The Institute of Statistical Mathematics has been conducting a longitudinal nationwide survey on the Japanese national character every 5 years since 1953. Since 1971, this survey has been extended to foreign nations for a more advanced understanding of the Japanese national character in the context of a cross-national comparative study. The main focus of a cross-national survey is the comparison of the social values, ways of thinking, feelings, and other relevant aspects of people from various nations. Another important purpose of our study is to investigate those conditions under which meaningful cross-national comparability of social survey data is guaranteed. As the introduction in this special issue, we will explain our research paradigm, which we refer to as ‘cultural link analysis’, discuss the methodological problem of cross-national survey and give an overview of our past surveys. Finally, we will provide some comments for our future research.
This paper describes the methodology employed to survey Japanese Americans in the Seattle, Washington and San Jose, California areas. Japanese name dictionaries were used to generate a sampling frame of Japanese Americans who were registered voters in the counties that contained the two cities. Random samples were drawn and 344 survey respondents were interviewed. Items from the “Japanese National Survey” and from studies of Japanese American interpersonal style and community persistence were administered.
The problem of the Japanese American West Coast Survey was to determine whether the interpersonal style of Japanese Americans was influenced by their inheritance of Japanese interpersonal patterns, and also whether this style could account for their unusual proclivity for organizing voluntary associations. G. H. Mead's interpersonal theory was seen as particularly suitable for explaining the most prominent features of the Japanese interpersonal style-such as their delayed response tendency in interactions, low individuality, exceptional attentiveness to the attitudes of others, emphasis on consensus forming, and strong preference for group decision making and group action-and for showing how Japanese Americans could become socialized in this style and dispose them toward organizational activity. The utility of Mead's scheme as a basis for explaining Japanese behavior patterns was further assessed by examining its value in interpreting major findings about Japanese national character produced by the Institute of Statistical Mathematics in its fifty-years study of the subject. We concluded that Mead's interpersonal theory offered a highly suitable basis for designing our study and for interpreting our collected observations.
This paper reports on an initial effort to develop survey items that measure Japanese American interpersonal style. Based upon the theoretical work of Miyamoto, Fugita, and Kashima (2002), it was hypothesized that Japanese American interpersonal style is an important factor in their forming large numbers of voluntary organizations both historically and contemporarily. A survey was administered to 344 Japanese Americans living in the Seattle, WA and San Jose, CA areas. An initial pool of 16 items yielded a 10-item measure with three subscales that was related to involvement in Japanese American organizations and other indicators of ethnic community participation.
The beliefs and attitudes on religion and religiosity within the Japanese American population in the continental United States is a relatively unexplored topic. A 1998-2000 study of randomly sampled, face-to-face interviews with 344 Japanese Americans was conducted in King County, Washington, and Santa Clara, California. The study included six questions relevant to religious attitudes and beliefs with analysis offered concerning the differences and similarities with data obtained from fifty-years of study in Japan and Japanese American religiosity. Such differences included having a personal faith and the degree to which Christianity is a notable part of Japanese American life. Conversely, the persistence of Buddhism among Japanese Americans was another striking finding. Japanese Americans exhibit today, across the age ranges, through the generations and between genders, a high rate of personal religious belief, attendance at Christian and Buddhist churches and temples and a high level of agreement concerning the importance of religious attitudes.
The objective of this paper is to overview people's sense of trust as it is reflected in the response data of questionnaire surveys. I will study the variability of people's trust systems in order to explore which aspects of their sense of trust are stable over many decades and which aspects are variable under the longitudinal changes of economical and political conditions. To begin with, I will explain briefly the history of our longitudinal and cross-national survey research on national character. Secondly, I will summarize some aspects of people's sense of trust in our longitudinal survey of Japanese national character. Thirdly, I will present cross-national comparative analysis of trust in our seven-country survey. Fourthly, I will consider the acculturation of the Japanese immigrants in Brazil, Hawaii, and the West Coast of USA. Finally, I will provide some comments for our future research.