lummis explains, The Potlatch observed by Boas was a ceremony grotesquely distorted from its original form; the blankets which were burned in this traditional observance were purchased from the Hudson Bay Company, and the canoes broken up had been made with saws and hammers from the same source.62 She also failed to mention that by the 1790s the Kwakiutl already had guns, and trade was steadily increasing in such things as iron axes, iron shhooks, blankets, and carpentry tools ... they were suering from ... European diseases and during the Fraser River Gold Rush many Kwakiutl worked as prostitutes, and venereal disease was introduced into the tribe. In 1836, the population was estimated 23,000, but by 1886 fell to around a mere 2,000.63

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The omission of history in Chrysanthemum is perfectly consistent with this pattern in Benedicts work. However, there are also exceptions to the pattern as well as contradictions that deepen the puzzle of Chrysanthemum. For example, in Patterns, Benedict also expressed a keen awareness of the importance of a historically grounded understanding of Western domination. The further recognition that the global domination of Western culture made it appear as an ahistorical universal sets this particularly insightful critique of her own White culture apart from her other criticisms of it: this world-wide cultural diffusion has protected us as man had never been protected before from having to take seriously the civilization of other peoples; it has given to our culture massive universality that we have long ceased to account for historically, and which we read of rather as necessary and inevitable ... attempting always to identify our own local ways of behaving with Behavior, or our own socialized habits with Human Nature.64 It is odd that Benedict could recognize this in her own culture, but did not recognize how Japans modern state had done something similar. She abandoned this lesson in the 1940s. In Chrysanthemum, as noted, Japans aggression and inequalities are ancient patterns made by no one. But in Race, written just a few years earlier, she emphasized agency and the newness of Japans situation and described the countrys modern aggressive behavior as a sudden and engineered change: Since 1853 they have fought ve times overseas and are well on their way to becoming one of the most aggressively war-like nations of the world. In the human race no centuries-long existence free from conict as the lambs guarantees that the next generation may not become the lion. She goes on to argue that the right-about-face of Japanese culture ... its modern bustle, its dedication to commerce and imperialistic warswas dramatically explicit and man made.65 The question then is how did her view of the Japanese become so radically transformed within in a few short years of writing Race? And how did she come to reverse her auto-cultural criticism and embrace, indeed universalize, U.S. state-ethnicity just as she de-historicized and diabolized Japanese culture? Benedicts Political Conversion We have covered several consistent methodological problems in Benedicts earlier works that explain the very possibility of Benedict

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reversing her criticism of America and her approach to modern Japan. It is necessary to recognize in this respect that Benedicts suggestion that we train ourselves to pass judgment upon the dominant traits of our own civilization,66 might appear to have squared with the spirit of cultural relativity, but technically it did not. The critical judgments she made like this prior to her political conversion, and the critical judgments after, were both premised on the same rejection of cultural relatively and the same methodological aws: (a) the sacricing of historical accuracy and agency to create oversimplied models and (b) consistently interpreting political matters as cultural matters. Benedicts political conversion thus did not entail methodological changes. What she did was merely reverse which group was honored or respected and which group was criticized. Had Benedict more thoroughly recognized political matters as such, and how they inuence culture, as Embree did, she may not have felt compelled to reconcile her alienation from America, which led to some intense dilemmas for her. The Other was now Japan and as such, no longer a disappearing and exotic country over the hill to be saved for posterity, but a threatening enemy who must be stopped by war and whose culture of aggression and oppression must be ended. At the same time, the U.S., as the worlds defender against such fanatic cultures, became itself the country over the hill. In believing she now had to denounce the Other and advocate the triumph of her own culture, Benedict thought she was violating the principle of cultural relativity. She had to explain this change to her readers and explain why she defended the culture she had so criticized throughout her career. Her rst step was to fundamentally change the reason why she did anthropology and what she saw as its purpose. She argued that it was a project to discover universal cultural values that best liberated mankind. In turn, this project related to justifying the U.S. cultural victory over the Other. Reading across several published and unpublished articles and memorandums, I interpret the barebones logic of her argument as follows: (1) civil liberties are trans-historical cultural traits found in all cultures; (2) cultures that value civil liberties are superior to those that do not because civil liberties maximize social utility and cohesion and reduce aggression and submission to authority; (3) civil liberties are a dening feature of U.S. culture and therefore U.S. culture is a proved strategy of how to preserve freedom and set up society; (4) World War II is a battle between opposite strategies and value systems; (5) advocating the triumph of U.S. values in this war is not ethnocentric because the U.S.

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champions not merely its own values, but universal values that provide maximum social utility. Since I think the aws of this logic are obvious, I will not dwell on them, but simply cite her argument in more detail. The clearest statement of her new vision for anthropology is oered in her article, Ideologies in the Light of Comparative Data (ca. 1941 1942). She referred to Durkheims work as an example which demonstrated that A major goal of social science is to discover the ways and means of social cohesionthe scientic study of aspects of society which do correlate with social cohesion and do so with minimizing individual aggression and frustration.67 In Primitive Freedom68 she likewise stressed the need to study the strategy by which societies have realized one or another set of values, and whether these values have to do with freedom or social cohesion or submission to authority. She also explicitly located the historical context behind this new purpose of anthropology. The ght against the Nazis, she explained, was a war between two ideologies about the way to set up human societies and We are ghting a war which is to preserve freedom, and we need to know its proved strategy.69 It is to Benedicts credit that she recognized science as a historically embedded and created project. Nonetheless, in support of this reasoning, she attempted to nd universal and objective criteria, which is exemplary of the nomothetic approach of modern social science that is presently and rightly under severe attack.70 Specically, she argued that civil liberties are universal because they can be found in varying degrees in societies throughout history. As in the West, So too in primitive societies there are civil liberties ... Every society has a dierent list of these civil liberties.71 And Civil liberties in all human societies have always paid their way; they have given advantages to all citizens and all tribesmen.72 Benedict then described the superiority of U.S. culture over others. In Transmitting Our Democratic Heritage in the Schools,73 she claimed that there existed in the United States from the rst ... a heritage of democracy ... a tradition of liberty and opportunity ... that identify our way of life with adequate scope for personal achievement ... without which our culture would be unrecognizable.74 She referred to simpler people of primitive societies and argued that individuals in such societies reach a mental plateau because their cultures do not provide as much individualism and freedom. This is why, in her view, some lack any desire for self-achievement; their cultures require nothing more of individuals than the attainment of simple goals and immediate satisfactions.

