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Japan and America History and Culture Comparison

Info: 1510 words (6 pages) Essay
Published: 20th Sep 2017 in History

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Janette B. Perez

Comparing a Culture and its Education: The Correlation of the Two: What Prevails?

The United States of America is a country that is largely populated by immigrants, and the culture is heavily influenced by the many groups of people that now make up the country. Culture could be defined as the characteristics and knowledge shared by a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. Acculturation however, refers to the development between two or more different groups of people meeting and exchanging aspects of their culture. With time an individuals personality may transition based on the different variables that may be affecting it and that plays a pivotal role in acculturation. Would you say that being forced to change your lifestyle from one moment to the next affect your personality? During World War II, Japanese-American’s were evacuated and were forced out of their homes by the War Relocation Authority; having to live apart from what they knew could have changed some parts of the culture they had been brought up with, including their education. Although, each person may aspire different goals in regards to their education, during the World War II era, Japanese-American’s had to adapt to the conditions in the relocated facilities and the educational programs provided to them. Meanwhile many Japanese-Americans were also dealing with a clash of culture between these two countries. In this research paper, I will summarize and critique each article, one on the education systems of Japanese-American relocation centers during World War II and the other on the culture of Japanese-American’s and their acculturation to the United States; many conclusions can be obtained and compared from both of the articles mentioned that will proof whether there is any correlation between culture and instruction.

To start off article one, keep this in mind: What is the difference between culture and acculturation? Furthermore, how are these related or can the two morph to form to make an individual transition into something new.

Acculturation of Personality: A Three-Culture Study of Japanese, Japanese Americans, and European Americans

This article begins with the question: “Does an immigrant’s personality change when he or she moves from one culture to another?” There is definitely an underlying idea in this sentence that will help us explore the remaining of the article (Gungor et al., 2012). Can culture shape the personality of a person or vice versa; can personalities be molded far enough to were the culture in a particular group of individuals becomes something entirely different or does it change only to a certain extent. To answer these questions a three-culture study between Japanese, Japanese-Americans, and European-Americans was conducted to show if there was any evidence that a strong-rooted culture like that of the Japanese immigrants could be influenced thus causing change in Japanese-Americans after being in contact with the American Culture and how it would differ.

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The researches chose to focus on Japanese-Americans because the personality patterns in their culture of origin (Japanese Culture) are very different to that of European-Americans showing obvious contrast if change occurs, “for example, when compared on “Big Five” personality dimensions, higher levels of Openness to Experience, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness and lower of Neuroticism have been found to characterize the personality patterns of mainstream European and North American societies as compared to those of Asian and African societies” (Gungor et al. 2012) In order to establish credibility, participants were selected very carefully and included, 57 mono-cultural Japanese women (strong-rooted in their culture of origin), 40 Japanese-American women(first generation), and 60 European-American women (culture of destination). The examination showed the groups levels of the “Big Five” qualities mentioned. The differences and similarities between the three cultures were calculated and documented. It was concluded that over time through involvement and exposure to mainstream culture in the United States an immigrant’s personality seemed to become more “American” and less “Japanese”.

Something to note about this research is that it is very well categorized from beginning to end with each paragraph containing a specific title explaining the questions this experiment is trying to find answers to, as well as how the method was performed. The article is structured to primarily help us better understand the dilemma faced by the authors, followed by their hypothesis in how the culture of origin of an immigrant can slowly transition into the culture of the location they are exposed to. Finally, it demonstrates the outline of the experiment, including how the participants were selected, why those conditions were chosen, the results of the study, how thee were calculated, and the translation of them followed with the physical evidence of the research.

I believe that the authors made incredible points of focus that were explained thoroughly and supported with the results. Not only did they use the research that they conducted as the main source of evidence, but also backed-up there results with similar studies conducted by other scientists to proof that this experiment can have a broader audience and that the material is relevant and truthful. Overall, research was conducted well the specifications of the participants selected had to keep in mind the two cultures compared and see how it differed in three characterized individuals. To determine culture of origin fifty seven women were selected from Tokyo, Japan-through a survey this culture’s “Big Five” was calculated into a number. On the other hand, sixty women from another metropolitan area were surveyed to portray the “Big Five” in European-American. The samples surveyed were targeted to be as close as possible in terms of age range, social status, and their contributing roles in society in order to maximize comparability and find the acculturation factor (Gungor et al. 2012). In an effort to demonstrate that over time personalities change due to exposure to the mainstream culture (in this case European-American culture), the first generation Japanese-American subjects selected for the study were slightly older than the other two categorized groups; however, their social statuses and roles were kept very similar. The final results portrayed that in fact, there is a correlation between the time spent by Japanese-Americans, and the age at which they were exposed to a new destination and the “American” culture. This experiment concludes that culture of origin diminishes over time and culture of destination grows.

Continuing into the second article, it is important to note the following: The decision to evacuate the entire Japanese-American community during World War II was unprecedented and executed quickly. In addition to being secluded from their homes and communities, how do these circumstances affect Japanese and Japanese-American daily lives, including their education.

The Education of Japanese-Americans, 1942-1946

During World War II many events impacted the entire world and in the 1940’s the United States of America was not the exception. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, would live in infamy. This attack fully propelled the United States into the ongoing world war. During the spring and summer of 1942, the United States executed, in a surprisingly short amount of time and without conflicting events, one of the largest controlled migrations in history. The operation was carried out by the United States Army and the War Relocation Authority. An estimated 120,000 people of Japanese descent were moved from their homes and placed into 10 wartime communities located in remote areas between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Mississippi River. It was estimated that two thirds of these individuals were American born while the remainder where alien immigrants.

Works Cited

Cullen, Catherine L. “The Education of Japanese-Americans,1942-1946: The Fate of Democratic Reform.”American Educational History Journal 38.1 (2011): 197-218.

Gungor, D., M. H. Bornstein, J. De Leersnyder, L. Cote, E. Ceulemans, and B. Mesquita. “Acculturation of Personality: A Three-Culture Study of Japanese, Japanese Americans, and European Americans.”Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 44.5 (2012): 701-18. Web.


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