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The nuance of ‘interview’ in Japanese In Japanese, the term ‘interview’ has been imported directly from the English and is also used in our daily conversations. However, when I asked to ‘interview’, I encountered problems with the term in Japanese. I eventually decided not to use this because of the different nuances between the English and Japanese interpretation of the word. An English-speaking audience tends to recognize ‘interview’ as ‘the survey methods used to obtain data through questioning’ (Tang 2002: 713).

It appears to me that her reaction relates to the Japanese concept of shame (haji). Benedict ([1946] 1989) describes the Japanese notion of honour/ shame (meiyo/haji) and points out that this concept and its degree changes according to the circumstances. For instance, Kiyama (1996: 285) describes how Japanese tend not to follow their general notion of honour/shame abroad and consequently many behave badly. This is because ‘shame is a reaction to other people’s criticism’ (Benedict [1946] 1989: 223), and Japanese believe that non-Japanese do not share the same code as Japanese (Kiyama 1996).

Here, I will consider the circumstances of three researchers doing identity work in Japan: Ogasawara, Yano and Hamabata. Ogasawara is Japanese and grew up in Japan. The other two are Japanese-American and grew up in the United States. However, because of their Japanese ancestry, all of them look stereotypically Japanese. Ogasawara (1998) is a Japanese sociologist but gained her PhD in the United States. During her fieldwork in Japan, she occasionally had to accept her identity not only as a sociologist in the United States, but also as a student of English, as given her by the Japanese female clerical workers Downloaded by [INFLIBNET Centre] at 12:29 26 December 2013 Identity work 35 (office ladies)16 who were her informants.

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A local approach to buildings by Tits J.


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