Japan's Name Culture: The Significance of Names in a Religious, Political and Social Context

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Psychology Press, 1995 - Reference - 260 pages
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This is the first comprehensive study in English of Japanese names - their history and evolution, and ontological implications. Its main purpose is to understand the development of the nomenclature in its religious (animistic) and socio-political contexts.
We learn, for example, how belief in the animistic-symbolic property of names developed into extensive taboos and, in connection with these taboos, into the custom of revealing names in case of marriage or territorial surrender. Whereas private (religious) use of surnames was tolerated, commoners without public functions were prohibited from public use of surnames.
In the Meiji period (1868-1912), on the other hand, the government enforced the universal registry of surnames to conform with its policy of universal conscription, education, taxation and the postal service.
The book will be of particular interest to students of Japan and Japanese nomenclature. It will also appeal to the general reader drawn to learning more about Japan by looking at its history, religion and culture through the names of its people.
  

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
PERSONAL NAMES
15
THE PUBLIC NATURE OF CLANNAMES
65
PRIVATIZATION AND MILITARIZATION
106
NAME PROLIFERATION AND THE PROBLEM
129
GENEALOGY AND ANCESTOR WORSHIP
146
THE SURNAMES OF COMMONERS
159
THE SURNAMES OF WOMEN
181
THE FORCED REGISTRY OF FAMILY NAMES
189
CONCLUSION
198
BIBLIOGRAPHY
205
IMPORTANT DATES
216
INDEX
241
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Herbert Plutschow is currently a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, teaching courses in Japanese literature and cultural history.

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