Nora Kottmann, Cornelia Reiher (Ed.)

Studying Japan

Handbook of Research Designs, Fieldwork and Methods

1. Edition 2020, ISBN print: 978-3-8487-5085-6, ISBN online: 978-3-8452-9287-8,

Bibliographic information
Studying Japan Nora Kottmann | Cornelia Reiher [eds.] Handbook of Research Designs, Fieldwork and Methods Handbook of Research Designs, Fieldwork and Methods Studying Japan Nora Kottmann | Cornelia Reiher [eds.] BUT_Kottmann_5085-6.indd 3 16.11.20 13:18 The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at ISBN 978-3-8487-5085-6 (Print) 978-3-8452-9287-8 (ePDF) British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN 978-3-8487-5085-6 (Print) 978-3-8452-9287-8 (ePDF) Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Kottmann, Nora | Reiher, Cornelia Studying Japan Handbook of Research Designs, Fieldwork and Methods Nora Kottmann | Cornelia Reiher (eds.) 501 pp. Includes bibliographic references and index. ISBN 978-3-8487-5085-6 (Print) 978-3-8452-9287-8 (ePDF) 1st Edition 2020 © Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, Baden-Baden, Germany 2020. Printed and bound in Germany. This work is subject to copyright. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. Under § 54 of the German Copyright Law where copies are made for other than private use a fee is payable to “Verwertungs gesellschaft Wort”, Munich. No responsibility for loss caused to any individual or organization acting on or refraining from action as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by Nomos or the editors. Onlineversion Nomos eLibrary © Coverpicture: Robin Weichert BUT_Kottmann_5085-6.indd 4 16.11.20 13:18 Table of contents List of figures .............................................................................................. 11 List of tables ................................................................................................ 12 Foreword Franz Waldenberger ............................................................................... 13 Ilse Lenz .............................................................................................. 14 Acknowledgements ....................................................................................... 17 Introduction: Studying Japan ........................................................................... 19 Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher How to begin research: The diversity of Japanese Studies .......................Chapter 1 29 Roger Goodman Positioning one’s own research in Japanese Studies: Between Area Studies and discipline ............................................................................................ 1.1 40 Verena Blechinger-Talcott Let the field be your guide .......................................................................1.2 43 Daniel P. Aldrich Studying marriage in Japan: A social anthropological approach .......................1.3 47 Joy Hendry Further reading ..................................................................................... 51 References ........................................................................................... 51 How to ask: Research questions .......................................................Chapter 2 53 Gabriele Vogt Your research questions may change and that is ok .......................................2.1 65 Nicolas Sternsdorff-Cisterna Studying Japanese political behaviour and institutions ...................................2.2 68 Kenneth Mori McElwain Capturing social change in Japan ..............................................................2.3 72 David Chiavacci Further reading ..................................................................................... 76 References ........................................................................................... 76 How to organise research: Research designs ........................................Chapter 3 78 Kaori Okano Developing a comparative study: Single women in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai ............................................................................................. 3.1 88 Lynne Y. Nakano 5 Contained serendipity as fieldwork in Japan: Studying Chinese people in Japan ...3.2 91 Jamie Coates The universe of cases: Agricultural cooperatives in Japan as a case study ...........3.3 95 Kay Shimizu Further reading ..................................................................................... 99 References ........................................................................................... 99 How to identify relevant scholarly debates: Reviewing the literature .........Chapter 4 102 Urs Matthias Zachmann Looking for sources in all the right places ...................................................4.1 117 Patricia L. Maclachlan Ambiguity and blurred boundaries: Contextualising and evaluating heterogeneous sources ............................................................................................... 4.2 121 Sonja Ganseforth Doing migration research in Japan: The roles of scholarly literature ..................4.3 125 Gracia Liu-Farrer Further reading ..................................................................................... 130 References ........................................................................................... 130 How to collect data: An introduction to qualitative Social Science methods ...................................................................................... Chapter 5 132 Akiko Yoshida Participant observation and interviews: Going with the flow and dipping in and out .................................................................................................... 5.1 142 Emma E. Cook Transnational research in Japan Studies—an oxymoron? Studying cross-border labour mobility in globalising Japanese production organisations ..................... 5.2 146 Karen Shire ‘Bullseye view on happiness’: A qualitative interview survey method ..................5.3 151 Barbara Holthus and Wolfram Manzenreiter Further reading ..................................................................................... 155 References ........................................................................................... 155 How to do fieldwork: Studying Japan in and outside of Japan .................Chapter 6 157 Levi McLaughlin The cosmology of fieldwork: Relationship building, theoretical engagement and knowledge production in Japan Anthropology ............................................. 6.1 169 Nana Okura Gagné Table of contents 6 A mobilities approach to ‘Japan’ fieldwork ..................................................6.2 173 James Farrer Building arguments on national policies from everyday observations .................6.3 177 Hanno Jentzsch Further reading ..................................................................................... 181 References ........................................................................................... 181 How to interview people: Qualitative interviews ..................................Chapter 7 184 Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher The empire of interviews: Asking my way through Japan ...............................7.1 196 Christoph Brumann The art of interviewing: A Japanese perspective ............................................7.2 200 Tomiko Yamaguchi Talking through difficult topics ................................................................7.3 204 Allison Alexy Further reading ..................................................................................... 208 References ........................................................................................... 208 How to observe people and their environment: Participant observation .....Chapter 8 211 Christian Tagsold and Katrin Ullmann Of serendipities, success and failure and insider/outsider status in participant observation ......................................................................................... 8.1 223 Susanne Klien Doing and writing affective ethnography .....................................................8.2 227 Akiko Takeyama Reflections on fieldwork in post-bubble Japan: Gender, work and urban space ....8.3 231 Swee-Lin Ho Further reading ..................................................................................... 235 References ........................................................................................... 235 How to access written and visual sources: Archives, libraries and databases .................................................................................... Chapter 9 238 Theresia Berenike Peucker, Katja Schmidtpott and Cosima Wagner Clever approaches to tricky sources: How to extract information from business archives and war memorials .................................................................... 9.1 248 Katja Schmidtpott and Tino Schölz Writing transnational history through archival sources ..................................9.2 252 Sheldon Garon Table of contents 7 Accessing quantitative data for qualitative research: White Papers, official statistics and micro datasets .................................................................... 9.3 256 Shinichi Aizawa and Daisuke Watanabe Further reading ..................................................................................... 261 References ........................................................................................... 261 How to combine methods: Mixed methods designs ..............................Chapter 10 264 Carola Hommerich and Nora Kottmann Reflections on multi-method research .........................................................10.1 283 Robert J. Pekkanen and Saadia M. Pekkanen Texts, voices and numbers: Using mixed methods to sketch social phenomena ....10.2 287 Laura Dales Examining facts from different angles: The case of the deregulation of employment relations in Japan ................................................................. 10.3 292 Jun Imai Further reading ..................................................................................... 297 References ........................................................................................... 297 How to analyse data: An introduction to methods of data analysis in qualitative Social Science research ..................................................... Chapter 11 300 David Chiavacci Negotiating the ethics of gathering research data in a subcultural context ..........11.1 310 Katharina Hülsmann Researching sex and the sexuality of Japanese teenagers: The intricacies of condom use ......................................................................................... 11.2 313 Genaro Castro-Vázquez Studying economic discourse ...................................................................11.3 317 Markus Heckel Further reading ..................................................................................... 321 References ........................................................................................... 321 How to make sense of data: Coding and theorising ...............................Chapter 12 323 Caitlin Meagher Cresting the wave of data .......................................................................12.1 335 Nancy Rosenberger Lost in translation? Grounded theory and developing theoretical concepts ..........12.2 339 Celia Spoden Coding: Mapping the mountains of ethnographic post-disaster data .................12.3 343 Julia Gerster Table of contents 8 Further reading ..................................................................................... 347 References ........................................................................................... 347 How to systematise texts: Qualitative content and frame analysis .............Chapter 13 349 Celeste L. Arrington Qualitative content analysis: A systematic way of handling qualitative data and its challenges ........................................................................................ 13.1 363 Anna Wiemann Analysis of biographical interviews in a transcultural research process ...............13.2 367 Emi Kinoshita Qualitative content analysis and the study of Japan’s foreign policy ..................13.3 371 Kai Schulze Further reading ..................................................................................... 375 References ........................................................................................... 375 How to understand discourse: Qualitative discourse analysis ..................Chapter 14 377 Andreas Eder-Ramsauer and Cornelia Reiher Media buzzwords as a source of discourse analysis: The discourse on Japan’s herbivore men ....................................................................................... 14.1 389 Annette Schad-Seifert Analysing affect, emotion and feelings in fieldwork on Japan ..........................14.2 393 Daniel White From buzzwords to discourse to Japanese politics .........................................14.3 397 Steffen Heinrich Further reading ..................................................................................... 402 References ........................................................................................... 402 How to finish: Writing in a stressful world .........................................Chapter 15 405 Chris McMorran Training your ‘writing muscle’: Writing constantly and theoretically .................15.1 414 Aya H. Kimura Writing stories ......................................................................................15.2 418 Christian Tagsold Writing about Japan ..............................................................................15.3 422 Richard J. Samuels Further reading ..................................................................................... 426 References ........................................................................................... 426 Table of contents 9 How to conduct reliable and fair research: Good research practice ...........Chapter 16 428 Cornelia Reiher and Cosima Wagner Fairness in research and publishing: The balancing act of cultural translation ......16.1 442 Isaac Gagné Digital oral narrative research in Japan: An engaged approach ........................16.2 446 David H. Slater, Robin O’Day, Flavia Fulco and Noor Albazerbashi Writing for publication: Eight helpful hints .................................................16.3 450 Christopher Gerteis Further reading ..................................................................................... 452 References ........................................................................................... 452 How to present findings: Presenting and publishing ..............................Chapter 17 455 James Farrer and Gracia Liu-Farrer Finding an audience: Presenting and publishing in Japanese Studies ...................17.1 466 Scott North Ethnographic film and fieldwork on active ageing in rural Japan ......................17.2 470 Isabelle Prochaska-Meyer Weird and wonderful: Popularising your research on Japan ............................17.3 474 Brigitte Steger Further reading ..................................................................................... 478 References ........................................................................................... 478 Notes on contributors .................................................................................... 480 Index ......................................................................................................... 493 Table of contents 10 List of figures Figure 1.1: Heuristic overview of sociological theory 33 Figure 1.2: Heuristic model of the relationship between structuralist and interpretative theories and the methods they use 34 Figure 1.3: Some heuristic dichotomies for thinking about research in Area Studies 36 Figure 5.1: Bullseye chart in practice, three examples 154 Figure 10.1: Three core mixed methods designs 269 Figure 14.1: Three concepts related to discourse 379 Figure 14.2: Key steps in discourse analysis 381 Figure 14.3: Questions in Social Science discourse research 383 Figure 14.4: An overview of Critical Discourse Analysis 384 11 List of tables Table 5.1: What to consider in choosing data collection methods 138 Table 9.1: List of main White Papers in Japan 257 Table 12.1: The process of coding 324 Table 12.2: Elicited and extant text 327 12 Foreword Franz Waldenberger ‘Anything goes, as long as it is relevant and convincing.’ This guidance by my supervisor sounded like an invitation to confidently rely on my curiosity and creativity when doing research for my PhD back in the late 1980s. But I soon learned to translate the statement into ‘Anything goes, as long as it complies with the rules.’ The rules set by the academic community defined what was relevant and convincing. Methods form an integral part of this. They are the tools and rules of the trade of scholars: as tools they enhance our abilities to explore, test and verify, as rules they constrain what is acceptable. German Japanese Studies mostly differs from the more traditional Japanology with regard to its focus on subjects beyond culture, literature and language. When the new academic community started to establish itself at German-speaking universities in the 1980s, it had no genuine methodology. Instead it borrowed from the so-called Methodenfächer (method subjects) like Sociology, Political Science or Economics. But how could methods developed by disciplines that favour theories which are abstract from time and space be usefully applied to academic enquiry interested in phenomena that are defined by specific time-space constellations, like the family in post-war Japan or Japanese firms in the 1990s? Anthropology provides a solution as it offers a methodology which explicitly honours timespace contingencies, and some of the best research on Japan, like Ronald Dore’s classic British factory—Japanese factory (1973), has been achieved by applying anthropological methods. However, not all issues in the realm of management, the economy, politics and society lend themselves to anthropological methods. So, scholars in the field of Japanese Studies continue to be confronted with the tension between research interests about phenomena specific to Japan and research methods not primarily concerned with specifics. The handbook Studying Japan does not resolve this tension, but it does provide a pragmatic way of coping with it. And it does so in a comprehensive and systematic manner. By making the various methods of the Social Sciences accessible and by offering guidance on how to apply these tools and rules during the different stages of a research project, this handbook will prove highly valuable for those who study, teach and do research on Japan. Given its pluralistic approach, the handbook does not proclaim that there is only one right way to conduct research. It has no intention of being the Bible of Japanese Studies, but it certainly has the potential to become The book of recipes on how to make one’s research both relevant and convincing. The editors deserve both thanks and respect for taking up the challenge of embarking on this project as well as for what they already accomplished with the conference in 2019 and now with the timely publication of this handbook. The German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ) in Tokyo is very happy and proud to have been part of this endeavour. Franz Waldenberger Director, German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo, July 2020 13 Ilse Lenz Intercultural research, methodology and the emerging space of transnational knowledge When people from other corners of the world do qualitative research on Japanese contexts, they engage in an intercultural enterprise. I am not speaking of closed national cultures in terms of methodological nationalism. In this globalising world, the mass media, personal travel and capitalism have contributed to opening up and interlinking cultures: people in many places watch anime on the Internet, eat sushi of diverse quality and wear trousers produced by low-paid female workers from the Global South. But this has not resulted in a globalised, flattened world culture. Rather, cultures have been and are thriving as contradictory complex configurations of meaning and practices, and they blend elements from what is seen as home or far away. In this sense, those not socialised in the Japanese context and language start on an intercultural tour when they decide to do research on social or cultural issues focusing on Japan. This approach of intercultural interaction, communication and interpretation can bring new perspectives to the study of Japan, which of course is already comprehensively covered by Japanese researchers. This book is a detailed, diverse and extremely useful travel guide and companion on the road to reflexive and successful intercultural research in and on Japan. I want to congratulate the editors for this constructive and timely collection. They belong to the middle generation of researchers and thus show rich expertise in identifying and handling the various challenges of qualitative research on Japan. Like other pioneers in Germany, I had to find my way through the confusion, traps and thickets on this road mainly on my own with some support from advisors in Japan and elsewhere, when researching gender in industrialisation and later in industrial computerisation in Japan from the 1970s. Therefore, I find it extremely gratifying that younger generations can refer to this compendium on the why, how and where of doing research in Japan. Let me go on with the why, how and where: intercultural and transcultural research is an urgent issue for Cultural and Social Sciences in globalisation (Gerharz 2021; Rosenthal 2018). However, it is charged with tensions which are also present in the national context but less visible. Let me touch on some basic issues