Book & Film Reviews

THE JAPANESE HOUSE, Material Culture in the Modern Home by Dr. Inge Daniels, Photography by Susan Andrews

Published by Berg Publishers, Oxford, September 2010 includes 76 superb, unusual and interesting colour photos by Andrews and over 30 others.

Dr Daniels is an academic anthropologist at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford.
Chapters: Introduction, Feeling At Home, Home and the Community, Domestic Spirituality, Tatami Tastes, Stuff and Storage, Troublesome Things, Frictions, Gaps and Blockages.

This is an absolutely fascinating book - well written, superbly researched inside Japanese homes and written with passion. Every aspect of a Japanese house, home and family members (and their responsibilities with the family and extended family - both within the home and within the community) is covered in great detail, following in-depth questioning, discussions and meeting the family members of thirty different homes in Japan. Copious notes, long bibliography and in English. Anyone who has stayed home-stay in Japan, given or received gifts, wondered why so many homes are packed with ornaments, possessions etc and tried to understand the Japanese and their religion, social behaviour and home life will find this book a real eye-opener to the complex culture of Japanese family life. Without a doubt the best book I have read on modern Japan.

Ann Wright, Chairman Brighton & Hove Anglo Japanese Network.

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