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Benedict also worked with Mead to spread this view. Benedict made it the foundation of her so-called synergy lectures at Bryn Mawr College in 1941 as did Mead in her article entitled, The Comparative Study of Cultures and the Purposive Cultivation of Democratic Values, 19411949 of which Benedict wrote an approving review. Mead also echoed Benedict, arguing that the cross-cultural criteria of the good society, is the society that stressed the supreme worth and moral responsibility of the individual human person ...75 The premise of U.S. cultural superiority likewise underpinned the Committee for National Morale which Mead founded a year earlier which, as Janssens notes, made being valuetolerant virtually impossible.76 The underlying problem according to Janssens is that when Benedict agreed with Mead that American ideas, even when found in rudimentary form in more primitive societies, were to be preferred above others ... she denied the idea of cultural relativism.77 However, to reiterate, since Benedict never practiced cultural relativity, she actually reversed her cultural criticism of American culture and thus reversed her political position. As Lummis more accurately observes, Now she was writing articles to show why cultural relativity didnt apply to a conict between democracy and fascism.78 Benedict went on to exaggerateto the point of writing fairytalesthe political liberties aorded to U.S. residents from the rst. In my view, this is best illustrated in a startlingly propagandistic passage from Chrysanthemum, suggestive of why the book is appealing to American readers. She wrote: Equality is the highest, most moral American basis for hopes for a better world. It means to us freedom from tyranny, from interference, and from unwanted imposition. It means equality before the law and the right to better ones condition in life. It is the basis for the rights of man as they are organized in the world we know. We uphold the virtue of equality even when we violate it and we fight hierarchy with a righteous indignation. It has been so ever since America was a nation at all. Jeerson wrote it into the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights incorporated in the Constitution is based on it (italics added).79 Evidently, by the time she wrote Chrysanthemum, Benedict eliminated from consideration the historical realities of racism, colonialism, slavery, and of class, ethnic, and gender inequalities in the U.S. just as she put

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aside her view of the complexities of Japans recent man-made history. Lummis poignantly observes that here we see the price Benedict paid for her reconciliation with America. For the source of the idea is not hard to locate: it is the clear voice of the American ideology itself.80 We can also better understand now how Benedict could possibly interpret Japanese soldiers propaganda-induced jingo-nationalism as expressions of their culture. For it is clear that Benedict had come to interpret the propaganda of her own state-ethnicity exactly the same way. Benedict defended her changed view on cultural relatively in Ideologies in the Light of Comparative Data. She asked, As anthropologists must we, in this conict of value systems, take a professional stand of cultural relativity, and no matter how we are involved as citizens write ourselves down as skeptics? She concluded, This problem is beyond relativity.81 And here we locate perhaps her most crucial political reversal, for this is the exact opposite of her position in Patterns. In Patterns she astutely acknowledged that, The recognition of cultural relativity carries with it its own values ... We shall arrive then at a more realistic social faith ... tolerance for the coexisting and equally valid patterns of life which mankind has created for itself from the materials of existence.82 There are two further important anthropological principles that Benedict abandoned. First, she had defended the view that behavior is socially learned and not natural because it is not based on innate racial attributes. As noted, in Patterns she insightfully criticized the way White culture projected a massive universality that attempted to identify local habits with Human Nature. But after Race, she began to do just this. In Primitive Freedom, for instance, she not only claimed that Blackfoot Indians were democratic and thus anachronistically projected back modern political values as a universal Behavior, but she reinforced this argument with the idea that cultural values and patterns once ingrained became natural and analogous in their functioning to biological behaviors. Specically, she wrote of the Blackfoot Indians: I thought them a people to whom an understanding of liberty was as natural as breathing. And in Chrysanthemum she used the biological analogy at least twice to depict the same pattern among Americans and the opposite pattern among Japanese.83 In my view, if Benedict followed her own warning on identifying (U.S.) ways of behaving with Behavior, it is clear she now at least identied U.S. ways with, in eect, Good Behavior, the universalized Behavior of civil liberties. Lummis notes the political signicance of this:

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There is no basis in anthropologycertainly not in Benedicts anthropologyfor describing a certain pattern of behavior as natural. The very foundation of her teaching was that culturei.e., learned behavioris articial, that the culture of any countrythe U.S. as well as Japanis patterned [and changing], and that to claim that ones own culture is specially ordained by nature is to be guilty of ethnocentrism.84 Second, insofar as the voices of Anne Singleton and Ruth Benedict become one in Chrysanthemum as Lummis argues, we can see how these problems culminated in the nal reversal Ill raise. Recall that Benedict had brooded privately over how people are lost and astray unless the tune has been set for them, the key given to them, the lever and the fulcrum put before them. Recall also that prior to her political conversion she tempered her horror of pattern with a stress on the principle of tolerance. In fact, in Patterns she seems to have rejected the kind of horror of pattern she had expressed in her poetry. She wrote, no anthropologist with a background of experience in other cultures has ever believed that individuals were automatons, mechanically carrying out the decrees of their civilization.85 But after her conversion, in Chrysanthemum, she depicted the Japanese as nothing other than automatons acting out predetermined behavior as encapsulated in her phrase the stench of atrophied personality: Some stake everything on ruling their lives like pendants and are deeply fearful of any spontaneous encounter with life ... Some are more dissociated ... They are mechanical in the performance of a disciplined routine which is fundamentally meaningless to them. Others, who have been more caught by their early childhood ... feel that any failure is an aggression against authority ... Unforeseen situations which cannot be handled by rote are frightening to them (italics added).86 Metaphors of Repression and the Political Lessons of Chrysanthemum In my view, Benedicts horror of patterns actually predominates in Chrysanthemum. This is fairly easy to substantiate in light of the unforgettable metaphors that she created to compare the two countries. The metaphors are based on Japanese sources who likened their cultural

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experiences to the characteristics of Japanese horticultural arts like bonsai, miniature mature trees, and ikebana, ower arrangement. By relating these metaphors Benedict explains how Japans national character is exemplied in these art forms. She implicitly argues that the pleasing appearances of the works are deceptive. The plants are not merely beautiful, they are also horric in being painfully contorted out of their natural shape. The plants are twisted out of their natural state because the culture of the Japanese people has twisted them out of their natural shape. Benedict argued that in America, in contrast, gardening exemplies freedom and individualism by allowing one to plant-as-you-please. The American garden is therefore also a direct reection of Americas culture; it allows plants to be natural and ourish naturally because it allows individuals to be natural. Cleverly, Benedict corroborated this view of American culture not with the views of Americans, but with the views of Japanese-American immigrants. Their metaphors apparently teach this lesson, not Benedict herself. They explained to Benedict that their old life in Japan was, a harness, sometimes as a prison, sometimes as a little pot that holds a dwarfed tree. Benedict extends the metaphor to stress the superiority of American culture for JapaneseAmericans. She concludes: As long as the roots of the miniature pine were kept to the confines of the flower pot, the result was a work of art that graced a charming garden ...But once planted out in the open field, the dwarfed pine could never be put back again. They feel that they themselves are no longer possible ornaments in that Japanese garden. They could not again meet the requirements.87 The title-metaphor Chrysanthemum and the Sword teaches this lesson more emphatically. Benedict developed the chrysanthemum half of the metaphor from Sugimotos biography A Daughter of the Samurai. Contrary to the expectations of Japanese readers, the blossom doesnt represent for Benedict the symbolic crest of the emperor. Nor does it represent, as American readers might expect, the gentle artistic side of Japans folk culture in contrast to the warlike character the sword presumably represents. Rather, just like bonsai are supercially pleasing but in reality are falsely contorted by wire, So, too, chrysanthemums are grown in pots and arranged for the annual ower shows all over Japan with each perfect petal separately disposed by the growers hand and often held in place by a tiny invisible wire rack inserted in the living