while drawing on the rich suggestions from the articles in this volume. The first is the relationship between the researcher and the researched subjects: the main aim of qualitative research is to bring to light and to interpret how actors as subjects see and construct sociocultural contexts and themselves (Rosenthal 2018). As researchers often used to see themselves as the main subjects of their projects, this creates tensions which have been debated as the representation problem or crisis in intercultural research (Gerharz 2021). Researchers and actors enter interactions in qualitative research as a process of cocreation (see Bruman, Ch. 7.1). As many contributors highlight in this handbook, (self-)reflexivity is an indispensable compass or everyday eyeglasses for researchers on the intercultural research road. They need to reflect on their own interest in the research issue and on the interaction, including its ethical and power dimensions. How am I ‘pre-formed’ and pre-informed by my social position ac- 14 cording to class, gender, minority/majority status or world region? Researching about gender in education, will I ask only women or also men or queer people? And will I interview migrant men and women as well as ‘ethnic Japanese’? So researchers have to reflect on whom they include or exclude through their concepts (e.g. of gender) and selection of interview partners. This also applies to interpretation: Will I accept the fact that mothers make lunchboxes (bentō) for school children as something natural (as some interviewed mothers might say) or will I look for contradictions and ambivalences in the interview texts? Researchers do not have to belong to the group they do research on; the contributions in this volume rather suggest that crossing borders of age, gender or nationality may add value to both the interviewer and the interviewed. But they will have to reflect on their own position, experiences and potential power. The second issue are the hermeneutic dynamics in qualitative cocreated research or how to create and interpret meanings in an intercultural process. The first obvious barrier is the Japanese language, which in my view can be only overcome by using it. Expert interviews with international actors may be done in English or German. But for interpretative qualitative research this may not work. Having tried it at the request of my interview partners, I found that at least the semantics are different in the end and thus qualitative substance may suffer. Also, many Japanese appreciate the outside researcher taking the trouble to learn their language, with the result that the interview situation becomes more like an everyday interaction. But reflexivity is also needed in intercultural qualitative research as a continuous exchange process of meaning between cultures or intercultural hermeneutical dialectics. In which ways can researchers craft their theoretical and empirical framework so that it does not follow Eurocentric (or ‘Nipponcentric’) codes and is open to articulation and interpretation by the actors? Asking why mothers make a bentō-box for schoolchildren makes sense in Japan but not so much in Germany, and may also involve new stereotyping. Doing research on otaku, would one translate the term and look for English equivalents or start from the fact that it is now an international term explained in various national Wikipedias? Referring to these examples, I want to argue that intercultural hermeneutical dialectics are not simply a matter of translation but rather of reflecting the ongoing cocreation of meanings between researchers and actors/ research subjects. Doing intercultural qualitative research in Japan implies that the actors articulate their meanings and constructions and have an open space for this. The researchers will have to understand these meanings and then go beyond them in their own interpretation, while keeping the trust of their interview partners. Intercultural qualitative research in this sense is evolving in many world regions. Thus, new spaces of transnational knowledge creation are emerging (Gerharz 2021) and Area Studies like Japanese Studies can play a key role in this. Let me raise some questions to conclude: Will these spaces still be centred on Japanese Studies outside Japan and research inside Japan? Or will mainstream Cultural or Social Sciences in the ‘West’ overcome their tendency towards exoticising or singularising Japan and (finally) join in creating these spaces, thus opening themselves up to comparative and reflexive universal research (Lenz 2013)? With more intercultural research covering shared problems, will the circulation of knowledge still be a one-way road Foreword 15 between ‘the West’ and Japan or become a truly transnational exchange (see, for example, Ochiai 2012–)? And how will the emerging transnational academic spaces recognise and negotiate the deep inequalities in the postcolonial world of academia? Ilse Lenz Professor Emerita of Sociology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum Berlin, July 2020 References Gerharz, Eva (2021): Postkoloniale Ethnographie und Indigenous Research Methodology. In: Poferl, Angelika/Schroer, Norbert (eds.): Soziologische Ethnographie. Wiesbaden: Springer. Lenz, Ilse (2013): Differences of humanity from the perspective of gender research. In: Rüsen, Jörn (ed.) (2013): Approaching humankind: Towards an intercultural humanism. Göttingen: V&R unipress, pp. 185–200. Ochiai, Emiko (ed.) (2012–): The intimate and the public in Asian and global perspectives. m/view/serial/IPAP, [Accessed 27 August 2020]. Rosenthal, Gabriele (2018): Interpretive social research: An introduction. Göttingen: Göttingen University Press. Foreword 16 Acknowledgements Research can’t be done alone and builds on other people’s support, on critical and oftentimes controversial discussions, on mutual help and the exchange of resources and knowledge. All of the above apply to this handbook. Editing a book across continents and coordinating more than seventy authors requires time, logistics and help from others. We could not have put together this handbook without the close collaboration, effort, support, trust, knowledge and work of numerous people around the world. From the very beginning, we received wholehearted support for this project from Sandra Frey and Alexander Hutzel and their colleagues at Nomos publishing. The same is true for our colleagues at Freie Universität Berlin (FUB), the German Institute of Japanese Studies (DIJ) and the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU). The editors would particularly like to thank Verena Blechinger-Talcott, Susanne Brucksch, Lorenz Denninger, Andreas Eder-Ramsauer, Isaac Gagné, Sonja Ganseforth, Barbara Geilhorn, Markus Heckel, Steffen Heinrich, Barbara Holthus, Katharina Hülsmann, Hanno Jentzsch, Agnes Laba, Elena Meyer-Clement, Hannes Mosler, Theresia Peucker, Richard Samuels, Annette Schad-Seifert, Elisabeth Scherer, Kai Schulze, Christian Tagsold, Julia Trinkert, Katrin Ullmann, Franz Waldenberger, Corey Wallace and Matthias Zachmann for their contributions, their valuable feedback, their trust and/or for providing overall support. Both editors are also greatly indebted to their home institutions, Cornelia to FUB, Nora to the DIJ. We would like to express our sincerest thanks to Cosima Wagner who has been a source of motivation throughout the process that finally led to the completion of this handbook. She will also take on the task of creating a webpage to digitally enhance this book. A lot of inspiration emerged from discussing methods and the handbook with our students. We thank all students who participated in our method courses at FUB, HHU and Musashi University. FUB students’ suggestions for the structure and content of this handbook were presented by Thora Singer and Egor Skripkin to the chapter authors during the conference ‘Studying Japan: The impact of transnationalisation and technological innovation on methods, fieldwork and research ethics’ in July 2019 in Berlin. At the same conference, Susanne Auerbach, Andreas Eder-Ramsauer and Jan Niggemeier presented PhD students’ expectations of what a method handbook for the study of Japan should look like. They inspired many authors to think more about their audience and to reconsider the structure of their chapters. We are greatly indebted to Karin Klose, Brigitte Peek and Thomas Weitner at FUB and Joachim Röhr at the DIJ for their administrative support of the conference. We also thank Andreas Steinhöfel for the wonderful design of the poster and the flyer. Without the commitment and great help by FUB’s student assistants Antonya Schmidt, Maria Natalia Seidel-Hirose, Julia Süße and Toby Wolf and DIJ interns Isabel Schreiber and Marie Ulrich the conference would not have been possible. We also thank the German Research Foundation (DFG), the DIJ, FUB’s Ernst Reuter Society and the Gender Equality Fund at the Department of History and Cultural Studies at FUB for their financial support. After the conference, we were tasked with writing our own chapters, collecting the contributions, editing and formatting manuscripts. For their invaluable help during this process, we cannot thank Marie Ulrich and Isabel Schreiber enough. We are extremely happy and grateful that they both agreed to keep on working with us after their internships to finish the project 17 together. We thank both of them for formatting all chapters and reference lists, organising all formal matters and index terms and for helping with the final proofs. Of course, we would also like to thank the DIJ for paying them. We are grateful to Furkan Kemik, student assistant at FUB, for his help with creating the handbook’s index and formatting the notes on contributors. Without language support from native English speakers and their copy-editing skills, this handbook would have been less accessible to its readers, thus, we very much thank Martyn Ford, Hilary Monihan and Katrina Walsh for their great work. Last but not least, we thank Robin Weichert who kindly provided the wonderful cover picture. Most of all we thank the authors who contributed to this book, who believed in the project and who shared their knowledge and expertise with us. Their trust and overwhelming positive and encouraging feedback was especially valuable when we were—at times—discouraged by the sheer amount of work and the multiple tasks related to this project. Our families and friends were of invaluable aid and we would also like to thank them for listening to us when we were facing problems, for helping us to think about other (more enjoyable) things and for celebrating (interim) successes with us. With the finished manuscript in our hands we are delighted to present this handbook to the Japan(ese) Studies community and hope that readers find it useful. Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher Berlin and Tokyo, August 2020 Acknowledgements 18 Introduction: Studying Japan Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher Introduction The handbook Studying Japan emerged—just like any good research project does—from a puzzle. In 2016, we were both teaching in Japanese Studies programmes at German universities where methodological training is often squeezed into the curricula here and there, but generally not taught in a systematic manner. In our courses, we were often confronted with questions from students such as ‘How do I start my research?’, ‘Which methods suit which research questions and designs?’, ‘How should I conduct my research?’ or ‘What should I do with my data?’ This made us wonder how we could teach Social Science research methods to students who want to conduct research in or on Japan in a more systematic way. Lacking a comprehensive handbook on the methods of Social Science research on Japan that we or our students could use in class, we started to think about what such a handbook could and should look like and eventually decided to create one ourselves. Now, more than four years later and after countless discussions, millions of Skype calls, two conferences and numerous encounters with our authors, we are very proud to write this introduction to just such a handbook. For us, this handbook is a milestone that began with (still ongoing) discussions on methodology in Japan(ese) Studies over the course of sharing our experiences teaching research methods to Japanese Studies students at Freie Universität Berlin and Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. From these conversations emerged a joint teaching project of (method) courses focusing on Japanese foodscapes in Berlin and Düsseldorf, which resulted in a conference in Berlin in 2017 where students from both universities presented their projects and discussed method education with scholars from Berlin, Düsseldorf and Japan (Reiher 2018a). Around that time, we first talked about the idea of creating a method handbook for a Japanese Studies audience, and in early 2018 we wrote a book proposal and began to recruit authors. From the very start we were (and still are) overwhelmed by the positive feedback from colleagues and everybody else we talked to about this project. We soon realised that there was so much material to discuss with regard to methodological challenges and the method handbook that we decided to invite the authors of each chapter to Berlin for a conference in the summer of 2019. Discussions with the authors substantially shaped some of the common threads that run through almost all chapters of this book: 1. What is specific to research on and in Japan? 2. How do transnational entanglements change the study of Japan? 3. How do technological innovations enable and challenge research on Japan? and 4. What are the ethical implications when studying Japan? This handbook is a collaborative effort, and we are grateful to everyone who supported it. 1. 19 Why this handbook and why now? Why is a handbook of qualitative Social Science research methods for the study of Japan necessary at all, and particularly at this point in time? There are wonderful books on Social Science methods, fieldwork and research designs on the market and for Japan(ese) Studies, the volume Doing fieldwork in Japan, edited by Theodore Bestor, Patricia Steinhoff and Victoria Lyon-Bestor (2003), is certainly the most influential.1 It is widely used by those who plan to or are already conducting fieldwork in Japan. Some other edited volumes or special journal issues have addressed issues related to fieldwork and to ethnography, in particular, in Japan such as reflexivity, responsibility and fieldwork ethics (Alexy/Cook 2019; Furukawa 2007; Hendry/ Wong 2009; Linhart et al. 1994; Reiher 2018b; Robertson 2007). Very few discuss data analysis (Kobayashi 2010; Shimada 2008). Several individual contributions primarily address fieldwork, fieldwork ethics and ethnography in Japan (Aldrich 2009; Gill 2014; Hendry 2015; McLaughlin 2010; Numazaki 2012; Yamashita 2012). Yet, despite the valuable publications this handbook builds on and is indebted to, there is, at least to our knowledge, no comprehensive and coherent handbook on the study of Japan that addresses the whole research process from the first idea to the publication of findings, explains and discusses the most common methods in Social Science research in and on Japan in a ‘how-to’ manner and can be used by students, researchers and teachers alike. Therefore, one motivation for putting this handbook together is to offer a starting point for learning and teaching methods as well as research designs in a Japanese Studies context and beyond. In addition to this relatively pragmatic reason, there are, however, three more reasons why we consider this handbook necessary and timely. First, there is an increasing demand for systematic and transparent research practices in Japanese and Area Studies communities against the backdrop of the increasing marginalisation of Area Studies in academia, particularly in Europe (Basedau/Köllner 2007; Ben-Ari 2020).2 Secondly, the transnationalisation of Japanese Studies as a research field, of Japan as its research subject and of research teams requires researchers to rethink traditional national and disciplinary boundaries. Thirdly, technological innovations provide new and exciting opportunities for research, yet also pose various challenges, including in regard to ethical questions. This handbook is our attempt to address and discuss these and further developments with scholars around the world and contribute to respective methodological discussions. We believe that it is important to strengthen international and interdisciplinary exchange and discussion about how students and scholars of Japan can best conduct research in a transparent and ethical way and produce reliable, comparable and comprehensive research results that scholars from Area Studies and Social Science disciplines alike can relate to. 2. 1 There are many Social Science method books focusing on a range of topics. Thus, in this handbook’s individual chapters, the authors give recommendations and introduce handbooks on the respective topics. Of course, there is also a great variety of method books in Japanese (see, for example, Kishi et al. 2016). We would also like to mention two edited volumes that explicitly address teaching in/for Japan(ese) Studies in a Japanese and a global context, namely Gaitanidis et al. (2020) and Shamoon/McMorran (2016). 2 For an ongoing, interactive discussion on the topic, see Curtis (2020). For an early contribution on the positioning of Japanology in the Social Sciences in a German context, see Lenz (1996) and Seifert (1994). Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher 20 What this handbook is about Studying Japan mainly targets (PhD) students and researchers who plan to draw on qualitative Social Science methods to conduct research on Japan. It also offers a handy tool for colleagues who teach courses on fieldwork, research designs and methods or want to address specific methodological issues in class in order to prepare their students to conduct their own research projects and write theses. This handbook is about qualitative Social Science research on Japan, focusing on the entire research process that begins with a vague interest in a research topic, which is then developed into a research question and eventually leads to findings presented in a thesis, an article or a book. Since the study of Japan is an interdisciplinary field, research focusing on Japan’s society, politics, culture, economy and history draws on a wide variety of theories and methods from various disciplines. Therefore, throughout this handbook the authors present insights from Sociology, Political Science, Anthropology and History, but also address several recurring themes and challenges. One challenge for both Japanese Studies and Area Studies scholars has been the translation of methods developed in other disciplines (mostly in the West) to specific (often non-Western) field sites and research subjects. One could argue that these translation processes are part of every research project, where methods have to be adjusted to a specific field site or a researcher’s skills or resources. However, there are some issues that are particular to the study of Japan in and outside the country. The most obvious is language. Translation of Japanese sources and data as well as cultural norms is the task of every Japan researcher, regardless of their nationality. Therefore, it is important to be reflexive regarding one’s own positionality, the reciprocity of trust-relations (Takeda 2013), the ways sensitive issues are handled or conventions for encounters in the field. At the same time, an increasing focus on transnational entanglements, mobilities and processes (not only) in Japan-related research challenges traditional national and disciplinary boundaries (Soysal 2016). This implies that research on Japan is not only carried out in Japan anymore (Adachi 2006; Aoyama 2015; Kottmann 2020). It also means that it is important to contextualise findings on Japan in a global context, no matter if a researcher studies Japan’s transnational entanglements or compares Japan with other countries.3 In addition, an increasing focus on the transnationalisation of cultural, social and political phenomena in and beyond Japan involves several methodological challenges. For example, researchers may need to visit multiple sites or be able to conduct multilingual case studies within Japan (Arrington 2016; Avenell 2015; Farrer 2015). Furthermore, the research enterprise itself has become more transnational. In addition to cooperation across the boundaries of individual Area Studies (Middell 2018), research teams are increasingly international and interdisciplinary. This provides new opportunities, but also poses questions with regard to languages, institutional differences or divergent ethical requirements. Transnational collaboration is often enabled through recent technological innovations ranging from online communication tools to software for data analysis or data repositories. Technological innovations provide new tools for getting in touch with informants via social media, 3. 