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The Institute for Intercultural Studies and Japanese Studies Author(s): Margaret Mead Source: American Anthropologist, New

Series, Vol. 63, No. 1 (Feb., 1961), pp. 136-137 Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/667343 . Accessed: 28/07/2013 23:56
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Letterto the Editor


THE INSTITUTE FOR INTERCULTURAL STUDIES AND

STUDIES JAPANESE
Sir:

The prefatorycommentto Dr. Sofue'svaluablebibliography on the workof American social anthropologists on Japan (Sofue 1960) includescertain misunderstandings which I am sure he would wish to correct.The Councilfor InterculturalRelations, foundedin 1940and renamedthe Institute for Intercultural Studies,Inc., in 1944,is a small researchorganization, originallyfoundedby GregoryBateson,LawrenceFrank, HaroldWolff,the late Ruth Benedict,LymanBryson,EdwinEmbree,and myself. Its and writing primarypurposeis "to stimulateor conductscholarlyor scientificresearch of the various dealingwith the behavior,customs,psychologyand socialorganization peoplesand nationsof the world,with specialattention to those peoplesand those asand internationalrelapects of their life which are most likely to affect intercultural tions." This group did pioneer the work on studies of national characterthrough on Japanese anthropological methods, and GeoffreyGorer'soriginal memorandum characterwas issued jointly by the Institute for InterculturalStudies and the Committee for National Morale,a wartimeinstitution devoted to the applicationof the social sciences to wartimeproblems.IIS is a small group of voluntary professional scholars;it has neverhad a paid professional staff, such as the articlesuggests.One of its principalactivities was, and is, circulatingmemoranda and reprintson pertinent topics, such as Gorer's"JapaneseCharacter Structure,"later condensed(1943). The Institute was never dissolvedand continuesto functiontoday as a focus for pertinent research. In the courseof the war, GeoffreyGorerjoinedthe staff of the Officeof WarInformation wherehe made a distancestudy of Burma,and he was succeededin this responsibilityby Ruth Benedict,who did wartimestudies of Roumania,Thailand, the and Germany Netherlands, and, at the end of the war,of Japan.Theselatter studiesof and theSword. Afterher returnto her Japanresultedin her book, The Chrysanthemum a seriesof studies professorial post at Columbia University,whereshe had inaugurated of modernculture, ColumbiaUniversityResearchin Contemporary Cultureswas set up underher direction,at the requestof the Officeof Naval Research.Afterher death in 1948,I completedthe projectand directedthe seriesof successor projects,Studiesin Soviet Cultureand Studiesin Contemporary Culture,whichwereconductedunderthe auspicesof the AmericanMuseumof NaturalHistory,undercontractswith the Rand the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,and the Officeof Naval ReCorporation, search. I have discussedthese relationshipsin some detail elsewhere(Mead 1959). Ourprincipalattentionwas at no time on Japan,but ratherupon a wide spectrum of contemporary culturesin those respectswhichwere equally importantfor cooperative and antagonisticrelationships betweennationalgroups. It also seemsunfortunateto perpetuatethe statementthat GeoffreyGorerderived "the bellicoseand formalcharacteristics of the Japanese"from "the strict toilet trainmethodsof childrearingwere ing of infants."As in otherstudiesof nationalcharacter, analyzedas clues both to the processesof characterformation,in a given generation, 136

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Letterto the Editor

137

and to some emphasesin the national culture. Cultureis never derived from child rearingpractices,but child rearingpracticesare a significantfactor in culturaltransmissionand culturechange. MARGARET MEAD,Secretary Studies Institute for Intercultural
REFERENCES CITED GEOFFREY GORER, 1943 Japanese character structure. Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences, Series II, 5: (5): 106-124. MEAD,MARGARET 1959 An anthropologist at work; writings of Ruth Benedict. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co. TAKAO SOFUE, 1960 Japanese studies by American anthropologists: review and evaluation. American Anthropologist 62: 306-317.

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