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ower.88 Lummis explains: Here then is the poets picture of Japanese society: chrysanthemums xed rigidly on a rack, each ower impaled on a wire; human beings xed rigidly on a rack, a wire passing through each soul.89 Fukui similarly writes that the chrysanthemum represents the essence of everything that Benedict nds horrifying in Japanese culture. She emphasizes that For Benedict, the chrysanthemum was a negative image, one symbolizing the captive condition of their bonsai and, of course, of Sugimoto (original italics).90 To be sure, defenders of Benedict, including Modell and Kent have a diering view of the metaphors. Modell writes in the same issue of DA that The image of a high-synergy society is deepened by the aesthetic cast of Benedicts descriptions; the elegance of her prose ... asserts the smooth interworking of elements ... in the social and emotional organization of Japanese life. She also maintains, to my baement, that Benedict discovered that Americas most alien enemy was an excellent example of a good society.91 The arguments and evidence brought forth in Chrysanthemum do not corroborate this interpretation of it. Why, for instance, would Benedict call for Japans rehabilitation and reeducation, for breaking up old and dangerous patterns of aggression, and for the Japanese to rid themselves of their cultural wire racks, if Japan was an excellent example of a good society? Indeed, Benedict made the political implications of her metaphors quite explicit. Using the experience of Sugimoto to create the chrysanthemum metaphor, she argued that the Japanese do not create art freely, but perform predetermined mechanical operations according to xed and disciplined routines which preclude any spontaneity or creativity. With specic reference to Sugimoto, Benedict argued that This simulated wildness [of the Japanese garden] stood to her for the simulated freedom of will in which she had been trained. And all Japan was full of it (italics added).92 Benedict explained that, in contrast, in America Sugimoto unshackled herself and became a joyously natural blossom: Mrs. Sugimotos intoxication when she was oered a chance to put aside the wire rack was happy and innocent. The chrysanthemum which had been grown in the little pot and which had submitted to the meticulous disposition of its petals discovered pure joy in being natural.93 The lesson Benedict taught, Lummis explains, is that For a Japanese to become more American ... is a natural and healthy growth process, whereas for an American to try to t into Japanese society would be to reverse the order of nature, and to subject oneself to cruel deformity.94

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But the fact is that Sugimotos experience was no more typical of a Japanese person than was Hashimas. Of aristocratic samurai status and upbringing, she received an elite social and academic education and even taught at Columbia University for a time before returning to Japan. Benedict again took the phenomenon as given and omitted the historical context, in this case, the oppressive and patriarchal burdens and expectations imposed upon women like Sugimoto within the everchanging inequalities of Japans industrialization and militarization in the capitalist world-economy. By the same token, she forgot that women in the U.S. gained civil rights not because of U.S. culture, but through political struggles against it. Above all, with an eye on the appropriate response by the U.S. government to Japan after the war, the metaphors convey the message that America could do for all Japanese in Japan what it did for Japanese immigrants to the U.S. This is based on her argument that: Once Japanese have accepted, to however small a degree, the less codied rules that govern behavior in the United States they nd it dicult to imagine their being able to manage again the restrictions of their old life in Japan.95 And therefore, it follows that, So too the Japanese in Japan can, in a new era, set up a way of life which does not demand the old requirements of individual restraint. Chrysanthemums can be beautiful without wire racks and such drastic pruning.96 This line of reasoning is why Lummis argues that a principle lesson of Chrysanthemum is that not only Americans but also Japanese should feel grateful that the U.S. won the war ... because a U.S. victory was virtually the only way they could ever hope to liberate themselves from their fearful oppression.97 The irony of Benedicts claim that Americans could enable the Japanese to become more natural is only trumped by her subtle but unmistakable feelings of cultural superiority. She thought that the Japanese wanted to become culturally more like her and other Americans and were even giddy like children with anticipation. She wrote, We must remember, now that the Japanese are looking to de-mok-rasie since their defeat, how intoxicating it can be to them to act simply and innocently as one pleases. The Cultural Logics of Defeat and Victory in Chrysanthemum Anthropologically, Benedicts conclusion that the Japanese culturally drove themselves to regional conquest and aggression, and Americans

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culturally drove themselves to defend universal civil liberties, is grounded in her analysis of the Japanese value system as a shame culture and the American value system as guilt culture. Kent rejects the very idea that Benedict had such a model. She contends that Benedicts references to guilt and shame cultures only take up a few pages and therefore she questions whether any analysis stressing shame or guilt will constitute a valid assessment of Benedicts work.98 However, Benedicts own statements disprove Kents stance on this issue as well. To begin, Benedict clearly categorized cultures into these two types. True shame cultures, she wrote, rely on external sanctions for good behavior, not, as true guilt cultures do, on an internalized conviction of sin.99 Shame and respect values explained Japanese behavior in two respects. First, they explained how Japanese leaders and troops acted in apparently bizarre ways that Westerners considered immoral, sinful, and lacking in feelings of guilt or remorse. Second, her understanding of Japans shame culture formed the basis of her advice to U.S. ocials on suitable wartime propaganda and postwar rehabilitation. With regard to the rst purpose, Kent argues that the core of her argument rests upon her discussion of giri (a type of balanced reciprocity value). However, Benedict treated giri as only one of a range of values of Japans shame culture and social hierarchy. Benedict claimed that when individuals failed to live up to the expectations of the various valuesof giri (general balanced reciprocity), on (un-repayable debt to ones parents and ancestors), gimu (life long obligations), and chu (duty to the emperor)they faced the possibility of public shame, including ridicule, humiliation, and ostracism. She wrote, The wall of shame (haji) ... is so real to all Japanese ... The primacy of shame in Japanese life means, as it does in any tribe or nation where shame is deeply felt, that any man watches the judgment of the public upon his deeds.100 Learning the values of shame began traumatically during childhood at a time when they did not know shame. But Gradually, after they are six or seven, responsibility for circumspection and knowing shame is put upon them and upheld by the most drastic of sanctions: that their own family will turn against them if they default.101 Thus, she argued, One striking continuity connects the earlier and the later period of the childs life: the great importance of being accepted by his fellows. This, and not an absolute standard of virtue, is what is inculcated in him.102 This, she argues, is why in Japan the emphasis falls ... on the importance of shame rather than on the importance of guilt.103 That is, avoidance of Shame [gaining public

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acceptance and approval] has the same place of authority in Japanese ethics that a clear conscience, being right with God and the avoidance of sin have in Western ethics.104 Recall that for Benedict this pattern is also ancient. Thus, here I disagree with Lummis claim that the rst four chapters in Chrysanthemumtwo on historyare not key to Benedicts thesis on Japans shame culture, which he maintains really begins in chapter ve with her discussion of these shame values. Ironically, and true to form, it is in the history chapters that Benedict laid out her ahistorical thesis of the origins of Japans shame ethics, including the all-important value of chu. She argued that many centuries earlier the Japanese imported cultural customs from China but stripped them of virtue and individual responsibility. She carried this argument into the later chapters, which enabled her to project emperor reverence back to a primordial time: The Japanese, having entirely reinterpreted and demoted the crucial virtue of the Chinese system and put nothing else in its place that might make gimu conditional, lial piety became in Japan a duty one had to fulll even if it meant condoning a parents vice and injustice. It could be abrogated only if it came into conict with ones obligation to the Emperor [chu], but certainly not when ones parent was unworthy or when he was destroying ones happiness.105 Furthermore, the shame values are, as Benedict explains them, inextricable from Japans cultural hierarchy. Earning public approval hinges on fullling obligations not to the public or to everyone, as with generalized principles, but to ones immediate superior in the relevant segment of the social hierarchy, on up to the emperor. These values, Benedict explains, must be fullled regardless of the consequences for others or even for ones self. Thus, the absence of absolute principles and the need to fulll ones obligation to superiors and thereby gain public approval, explains Japanese peoples amoral and violent conduct towards others or themselves, as with ritual suicide. This is why it is possible, Benedict argued, that: Sometimes people explode in the most aggressive acts. They are roused to these aggressions, not when their principles or freedom is challenged, as Americans are, but when they detect an insult or a detraction. Then their dangerous selves erupt, against the detractor if that is possible, otherwise against themselves. The Japanese have paid a high price for their way of life.106