3 For an ongoing discussion on comparisons in Japan(ese) Studies and Area Studies, see Sidaway/Waldenberger (2020). Introduction 21 accessing data online, making large sets of data available for other researchers or a public audience or coordinating an international research team. In fact, this very handbook would not have been possible without tools for online communication and for storing data online! But these new technologies also pose challenges to researchers studying Japan and require them to develop new strategies for research. They create new types of reciprocity and demand attention is paid to the impact of social media in the whole research process online and offline (Baker 2013; Danley 2018; Gerster 2018; Postill/Pink 2012). Not only do translation processes have (new) ethical implications, but so does the transnationalisation of Japan research and technological innovations. In fact, ethical issues are of high relevance during the whole research process, ranging from the originality of research questions to ensuring fairness in publishing. While these issues pop up in almost all chapters, we devote a separate chapter to the topic to stress the importance of good research practices, academic integrity and research ethics, such as properly quoting sources, ensuring fairness and respect to research participants and colleagues, and protecting the privacy of interviewees. Editorial decisions This handbook offers a large number of contributions on a variety of topics, but we are aware that we cannot cover everything there is to say about methods and methodology in the study of Japan. Thus, we had to make a number of decisions to limit this handbook’s scope, including the level of detail in the chapters, author selection and the format of the handbook. One choice we made was to focus on qualitative methods because these are the methods we are most familiar with and which our students are most likely to use. Another was to only write short overviews for each topic in the main chapters, although much more could have been said about each of them. To account for this, we provide further reading for those who would like to know more about the specific topics as well as to connect the literature on research design, fieldwork and methods from the Social Science disciplines with the study of Japan. Selecting contributing authors for the handbook was a more difficult process. We planned the handbook as an international collaborative project and sought to balance contributions with regard to disciplines, nationality, gender and career level, but because of our own academic background and the context from which this handbook emerged, many of the handbook’s authors are food, family and gender scholars, and a significant number were educated and/or work in Germany. Nonetheless, we offer interdisciplinary perspectives on each topic, and the handbook unites contributions by anthropologists, political scientists, sociologists and (fewer) historians. In short, the more than 70 selected authors whose contributions are featured in this handbook do not represent the full spectrum of Social Science research on Japan, but rather this selection reflects our own positionality in the field. We are, of course, aware that there are many more wonderful Japan scholars in the world! Finally, and despite a variety of technological innovations, we decided to publish this handbook as a physical, and therefore static, book that might be quickly partly outdated, especially the information on social media, websites and technological tools. Why did we choose a static format like a printed book? The short answer is: we love books and we are sure that at least 4. Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher 22 some information will remain pertinent. We imagine students and researchers carrying this handbook to Japan and back and having it at hand when they need it, even when there is no internet connection available. Despite these parochial and romanticised ideas about books, we are planning to enhance the printed version of the handbook with a website that features more information on methods and will be updated on a regular basis.4 How to use this handbook This handbook offers a starting point for learning, teaching and applying methods in a Japan(ese) Studies context and beyond. It is structured in such a way that it can be used for (self-)studying and teaching alike. The handbook could be utilised for comprehensive reading in order to gain an overview of qualitative methods in Social Science research on Japan as well as to structure one-term method courses. Yet, the handbook’s seventeen chapters can also be read individually; they can be used to learn about a specific method of data collection or analysis, expand one’s knowledge, familiarise oneself with a certain topic or just look up specific information. In addition, the individual chapters can be applied to courses as and when required. The handbook covers the entire research process in seventeen chapters from the outset to the completion of a thesis, paper or book. While this structure and the ‘how-to’ style might suggest that the research process consists of neatly separated steps, in reality, this is not the case. We are aware that the research process is often circular and dynamic and that the individual steps are often not carried out one after another in a linear manner, but sometimes even in reverse order. The blurred boundaries between the different tasks and steps in the research process are also addressed in the individual chapters. Yet due to the limitations of a book, which only allows for linear narration, as well as for reasons of clarity, this handbook is structured to follow the steps of the research process as they are most commonly organised. The seventeen chapters are all structured in a similar and easy-to-access format: a chapter introduction (‘main chapter’) and three short essays with further reading and a joint reference list. The main chapters feature an introduction to key ideas, concepts and practices, point out key terms, address the most important problems and the strategies that can be employed to solve them, present selected case studies and offer further up-to-date reading. While the main chapters address the respective topics in a relatively general way, they always refer to the specific challenges and opportunities encountered when doing research on and/or in Japan. Three short essays written by senior and junior researchers in Japan(ese) Studies from around the world follow the main chapters. There are a total of 51 essays, each offering insights into how 5. 4 A number of smaller decisions were made related to gender-sensitive language, the order of Japanese names, the order of authors and the transcription of Japanese terms. With regard to gender, we decided to use ‘she’ or ‘her’ for female, male and other genders when the gender of the subjects is unclear. This is not meant to be exclusive, but rather to challenge old ways of thinking that took the use of masculine forms to refer to both genders for granted in academia. Japanese names are written in the following—and in Japan unusual—order of first name first and last name second. This is due to criticism from some of our Japanese authors, who did not want to be treated differently from the other authors. Therefore, we decided to deviate from the way of writing Japanese names normally practised in Japan(ese) Studies. In the case of more than one author, names are mentioned in alphabetical order. Japanese terms are romanised based on the modified Hepburn system. Introduction 23 individual scholars actually deal with their respective method in practice. The authors share their experiences, offer concrete advice on and precise insights into their fields of interest, and elaborate on their perspective(s) and individual way(s) of studying Japan both in and outside the country. Yet, the essays are not only illustrations of research experiences but also give insights into a wide range of topics in the study of Japan, including nuclear power plants, single women, families, food safety, Japan-China relations, condom use, social inequality, host clubs, party politics and agriculture. In so doing, the essays celebrate the diversity and plurality of scholarship on Japan. Furthermore, the essays show that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of doing Japan research, but that research always reflects the researchers’ positionality and that it is necessary to make thoughtful decisions and explain them well. Structure and content of this handbook The first four chapters set the context for Japan research and address fundamental steps that often take place at the beginning of the research process. In chapter 1, Roger Goodman provides an introduction to the diversity of Japanese Studies and to research on Japan in the Social Sciences. Against this backdrop, Goodman provides advice on finding a research topic and explains how a researcher’s biography and theoretical (pre-)assumptions affect this choice. The importance of research questions as well as the actual process of finding and asking questions is the focus of chapter 2 by Gabriele Vogt. In chapter 3, Kaori Okano addresses (case study) research designs and touches upon the discussion of theory building and testing as well as inductive and deductive processes. Urs Matthias Zachmann discusses the importance of reviewing scholarly literature and the need to identify and position oneself in relevant debates in chapter 4. He also explains the challenge of balancing debates from Area Studies, the Social Sciences as well as debates from Japan.5 The subsequent chapters focus on data collection. Chapter 5 by Akiko Yoshida starts with an overview of the most common qualitative data collection methods used in Social Science research. Yoshida explains different types of methods and comparatively discusses their respective characteristics, which is followed by chapters that each introduce and discuss one specific method in more detail. Levi McLaughlin addresses fieldwork—physical and virtual as well as in and outside of Japan—in chapter 6, Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher introduce and discuss the world of qualitative interviews in chapter 7 and Christian Tagsold and Katrin Ullmann elaborate on observational research with a focus on participant observation in chapter 8. Finally, in chapter 9, Theresia Berenike Peucker, Katja Schmidtpott and Cosima Wagner deal with the collection of written and visual sources in archives, libraries and Japanese online databases.6 6. 5 The essays in these chapters are written by Verena Blechinger-Talcott (Ch. 1.1), Daniel P. Aldrich (Ch. 1.2), Joy Hendry (Ch. 1.3), Nicolas Sternsdorff-Cisterna (Ch. 2.1), Kenneth Mori McElwain (Ch. 2.2), David Chiavacci (Ch. 2.3), Lynne Nakano (Ch. 3.1), Jamie Coates (Ch. 3.2), Kay Shimizu (Ch. 3.3), Patricia Maclachlan (Ch. 4.1), Sonja Ganseforth (Ch. 4.2) and Gracia Liu-Farrer (Ch. 4.3). 6 The essays in these chapters are written by Emma E. Cook (Ch. 5.1), Karen Shire (Ch. 5.2), Barbara Holthus and Wolfram Manzenreiter (Ch. 5.3), Nana Okura Gagné (Ch. 6.1), James Farrer (Ch. 6.2), Hanno Jentzsch (Ch. 6.3), Christoph Brumann (Ch. 7.1), Tomiko Yamaguchi (Ch. 7.2), Allison Alexy (Ch. 7.3), Susanne Klien (Ch. Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher 24 Chapter 10, by Carola Hommerich and Nora Kottmann, focuses on mixed methods research, and it connects the chapters on data collection and data analysis. It serves a somewhat special role, as it provides a basic introduction to key terms and concepts of quantitative methods. The chapters that follow are devoted to data analysis, which may occur during and/or after the data collection process. In chapter 11, David Chiavacci addresses the importance of data analysis for the whole research process, introduces the main analytical approaches and discusses the use of computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software. The subsequent chapters each address specific analytical methods. In chapter 12, Caitlin Meagher focuses on (modified) grounded theory designs, the process of coding, the development of concepts and, ultimately, theory. Following this, in chapter 13, Celeste Arrington introduces content and frame analysis, and discusses their similarities and differences as well as each method’s strengths and weaknesses. In chapter 14, Andreas Eder-Ramsauer and Cornelia Reiher discuss various forms of discourse analysis, define basic concepts and explain individual steps in analysis.7 Finally, the last three chapters of the handbook deal with finishing one’s research projects and address basic cross-cutting issues like ethics and writing. In chapter 15, Chris McMorran writes about the importance of successfully completing one’s research project(s) despite the various obstacles in researchers’ private and professional life. Furthermore, he encourages researchers to demystify the writing process. In chapter 16, Cornelia Reiher and Cosima Wagner address the importance of following good and fair research practices throughout the whole research process and introduce new trends, such as open scholarship. In the final chapter 17, James Farrer and Gracia Liu-Farrer introduce various oral and written forms of presenting one’s findings for both an academic and a wider audience. In this context, the authors stress the importance of carefully thinking about the audience one wants to reach.8 Throughout the handbook, all the authors write as concretely as possible and in an easy-to-access manner. They summarise key points, highlight key issues, define key terms, include visual models, offer lists of important journals, provide links to important webpages and introduce helpful tools (digital and analogue). While all the authors write from their respective perspective—as novice or established researchers; as Japanese, European, Australian or American citizens; as sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, human geographers or economists; as people of a specific gender and age—they provide information that is helpful and applicable for students, researchers and colleagues from different national contexts and academic cultures. 8.1), Akiko Takeyama (Ch. 8.2), Swee-Lin Ho (Ch. 8.3), Katja Schmidtpott and Tino Schölz (Ch. 9.1), Sheldon Garon (Ch. 9.2) as well as Shinichi Aizawa and Daisuke Watanabe (Ch. 9.3). 7 The essays in these chapters are written by Robert J. Pekkanen and Saadia M. Pekkanen (Ch. 10.1), Laura Dales (Ch. 10.2), Jun Imai (Ch. 10.3), Katharina Hülsmann (Ch. 11.1), Genaro Castro-Vázquez (Ch. 11.2), Markus Heckel (Ch. 11.3), Nancy Rosenberger (Ch. 12.1), Celia Spoden (Ch. 12.2), Julia Gerster (Ch. 12.3), Anna Wiemann (Ch. 13.1), Emi Kinoshita (Ch. 13.2), Kai Schulze (Ch. 13.3), Annette Schad-Seifert (Ch. 14.1), Daniel White (Ch. 14.2) and Steffen Heinrich (Ch. 14.3). 8 The essays in these chapters are written by Aya H. Kimura (Ch. 15.1), Christian Tagsold (Ch. 15.2), Richard J. Samuels (Ch. 15.3), Isaac Gagné (Ch. 16.1), David H. Slater, Robin O’Day, Flavia Fulco and Noor Albazerbashi (Ch. 16.2), Christopher Gerteis (Ch. 16.3), Scott North (Ch. 17.1), Isabelle Prochaska-Meyer (Ch. 17.2) and Brigitte Steger (Ch. 17.3). Introduction 25 Summary and future perspectives In a nutshell, the handbook Studying Japan provides an overview of and hands-on advice for the individual steps in the research process and discusses methodological opportunities and challenges brought about by the transnationalisation of research subjects, research practices and research groups as well as by technological innovations and the digital revolution, while paying attention to good research practice and ethics. It enables students and teachers to study, teach and apply methods and to develop research designs and strategies for fieldwork in Japan. The challenge of producing both an area-sensitive yet academically sound study is a problem not only for scholars and students of Japanese Studies but also for researchers from all Area Studies. Thus, this handbook is a valuable tool for both the international Japan(ese) Studies community as well as for all Area Studies scholars who take the local characteristics and languages of ‘their’ areas seriously. At the same time, scholars from the Social Sciences who plan to study Japan in more depth can use this book to engage with Japan more deeply. We hope this handbook inspires further reflection on the conducting and teaching of research in and beyond Japan. We think that the discussion of the methodological and ethical challenges arising, in particular, from transnationalisation and technological innovations in Social Science research in and on Japan should be continued. We are looking forward to future discussions, possibly an interdisciplinary handbook on quantitative methods in the study of Japan and to enhancing this book through a website that could serve as a means to connect researchers internationally who would like to share their experiences of using and teaching methodology in a Japan(ese) Studies context. Meanwhile, we hope that you find this book useful in facilitating your research or teaching. It might help to keep in mind this advice: while there is no single ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of studying Japan, work as precisely and reliably as possible, be critical and pragmatic and, most importantly, have fun, follow your curiosity and don’t lose your fascination with your research. References Adachi, Nobuko (ed.) (2006): Japanese diasporas: Unsung pasts, conflicting presents, and uncertain futures. London: Routledge. Alexy, Allison/Cook, Emma (2019): Reflections on fieldwork: Exploring intimacy. 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Furukawa, Akira (ed.) (2007): Frontiers of social research. Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press. Gaitanidis, Ioannis/Shao-Kobayashi, Satoko/Yoshino, Aya (eds.) (2020): Kuritikaru nihongaku: Kyōdōgakushū o tsūshite ‘nihon’ no sutereotaipu o manabihogusu. Tōkyō: Akashi. Gerster, Julia (2018): The online-offline nexus: Social media and ethnographic fieldwork in post 3.11 Northeast Japan. In: ASIEN—The German Journal of Contemporary Asian Studies 149, pp. 14–32. Gill, Tom (2014): Radiation and responsibility: What is the right thing for an anthropologist to do in Fukushima? In: Japanese Review of Cultural Anthropology 15, pp. 151–163. Hendry, Joy/Wong, Heung Wah (eds.) (2009): Dismantling the East-West dichotomy: Essays in honour of Jan van Bremen. London: Routledge. Hendry, Joy (2015): The state of Anthropology in and of Japan: A review essay. In: Japan Forum 27, No. 2, pp. 121–133. Kishi, Masahiko/Ishioka, Tomonori/Maruzama, Satomi (2016): Shitsuteki shakaichōsa no hōhō. Tōkyō: Yuhikaku. Kobayashi, Tazuko (2010): Preface for the papers on different perspectives on biographies. In: Newsletter RC 38, pp. 11–12. Kottmann, Nora (2020): Japanese women on the move: Working in and (not) belonging to Düsseldorf's Japanese (food) community. In: Matta, Raúl/de Suremain, Charles-Édouard/Crenn, Chantal (eds.): Food identities at home and on the move: Explorations at the intersection of food, belonging and dwelling. London: Routledge, pp. 293–318. Lenz, Ilse (1996): On the potential of Gender Studies for the understanding of Japanese society. In: Kreiner, Josef/Ölschläger, Hans Dieter (eds.): Japanese culture and society: Models of interpretation. Tokyo: Deutsches Institut für Japanforschung, pp. 267–289. Linhart, Sepp/Pilz, Erich/Sieder, Reinhard (eds.) (1994): Sozialwissenschaftliche Methoden in der Ostasienforschung. Wien: Institut für Japanologie. McLaughlin, Levi (2010): All research is fieldwork: A practical introduction to studying in Japan as a foreign researcher. 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Richards, Lyn (2015): Handling qualitative data: A practical guide. London: Sage. Robertson, Jennifer (ed.) (2007): Politics and pitfalls of Japan ethnography: Reflexivity, responsibility, and anthropological ethics (Special Issue). In: Critical Asian Studies 39, No. 4. Seifert, Wolfgang (1994): Zum Stand der sozialwissenschaftlichen Japanforschung im deutschsprachigen Bereich: Ein kurzer Bericht. In: Doitsu kenkyū 18, pp. 52–61. Shamoon, Deborah/McMorran, Chris (eds.) (2016): Teaching Japanese popular culture. Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Asian Studies. Shimada, Shingo (2008): Die ‘dichte‘ Lebensgeschichte: Überlegungen zu den Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung im interkulturellen Kontext. In: Cappai, Gabriele (ed.): Forschen unter Bedingungen kultureller Fremdheit. Wiesbaden: VS, pp. 265–280. Sidaway, James/Waldenberger, Franz (2020–): Comparing comparisons. TRAFO—Blog for Transregional Research., [Accessed 14 August 2020]. Soysal, Yasemin Nuhoḡlu (ed.) (2016): Transnational trajectories in East Asia: Nation, citizenship, and region. London: Routledge. Takeda, Atsushi (2013): Reflexivity: Unmarried Japanese male interviewing married Japanese women about international marriage. In: Qualitative Research 13, No. 3, pp. 285–298. Introduction 27 Yamashita, Shinji (2012): The public Anthropology of disaster: An introductory note. In: Asian Anthropology 11, No. 1, pp. 21–25. Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher 28 Chapter 1 How to begin research: The diversity of Japanese Studies Roger Goodman Introduction The single most important decision for any research project is where to start: what question to examine and how to address it. This chapter sets out some of the key processes that researchers should consciously and conscientiously go through in making these decisions and attempts to turn them into a set of explicit and transparent steps to help those who are about to begin their own research projects. These principles apply at any level, from an undergraduate dissertation through to a major new project by a senior professor. They are built around the very simple premise that, in all research projects, the researcher is the main research tool. Just as any workman needs to know their tools, the researcher of Japan needs to know themselves. This chapter, therefore, looks at the importance of interrogating the personal biography and theoretical assumptions that all researchers bring to their work before they decide upon a research topic and research puzzle. In doing so, it also provides a guide to reading research which has already been undertaken by others in any field of Japanese Studies, from Natural and Medical Sciences through to the Social Sciences and Humanities.1 The importance of personal biography As the accounts by Daniel Aldrich, Verena Blechinger-Talcott and Joy Hendry in the essays following this chapter show, every research project starts with the researcher. We study—or we should study—things that we know about and things that interest us. We tend, however, to be very bad at acknowledging this fact. Until the 1970s, indeed, most social scientists failed to acknowledge in more than the most superficial way their own role in their studies. They felt that to do so was in some way not scientific. They presented themselves as objective researchers who collected data in a value free manner through robust methodologies which they then analysed using the latest theoretical models available. 