This thesis compared the nature of friendship among American and Japanese college students of both sexes. The process of making and keeping friends, the characteristics of friendship, and the potential causes of the break-up of friendship were explored with a 75-item, paper-and-pencil questionnaire. The respondents were fellow college students at Waseda University in Tokyo while I was studying there during 2012-13, numbering 32 Japanese (18 women and 14 men) and 32 Americans (17 women and 15 men). The research questions were: (1) Within a given culture, either American or Japanese, are there differences between men and women in their friendship dynamics? (2) Are there any cultural contrasts in the nature of friendship between Americans and Japanese? and (3) If there are indeed some differences of either variety, what is the nature of the disparities? In total, 14 statistically significant results were discovered: six divergences between the two sexes (three each for the two groups, Americans and Japanese) and eight cultural contrasts. Attentiveness, placidity, and attractiveness were at issue between the American men and women, while togetherness, serious conversation, and the scope of social connections were dividing factors for the Japanese. The cultural contrasts consisted of the ways of finding a friend, the qualities sought for in friends, and the experience of friendship dissolution.
This thesis explores the Korean Wave, or the popularity of South Korean pop-cultural artifacts, on contemporary Japanese society. Emerging in the last decade, the Korean Wave may hold potential for the relationship between Japan's Zainichi Korean population and ethnically Japanese people to change.
This thesis discusses the factors that have led to the popularity of the Western-style wedding in Japan, especially of Walt Disney. The idea of how popular the Western-style wedding was explored through a survey given to college-aged students sampling their opinion on the style of wedding they desired.
This lovely covered stairway (nobori-ro) originally dates from 1039 but was reconstructed in the Meiji period. The stone lanterns and flowering shrubs on both sides make for an exquisite ascending garden, while at night the spherical lamps above cast a fine glow. The pillar on the left says that this is a place where heavenly deities reside, which is a Shinto-esque reference, while one not visible to its right states that Buddhas also are active here.
Copies of scriptures hand-scribed by the faithful are stored in this hall. Many short, and sometimes long, Buddhist texts are copied as part of a practice that accumulates merit. The Heart Sutra (Hannya Shingyo) is a one-page text widely copied throughout Buddhist East Asia. This merit is often dedicated to a deceased or ill loved-one with the hope that they fare well.
At this building within the Hasedera complex, visitors can purchase amulets (o-mamori) and various memorablia. Here too pilgrims can receive a large stamp for placement in their "stamp book" which documents their visits to many holy places.
The ascending garden along the stairs is filled with gorgeous hydrangea (called "ajisai" in Japanese) in the summer.
This plaza connects the bell tower, main hall, and temple shop.
Yet another of the many sub-temples in the complex.
This is the bridge marking the entrance to what is often called Japan's grandest -- both largest and most magnificent -- cemetery. A two kilometer (1.3 mile) stone path through an ancient cryptomeria forest leads to the tomb of Kukai (posthumously Kobo Daishi), founder of the Shingon school and the first to found a temple at Koyasan, in 817. Throughout the forest along both sides of the path, and often up and over small hills behind the trees, are thousands upon thousands of gravestones that have been built up around Kukai's tomb over the millenia.
Many such stalls in Koyasan sell evergreen fronds to people for embellishing their family altars at home where ancestors are revered. This one is in a spot very characteristic of Koyasan: the old stone wall behind and the line of toriis heading up a path to the left bespeak the charm of this old mountain town (founded in the early 9th century) with its limitless reminders of traditional religion.
To the right of the main hall stands this large structure on which visitors hang an "ema," or a small wooden plaque with a string on which they have written a wish. The ema are purchased at the shrine for around 500 yen (four dollars), and as the other photos show they come in different styles. It is believed that placing one's wish in close proximity to the kami may enhance the chances of fulfillment.
This banner advertises an upcoming festival, on July 15th, that will feature the lighting of a thousand lanterns, the rope circle through which one may walk (chinuwa kuguri), and a purification rite aimed at "countering obstacles, eliminating illness and vanquishing troubles."
This shrine shop has posted above the left-hand side of the counter a chart indicating unlucky years (yakudoshi) when one might most feel the need for an amulet (o-mamori) or two.
This short path leading to a small shrine within the Ikuta Jinja compound is lined by vermillion torii. Many Shinto shrines will have paths almost covered by torii in this manner. The torii are commonly erected on behalf of donors to the shrine.
This is just one of hundreds of such massive entrance gates to a temple in the town of Koyasan.
Just behind the main plaza is this Shinto shrine dedicated to the local deity.
The pillar to the left designates the small hall behind the tree as one dedicated to some practices of the Shingon school.
This is the newly constructed main hall. It was destroyed in the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, and rebuilt in reinforced concrete.
Some of the grave stones surrounding Okunoin seem to depict either actual people or at least their idealized forms as ordinary social beings. Here we see a mother with children.
This old grave site has a large traditional stone and the space is nicely framed by a Shinto torii. This kind of complex shows how Buddhist and Shinto forms merge easily in Japanese sensibility.