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Regarding World War II, Benedict thus argues from the perspective of her own ethnic bias that Japans march for regional conquest was a cultural and not political march. She wrote that Japan, Italy, and Germany had unrighteously [sic] oended against international peace by their acts of conquest ... they had embarked on an evil course of oppressing weak peoples and had sinned against an international code of live and let live or at least of open doors for free enterprise.107 However, among the Axis powers only Japan had embarked on this conquest because of its culture: Japan saw the cause of the war in another light. There was anarchy in the world as long as every nation had absolute sovereignty; it was necessary for her to fight to establish hierarchyunder Japan, of course, since she alone represented a nation truly hierarchal from top to bottom and hence understood the necessity of taking ones proper station ... All nations were to be one world, fixed in an international hierarchy... . for the last decade they have pictured themselves as attaining the apex of that pyramid.108 The ipside of her attack on Japan was Benedicts cultural view of Americas involvement in this and other wars. She believed that America was driven by altruism, by people who always fought to improve the world because, in contrast to Japans culture, Americas was based on principles: When we stated to Japan therefore just before Pearl Harbor the high moral bases on which the U.S. based her policy in the Pacific we were voicing our most trusted principles. Every step in the direction in which we pointed would according to our convictions improve a still imperfect world. The Japanese too, when they put their trust in proper station were turning to the rule of life which had been ingrained in them by their own social experience.109 The idea that Japans problem was cultural and not racial was important for scholars and policy makers. For if Japanese political behavior was the product of innate racial attributes, then it could never be rehabilitated. On the other hand, that the problem of Japanese behavior was rooted in culture, meant that rehabilitation could not be accomplished as easily or as quickly as simply reforming the government. This is why Benedict argued that the U.S. could not politically dismantle Japans cultural hierarchy. She wrote, They cannot be

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legislated into accepting the authority of elected persons and [into] ignoring proper station as it is set up in their hierarchal system. Ergo, the goal of the occupation in Benedicts mind was to put an end to Japans old culture through reforms. It is in this regard that Chrysanthemum is an obituary to a dying culture, one eerily written by a supporter of its execution, as Lummis puts it. Benedict leaves no doubt that Japans old culture must be ended and the Japanese must acquiescence to U.S. desires for their cultural reform. The trick is that the U.S. must create political changes that will enable the Japanese to reform their culture themselves. She wrote: Under a new dispensation they will have to learn new sanctions. And change is costly. It is not easy to work out new assumptions and new virtues. The Western world can neither suppose that the Japanese can take these on sight and make them truly their own, nor must it imagine that Japan cannot ultimately work out a freer, less rigorous ethics.110 Benedict argued that this indeed was possible. The good news for U.S. policy makers is, paradoxically, that Japans culture makes the Japanese sensitive to the kind of social pressure that the U.S. can bring to bear to make the Japanese reform their culture. Benedict notes, for instance, The shame of surrender was burned deeply into the consciousness of the Japanese, which is precisely why they have accepted the high hierarchal place of American authority in their country, and why they will comply with U.S. cultural re-education. Just as the child [learns] to accept great restraints upon himself when he is told that the world will laugh at him and reject him, Japanese adults will accept the lifting of those restraints in order to be approved and accepted by the the world.111 However, the nature of Japanese culture also means that its hierarchal restraints must not be lifted too high or too quickly. Manipulation must be subtle since the Japanese are unaccustomed to the responsibilities that come with guilt-based principles. She argued, freedom to be unexpected, to question the sanctions of haji (shame), can upset the delicate balance of their way of life.112 Hence, although In the United States we have argued endlessly about hard and soft peace terms[,] [t]he real issue is not between hard and soft. The problem is to use that amount of hardness, no more and no less, which will break up old and dangerous patterns of aggressiveness and set new goals.113 In fact, Benedict believed, nay fantasized, that U.S. ocials had enacted the cultural rehabilitation policies she advocated and that these were already having the desired eect. She wrote, They do not say so, of

RUTH BENEDICTS JAPAN: THE BENEDICTIONS OF IMPERIALISM

course, but any Japanese understands that they are questioning the role of shame (haji) in Japan, and that they hope for a new growth of freedom among their countrymen: freedom from fear of the criticism and ostracism of the world.114 And this, she goes on to argue, is cause for great pride in the U.S. re-education of Japanese character. Its no wonder, Lummis notes, that for Americans the book is quite attering and therefore pleasant to read ... By advocating tolerance it makes the American reader feel even more self-satised, for who is more smug than the tolerant?115 Benedicts view cannot be defended as a product of the times. Her colleague Embree oered a timely warning about a year before the publication of Chrysanthemum regarding the limits of character trait studies, one that anticipated the essential problem of Benedicts work. At the end of his chapter on culture patterns, he wrote: This brief summary of Japanese behavior traits, while of some value in predicting how particular Japanese may behave under certain circumstances, does not provide a magic explanation for Japanese aggressive warfare any more than a similar summary of national behavior traits would explain why the United States once attacked Mexico, the British took on an Empire, or the French swept over Europe under Napoleon ... It is necessary to look to various socio-economic causes, such as industrialization and European colonization in Asia, to explain the complex phenomena of modern wars. Behavior patterns ... neither cause, nor can they explain why, nations go to war or remain at peace.116

What shall be done about the Emperor, Robert? When Benedict contemplated that the defects of Japans shame culture could be used instrumentally to rehabilitate the Japanese, she made retaining the emperor system central to this project. She was assigned to provide her views in the policy debate over what to do with the emperor.117 Benedicts position to retain the emperor system contained two arguments. The rst was relevant to military ocials; that Japanese soldiers would ght to the death to protect him and perhaps so would all Japanese. As proof, she cited Japanese prisoners who claimed that they would ght to the last man because they were dying at the

