chapter  two
20 Pages

Reshaping Anthropology

A View from Japan
WithShinji Yamashita

This chapter reviews the history of Japanese anthropology since its foundation in 1884 and highlights its distinctive features and achievements. It examines Japanese anthropology in the wider contexts of world anthropologies and the main issues that contemporary Japanese anthropology faces. Japanese anthropologists are exploring the use of anthropological knowledge in a wider range of contexts, including practical fields such as the work of international development agencies, public sector institutions that promote intercultural understanding, and nonprofit organizations involved in social and cultural issues. In studying and teaching anthropology, students and teachers often find it difficult to relate their contemporary interests to classical theories in the discipline. The problems the discipline faces are, therefore, problems not only for Japanese anthropologists but also for US anthropologists and perhaps for those in the rest of the world. This might lead us to a kind of “interactive anthropology” at the global level.