Japan's foremost clinical psychiatrist presents his ideas on the role of the individual in a society that often appears to have no individuals: the Japanese. The author is as quick to explode the myths the Japanese have about themselves as he is to defend what he sees as the genius of their society. He spreads his net wide, drawing his conclusions from an extensive knowledge of his own culture but that of the West: Freud, Weber, Max Picard, and George Orwell are every bit as influential here as sources from his own tradition.
The Anatomy of Self is a sequel to Doi's pioneering and acclaimed bestseller, The Anatomy of Dependence in which he set out his theory of passive, dependent love as the key to understanding the Japanese. More than 100,000 foreign readers have been intrigued by this work. With The Anatomy of Self, Japanese society again serves as the subject of an analysis by one of its most original thinkers.
Like Doi's renowned Anatomy of Dependence, The Anatomy of Self addresses the question of the Japanese individual and his or her integration into Japanese society. Its approach is based on an analysis of the Japanese perception of public and private. What kind of society is made up of individuals capable of a constant traversing between behavior based on two simultaneously held, mutually contradictory modes of perception? Doi discusses this feature of the Japanese psyche, often referring to Western psychology. He compares the individual trauma that classic Western psychology believes to result from such a split, to the Japanese sense that adulthood is only achieved by acknowledging and accommodating the difference. Finally, the wide-ranging references to history and psychology serve to provoke thought on Freudian notions of the unconscious.