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Emperors command and carrying out his will. In fact, she explained that The Japanese prisoner of war was quite explicit that reverence given the Imperial Household was separable from militarism and aggressive war policies. The Emperor was to them, however, inseparable from Japan. Again reciting the propaganda instilled in soldiers, she quoted them directly as evidence of Japanese culture, in eect, passing o state propaganda as objective scientic knowledge: A Japan without the Emperor is not Japan. Japan without the Emperor cannot be imagined.118 She also noted that Japanese soldiers, ocers, and politicians all made criticisms of the government, but that no one criticized the emperor. She did not believe that dissent against the emperor system existed to any signicant degree. In this way she begged the most fundamental question as to the causes of seemingly ubiquitous emperor reverence when she asked, What quirk of Japanese character made it possible that he should so attain a sacrosanct position?(italics added).119 She therefore concluded, as Japans militarists believed, that humiliating the emperor in wartime propaganda or in post-war tribunals or ending the emperor system outright after the war would only engender intense national shame and resentment that would either prolong the ghting or cause resistance to U.S. occupation. Benedict thus disagreed with a vocal chorus of emperor system critics, including Byrnes, Acting Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Assistant Secretary of State Benjamin Cohen, Professor T.A. Bisson, writer Willard Price, China specialist John K. Fairbank, her colleage John Embree, and the prime minister of New Zealand, among others. They argued that the emperor should be held responsible and tried for Japans war policies and atrocities. In fact, Joint Resolution 94 introduced into the U.S. Senate on September 18, 1945, also demanded the emperor be tried as a war criminal. It was acknowledged on both sides of this debate that the Japanese states legitimacy rest in part on the emperors revered status and that militarists had manipulated that status. However, emperor system critics went further and contended that Hirohito was no mere device of the oligarchy, but a willing and active participant of Japanese militarism and imperialism. Bixs recent Pulitzer Prize-winning work on the Showa emperors life reveals just how extensively Hirohito was engaged in the planning of the war.120 Benedicts second argument anthropologically explained the rst. She argued that manipulating the emperors status was all the oligarchs could do. This is because, consistent with her view of nationalism

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patriotism as a folk-cultural trait, no one had or could design the emperor-religion since religions came into existence in murky centuries past. This is the reasoning in her three-page unpublished memorandum What shall be done about the Emperor? in which she depicted emperor reverence as entrenched as folk religion in a tribal society. She explained that anthropological studies of colonization showed that Religion always takes its color and direction from the social life of the nation or community ... Religions change their role inevitably with changed conditions, but they cannot be changed on demand from outside without the gravest consequences.121 With the U.S. invasion in mind she further argued that frontal attacks by the dominant power upon the religion of the dominated are enormously expensive to the superordinate power and produce undesired results in the subordinate group. Benedict added that the manipulation of the emperor system by the militarists was itself proof that Americans could manipulate it too. At the same time, she argued that it could not be removed without great cost to both the Japanese and Americans: Veneration of the Imperial House is a strict religious tenet of Japan and, however much it offends nations which espouse other tenets, it commands the deep loyalty of the Japanese. Every job to be done in rehabilitation will be less difficult, according to the degree to which it has a sanction of the emperor behind it, and more difficult in proportion to a requirement that he be eliminated. I nd it quite remarkable, furthermore, that someone who had never set foot in Japan could restate again and again with such condence the misleading and one-sided notion as Benedict did in the following passage: those who had lived in Japan well knew that nothing stung the Japanese people to bitterness and whipped up their morale like any depreciatory word against the Emperor or any outright attack on him. They did not believe that in attacking the Emperor we would in the eyes of the Japanese be attacking militarism.122 Of course, Benedict misled herself and readers about the many capable Americans who had lived in Japan by excluding the views of those who had both lived in Japan and had diering views, including her colleague and noted critic Embree, the only American to have conducted anthropological eld work in Japan prior to the war. Embree

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argued that the emperor system should be expurgated precisely because rightists could reuse it in the postwar period. His view was prophetic. Benedict also excluded the views of Price, a writer who spent 20 years there before the war.123 He similarly argued that patriotic emperor worship was a modern creation of the government and not an ancient cultural phenomenon. Benedict concluded What shall be done about the Emperor? with this advice on how easy it would be to manipulate the Japanese by manipulating the emperor: In propaganda we need only to apply the traditional Japanese clic hes: the militarists have betrayed the Emperor, they have not eased the mind of the Emperorin short, they have failed, and in Japan what fails is by definition not the will of the Emperor. And in her Report #25, Japanese Behavior Patterns, the precursor to Chrysanthemum, she restates the same basic argument: The symbolic power of the Emperor has been, in the last decade, the chief device for promoting aggression. It is, however, a power that can operate in any direction. The chu [duty] of Japanese subjects for their Emperor could be just as consistent with their world, at least with the wartime world.124 She went so far as to argue that the person of the emperor was less important than saving the institution. She wrote, We must also recognize that another incumbent can, without violence to Japanese practice, be substituted for the present Emperor if desired.125 It was in part through Hashima that Benedict came to conate Japans state propaganda and nationalismpatriotism with Japans folk culture. Hashima, as noted, was among those who learned and taught moral education in Japanese schools. He was not a believer in emperor reverence, but he was taken in by the idea that it was elemental to Japanese culture as Benedict argued. Why wouldnt he believe this? Raised in the U.S., he arrived in Japan at age 13 and returned when only age 23. He had formed his views on the basis of his youthful experiences over a short time, not as a result of anthropological training (which clearly was no guarantee of accuracy anyway). In a revealing 1986 letter to scholar Suzuki, Hashima expresses his conviction that he decisively inuenced Benedict to save the emperor: I believe that Dr. Benedict wrote to me the letter on VJ day because we had discussed on many occasions the role the Emper-

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or could play in ending the war and bring [sic] about a peaceful occupation of Japan by the U.S. Forces. In fact, when I first met her in January 1945 in Washington D.C., Dr. Benedict told me that her assignment was on Japan, and that she had to make some kind of recommendation to the U.S. government as to how the Emperor should be treated in the event of U.S. occupation of Japan. When she asked for my opinion, I gave her my reasons why I would recommend that the Emperor be saved if we were to have a peaceful and successful occupation of Japan. I honestly believe that if it were not for Dr. Benedict, the Emperor may have been treated more severely and tried as a war criminal at the international tribunal. After her study on Japan was submitted, Dr. Benedict told me that the State Department, former Ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew, General MacArthur in Australia, and others concerned all agreed to her recommendation to save the Emperor. She appeared very happy and satisfied over the results.126 Although Benedicts views did not inuence U.S. policy on the emperor, she nevertheless boasted that the policy recommendations she advocated for Japans rehabilitation were a success; that the peaceful occupation of Japan was attributable to Japans national sense of moral duty to the Showa emperor. She wrote, Until August, 1945, chu demanded of the Japanese people that they ght to the last man against the enemy. When the Emperor changed the requirements of chu by broadcasting Japans capitulation, the Japanese outdid themselves in expressing their co-operation with the visitors.127 The problem with this view is that, as with her depiction of American culture, it was ction if not pure fantasy. Historian John Dower argues that in addition to being discredited by defeat, signicant resistance to the Japanese government and the emperor are key reasons that Japanese cooperated with U.S. forces. He explains: The state had become discredited and sorely wounded well before Japan surrendered, and popular receptiveness to a new start and new society became a major wartime legacy on which postwar change could be built. It is in this regard that the nightmares of the Thought Police assume full significance. The dissident social movements they spied on, the sensational rumors and seditious graffiti they collected, the workers desertions from factories they witnessedall gave lie to wartime propaganda about social