1. 2. 1 The ideas in this paper were first explored when the author was looking for a topic for his doctoral thesis (Goodman 1984) and were developed in articles which reflected on the relationship between how that project and a number of subsequent projects were designed and the conclusions which were drawn from them (Goodman 1990a; 2000a; 2006). 29 From the late 1970s these assumptions of ‘scientism’ began to be challenged by what some called the ‘reflexive turn’ (O’Reilly 2009, pp. 187–93). Increasingly, not just social scientists but even medical and physical scientists began to realise that, consciously or unconsciously, they brought with them a personal perspective on an issue which might influence not only why but also how they asked a particular question and how this might indeed affect what they saw and concluded.2 By the mid-1980s, as ‘reflexivity’ increasingly became intertwined with various debates about ‘post-modernism’ in Social Science, some researchers began to question whether it was possible to examine anything objectively and whether every research project was nothing more than a reflection of the cultural and political prejudices of the individual researcher. To some extent, this denial of objective truth was linked to and pushed by those whose beliefs in the ‘certainties’ of Marxism had been crushed by the crumbling of the former Soviet Union. One response to this collapse in faith in the scientific method was to turn the researchers’ microscope on to the researchers themselves. What did they discover about themselves as a result of looking at the other? Examples of this in the case of Japanese Studies can be seen in the works of Brian Moeran (1985), Matthews M. Hamabata (1990) and Dorinne Kondo (1990).3 Most researchers in the 1980s took a less extreme position which took into account three elements of any research project: the researcher, the research and the reader (Okely/Callaway 1992). They argued that it was sufficient to give the reader ample autobiographical information and a detailed account of how a project was set up to allow them to judge the research they produced against their background knowledge of the researcher. What was some of the personal information which researchers felt was important to share in the case of research on Japan? Gender (as exemplified in Hendry’s account, see this chapter, Ch. 1.3) was one. Women had a very different experience of Japan from men (Roberts 2003). Indeed, the fact that there are such strong gender divisions in Japan often leads to different forms of study, for example, with a tendency for men to study the public sphere and women the private sphere. Sexuality was another variable which was increasingly made explicit in studies of Japan in the 1980s, as indeed it was elsewhere as the study of identity politics and gender more generally became a global focus for research. This was most clearly expressed by Western authors who felt that the public expression of their sexuality was important since they did not want to separate their sense of self (which included their sexual orientation) from their role (as a researcher). An explicit example of this is the autobiographical account by John W. Treat (1999), but the importance of sexuality in giving access to certain worlds in Japan is also acknowledged in the work of Mark J. McLelland (2000) and Wim Lunsing (2001), who were among the first scholars to provide deep ethnographic accounts of the experience and worldviews of homosexuals in Japan. 2 Different disciplines have their own key figures in the ‘reflexive turn’ movement, but history will probably suggest that the single most influential figure was Pierre Bourdieu and the single most influential book was his Outline of a theory of practice (1977) with its notion that all researchers need to ‘objectify their own objectifications.’ Other important figures in these debates were Mikhail Bhaktin, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. 3 Ostensibly, Moeran’s ethnography is on a rural community in Kyushu, Hamabata on family businesses and Kondo on small manufacturing firms in Tokyo. In practice, each of them is also an account of what they discovered about themselves through their encounters with Japan. Roger Goodman 30 A variable which could be inferred from these personal accounts, though not always stated explicitly, is age (Smith 2003). This, of course, affects the researcher’s ability to empathise with and access different generations of Japanese. Age, gender and sexuality, of course, all interact. If one accepts that Japan is still a very patriarchal and gerontocratic society (and the make-up of the Diet and company boards would suggest that it is), then there is an argument that young women make the best researchers since they are the most likely to have the basic categories of how Japanese society operates ‘explained’ (‘mansplained?’) to them. Older, more experienced male researchers may be expected to ‘know’ these things. The ideal scenario for a social scientist is to be ‘patronised’ since that is when people reveal what they think are the basic underlying assumptions of their worldview. This is one reason (along with, ironically, the fact that their Japanese is too good) why it is often more difficult for native anthropologists to undertake research on their own society than it is for foreigners (see Yamaguchi, Ch. 7.2). At the end of the 1980s, Harumi Befu and Josef Kreiner (1992) carried out an interesting project which explored the impact of national background on the way that overseas researchers approached the study of Japan. They argued that researchers with different nationalities and different ethnic backgrounds bring with them ‘cultural baggage’ which impacts (generally unconsciously) on the type of questions they ask about Japan. North American scholars have a cultural predisposition when they look at Japanese society to focus on ‘race’, Koreans and Chinese on blood ties, Indians on minority and outcaste status, the Soviets (at the time) on collectivism, Germans on social democracy and the English on social class since these are the ‘key’ social variables in their own societies.4 Another issue which is rarely discussed in the personal introductions to accounts of Japan is politics, either personal or national. As Sheila Johnson (1975) has shown, the U.S. view of Japan between the 1940s and 1970s was largely determined by U.S. relations with China. That is almost certainly still the situation today. Further, within societies, right-wing commentators have generally had a more sympathetic view of Japan in the postwar period—because of its economic success and high levels of social stability—than left-wing commentators, who have been concerned about the lack of national unions to protect and fight for workers’ rights. Interrogating the relationship between the person and society The above are all personal biographical details which may be pertinent to understanding the position which a researcher brings to their study of Japan. There are two other sets of assumptions which are actually much more significant, but which are rarely, if ever, discussed explicitly, although they can be gleaned by an astute reader simply by looking at the bibliography and acknowledgments of any academic book on Japan. These two sets of assumptions 1. about the relationship between the person and society (see sections 3 and 4) and 2. about the distinction between Japanology and Japanese Studies (see section 5) overlap to a considerable degree. Moreover, they are essentially independent from any of the other variables that have been ex- 3. 4 It was during their workshop that I realised for the first time that the way I was looking at the issue of returnee children (kikoku shijo) in Japan was so strongly driven by my interest in the class effects of education as a result of my own experience of the highly class-divided English education system. Chapter 1 How to begin research 31 amined previously; they have no relation to gender, ethnicity sexuality and educational background and, since the collapse of Communism in 1989, there is no reason why they should have a connection with nationality, age or class. The first of these sets of assumptions relates to the very nature of what constitutes academic research in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Put at its most simple, the Social Sciences and the Humanities can be defined as the study of the relationship between the person and society, depending on how ‘person’ and ‘society’ are defined in a particular place or time. This simple formulation is what disciplines as apparently varied as Archaeology and Psychology, Law and Economics, History and Literature, Linguistics and Business, and Education and Sociology all share, even as they invent their own special language for describing these key variables. In Anthropology, what is termed the study of the person or personhood lies at the very core of the study of any society, but an understanding of personhood is key in other disciplines too. While every society makes a distinction between self (ego) and role (persona), the relationship between the two varies over time and space. In Western societies, post-Enlightenment ideologies have seen the conflation of the two as leading to healthy ‘individuals’—and their separation as problematic. Western ideas of Freudian and Jungian psychoanalysis, for example, seek to find out how the role that a person is forced to perform (mother, worker, student) constrains their sense of self and how the self can be allowed to express itself fully again. In most societies, however, it is the ability to separate the two which is seen as essential to a healthy lifestyle. In Japan, when the self and role become overly conflated, the person may be perceived, or perceive themselves, as ‘selfish’. Distinction (kejime) is the skill that all small children develop that enables them to separate their sense of self from any role they need to perform and anyone who is unable to do so may be perceived as immature. Naikan and Morita therapies (Reynolds 1989) are focused on meditating on how one’s sense of self has got in the way of good role performance. In Social Science disciplines, the study of society can most simply be described as the examination of how rituals and symbols have been used, and by whom, to construct a sense of community. As Cohen (1985) shows, this can be either internally or externally generated; people can construct their own sense of who they are or they can be defined by others. Who does the constructing is a question of political and economic power—domestic or extra-domestic—in both cases. As Figure 1.1 shows, there are two ways that the relation between the person and society can be examined. Structuralist approaches look at how society constrains the actions of the person. Interpretative or social action approaches look at how the person constructs society.5 Structuralist approaches in turn can be broken down into two traditions: those which assume that society is essentially based on consensus and those which assume it is based on conflict. The former used to be described as functionalist and the latter as Marxist. Both terms have increasingly come to be used in a derogatory fashion (functionalist for being too ‘conserva- 5 Karl Marx, Max Weber and Émile Durkheim, generally credited as the ‘founders’ of these three approaches in the Social Sciences, are today often dismissed as ‘dead white men’, but it can be argued that virtually all current Social Science theory is either derived from, or developed in opposition to, their seminal work. Roger Goodman 32 tive’, Marxist for being too ‘socialist’), but in purely analytical terms they remain the most useful way to think of work which looks at how society constrains the person. Heuristic overview of sociological theory Sociological theory Structuralist ↓ Interpretative/agency ↓ Society based on consensus ↓ Society based on conflict ↓ Society based on competition ↓ Functionalism ↓ Marxism ↓ Social Action ↓ Emile Durkheim 1858–1917 Karl Marx 1818–1883 Max Weber 1864–1920 Functionalist and Marxist approaches have very different underlying assumptions. This can be seen very easily in work on education systems.6 Both functionalists and Marxists see education as effectively a black box in to which are fed the raw material of pre-school children. It is the outcome of the educational experience over which they disagree. Functionalists describe relations between the educational system and other institutions; Marxists explain why these relations exist and change over time. Functionalists see the socialisation process as a common value which holds society together; Marxists examine interests underlying those values and how socialisation differs systematically by social class. Functionalists see the education system as offering opportunities for mobility; Marxists see the role of education as maintaining structured social inequality (reproducing social class through reproducing social capital).7 In opposition to the structuralist theories of the Marxists and functionalists who see education as a black box, interpretative or social action theorists are more interested in what happens inside the black box of education. They want to know how the participants—the teachers, parents, policymakers and children among others—construct the society that makes up the school. Unlike structuralist theories, which assume these participants are passive in the face of societal rules and norms, the assumption in social action theory is that the participants have a level of agency, even if they cannot all express it equally. Students can conform to the goals and the methods for achieving those goals that the school has set, but they can also rebel, retreat, ritualise, colonise or innovate, to use some of the categories identified in the classic work of Robert K. Merton (1938). As Peter Woods (1979) has shown, teachers can also take a number of different roles and positions in relation to the curriculum and school rules. It is reported, for example, that left-wing teachers in Japan have sometimes supported adopting rightwing history textbooks as exemplars for their students of the dangers of the state getting involved in controlling the messages of history (Goodman 2020). Figure 1.1: 6 For an overview of these theories, see Sever 2012. 7 For probably the best-known analysis of the difference between functionalist and Marxist interpretations of Japanese society, see Ross Mouer and Yoshio Sugimoto (1986, chapters 2 and 3). A classic functionalist account is the work of Chie Nakane (1970); a classic Marxist account can be found in the work of Rob Steven (1982). Chapter 1 How to begin research 33 Figure 1.2 suggests that the choice that a researcher makes between a structuralist or a social action approach to studying a particular problem can also influence the methodologies that they need to use. While it is not always the case, very often structuralist theories require quantitative research methods since they set out to measure the extent to which society constrains the activity of the person. Interpretative theories, on the other hand, often require qualitative research methods since they set out to examine how persons construct the world around them. Heuristic model of the relationship between structuralist and interpretative theories and the methods they use Structuralist theories e.g. functionalist (Durkheimian), conflict (Marxist) theories ↓ Interpretative theories e.g. social action (Weberian) theories ↓ measure the extent to which society constrains the activity of the person and tend to use ↓ examine how persons construct the world around them and tend to use ↓ quantitative methods e.g. questionnaires, structured interviews, big data sets. qualitative methods e.g. participant observation, unstructured interviews. The best research should take into account both structuralist (functionalist and Marxist) and interpretative social action theories. They should also draw on both quantitative and qualitative research methods—in what is sometimes called ‘mixed methods’—since the difference between structuralist and interpretative theories can not only push researchers towards different methodologies (see Hommerich/Kottmann, Ch. 10). This difference can also explain why they may end up with very different conclusions when looking at apparently the same phenomenon, as the following example suggests. Example of the impact of theoretical assumptions on research on contemporary Japan During the 1990s, Joshua Roth (2002) and Takeyuki Tsuda (2003) undertook detailed anthropological fieldwork among the nikkeijin (Latin Americans of Japanese descent) community who were invited, in large numbers, to come and work in Japan in the late 1980s which was then facing severe labour shortages in the country as the economy boomed (see Gagné, Ch. 6.1). Roth and Tsuda’s subsequent ethnographies agreed on almost all points in their account of this community. In particular they agreed on the fact that the nikkeijin, who had been so Figure 1.2: 4. Roger Goodman 34 proud of their Japanese ancestry when in Latin America, were disappointed on the reception they received in Japan and, in the process, ‘rediscovered’ their ‘Latin Americaness’. Where Roth and Tsuda differed was in the conclusions they reached for the future of nikkeijin in Japan. While Roth believed Japan would be able to contain within it minority groups, like the nikkeijin, as ideas of ‘Japaneseness’ became more broadly defined, Tsuda believed the nikkeijin identity would disappear inside the boundaries of an increasingly tight definition of ‘Japaneseness’. The reason for their different conclusions lay not so much in their views of the nikkeijin community as in their views of Japanese society and in particular their underlying assumptions of the relationship between the person and society. Tsuda (2003) saw Japan in very functionalist terms. He believed that the intrinsic nature of Japanese culture meant that anything coming from outside was perceived as potentially contaminating and, hence, in need of either rejection or purification before it could be accepted into society. Such an approach saw society functioning like a self-contained, biological organism with clearly defined boundaries and mechanisms for dealing with anything polluting from outside. Roth (2002), conversely, saw Brazilian Japanese ethnic identity coming from interaction with the political and economic structures within which the nikkeijin were forced to operate in Japan. It was not Japanese culture as such that was responsible for the rejection of the nikkeijin, but interest groups within Japan—such as employers, politicians, journalists and, particularly, labour brokers (hence the word ‘brokered’ in the title of his book). These groups, he said, used the language of culture and history to legitimise the marginalisation of the nikkeijin group for their own economic (cheap labour) and political (reinforcement of Japanese ethnic identity) ends. It was in opposition to this marginalisation that the nikkeijin had been constructing their own cultural forms (drawing on ideas of ‘Brazilianness’). As their class position strengthened in Japanese society, so the Brazilian nikkeijin would be able to exert economic and political pressure that would lead to their cultural lifestyles being accepted as part of the definition of ‘Japaneseness’. Compared to Tsuda, Roth’s view of society was much more flexible in terms of the power (‘agency’) that it gave to the different actors, even though he recognised that these same actors were themselves constrained by the political and economic realities of the contexts in which they moved. It was his (what might be termed ‘social action’) assumptions about the way societies operated that explained the very different conclusions he reached from Tsuda’s functionalist approach. Twenty years later, what can we now say about the situation of the nikkeijin in Japan? To a certain extent, we can say that neither Tsuda nor Roth was correct in identifying the future for the nikkeijin. The bursting of the economic bubble in the early 1990s meant that many of the nikkeijin were forced to return to Latin America and those who did stay often ended up as distinct but marginalised communities who operated as a peripheral and insecure workforce for sections of Japanese industry. In short, the functionalist and social action theories of Tsuda and Roth needed to be complemented with insights from Marxist thinking. Chapter 1 How to begin research 35 Japanology versus Japanese Studies The former section on the importance of the structure/agency dichotomy, with its references to some of the major intellectual traditions in Social Science, might have appeared rather abstract for a chapter on starting research on Japan, even if it has been spiced with some examples from the study of Japanese society. This has been on purpose because it is easy to lose sight of some of these big questions in the excitement of commencing a new project. Not taking them into account can have major ramifications for the project. The advice to look at such issues from the very beginning applies to anyone undertaking any project on any topic in the Social Sciences, but perhaps it is particularly important in the case of those in Area Studies. This is because, as Verena Blechinger-Talcott (see this chapter, Ch. 1.1) points out, Area Studies researchers can suffer from being considered ‘less rigorous or theoretically sophisticated’ than their disciplinary colleagues. There is a second set of assumptions which also needs to be taken into account at the very beginning of a research project which relate specifically to those doing research in Area Studies. These might be characterised broadly as ‘Area-ology’ versus ‘Area-Studies’ approaches or, in the case of Japan, ‘Japanology’ versus ‘Japanese Studies’. While the former long predates the latter, these two approaches have existed alongside each other in almost all Area Studies communities since the 1950s. In many parts of the world, however, they inhabit virtually parallel universes, publishing in different journals, attending different conferences and, sometimes, even being placed in different departments within the same institution. Figure 1.3 sets out, very simply, some of the key differences between these two communities. The core intellectual difference between them is whether a society is best studied in its own terms (an emic approach) or through a comparative lens (an etic approach). The former sees History as the key discipline and Philology as the key tool; the latter sees Sociology (in the broadest sense) as the key discipline and the use of universally applicable theory as the key tool. The former focuses on, and looks, for continuities; the latter discontinuities. The former assumes a society can only be studied in its own right; the latter that it should be judged by universal normative values. In general, the former has a view of society as essentially based on consensus; the latter sees society as more conflict-ridden. Even more broadly, the former is often associated with the Humanities; the latter with the Social Sciences. Some heuristic dichotomies for thinking about research in Area Studies (Area)-ology (Area)-Studies Approach Emic Etic Reference point Internal comparison External comparison Key disciplines History Sociology Key tools Philology Theoretical terms Assumptions Continuities Discontinuities Moral universe Relativistic Universalistic 5. Figure 1.3: Roger Goodman 36 Human behaviour Society based on harmony (functionalist) Society based on conflict (social action theories, Marxism) University departments Humanities Social Sciences As with the relationship between the person and society described above, the significance of taking a Japanological or Japanese Studies approach to a project is rarely explicitly addressed even if its impact is potentially considerable. To give just one example, whether we believe it is the past (‘history’) which determines the present (the Japanological approach) or the present which writes the past (the Japanese Studies approach) leads to a very different view of how we should think about contemporary Japan. Since they are social scientists, the three contributors of case studies to accompany this chapter all work in the Japanese Studies rather than Japanological tradition. All of their work is explicitly or implicitly comparative; they are interested in how the examples they look at in Japan shed light on the experience of similar phenomena in other countries—particularly their own (U.S., U.K. and Germany)—and vice versa. In order to do this, they all draw on theoretical ideas from their disciplines, which have a common currency, at least in the English-language Social Science literature on Japan. While they all place their studies in a historical context (Hendry’s study of marriage in rural Japan in the 1970s has a detailed analysis of historical antecedents, see this chapter, Ch. 1.3), they are sceptical about narratives which suggest Japan is somehow unique because of its distinctive history or topography. Where they do come across narratives of uniqueness—such as Japan being a society based on ‘natural’ consensusseeking harmony and group-mindedness—they question the source of such narratives and ask whose interests they serve—as in Blechinger-Talcott’s analysis of political corruption in Japan (see this chapter, Ch. 1.1). They all encourage the use of multiple theoretical perspectives and mixed methods in order, as Daniel Aldrich neatly puts it, ‘to convince skeptics that our findings are not an artefact of the way that we approached the problem’ (see this chapter, Ch. 1.2). Blechinger-Talcott most clearly picks out the distinction between Japanological and Japanese Studies approaches in her essay (see this chapter, Ch. 1.1). This is not surprising, since the philologically-based Japanological approach to Japan is still strong in continental Europe and the Social Science community tended until relatively recently to see the study of Japan as somehow ‘exotic’. The Japanese Studies community has had to fight hard in the past two decades to create a distinctive voice in Continental European institutions but, having done so, it possibly now enjoys a better, more mutually respectful, relationship with its Japanological colleagues than almost anywhere else. Practical steps for beginning graduate research on Japan It is because so few researchers begin with analysing their intellectual assumptions that the majority of this essay has emphasised that element when beginning research. Most researchers do, however, start with themselves when they look for a topic to study in that they generally 6. Chapter 1 How to begin research 37 understand that they need to build a project around their own skills, ideally around a topic that they are in a position to study better than anyone else. Ironically, by identifying their socalled ‘unique selling points’ and designing a project around them, most researchers then discover that this is what they really do want to research because it is a topic they already know something about. Finding a topic is relatively easy compared to nailing down a puzzle within that topic which is going to keep the researcher engaged for months (in the cases of master’s students) and years (in the case of doctoral students). Put simply, research projects need a ‘research itch’. A research itch is a puzzle to which the researcher genuinely does not know the answer but the search for which will keep them intellectually challenged for the length of the project. The importance of the ‘research puzzle’ is that—even if the researcher never actually finds an exact ‘answer’ to the puzzle—it becomes the researcher’s ‘elevator pitch’ and sets the boundaries to the project and gives it an overall shape (see Vogt, Ch. 2). Most research puzzles are centred on specified data sets which appear to be counterintuitive or social institutions which cannot be explained in one’s own cultural terms. Examples of research puzzles which have guided my own research (and the publications which then appeared) over the past three decades include: • Why is Japan the only country in the world where the government has established special institutions for children who have returned from living overseas (Goodman 1990b)? • Why was there such anxiety among the heads of children’s homes in Japan in the early 1990s around the reduction in the number of children needing to be taken into care (Goodman 2000b)? • Why, when it was widely predicted in the mid-2000s that the number of private universities would fall over the following decade by between 15–30%, did the actual number increase by 15% (Breaden/Goodman 2020)? Having found a research puzzle to which they genuinely do not know the answer and to which they cannot find an obvious answer in the research literature, the researcher needs next to undertake the hypothetical exercise of how a Marxist, Durkheimian and a Webarian scholar would approach this topic and what the implications of each of these approaches are for their methodology.8 The researcher also needs to run the project through the heuristic Japanological–Japanese Studies dichotomy since it is likely that much of the literature that they use (especially the literature in Japanese) will also be divided along these lines. Finally, the whole project is turned on its head, so that what is presented is not only an important puzzle which needs to be solved, but also one which the researcher is particularly well placed to tackle. Classically, therefore, the best research proposals—and certainly the ones most likely to win research funding—generally looks something like the following: • This is the ‘research puzzle’ (written to catch the attention of the reader; the first two sentences are the most crucial of any research funding application). 8 All new graduate students in the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies are required to undertake such a hypothetical exercise as part of their first-year methods training course. The assignment that they are set is: ‘Take a research topic to do with contemporary Japanese, Chinese, Indian or any other society and describe and analyse what would be the different assumptions that a Marxist, Weberian and Durkheimian researcher would bring to such a topic—and how those assumptions might affect both their research questions and their research methodologies. The word limit for this exercise is 1000 words.’ Roger Goodman 38 • This is what has been done in this general area before (preferably not too much but also not nothing). • This is why the research is so important (these are the theoretical, methodological, applied, ethnographic, data gaps it seeks to fill). • This is how I am going to tackle it (an account of theory and methodology—where; how long; how). • Just by chance: I happen to be particularly well qualified to address this puzzle because of my background, networks, language, research skills. Summary This chapter on ‘how to begin research’ has focused more on the researcher than what they study since, as stated earlier, the researcher in the Social Sciences and the Humanities is the main research tool. Every researcher brings with them a bag of skills and strengths as well as biases and weaknesses which will, necessarily, affect the way that any research project is approached. These all need to be acknowledged before the project can even begin. If they are fully accommodated, then the project will be able to take an intellectual puzzle, examine it from all angles and make a serious contribution to our understanding of Japan. Indeed, the skill of the researcher to incorporate multiple theoretical positions and research methodologies in addressing important questions about Japan is what will distinguish them as an academic scholar. 7. Chapter 1 How to begin research 39 Positioning one’s own research in Japanese Studies: Between Area Studies and discipline Verena Blechinger-Talcott In Social Science research on Japan, and especially in the field of Japanese politics, identifying a good research topic often presents itself as a major challenge for young scholars. While Political Science usually expects scholars to develop research projects based on theoretical considerations, for example the relationship between two variables, and to identify cases for study according to features relevant to theory and related hypotheses, most students in Japanese Social Science research are genuinely interested in studying empirical phenomena in Japan. Scholars from the discipline might thus consider Area Studies (and Japanese Studies) less rigorous or theoretically sophisticated, more interested in thick description than in ‘relevant’ contributions to the field of Political Science. Traditional Japanologists, on the other hand, may challenge social scientists working on Japan for over-theorising or oversimplifying and over-reducing actual complexities in the interest of theoretical models. While there is no one-size-fits-all recipe with which to overcome these challenges, in my experience, it is helpful to base one’s own research on genuine empirical research based on phenomena in Japanese politics and/or society, while at the same time placing Japan in a broader comparative context. An active search for interdisciplinary debate is important, as is a true passion for one’s topic. My first research project on corruption in Japanese politics started out with a keen interest in institutions in Japanese law, politics and society (Blechinger 1998). I had just finished my MA in Japanese Studies with a thesis on the relationship between social practices and changing legal norms after 1945, looking at ways in which family law and new legal norms such as gender equality and individual freedom affected family relationships. I wanted to understand how normative change affected social behaviour, and how actual social practices affected the ways in which norms were shaped and implemented. For my MA, I had studied Civil Law, Political Science and Japanese Studies. Realising that I had acquired knowledge about Japan and the Japanese language, but was lacking the analytical and methodological tools to answer my questions, I enrolled in a PhD programme in Political Science, where I focused on institutions and the relations between politics and law. By the time I had completed my course work, debates in German and Japanese politics centred on issues of political finance and corruption, and I was puzzled by the differences in both debates. While the German debate about illegal party donations to the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) under the then chancellor Helmut Kohl was strongly shaped by arguments about personal misconduct and individual misconduct, arguments about systemic corruption and deeply entrenched practices of bribery were shaping debates in Japan. German newspaper reports about corruption in Japan also pointed to aspects of Japanese culture, such as gift-giving relations, to explain the assumed intrinsic nature of corruption in Japan. I was not only puzzled, but had also found my research topic: How could we explain the prevalence of corruption in political systems, and in which ways could legal reform, for example in the electoral system, affect corrupt phenomena? What 1.1 40 makes corruption systemic? What are the incentives for politicians and bureaucrats, but also for private sector actors, to engage in corrupt behaviour even in the face of highly negative sanctions? As corruption is a phenomenon that takes place in secrecy and usually only comes to light when it is exposed in a scandal, I had to spread my research further in order to find answers to my questions. In the following years, I analysed how politicians in Japan were financed, where they received funds for their work and how they defined the boundaries between legitimate behaviour and corruption. I also looked at the legal norms and related discourses in Japanese politics and its bureaucracy to prevent or at least reduce corruption. I interviewed politicians and spoke with political secretaries who administered politicians’ accounts and were involved in fundraising. I spoke to business representatives about their experience with political contributions, and I spent many hours studying records of parliamentary debates about political and campaign financing reform. I also participated in regular study groups on campaign financing in Tokyo and discussed the state of political financing with Japanese journalists who had followed campaigns and exposed (or decided not to expose) corruption scandals. I also followed politicians on the campaign trail to learn how they spent their funds and where they felt the pressure that might have made them inclined to take the risk of engaging in corrupt behaviour. The research led to my dissertation and my first book. Throughout that time, I worked in academic contexts on Japanese politics both in Japan and elsewhere, but I also formed a network with scholars working on corruption elsewhere. The comparative perspective, and also the questions asked by non-Japan specialists shaped my work and stimulated further research. At the same time, through exchange with ‘general’ political scientists and non-Japan area specialists, I learned how to position Japan as a case in a broader comparative context—which also was useful for countering arguments that focused on culture and gift-giving as the main cause of corruption in Japan. Through the work on my first project, I developed a keen interest in the relationships between business and politics as well as the state and the market, which has since shaped my academic work. Having studied the relationship between politics and money, I started to become interested in the role of companies as political actors, both at the domestic and the international level. In later projects, I looked into patterns and strategies used by Japanese (and international) firms to affect political decision-making processes. In my current research project, I am interested in the role of politics in globalised markets and especially in the governance of global value chains. When I started my dissertation, the field of Japanese Studies in Germany was just changing from scholars using a predominantly historical and philological approach to a more diverse field including Social Science approaches. At the same time, Political Science in Germany was very strongly focused on Germany, Europe and the U.S., and non-Western cases were not common. In Germany, my dissertation research was thus considered ‘exotic’ both for my colleagues in Japanese Studies and those in Political Science. I benefitted greatly from cooperation with scholars and colleagues in Japan, especially at the Institute of Social Science at the University of Tokyo, where I was able to learn from highly empirical political scientists with a strong comparative focus. I also encountered international graduate students working on Japanese politics. The study groups at the Institute of Social Science (and later at the German Institute for Japanese Studies, where I initiated the Social Science Study Group) and also the Japan Politics Colloquium at the University of Oxford, led by Arthur Stockwin at that time, Chapter 1 How to begin research 41 provided a network of like-minded social scientists working on Japan and a forum for constructive criticism and exchange. Moreover, working together with doctoral students from Japanese universities who were interested in similar issues helped me to reflect on my basic assumptions and expectations in a double way—on the one hand, these discussions often challenged my somewhat German perspective on the ways of politics and, on the other hand, they allowed me to revisit my theoretical literature based on the empirical evidence from Japan. In two cases, we also did joint interviews. My presence as a German researcher allowed me to ask questions that would have been more difficult for my Japanese research colleague to ask. Afterwards, we compared notes about linguistic aspects of the interview. In summary, researchers studying Japan often face the challenge of balancing disciplinary and Area Studies’ demands. This will affect researchers’ choices of research topics as well as the ways in which they conduct and present research to appeal to different audiences. In order to perform this balancing act successfully, I suggest that young researchers start out with empirical research on Japan, but put their empirical findings in a broader comparative context and reach out to interdisciplinary debates—theoretical ones and debates that discuss Japan as a case among others. Academic debates often vary in different national contexts, as was the case with my research on corruption. These differences can pose puzzles and thereby motivate research projects. In this sense, researchers should always keep their eyes open for contradictions and differences in public and scholarly debates within and across national borders. Forming networks with scholars outside one’s discipline or national academic context as well as with those studying the same phenomenon in a different setting is another piece of advice I can offer to young scholars. This will help researchers to position their research in broader comparative contexts (see Kimura, Ch. 15.1). Collaboration with colleagues from both other disciplines and Area Studies, and particularly with colleagues from Japan, will provide researchers with inspiration and networks they can draw on in the future—both intellectually and professionally. In particular, I recommend that researchers make themselves familiar with academic debates on Japan in the Anglo-American community and reach out to colleagues from the U.S. and the U.K. This will help to produce research that the global community researching Japan will perceive and to which scholars from Area Studies and Social Science disciplines alike can relate to. Verena Blechinger-Talcott 42 Let the field be your guide Daniel P. Aldrich There is no single way to begin research, nor is there any sure-fire strategy to ensure that topics evolve into successful publications. Nevertheless, I am a big fan of several approaches, including building up interesting puzzles from real world empirical examples, being flexible when in the field, avoiding using culture as a catch-all explanation and writing about your interests and passions. Puzzles from the real world Almost all of my research projects began as puzzles that I observed in the real world while spending time in the field, whether Japan or North America, and not from reading peer-reviewed articles, books or political theory. My first book project grew out of the failure of another, more standard Political Science project that I began while a graduate student at Harvard University. The abandoned project focused on the electoral strategies used by a Liberal Democratic Party (Jiyūminshutō, LDP) politician who was running for office. I hoped to follow in the footsteps of past social scientists like Gerald Curtis at Columbia University and Richard Fenno of the University of Rochester, both of whom ‘soaked and poked’ in the lifestyles of their subjects. Rather than writing articles and books from the comfort of a library carrel, these political scientists shadowed politicians, watching them on the campaign trail and talking with them