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solidarity and a collective willingness to die for the Imperial cause. And all, in retrospect, also help us better understand the turbulent, uncertain, receptive social milieu that U.S. forces encountered when they arrived in defeated Japan and set about promoting a relatively radical agenda of demilitarization and democracy.128 Dower oers fascinating details of how many hated Hirohito before, during, and after the war, which worried Japans wartime government.129 As for Benedicts idea that Hirohito was merely a manipulated puppet, Bixs study shows how actually Hirohito and his personal advisors manipulated U.S. occupation ocials in attempts to hold on to power and avoid prosecution. This included the deceptive fabrication of Hirohitos image after the war as a peaceful advocate of democracy and a scientic scholar concerned with the well-being of his subjects.130 Benedict never recognized that the emperor system was a great weight upon the eyes, a hideous miasma, enveloping and subsuming the popular mind, as historian Irokawa explained.131 The transformation of the militarist emperor into a symbol monarchy between 1945 and 1952, did not led to a truly democratic government in Japan, or to one that took responsibility for its war crimes, or that has gained the trust of its neighbors. Quite to the contrary, just as Embree prophetically warned, the failure to remove the emperor system and prosecute Hirohito contributed to the easy return to power of rightists, to the reestablishment of a deeply racist, corrupt, and unapologetic political machine led and staed by convicted war criminals and their relatives.132 In fact, to this day emperor-worshiping rightists in Japan threaten even academics for merely writing about the Showa Emperor, even for mentioning Benedicts views. Fukui, a contributor to the edition of DA that includes Kents article, is among those who received threats by emperor-worshiping thugs.133

Conclusion Clearly, the problem is not that the state-ethnicity of Japans imperial regime was ever beyond criticism on moralscientic grounds. I agree with Benedicts argument on the necessity to train ourselves to pass judgment upon the dominant traits of our own civilization. In recognizing this, Benedict was ahead of her time. She attacked the two cultures split between science and humanities/philosophy created during the previous century, which seems to be collapsing today along with the

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legitimacy of the modern world-system that the split intellectually supported.134 Further, she was on the verge of recognizing and locating modern science as a historical culture itself, one with a projected massive universality that we have long ceased to account for historically, and which we read of rather as necessary and inevitable, as noted. Benedict rightly observed that cultural relativity does carry its own socially constructed ethics for tolerance of other ethnic cultures and for alternative life-styles within them. Conversely, she observed that it embodies a value of intolerance for aggression and submission to authority. However, Benedict confused the application of these two obverse values of cultural relativity because she failed to distinguish ethnic culture from those political customs, mores, and ways of life that sustain and are imposed through inequality, oppression, and exploitation. In the 1940s Benedict treated nationalismpatriotism in the U.S. and Japan as a cultural trait, as something akin to tribal loyalties. She also treated the various ethnic groups in these states as discrete and homogeneous nations. She thus failed on empirical and scienticethical grounds to make the analytical distinctions required of cultural relativity and for a more realistic social faith as she put it. The heyday of national character studies and of imagined communities of the modern interstate system that go unrecognized might be past us, but the New Ruth Benedicts are intent on keeping these traditions alive. However, the revival of Benedicts last work oers little more promise than a revival of Gorers studies on Japan. A colleague of Benedicts in the Oce of War Information whom she cited in Chrysanthemum and who inuenced her support for retaining the emperor system, Gorer argued that the brutality and sadism of the Japanese war machine was rooted in Japanese toilet-training practices.135 Benedict was far more sophisticated and subtle but just as wrong. In view of the aplomb behind recent defenses of Benedicts wartime views, I remain struck by the insight of Lummis observations of some laypersons in Japan who, upon reading Chrysanthemum, think they know more about Japanese culture than the Japanese themselves. How many times, he asks, have I seen foreign readers of this book explaining the pattern of Japanese culture to polite listeners? Similarly, when Stille cites Kent to call for new Ruth Benedicts to help in U.S.occupied Iraq, one encounters the same ignorance and analytical problems in Chrysanthemum.136 In this regard, Embrees criticism in 1950 of the old Benedicts applies equally to the New Ruth Benedicts: The war caused many social scientists not only to lose their objectivity

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in regard to the cultures of enemy nations, it revived in them serious acceptance of the white mans burden ... [they] decided that those objectionable little people must have an evil, a pathological, or at best an adolescent culture. He argued that, If any recent trend in applied anthropology may be discerned, it seems to be one based on the assumption that American western culture is self-evidently the best there is, and that it is therefore the duty of anthropologists to aid the United States government in maintaining it at home and spreading it abroad.137 In this era of increasing global chaos and violence, which is likely to worsen in coming decades, we should pay special heed to Embrees warning of how patriotism can cloud the judgments of even those who consider themselves tolerant liberals, as Benedict did. Or perhaps we may recognize the limits of the geoculture of liberalism itself. This is a deeper lesson I take from Lummis critique of Chrysanthemum, for he opines how the powerful teaching of Ruth Benedict that originally attracted me to her work ... is just the kind of lesson that ethnocentric America needed and still needs today.138

Notes
A lexander Stille, New York Times, 19 July 2003; Pauline Kent, Japanese Perceptions of The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, Dialectical Anthropology 24(2) (1999): 181192. 2 See Herbert Bixs Inventing the Symbol Monarchy in Japan, 19451952, Journal of Japanese Studies 21(2) (Summer, 1995): 319363. 3 Benedict wrote: In the reconstruction of Japan those leaders who have their countrys future at heart would do well to pay particular attention to hazing ... in the Army ... it would be a change more eective in the re-education of Japan than denials of the Emperors divinity or elimination of nationalistic material from textbooks. Ruth Benedict, Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture (Boston, MA: Houghton Miin, 1946), 279. 4 See 2005nen ky"iku ga abunai! Sh"nkan kiny" bi 3.25(550) (2005). Further, In o u o the past two years, hundreds of teachers, mainly in Tokyo, have been punished for refusing to stand for the national anthem and ag, symbols across Asia of Japans militarist past. David McNeill and Mark Selden, Asia Battles over War History, The bitter legacy of the past looms over Tokyos plans for the future, YaleGlobal, 11 April 2005. 5 South Koreas ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Sam-hoon, said, A country that does not repent for its historical wrongdoings and that does not have the trust of its neighbors cannot play a leadership role in international society. Thalif Deen, Tussle over UN seats is a shadow lay, Asia Times, 15 April 2005.
1

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See n. 1 above. Foxs basic argument is that cousin marriages make nepotism a moral duty which explains undemocratic political institutions. John Tierney reports Foxs views in the New York Times: The extraordinarily strong family bonds complicate virtually everything Americans are trying to do here, from nding Saddam Hussein to changing womens status to creating a liberal democracy. Americans just dont understand what a dierent world Iraq is because of these highly unusual cousin marriages, said Robin Fox of Rutgers University, the author of Kinship and Marriage, a widely used anthropology textbook. Liberal democracy is based on the Western idea of autonomous individuals committed to a public good, but thats not how members of these tight and bounded kin groups see the world. Their world is divided into two groups: kin and strangers. Iraqis frequently describe nepotism not as a civic problem but as a moral duty. (John Tierney, Iraqi Family Ties Complicate American Eorts for Change, The New York Times, 28 September 2003.) 8 Steve Sailer, Cousin Marriage Conundrum, American Conservative, January 13, 2003, italics added. 9 Kent argues that American ocials had to understand Japanese culture to triumph. Therefore, she argues, To that purpose, a stance which attempted to respect each individual culture as an independent variable would only have served to create more destruction. Pauline Kent, Ruth Benedicts Original Wartime Study of the Japanese, International Journal of Japanese Studies 3 (1994): 87. 10 Douglas Lummis, Uchinaru gaikoku (Tokyo: Jiji Tsushinsha, 1981), is the full three-part version published in Japanese. I quote from A New Look at the Chrysanthemum and the Sword (Shohakusha, 1982), which is the original English text for Part Two of Uchinaru. 11 Kent, op. cit., 1999, and Misconceived Congurations of Ruth Benedict, Japan Review 7 (1996): 3366. 12 Results of a WorldCat search show that only about a dozen U.S. libraries have Lummis A New Look at the Chrysanthemum and the Sword and even fewer have Uchinaru. 13 Douglas Lummis, Boundaries of the Land, Boundaries of the Mind (Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 1982). 14 Kent, op. cit., 1999: 189. 15 She acknowledges that Lummis book has been highly praised as the best commentary to date on Chrysanthemum by a number of Japanese authors. But its popularity, according to Kent, is either unrelated to its content (perhaps [it] is simply due to the fact that, for a long time, Lummis stood tall because he stood alone) or is the result of Lummis being the only scholar in Japan who made the eort to read English sources: Moreover, the fact that he is not Japanese has probably lent more legitimacy to his argument in Japan, as few have made the eort to read the biographies on Benedict available only in English (Kent, op. cit., 1996: 47). 16 For instance, when Lummis points out that Benedict sourced information from Japanese school textbooks and propaganda, Kent interprets him as follows: Lummis asserts that Benedicts research was dependent on intuition, rather than solid research materials (1999, 186) and [Lummis] consciously tries to belittle her sources by dismissing them as standard history books (1996: 47). In fact, Lummis refers to the sources Benedict used to illustrate the congruence of her and Japans militarists images of Japan. Lummis also notes that Benedict completed her doctorate in only three
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semesters to explain that, the fact that she could nish so quickly is a tribute to the brilliance and richness of her mind, but it is impossible to believe that, however brilliant, she could have both retrained herself, gaining a full new background in the social sciences, and written her thesis in three semesters. But for Benedict, no such retraining was necessary. The backgroundthe reservoir of imagery, insight, methodology, and stylefrom which her anthropology grew was neither science nor philosophy, but literature (Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 1415). Kent, who cites most of this passage, nevertheless claims that Lummis contends ... this made her incapable of scientic investigation and that Lummis typecasts the part of Benedict as a poet dabbling in anthropology (Kent, op. cit., 1996: 39, 41). Kents lengthier and earlier (1996) critique of Lummis contains even more aws, includes her claims that Lummis manipulates some of the data, relies on a single source for his background material on Benedict and that he discredits anthropology (1996: 47, 39). 17 Kent, op. cit., 1999: 189. 18 The chapter On Travel alone explores the socially-constructed nature of ethnicities, the arbitrary geo-political boundaries of states, the mythology of national development known as modernization theory, the inventions of utopias and savages, neo-colonial racism on the Oriental Esmeralda, and such aspects of the postwar condition found earlier in works by Jonathan Swift, Herman Melville, and Lafcadio Hearn. 19 The full citation: Then, another type of criticism emerged later on in the 1980s, when Douglas Lummis, an American living in Japan [in fact, a professor at Tsudajuku College at the time] ... introduced the idea that Benedicts depiction of Japan was as a dying culture, recreated as beautiful and complete by the other half of Benedicts schizophrenic personality, the poet Anne Singleton (Kent, op. cit., 1999, 186). She uses the term schizophrenic three times previously (1996: 47, 54, 56). 20 In light of her inaccurate representation of Lummis work, Kents accusations that he makes outrageous suppositions, mostly speculative arguments, and strays from the facts, (1996: 34) brim with irony since these terms describe her very criticisms. 21 Kent, op. cit., 1999: 188. 22 Cited in John W. Bennett, Michio Nagai, The Japanese Critique of the Methodology of Benedicts Chrysanthemum and the Sword, American Anthropologist New Series 55(3) (1953): 407. 23 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 301. 24 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 43. 25 See Richard H. Minears discussion of Embree in The Wartime Studies of Japanese National Character, The Japan Interpreter 13(1) (1980): 3659. 26 John F. Embree, A Note on Ethnocentrism in Anthropology, American Anthropologist 52 (1950): 430, 431. 27 See Richard H. Minear, Japanese Tradition and Western Law; Emperor, State, and Law in the Thought of Hozumi Yatsuka (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970). 28 Historian Irokawa Diakichi explains that although the concept kokutai precedes the Meiji era, it was only as a result of the ideological indoctrination since the Restoration, [that] the awareness of kokotai had entered an era unprecedented in its history. The Culture of the Meiji Period (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), 247.