after a day of glad-handing and baby kissing. My own dreams of success evaporated after several weeks of shadowing and ringing ears from the ‘nightingales’ (female announcers who used microphones to speak to crowds as their buses passed by) when my candidate abruptly lost the election and told me to get lost. Stuck in Japan for several more months without a viable project, I remembered a question that had come to me when thinking about Japan’s scientific progress following World War II: How did the only country in the world that experienced the horrors of nuclear weapons end up developing one of the most advanced commercial nuclear power programmes in the world? I wondered what the Japanese government had done to assist private utilities as they sought to promote atomic energy after going through the shock of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. With time on my hands, I wangled an interview with Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tōkyō Denryoku kabushiki-gaisha, TEPCO) executives at TEPCO HQ in Tokyo through some cold-calling to the phone number listed on their website. After I had pestered them a number of times, they invited me in, and I began to ask them about how they sited their nuclear power plants. Engineers and bureaucrats at that firm spoke of the ways that they sought to induce compliance through a variety of side payments and benefits. Then I began speaking with anti-nuclear activists at local organisations such as the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center (Genshiryoku Shiryō Jōhōshitsu, CNIC). After some soaking and 1.2 43 poking, I discovered a whole system of benefits and incentives offered to host communities in rural, coastal communities that were willing to have a nuclear facility in their backyard. The Japanese government had been far more than a passive umpire in the field of energy as some might envision. Instead, it took a side early—supporting the growth of the field in the late 1940s—and sought to support private energy firms throughout the nuclear power plant. This initial foray grew into several articles and the book Site fights: Divisive facilities and civil society in Japan and the West (Aldrich 2008). From personal experience to a research project Where my first project sprang from the collapse of my intended research, my next major research project came from going through an actual disaster. As I was finishing up my dissertation on controversial facilities like nuclear power plants and turning it into a book, my family and I moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. There we settled into a short-lived but comfortable existence in the neighbourhood known as Lakeview, just south of Lake Pontchartrain. Within seven weeks of our arrival that name became all too real with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina and the collapse of the levees that held back Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. Lake water flooded our neighbourhood, with twelve feet of water destroying everything in our home, including my hard drive, all of our clothes, toys, books, records and material possessions. We got out alive, but evacuating and then trying to rebuild showed me how misconceived my vision of recovery was. My vision of disaster response involved U.S. government agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) swooping in to support survivors in a government-led process. Alternatively, the private market, such as homeowners’ insurance, was able to help rebuild. But rather than the government (through FEMA) or the market (through insurance), all of the aid, assistance, offers of places to stay and schools for our children came through friends, friends of friends and our social network. Instead of such aid coming from the market or the state, social capital and social ties proved to be the engine of resilience. I wondered if my own experiences might be similar to those of survivors from other major catastrophes around the world. With the support of the Abe fellowship, I spent time poking and soaking in disaster-affected communities around the world. This research grew into a comparative research project on disaster recovery in India, North America and Japan called Building resilience: Social capital in post-disaster recovery (Aldrich 2012). My most recent project came from watching Japan experience the triple disasters of March 11, 2011—the 9.0-magnitude earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant meltdowns (sadly enough at the Fukushima reactor near the town of Futaba, where I had done fieldwork for my first book). While many observers argued that cultural factors (Japanese stoicism, etc.) could account for the initial signs of recovery, and others claimed that it was going to be a function of damage (e.g. how high the tsunami was when it came ashore to each village), it was immediately obvious that certain locations were bouncing back faster than others. Some cities, towns and villages had higher levels of mortality, while others were decimated; and in the years since the events, some have rebuilt and increased in population, while others have only brought back the elderly. After I had spoken to several mayors, local administrators and NGOs, it was obvious that some had built strong and broad networks of assistance, while oth- Daniel P. Aldrich 44 ers had far more limited ties. During the two years I spent in the field between 2011 and 2018 through a series of short, medium and longer stays (one funded by a Fulbright fellowship), this investigation became my newest book Black wave: How networks and governance shaped Japan’s 3/11 disasters (Aldrich 2019). The challenge of Japan’s presumed uniqueness But studying Japan also comes with some difficulties. One of the regular challenges about using cases from Japan has been the belief in the uniqueness of Japan. If, as many Japanese and non-Japanese observers like to claim, Japan is indeed unique, then it is very hard to apply lessons and best practices from Japan to other settings. For example, if Japanese citizens are indeed the only ones in the world who say one thing and do another (tatemae and honne), or if there are esoteric aspects of the Japanese aesthetic that cannot be easily captured (wabi sabi), then there are few conversations we can have with scholars and observers of other nations and systems. It would be hard for a scholar of American or African politics, for example, to have a useful exchange of ideas with those of us studying Japan (see Kimura, Ch. 15.2; McElwain, Ch. 2.2). However, if Japan has institutions, incentives and policy arenas like other countries—and I’ve enjoyed scholarship from Hayden Lesbirel (1998), Steven Vogel (1996) and Richard Samuels (2003) that exactly builds on this approach—then we should be able to learn something from its experiences. One of the reasons I have followed the work of these scholars is because they begin by recognising explanations for empirical outcomes that stretch beyond those built on a belief in a nativist or unique culture. Instead, organisations and rules can in turn change behaviour and create new outcomes and norms. In this sense, we have seen more ‘mainstreaming’ of work on Japan, especially Japanese political outcomes, from various scholars (Catalinac 2016; Ono/Yamada 2018; Pekkanen et al. 2006; Rosenbluth/Thies 2010; Saito/ Horiuchi 2003) who use a variety of tools to demonstrate the broader lessons from events in Japan to events and phenomena far outside it. Be flexible! I know from experience that it’s great to have a clear plan in mind before beginning a research project, whether one in a library carrel in Berlin or in the agricultural areas around Rokkasho. But I have also learned how important it is to be flexible and open to the realities of the field. Too often students may feel trapped by their proposal or by existing theories rather than feeling free to go off list and try out new approaches. I provide a long list of specific advice about beginning research in Japan in my article ‘The 800 pound gaijin in the room’ (Aldrich 2009), including suggestions on going with letters of introduction, business cards, thank-you gifts and an affiliation with a Japanese institution. I also strongly suggest using multiple methods. That is, if you enter graduate school able to carry out a regression analysis using quantitative data, then you should leave with a new skill set, such as the ability to carry out focus groups, interviews and participant observation. If, on the other hand, you’re only comfortable using qualitative methods, then you should take courses in social network analysis, regression analysis Chapter 1 How to begin research 45 and geographic information systems (GIS) analysis to expand your toolkit. Our research should always be driven by a problem, not by our methods. If we can only carry out one type of analysis, we miss the chance to study a phenomenon from other angles and to convince sceptics that our findings are not an artefact of the way that we approached the problem. Having a broader toolkit means that when you tackle a new problem you’ll be able to come at it convincingly from multiple angles (see Hommerich/Kottmann, Ch. 10). In this sense, once you’ve found an interesting puzzle, I would encourage students to think about the different ways to empirically understand it, running from direct talks with relevant actors to a map of their social network, to a survey of communities in which they operate. One lesson from my own career has been that projects need to develop organically from empirical observation. I would encourage graduate students to keep their eyes open to the reallife puzzles that are constantly emerging around us and to think through ways to study those outcomes methodically and systematically. Daniel P. Aldrich 46 Studying marriage in Japan: A social anthropological approach Joy Hendry My choice of marriage as a subject to study in Japan was made rather easily, for I spent six months prior to my formal study sharing a room in a house with five young Japanese girls, for whom the subject was far and away the most discussed. This period was largely for language study, and I was enrolled at the time in an intensive course at a language school in Shibuya/ Tokyo. Fortuitously I saw an advert offering accommodation in a house with ten young Japanese who wanted to have a native English speaker in their midst, and we spoke in English every evening over dinner. Otherwise they chatted to each other in Japanese, which not only helped my own language acquisition but gave me a wonderful insight into issues interesting to young people at the time. In the case of my female roommates, this was definitely marriage, especially whether such a thing should be based on love or arranged by their elders. My topic was decided then (Hendry 1981/2011 for the outcome). Finding a field site Starting fieldwork in the discipline of Social Anthropology requires planning, of course, but serendipity is also useful for a successful study (see Coates, Ch. 3.2; Gagné, Ch. 6.1; Klien, Ch. 8.1), as we have seen in the way my attention was drawn to the topic. When I did that first fieldwork many years ago now, we were actually given little preparation, but it was usual to expect to spend at least one year in the same place. The idea was to get to know all the people in a chosen area—it could be a geographical area, a community around a common interest or perhaps an enterprise of some sort. Whichever area was chosen, spending a year with people enables several things. First, it sees through a full annual cycle of events—understanding the seasons and attitudes to them and witnessing the enactment of all the annual rituals. A year also gives the researcher time to get to know people well, and indeed, the people to know the researcher and to understand what they are about. In Japan, first questions may elicit answers that the interlocutor thinks the researcher may want to hear; with time, an in-depth response is more likely to be revealed. A year also allows the researcher to become used to the local dialect and linguistic idiosyncrasies. These vary greatly throughout Japan, even more so in Okinawa, for example, and failure to take them into account could result in severe misunderstandings. With these issues in mind, and my choice of marriage as a topic, I set out to find a suitable location. As it happened, I thought it would be good to work in a village. It was common practice in those days, and I resolved to look at the rituals involved in building a relationship and expectations for the future, as well as the various ways of meeting a suitable partner that my Tokyo friends had been debating. Within one village, I would be able to place the subject 1.3 47 of marriage within a broader social context. It didn’t really matter to me where the village would be, or what would be the local economic base; there is quite a bit of Japanese literature on marriage and I was able to compare my findings with those picked up elsewhere. I simply needed to find a place to live for me and my husband, among a manageable number of houses, and I thought it would be good to find a beautiful spot. The most important plan then—a vital plan for an anthropologist or indeed any researcher—is to start out with some good introductions to the people with whom you will work. When I set out to do my first fieldwork, my supervisors were in Oxford, and at the time there was no one there who had worked in Japan, so I asked a Japanese scholar who had visited my department in Oxford to help. He introduced me to a senior Japanese anthropologist who has helped me all my life, and I realised that it is always a good plan to have a supervisor in Japan wherever a student’s university is based. They can provide a great deal of local assistance unavailable at home, and mine was able to tell me about the related fieldwork his colleagues and students were doing. This introduction also gave me a university attachment in Tokyo, which I think inspired more confidence in the people I approached than my Oxford one did. So I have tried hard ever since to procure the same facility for all my PhD students. We discussed various possibilities for locations, and I spent some time visiting a selection of them. In every case, I would need somewhere to live, so this was an important consideration within a relatively small community. For the first village I tried, I only had a personal connection through a friend, and people seemed suspicious. For the second, I was introduced by an English teacher to the local education office as I had heard that they had houses for teachers. They did indeed and were kind enough to take me out to see some. It was a delightful area in rural Shikoku, and stunningly beautiful, but my project seemed likely to fail because they revealed that, sadly, all the young people were leaving. In the end, the village I found was a thriving community in Kyushu (Hendry 2021), and I found it through a Japanese anthropologist who had worked in the area—a student of my supervisor, as it happened. He not only found me an empty house, but took it upon himself to introduce me to all the important people in the area and to make sure they knew who I was and what I was planning to do. That was wonderful, for the head of the village immediately invited me to his son’s wedding, where I met and shared sake with almost all his neighbours, who were happy to help me with my research afterwards. A first stroke of serendipity then, because they asked me (and my husband) all sorts of questions about our marriage, so I assume they then felt some obligation to reciprocate. I also learned that weddings are a great time to discuss details about marriages, and fortunately I was invited to many more (Hendry 2003). Settling in My new next-door neighbour explained another Japanese custom, which I would recommend to all those who plan to live in Japan, anthropologists or otherwise. Later, I learned and could identify all the important divisions for sharing community tasks, but for the time being my neighbour took me to the other houses in the immediate vicinity, where I introduced myself and handed over a small gift. ‘Not too big,’ he said, ‘they won’t want to be obligated to you.’ So I gave them a few postcards from Oxford. My house was actually over the border from the village I had chosen as my focus, so I didn’t see those neighbours much over the year, but some Joy Hendry 48 40 years later, when I approached one of them for business purposes, he remembered me, and it was quite helpful. These people were also then able to explain to curious strangers who the ‘funny foreigners’ were—we were rather rare in those days—certainly the only two in our immediate vicinity, possibly the only two in a town of 35,000. Settled in, I then had to work out a way to approach people, and to start the inquiry. An advantage of having a year to spend is that there is no need to immediately impose a list of questions on people. Of course, it is useful to have an idea of the questions you want answered, but I found that I learned a lot more if I was able to insinuate myself into open situations where people were already talking, and gradually steer the conversation around to my subjects of interest. In the village, my first task was to identify times and places where I would naturally meet people going about their everyday lives. There were three shops, and these were always good locations, the two fish shops attracting two different generations, which helped me to understand in-law issues, and a tobacconist’s, which I later discovered was a favourite place for outsiders to ask about local families (with a view to arranging a marriage). There was also a village hall where meetings took place, but most helpful of all in those days was the village bath house. Almost everyone went there: the older women first, then the younger ones, and finally the housewives, so I could choose my time depending on what I was after, and people were wonderfully talkative soaking in the hot water! Another good approach to learn about the villagers was through the local policeman. He lived with his family in a nearby police house, and he kept a detailed list of all the occupants of his patch, together with a record of particularly valuable property. Probably because of the appropriate introduction from the Japanese anthropologist, he was willing to share all this with me. It was a perfect introduction because I created a notebook, which I use to this day, in which I entered the names of the residents of each of the 54 houses in the village, and then called on them in turn to verify his record, and to ask about how their marriages were arranged. It sounds pretty cheeky, and I am not sure it would work everywhere, but the people of this village cooperated. I also approached local policemen in later research projects, but in some cases you needed an introduction. My introduction from Kyushu to other far distant places actually worked better than a letter from my own university. In one area, they filled me in on all the yakuza families in the area, and I discovered that the son of one of them had become best friends with one of my sons at school. Some final thoughts on taking notes In that village notebook, I eventually collected the names and dates of death of all the ancestors remembered in the Buddhist altars, and I made a detailed diagram of all the families and their relationships. It was very useful to see who was related to whom and how that affected their invitations to weddings, introduction to potential spouses (still common in those days) and other life-cycle events including funerals. I have returned to this village many times over the forty years since I first worked there. The notebook offers me a great opportunity to go around updating it with new births, marriages and deaths, asking to pray at the Buddhist altar to say goodbye to those with whom I had worked when they were alive, and generally keeping in touch. Early on, I also made a detailed map of the houses, which I numbered, and this helped me to find my way around. I recommend that both these tasks are undertaken at the Chapter 1 How to begin research 49 very start of a research project, though of course the notebook may be a computer file these days, but together they become a superb investment for all subsequent activities (see Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7). A general diary is also crucial, for things observed early on are only properly explained much later, and small things may be forgotten if not recorded. I almost never used a tape-recorder, although I know others do, but I found that people would often elaborate on what they first said while I was writing, and things would come out that I had never thought to ask. Joy Hendry 50 Further reading Befu, Harumi/Kreiner, Josef (eds.) (1992): Othernesses of Japan: Historical and cultural influences on Japanese Studies in ten countries. München: Iudicium. Bourdieu, Pierre (1977): Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Goodman, Roger (1984): Is there an ‘I’ in Anthropology? Thoughts on starting fieldwork in Japan. In: Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford 15, No. 2, pp. 157–168. Lury, Celia/Fensham, Rachel/Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra/Lammes, Sybille/Last, Angela/Michael, Mike/ Uprichard, Emma (2018): Routledge handbook of interdisciplinary research methods. London: Routledge. Okely, Judith/Callaway, Helen (1992): Anthropology and autobiography. London: Routledge. O’Reilly, Karen (2009): Key concepts in ethnography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. References Aldrich, Daniel P. (2008): Site fights: Divisive facilities and civil society in Japan and the West. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Aldrich, Daniel P. (2009): The 800-pound gaijin in the room: Strategies and tactics for conducting fieldwork in Japan and abroad. In: PS: Political Science and Politics 42, No. 2, pp. 299–303. Aldrich, Daniel P. (2012): Building resilience: Social capital in post-disaster recovery. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Aldrich, Daniel P. (2019): Black wave: How networks and governance shaped Japan’s 3/11 disasters. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Befu, Harumi/Kreiner, Josef (eds.) (1992): Othernesses of Japan: Historical and cultural influences on Japanese Studies in ten countries. München: Iudicium. Blechinger, Verena (1998): Politische Korruption in Japan: Ursachen, Gründe und Reformversuche. Hamburg: Institute of Asian Affairs, Vol. 291. Bourdieu, Pierre (1977): Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Breaden, Jeremy/Goodman, Roger (2020): Family-run universities in Japan: Sources of inbuilt resilience in the face of demographic pressure, 1992–2030. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Catalinac, Amy (2016): Electoral reform and national security in Japan: From pork to foreign policy. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Cohen, Anthony (1985): The symbolic construction of community. London: Tavistock Publications. Goodman, Roger (1984): Is there an ‘I’ in Anthropology? Thoughts on starting fieldwork in Japan. In: Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford 15, No. 2, pp. 157–168. Goodman, Roger (1990a): Deconstructing an anthropological text: A ‘moving’ account of returnee schoolchildren in contemporary Japan. In: Ben-Ari, Eyal/Moeran, Brian/Valentine, James (eds.): Unwrapping Japan: Society and culture in anthropological perspective. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 163–187. Goodman, Roger (1990b): Japan’s ‘international youth’: The emergence of a new class of schoolchildren. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Goodman, Roger (2000a): Fieldwork and reflexivity: Thoughts from the Anthropology of Japan. In: Dresch, Paul/James, Wendy/Parkin, David (eds.): Anthropologists in a wider world: Essays on field research. New York, NY: Berghahn, pp. 151–165. Goodman, Roger (2000b): Children of the Japanese state: The changing role of child protection institutions in contemporary Japan. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Goodman, Roger (2006): Thoughts on the relationship between anthropological theory, methods and the study of Japanese society. In: Hendry, Joy/Wong, Dixon (eds.): Dismantling the East-West dichotomy: Views from Japanese Anthropology. London: Routledge, pp. 22–30. Goodman, Roger (2020): Education and the construction of Japanese national identity: Rhetoric and reality. In: Almqvist, Kurt/Duke Bergman, Yukiko (eds.): Japan’s past and present. Stockholm: Bokförlaget Stolpe. Hamabata, Matthews M. (1990): Crested kimono: Power and love in the Japanese business family. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Hendry, Joy (1981): Marriage in changing Japan: Community and society. London: Croom Helm. 51 Hendry, Joy (2003): From scrambled messages to an impromptu dip: Serendipity in finding a field location. In: Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu, HI: Hawai‘i University Press, pp. 55–70. Hendry, Joy (2011): Marriage in changing Japan: Community and society. London: Routledge. Hendry, Joy (2021): An affair with a village. Stirling, Scotland: Extremis Publishing. Johnson, Sheila (1975): American attitudes toward Japan, 1941–75. Washington, D.C.: AEI Press. Kondo, Dorinne (1990): Crafting selves: Power, gender and discourses of identity in a Japanese workplace. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. Lesbirel, Hayden (1998): NIMBY politics in Japan: Energy siting and the management of environmental conflict. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Lunsing, Wim (2001): Beyond common sense: Sexuality and gender in contemporary Japan. London: Kegan Paul International. McLelland, Mark J. (2000): Male homosexuality in Japan: Cultural myths and social realities. Richmond: Curzon Press. Merton, Robert K. (1938): Social structure and anomie. In: American Sociological Review 3, No. 5, pp. 672–682. Moeran, Brian (1985): Okubo diary: Portrait of a Japanese valley. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Mouer, Ross/Sugimoto, Yoshio (1986): Images of Japanese society: A study in the structure of reality. London: Kegan Paul International. Nakane, Chie (1970): Japanese society. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Okely, Judith/Callaway, Helen (1992): Anthropology and autobiography. London: Routledge. Ono, Yoshikuni/Yamada, Masahiro (2018): Do voters prefer gender stereotypic candidates? Evidence from a conjoint survey experiment in Japan. In: Political Science Research and Methods. DOI: 10.1017/ psrm.2018.41. O’Reilly, Karen (2009): Key concepts in ethnography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Pekkanen, Robert/Nyblade, Benjamin/Krauss, Ellis (2006): Electoral incentives in mixed-member systems: Party, posts, and zombie politicians in Japan. In: American Political Science Review 100, No. 2, pp. 183–193. Reynolds, David K. (1989): Flowing bridge, quiet waters: Japanese psychotherapies, Morita and Naikan. New York, NY: SUNY Press. Roberts, Glenda S. (2003): Bottom up, top down and sideways: Studying corporations, government programs and NPOs. In: Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 294–314. Rosenbluth, Frances/Thies, Michael (2010): Japan transformed: Political change and economic restructuring. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Roth, Joshua (2002): Brokered homeland: Japanese Brazilian migrants in Japan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Saito, Jun/Horiuchi, Yusaku (2003): Reapportionment and redistribution: Consequences of electoral reform in Japan. In: American Journal of Political Science 47, No. 4, pp. 669–682. Samuels, Richard (2003): Machiavelli’s children: Leaders and their legacies in Italy and Japan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Sever, Mustafa (2012): A critical look at the theories of sociology of education. In: Journal of Human Sciences 9, No. 1, pp. 671–650. Smith, Robert J. (2003): Time and Ethnology: Long-term field research. In: Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 352–366. Steven, Rob (1982): Classes in contemporary Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tsuda, Takeyuki (2003): Strangers in the ethnic homeland: Japanese Brazilian return migration in transnational perspective. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Treat, John W. (1999): Great mirrors shattered: Homosexuality, orientalism, and Japan. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Vogel, Steven (1996): Freer markets, more rules: Regulatory reform in advanced industrial countries. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Woods, Peter (1979): The divided school. London: Routledge. References 52 Chapter 2 How to ask: Research questions Gabriele Vogt Introduction We constantly ask questions, but we rarely ever think about the very process of doing so. We wonder, we ponder and we eventually pose questions that we strive to explore. Will it be raining today? Should I bring an umbrella? What are the chances I will end up soaked if I decide to leave the house without it? This chapter sets out to highlight the process of asking questions, not just any questions, but research questions. A research question will be your companion for a couple of weeks or months or years, depending on the scale of the research you embark on. No matter how long you plan on sticking to each other, it is of utmost importance that you choose your companion wisely, and not only because you will need to face them day in and day out (and in your dreams or nightmares). Your research questions will also determine what kind of theories and methods you will need to familiarise yourself with, what kind of data you will need to gather and analyse, and, finally, what the punchline of your research project will be. Let me try and give some structure to what, in the beginning, might seem to be an impenetrable jungle: How can you carve out your research question from what usually starts as a broad field of interest? This chapter, in particular, follows three lead questions: What are the specific steps in designing a research question? What difficulties will you most likely face in the process? And what strategies are there to overcome those difficulties? Before discussing this process of asking a research question, I will provide an overview of the types of research questions and address the elements generally deemed essential to any good research question. Moreover, throughout this chapter, I will highlight aspects that I deem important or at least peculiar when formulating research questions in Japanese Studies. I do so as a long-time student of Japanese politics and society myself, and as a teacher who has supervised a hundred MA theses and two handfuls of PhD theses. Disclaimer: While experience surely does no harm, every new endeavour of embarking on a research project follows its own set of rules, and your supervisor will only be able to assist you up to a certain point. From there on you (and your research question) will need to fly on your own. 1. 53 What is the core of a research question? Every research question is based on an idea, a genuine or vague interest in a phenomenon and curiosity. Yet, in Social Sciences not every idea that pops into your mind will eventually develop into a research question. Firstly, we need to make sure that nobody else has had and developed the same idea before (i.e. we need to do our literature review, see Zachmann, Ch. 4; for good research practice see Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16), and, secondly, we need to embark on the often painful process of pairing an idea that we feel passionate about with social scientific rigour (i.e. we need to be thorough in our research design, see Okano, Ch. 3). And then, of course, there is the question of what to do when no idea pops up. Let yourself be consoled by the experience of Max Weber: ‘ideas come when we do not expect them, and not when we are brooding and searching at our desks. Yet ideas would certainly not come to mind had we not brooded at our desks and searched for answers with passionate devotion’ (Gerth/ Mills 1948, p. 136). So, reaching the idea that will eventually turn into our research question is equally a matter of hard work and patience. For Japan scholars, in particular when you study contemporary Japan, these ideas often originate while you are in Japan. You may find yourself riding a train in rural Japan and notice how you feel increasingly annoyed by many passengers staring at you or calling you gaijin (foreigner) behind your back. You may feel intrigued by a personal story a Japanese friend shares, or you may stumble across an exciting picture in a museum—anything that sticks with you has the potential of awakening your curiosity. The train story is actually my own: I experienced the gaijin calls in the late 1980s, and while I was still in junior high school back then, these train rides may have sparked my general interest in studying international migration to Japan. I did not find ‘my’ research question, though, until many years later—and after reading widely on Japanese politics and society, thoroughly familiarising myself with the numbers and laws in Japan and in Germany (adding a comparative matrix focuses your view onto the actual case study; see Nakano, Ch. 3.1), debating my hinges with friends and colleagues, and diving deeply into migration literature at the same time. Types of research questions: The common denominator and specific forms Let us now think about the general types and characteristics of research questions first before addressing the more hands-on issues of how to turn our idea into a research question. Karen Mattick, Jenny Johnston and Anne de la Croix (2018, p. 104) provide one of the most straightforward and, at the same time, simplest definitions of what a research question is: ‘a research question is a question that a research project sets out to answer.’ While we can agree that this is indeed the common denominator of research questions, it is also important to acknowledge that research questions take on different forms depending on the specific research project. Are you engaged in a descriptive study or an analytical study? Or maybe in exploratory research of a subject that has hitherto not been studied? In a study that aims to compare, 2. 3. Gabriele Vogt 54 e.g. across time or across countries or cultures, a study that explains or evaluates, e.g. the effect of certain policies? In a study that provides a close-up on one case, or a study that aims to contribute to theory building? Are you proceeding inductively or deductively (see Okano, Ch. 3)? Moira Kelly (2018, p. 82) provides a set of six types of research questions, which reflect this variety of approaches—some of them being more suitable for qualitative research, some of them rather for quantitative research designs aimed at testing variables (see Hommerich/ Kottmann, Ch. 10). I will list them here and, in order to clarify the scope of the various research questions with some concrete examples, I will add some mock questions, thematically connected to my research on the migration of health-caregivers from South East Asian countries to Japan (Vogt 2018). Types of research questions 1. Describing and finding correlations: What are the characteristics of the newly introduced migration avenue for health-caregivers from South East Asian countries to Japan? How is the recruitment of health-caregivers connected to developments in Japan’s labour market? 2. Examining an aspect of an issue in detail: What is the role of language training in the newly introduced migration avenue for health-caregivers from South East Asian countries to Japan? 3. Drawing on theory to examine an issue: Does the push/pull-model of international labour migration (Hollifield 2000) explain the small scope of health-caregiver migration to Japan? 4. Comparing attributes: Do gender, ethnicity or age influence the likelihood of potential migrants applying for health-caregiver migration to Japan? 5. Explaining: Why do only few health-caregivers come to Japan under the current models of labour migration? 6. Assessing whether an intervention works: Would a reform of language education in the sending countries help raise the number of international health-caregiver migrants to Japan? While I framed my mock questions according to Kelly’s model (2018, p. 82), I should add two aspects that readers might want to understand as warnings regarding these very categories: first, I firmly believe that, whenever possible (and it would easily be possible in the above examples), we should stay clear from yes/no questions. This is because 1. they are less exciting than any other question you could ask,1 and 2. because social reality is never black or white, which means that the answer to yes/no questions will always be a ‘to such and such a degree’ rather than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Secondly, most research projects will have components of more than just one of these categories inherent in their design. In particular, I would hope that no piece of research stops at a simple description of a phenomenon (category 1 question) without developing the knowledge gained by describing this phenomenon into further questions that are designed to strengthen 1 Andreas Sebe-Opfermann (2016, p. 26), for example, states that yes/no questions are too simple and not worthwhile pursuing at all. Chapter 2 How to ask 55 the analytical component of the research. Also, projects tend to consist of more than just one research question. Often you see a lead question supplemented by two or three sub-questions. Either way, part of the process of developing your research question is to decide which kind of research question to pursue. This decision is strongly connected to the question of how to design your overall research project. I will address this interwoven process in more detail in the following subsection. Before I do so, let me lay out some of the core characteristics that all research questions share. Key issues Your research question is the linchpin of your research project. Creativity and hard work interplay when you are carving out your research question. Good research questions stress the analytical component over the descriptive side. The characteristics of research questions: Relevance, originality and rigour Relevance, originality and rigour are the three core characteristics of any well-designed research question (Mattick et al. 2018, pp. 105–107). Relevance A research question should address something relevant. This immediately opens up the question of relevance to whom? When you think about the relevance of your research question, it is important to be aware of the audience you are writing for. Is it your thesis supervisor, the editorial board of a journal, a committee deliberating approving or declining a research grant proposal? Is it a researcher from your discipline or another? Or is it the general public, the media or policymakers? In more general terms, it is important that you are able to explain the relevance of your research question to any given audience (see Farrer/Liu-Farrer, Ch. 17). So be prepared to deliver the core content of your research question (and by extension your research project) to a variety of interested people, i.e. in scholarly terms as well as in lay terms (Mattick et al. 2018, p. 105). Also, observe your audience when talking about your research question, since you will be able to draw insights from their reactions as well. Is this project equally relevant to others? Are you getting to your point quickly enough? I.e. have your ‘elevator pitch’ prepared: the content and relevance of one PhD thesis in 30 seconds! I have always found it extremely painful to squeeze years of work and thinking into the blink of an eye, yet let me assure you that it has been extremely useful at times: as an opener to an interview with a politician who is juggling meeting with you between a campaign speech and a strategy meeting in her office, or a coffee break conversation after a panel with business representatives who grant you just enough time for the ‘elevator pitch’ and an exchange of name cards before floating on to the next person. The 4. 4.1 Gabriele Vogt 56 quality of your ‘elevator pitch’ will determine whether you will be able to land a follow-up meeting and an actual interview appointment (see McLaughlin, Ch. 6). Moreover, as a researcher on Japan, be prepared to deliver the core content of your research question and project not only in your mother tongue, but also in English and Japanese. Additionally, be prepared to answer questions regarding the relevance of your research question to the country you are from. For example, I found it extremely useful to study the history and scope of international labour migration to Germany before/while studying this issue in Japan, since I was frequently asked about this comparative dimension during interviews, in the question and answer sessions following presentations, etc. Originality ‘[E]nsure that the research question will lead to original work that generates new insights and does not duplicate previous research’ (Mattick et al. 2018, p. 106; see Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16). There are essentially two ways to ensure the originality of your research, and I strongly advise you to see both of them through: a thorough literature review, as well as multiple and intense debates about your research question with peers and teachers (see Zachmann, Ch. 4). The how to of a literature review is dealt with in chapter four of this book,2 but at this point, let me address two aspects that are of particular importance with regard to the relevance of the literature review for ensuring the originality of your research. As Japan scholars, you must not ignore the probably vast research literature on your chosen research area that has been published in the Japanese language. I speak from own experience when I stress that in some cases the research literature in Western languages may cover one or at best two dozen volumes (which you can go through relatively speedily), while the research literature in Japanese can fill a whole section in any major bookstore or library (which will take you much more time to work your way through). I certainly found this to be the case with literature on the Okinawan protest movement against the continuous system of forward deployment of U.S. military units in the prefecture (Vogt 2003). Also, while doing your literature review, revisit your research question numerous times (Browne 2013, p. 103). In fact, I suggest you engage in some sort of ping-pong game between reading what has been done in your research field, and refining your original question, until you are confident that you have reached and are able to articulate the research gap that your work will be able to fill (see Zachmann, Ch. 4). Next to the rather quiet work of reading, debating your research question with peers and teachers and basically anybody who would take the time to listen to your early ramblings, and later on more refined thoughts is equally important in ensuring the originality of your research. You may notice that all three essays paired with this chapter—by David Chiavacci, Kenneth Mori McElwain and Nicolas Sternsdorff-Cisterna—refer to this very point. Kelly (2018, p. 85) calls this process the ‘“friendly” version of peer review’. In this process you look for both academic and practical advice. The academic advice will essentially be directed at the quality of your research question. It can trigger you to rethink your perspectives, and—in a best-case scenario—it can reopen your eyes to patches to which you have gone almost blind because of the overfamiliarity you have already acquired with your research