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Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 73. See Elson Boles (Eruson Boruzu) Kindai sekai systemu ni okeru ichi jiken to shite no chichibu jiken, Jiy"minken, tokush" min ken kenky" III, no. 9(1996.2): u u u 315); Daikichi Irokawa, Jiy"minken (T"ky": Iwanami Shoten, 1981), Minken hyaku o o unen (T"ky": Nihon h"s" shuppan kai, 1984); Yoshio Yasumaru, Konmint" no o o oo o ishiki katei, Shis", no. 726 (December, 1984). In English, see Herbert Bixs Peasant o Protest in Japan, 15901884 (Yale University Press, 1986); Dakichi Irokawa, The Culture of the Meiji Period (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984); Mikiso Hane, Peasants, Rebels, & Outcastes (New York: Pantheon, 1982); Sharon L. Sievers, Flowers in Salt, The Beginnings of Feminist Consciousness in Modern Japan (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1983); P. Tsurumi, Factory Girls: Women in the Thread Mills of Meiji Japan (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990); S. Vlastos, Peasant Protests and Uprisings in Tokugawa Japan (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1986); and Opposition Movements in Early Meiji, 1880 1885, in The Emergence of Meiji Japan, ed. Marius B. Jansen (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995). 31 Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 75. 32 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 79. 33 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 277278. 34 Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 76. 35 Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 75. 36 Irokawa, op. cit., 1985: 246. 37 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 25. 38 Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 74. 39 Peter T. Suzuki, Overlooked Aspects of The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, Dialectical Anthropology 24(2) (1999): 217231. 40 Lummis described his interview in draft essay written for Reading Benedict/Reading Mead: Feminism, Race, and Imperial Visions, ed. Dolores Janiewski and Lois Banner (Johns Hopkins, 2004). However, per personal correspondence with Lummis, this essay should be avoided because it contains hostile alterations made without his permission. Readers interested in a copy of the original essay may contact Dr. Lummis (ideaspeddlers@mpd.biglobe.ne.jp). 41 The original notes for the Schematic Table of Japanese Obligations and Their Reciprocals (printed in Chrysanthemum, 116) bear his name. 42 Cited in Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 65. 43 Ruth Benedict, Ideologies in Light of Comparative Data in Margaret Mead, An Anthropologist At Work, Writings of Ruth Benedict, Second Printing (Boston: Houghton Miin Company, 1959), 384. 44 John Embree, Standardized Error and Japanese Character: A note on Political Interpretation, World Politics 2(3) (1950): 442. 45 Richard H. Minear, The Wartime Studies of Japanese National Character, The Japan Interpreter 13(1) (1980): 37. 46 Lummis, op. cit., 4. 47 Lummis, op. cit., 6162. 48 Cited in Lummis, op. cit., 18. 49 Cited in Lummis, op. cit., 36. 50 Cited in Lummis, op. cit., 41.
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Lummis, op. cit., 5051. Lummis, op. cit., 57. 53 Lummis, op. cit., 4142. 54 Cited in Lummis, op. cit., 2122, 24. 55 Lummis, op. cit., 2223. 56 Lummis, op. cit., 32. 57 Lummis, op. cit., 32. 58 Lummis, op. cit., 30. 59 Lummis, op. cit., 34. 60 Cited in Lummis, op. cit., 26. 61 Patterns, op. cit., 247248. 62 Lummis, op. cit., 49. 63 Lummis, op. cit., 4950. 64 Patterns of Culture, op. cit., 67; cited in Lummis, op. cit., 35. 65 Ruth Benedict, Race: Science and Politics (New York: Viking Press, 1945), 14, 8485. 66 Patterns, op. cit., 249. 67 Mead, op. cit., 1959: 385. 68 Ruth Benedict, Primitive Freedom, op. cit., 1942. 69 Mead, op. cit., 1959: 391. 70 See Immanuel Wallerstein et al., Open the Social Sciences: Report of the Gulbenkian Commission on the Reconstruction of the Social Sciences (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996) and his The Uncertainties of Knowledge (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2004). 71 Ruth Benedict, Primitive Freedom (1942), in Mead, op. cit., 1959: 393. 72 Mead, op. cit., 1959: 398. 73 Ruth Benedict, Transmitting our democratic heritage in the schools, The American Journal of Sociology 48(6) (1943, May): 722727. 74 Benedict, ibid., 725, italics added. 75 Margaret Mead, The Comparative Study of Cultures and the Purposive Cultivation of Democratic Values, 19411949, Perspectives on a Troubled Decade: Science, Philosophy and Religion, 19391949, ed Lyman Bryson, Louis Finkelstein, and R.M. Maciver (New York: Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion and Democraty Way of Life, Inc, 1950), 8889. 76 Janssens, op. cit., 287. 77 Rudolf V.A. Janssens, Toilet Training, shame, and the inuence of alien cultures: cultural anthropologists and American policy making for postwar Japan 19441945, in Jan van Breman and Shimizu Akitoshi, Anthropology and Colonialism in Asia and Oceania (Richmond, VA: Curzon Press, 1999), 288. 78 Lummis, op. cit., 56. 79 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 4546. 80 Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 64. 81 Mead, op. cit., 1959: 383: 385, original italics. 82 Cited in Lummis, op. cit., 30, italics added. 83 She wrote that, Behavior that recognizes hierarchy is as natural to them as breathing and They have denied themselves simple freedoms which Americans count upon as unquestioningly as the air they breathe. Benedict, op. cit., 1946.

RUTH BENEDICTS JAPAN: THE BENEDICTIONS OF IMPERIALISM

Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 6364. Benedict, Patterns of Culture, op. cit., 253. 86 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 292. 87 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 227. 88 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 295. 89 Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 63. 90 Nanako Fukui, Background Research for the Chrysanthemum and the Sword, Dialectical Anthropology 24(2) (1999): 178, original italics. 91 Judith Modell, The Wall of Shame: Ruth Benedicts Accomplishment in the Chrysanthemum and the Sword, Dialectical Anthropology 24(2) (1999): 212. 92 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 295. 93 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 295. 94 Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 7. 95 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 277. 96 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 295296. 97 Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 4. 98 Kent, op. cit., 1994: 8182. 99 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 223. 100 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 224. 101 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 286287. 102 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 287. 103 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 222. 104 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 224. 105 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 119. 106 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 294. 107 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 21. 108 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 21, 43. 109 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 47. 110 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 295. 111 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 287. 112 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 295. 113 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 299300. 114 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 315. 115 Lummis, op. cit., 5. 116 John Embree, The Japanese Nation: A Social Survey (New York: Rinehart, 1945), 5, cited in Richard Minear, The Wartime Studies of Japanese National Character, The Japan Interpreter 13(1) (1980): 5051. 117 Some advisors to President Truman, including Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, urged a policy of unconditional surrender and of prosecuting Hirohito and dismantling the emperor system. Others strongly favored retaining the emperor system, including Joseph C. Grew (former ambassador to Japan and Under Secretary of State), General Douglas MacArthur (Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Japan), and General Bonner Fellers (MacArthurs military secretary and the former head of psychological warfare operations). A hitch for Byrnes was that Emperor Hirohito and Japans militarists, for their part, hesitated to agree to the Potsdam Declaration without assurances that the U.S. would retain the emperor system and
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Hirohitos power, among other demands. This delay by Hirohito prolonged the ghting in crucial days before Trumans decision to drop the atomic bomb to thwart the pending invasion of the Soviets. 118 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 32. 119 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 35. 120 Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (New York: Harper Collins, 2000). 121 Ruth Benedict, What shall be done about the Emperor, Papers, Vassar College Library, Series XII: Culture Area Files, Box 103, Folder 103.7 Culture Area FilesJapanese OWINotes. 122 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 30. 123 John W. Dower, Japan in War and Peace (New York: New Press, 1993), 339348. 124 Cited in Fukui, 178179. 125 Ruth Benedict, What shall be done about the Emperor. 126 Cited in Suzuki, op. cit., 230. 127 Benedict, op. cit., 1946: 196. 128 Dower, op. cit., 123, italics original. 129 See John Dowers extraordinary essay, Sensational Rumors, Seditious Grati, and the Nightmares of the Thought Police, in Japan in War and Peace, Selected Essays (New York: New Press, 1993), 101155. 130 Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, op. cit. 131 Irokawa, op. cit., 1985, 13. 132 See Jin Igarashi, Sens" Minsh"shugi no gyaku k"su o enshutsushita dianihono u o koku no boen tachi, Sh"nkan kiny"bi 8.8(471) (2003). u o 133 Fukui explains that, For example, when I wrote a short piece in a newspaper on the memorandum which Benedict wrote, What shall be done about the Emperor?, I received three threatening letters from ultra-rightwing groups (173). 134 See Immanuel Wallerstein, Anthropology, Sociology, and Other Dubious Disciplines, in The Uncertainties of Knowledge (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2004). 135 G. Gorer, Themes in Japanese Culture: Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences, Series II, 5, 1943. 136 For an excellent comparison of past Japanese and present US imperialism, see Herbert Bix, The Faith that Supports U.S. Violence: Comparative Reections on the Arrogance of Empire, Japan Focus, <http://japanfocus.org/article.asp?id=149> a revised and expanded version of an essay that rst appeared in Z-Magazine, 17, no. 7/8 (JulyAugust 2004). 137 Regarding the quoted terms in the rst citation, Embrees footnote explains that these terms were used concerning Japanese at a meeting of social scientists ... December 1617, 1944, and summarized by Dr. Margaret Mead. John F. Embree, A Note on Ethnocentrism in Anthropology, American Anthropologist 52 (1950), 430432. 138 Lummis, op. cit., 1982: 35.