subject. Also, very 4.2 2 Also, I found Anthony Onwuegbuzie and Rebecca Frels (2016) to be very useful as a book to be used in the classroom when teaching the path to a comprehensive literature review. Chapter 2 How to ask 57 importantly, choose your debate partners from backgrounds as diverse as possible. McElwain (see this chapter, Ch. 2.2) explicitly refers to this point when explaining how he improved his own research projects. And, again, make sure you also choose Japanese colleagues for your debate group. You can initiate some of these encounters yourself: volunteer to present your project in study groups and workshops designed for junior scholars; go lunching with your supervisor; attend conferences and make sure you meet new people during coffee breaks and social events. Some of these encounters will just happen to you: the person in the seat next to you on a plane ride might turn out to be full of practical advice regarding the research question you have in mind. On a flight from Dubai to Manila, I once talked for hours with a registered Filipina nurse working abroad. By sharing some of her life course events, she enlightened me with hints at where my research question was still insufficient. Rigour Finally, rigour is among the core characteristics of any well-designed research question. Rigour speaks directly to the development of a research question. Mattick et al. (2018, p. 107) highlight several points ensuring rigour in research questions, but most prominently they stress the need to align the research question with methods of data collection and data analysis that you can apply. This is a valid point that I will come back to in the following subsection, and also discuss the somewhat extreme case of this alignment, i.e. cases when research questions are ‘shaped by researchers’ preferred methodological tools, which are inevitably linked with the way they see the world’ (Mattick et al. 2018, p. 107; see Goodman, Ch. 1). One final word of advice regarding the rigour of research is to handle research questions that are close to your heart with even more carefulness than any other. If you feel too passionate, too emotionally involved with a research question, you may lose the objectivity you need to do research (Sebe-Opfermann 2016, p. 23). The degree of personal involvement with a certain topic is something that ultimately everybody needs to judge for themselves. How research disciplines position themselves to this question, where the disciplines draw their boundaries and what tools they suggest applying in order to handle emotion in research varies largely. While, for example, anthropologists to some degree need and want to immerse themselves fully into the field, many political scientists shy away from even becoming a member of a political party as they strive for a neutral and detached position within the area they study. Just some months ago, while studying political participation in Okinawa, I attended a citizens’ rally and found myself struggling over whether to join the concluding chants and whether to hold the protest posters up high in the air or not. Where is the point where I lose my distanced view of the research object, and ‘go native’ instead? To what degree can I actually keep a distance from an issue I have been following for a quarter century and feel deeply sympathetic about? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. I would, however, like to urge you to keep in mind your role as a researcher, to be reflexive about your research methods and activities throughout the process of conducting research, and to disclose them without holding back on any of the applied methods and activities (see Alexy, Ch. 7.3). As a supervisor I have, however, come to dread theses that reflect a student’s personal life course events, political engagement, sexual orientation, etc., as very often these theses trade in a rigorous research design for emotional involvement and an activist tone, and eventually re- 4.3 Gabriele Vogt 58 semble policy papers rather than academic theses. A more experienced researcher, however, may well be equipped with enough coolness to tackle issues close to their heart in a rigorous manner nevertheless. However, do not let yourself be fooled: a research project that you feel passionate about will, on the one hand, help you pull through the times when you find it hard to motivate yourself to keep working on your project; on the other hand, it is always more difficult to pull through with such a project, as the constant efforts to stay away from any subjectivity—which will be needed in data collection, data analysis and in the process of writing up your study—can be quite tiring. Key issues Relevance, originality and rigour are the core components of any good research question. Make sure you develop your research question in close dialogue with the expertise present on your topic in Japan. Always keep in mind who your audience is. Be aware of the difficulties of emotional engagement with your research topic. How do I develop my research question? Now that the general types and characteristics of research questions have been laid out, how do we develop our research question? Think about the following two approaches. Firstly, to borrow the words of Kelly (2018, p. 81): ‘We ask questions all the time, so how hard can it be? Developing good research questions, however, involves a level of craft.’ Secondly, in the words of Doris Leung and Jennifer Lapum (2005, p. 63) while reflecting on their own research process: ‘Poetry has taken them beyond the traditional limits of knowing and allowed them to conceptualise their research questions by situating and locating their selves within their research.’ I argue that we need in fact both: we do need the craft component in order to design our research question, and we do need a bit of art in order to transform our research question into something enlightening. The good news is you can learn craft, and you can hope for arty inspiration. Actually, there is no bad news to this story. (Please do not despair if writing poems has so far never inspired you to draw up a research question!) Now let us focus on the steps you can acquire through training. The process: Ping-ponging back and forth When discussing the originality of your research question in the subchapter above, I have already sketched out the idea of a ping-pong game: your research question will be refined from a broad idea to actual ‘research question[s] [that] will lead to a project that aims to generate new insights’ (Mattick et al. 2018, p. 104) by going back and forth between the initial idea, the relevant secondary literature and debates with peers. Each round you play of this game, your question will become more refined. You may need to take a detour once in a while, and be assured that this is rather the rule than the exception. Let me stress two aspects in particular. 5. 5.1 Chapter 2 How to ask 59 Detour: While ping-ponging, be prepared not only to go multiple rounds, but also to ‘consider alternative questions’ (Kelly 2018, p. 84) altogether. Obviously, this will be necessary when you happen to figure out that your initial research question is lacking in relevance, originality or rigour (see above). Also, if you feel that your initial idea is not going anywhere, such as, for example, when a policy reform your hypothesis is based on does not come through (see this chapter, Chiavacci, Ch. 2.3), or when social reality is changing quickly, which might make your research question significantly less interesting or even obsolete (see this chapter, McElwain, Ch. 2.2). Sometimes you cannot help but ‘[g]o back to the basics’ (Bodemer/Ruggeri 2012, p. 1439). It always hurts to make a radical cut like that, but be aware that following through with a research question that, for valid reasons, you can no longer fully support is the significantly worse choice than starting from scratch again. Most likely, by the way, you will not even need to start from scratch, but will be able to build on your previous work in ways that might surprise you. In 2005, when I started researching labour migration to Japan, I basically started to wrap my head around a ‘non-case study’. Little did I know that in 2006, a new government initiative would open up a sector-specific migration avenue to Japan. Needless to say, I needed to completely rethink the story and refine my research question. However, I was still able to use what I had studied on migration policymaking in Japan, on the stakeholders, the laws, the numerical development and diversity of the migrant population and much more. On track: ‘Define your terms and identify assumptions that underpin the question(s)’ (Kelly 2018, p. 84). Once you feel confident that you can settle on a research question, i.e. one you are on track with, be prepared for some serious brainwork as the process of ‘back and forth’ is about to really kick in. Let me quote Kelly’s (2018, pp. 84–85) list of bullet points to illustrate this thought. The back and forth process of defining research questions • Identify possible research topics. • Identify possible questions. • Consider alternative questions. • Break down your proposed research question(s). • Define your terms and identity assumptions that underpin the question(s). • Decide on a question. • Check the literature to see whether the chosen question (in the form it is in) has already been answered. • Refine your question, if necessary. • Develop a project proposal around your research question. • Seek feedback on your draft proposal from supervisors and peers. • If necessary, reframe the research question in the light of issues raised by constructing the proposal. • Carry out your study. • Go back to your question from time to time to check that you are still on the track that you started on. Gabriele Vogt 60 I think it might be helpful to think about the process of developing your research question, not in the form of a list but as a circle or a spiral: most work packages will reappear frequently and ask you to revisit and rethink them. Also, when you respond negatively to the final check of whether or not you are still on track, go back and refine your question, or come to terms with the fact that your research has obviously started to take a different route. While you proceed through this spiral, your research question will naturally change. Sometimes there will be little changes; sometimes the changes will be quite profound. As an anthropologist embarking into the field without a clear-cut question in the first place, you actually hope and strive for the research question to emerge based on the empirics you encounter (see this chapter, Sternsdorff-Cisterna, Ch. 2.1). Also, for researchers in other disciplines, to experience a change in research questions is not only ok, but it is actually a really good thing! It gives proof of your project development. Just make sure your overall research design still corresponds to your questions, and in case adjustments should have become necessary, implement them as soon as you can. A word of caution is in order here: an important part of the art of developing your research question is to know when to break out of that circle! When has the time come to stop revisiting and refining your question? If you feel insecure about making that decision by yourself, talk to your supervisor, other researchers who have more experience than you and to peers or researchers from other disciplines you possibly can relate to. If you still feel insecure, another approach might be to just do it: break out of the cycle, stop wondering and pondering for a while and do some empirical work for a change. This will help you to find out how far your research question will take you, and most likely you will be pleasantly surprised. Key issues Be prepared to rethink your research question multiple times before reaching a solid level of confidence with your questions. As Sternsdorff-Cisterna (this chapter, Ch. 2.1) points out, your research question will change eventually during your project. That is ok! Narrowing down your research question: Don’t bite off more than you can chew The process of ‘back and forth’ can easily make you feel overwhelmed or at least cause some significant headaches. Another strategy to deal with this—apart from breaking out of the (increasingly vicious) cycle—is to ‘[b]reak down your proposed research question(s)’ (Kelly 2018, p. 84). While many of our research questions focus on social change (see this chapter, Chiavacci, Ch. 2.3), it is also important to acknowledge that we will probably face limitations in what we can do in one project. We will not be able to explain social change as such, but maybe only specific changes occurring in a certain area at a certain time. It is helpful to bear in mind the picture that Nicolai Bodemer and Azzurra Ruggeri (2012, p. 1439) use. ‘Research today resembles a relay race: We focus on a small part of a larger question and then pass the baton to the next scientist.’ Specifically, we should try to separate our research question into ‘manageable “sub-problems”’ (Browne 2013, p. 103). Not only will this strategy be helpful in conducting the actual research, it also will make it easier for our audience to follow our thoughts. If you find it hard to divide your grand ideas into small packages, try to work graphically: use a simple sheet of pa- 5.2 Chapter 2 How to ask 61 per, a flip chart or a white board, and draw out your idea with all its components (see this chapter, Sternsdorff-Cisterna, Ch. 2.1). You may also add colours, lines and arrows or anything else that highlights important details. Skilfully chosen sub-problems may serve well as the consistent thread running through our work. These sub-problems should be logically connected to the lead question! The master of sub-problems, of course, is James S. Coleman (1990). The Coleman Diagram, also known as Coleman Boat or Coleman Bathtub, suggests that when studying social change on a macrolevel, you should do so by choosing and studying processes on a micro-level that will eventually allow you to make causal connections to the macro-level (Institute for Analytical Sociology 2016; see Jentzsch, Ch. 6.3). So try not to bite off more than you can chew, but rather approach your project in multiple bites at a time. In other words, it is always a good idea to break down your research question into multiple sub-questions. I have found it useful to do so by identifying the actors that are central to my research project. When I first came to Okinawa in the autumn of 1995, the whole island population seemed to be on their feet demonstrating against the national government’s base siting policy. However, I could hardly ask ‘What is going on here?’, even if that probably was the first question that popped into my head. So I tried to disentangle the social reality in front of me by creating manageable sub-problems using an actor-centred approach: Which movements are part of this protest wave, and what exactly do they demand? Who are the movement leaders, what is their background, and why are they stepping up right now? Who are the political leaders in Okinawa, how do they position themselves towards the protest wave, and how are they trying to make use of the island-wide protest in their bargaining with national level politicians? Who are their exact target actors in Tokyo and Washington, and what do they stand for? Next to this kind of actor-centred approach, you could also design sub-problems by focusing, for example, on a certain period of time, on a certain event, on a certain set of sources such as a law revision or testimonies of eye-witnesses to an event. There are multiple ways of cutting out your analytical packages. While doing so, you should bear in mind the size of the project you are setting out to conduct. What is the word count you can fill with your analytical work? Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Key issue Narrow down your research question by addressing manageable sub-questions rather than trying to explain the world. How the research question affects your methodological choices: Quantitative, qualitative and mixed method approaches You will need to decide on the methodological approach to your study at the latest once you have a manageable package at hand. Realistically, however, the question of which research methods to apply is one that will linger in the back of your head from the very onset onwards. Frankly, there are research methods that you feel familiar with and that you tend to use (Kelly 2018, p. 82). Or, maybe you deliberately fancy venturing out and trying some new approach- 6. Gabriele Vogt 62 es. Collaboration—as McElwain points out in this chapter (see Ch. 2.2)—can be a fruitful path to choose in this case. Either way, sometimes—Alan Bryman (2007) argues that more often than not—your preference for research methods also impacts on the research question you will eventually settle on. It is important that the approach you choose—quantitative, qualitative or mixed method—is ‘appropriate to the question asked’ (Kelly 2018, p. 82). The different approaches to data collection and data analysis that follow this choice are dealt with in other chapters in this volume (see Ch. 5–14). Let me at this point just sketch out in broad strokes that the research literature generally refers to one core difference between quantitative and qualitative research that has a direct impact on the research question (assuming that you decide on the methodology before the question): While quantitative research is said to follow deductive reasoning, qualitative research is often associated with induction. While quantitative researchers will have identified all the relevant variables before data collection begins (which is a precondition if you aim at doing surveys or experiments), ‘some qualitative researchers may be resistant to setting out a formal question and specific details of how to answer it at the start of a project’ (Kelly 2018, p. 83). Please note that Kelly (2018, p. 83) talks about ‘some’ qualitative researchers. The open approach is particularly common in ethnographic research and is associated with methods like grounded theory (Sebe-Opfermann 2016, pp. 30–32; see Meagher, Ch. 12). Not all qualitative researchers shy away from identifying variables. The disciplinary background in which a study is situated generally determines the research approach, and political scientists and some sociologists who apply qualitative methods would surely deem it necessary to lay out a question and/or a hypothesis, and concrete variables to study and/or test before embarking on data collection. Another alternative to deciding for a quantitative or qualitative approach is to combine elements from both and embark on a mixed method study (see Hommerich/Kottmann, Ch. 10). Through data gathered in interviews with fellow researchers, Bryman (2007, p. 5) argues that the ‘traditional view, whereby mixed-method research is viewed as only appropriate when research questions warrant it’, is gradually pushed into the background. Instead the new view on mixed method research claims that it is superior because it tends ‘to provide better outcomes more or less regardless of the aims of the research’ (Bryman 2007, p. 8). This view is based on the fact that we trust data more if it generates the same outcome via different paths, and thus prevents critics from dismissing it as coincidental. According to Bryman (2007, p. 10), there are, however, more reasons that explain the rise in mixed method studies, beyond what you could argue is a ‘task-driven’ decision. These are ‘to secure funding, to get research published or gain the attention of policymakers’ (Bryman 2007, p. 14). More often than the other way around, it is the qualitative researchers that set out to incorporate quantitative data collection and analysis into their research. This is due to the fact that quantitative data is favoured by funding agencies, journal editors and policymakers as seemingly more reliable data. Bryman (2007, p. 18) argues that ‘a widely held principle of social research—that decisions about research methods and approach are subservient to the research questions that guide them—is questionable as a representation of social research practice.’ Bryman challenges the textbook approach, according to which the research question comes first, and theory, methodology, data, etc. fall into place afterwards. He claims that these days a researcher’s approach to the design of their topic is driven more by pragmatic considerations such as: Where do I get funding for this project? Where can I publish my results? How will I most likely be able to have an impact (academic and/or public) with my research? Chapter 2 How to ask 63 As a junior scholar reading this, you may feel disillusioned (or you are well aware of the determining power of research funding as you may hold such a position yourself); as a senior scholar, you will know that Bryman has a valid point and maybe feel called upon to rethink the essence of a research question for your next proposal. But, of course, in an ideal world it is the enhancement of knowledge that we strive for when formulating our research questions. Key issue On the path from developing your research question into an overall research design, ideally value a task-driven approach over pragmatic necessities of the contemporary research landscape. Summary This chapter set out to discuss the steps involved in developing a research question, the potential difficulties faced and possible strategies with which to overcome these difficulties. While there are different types of research questions—ranging from descriptive to analytical questions—any good research question will be characterised by three components: relevance, originality and rigour. When you develop your research question, make sure you are prepared for a lengthy process of back and forth between your initial idea, a thorough literature review and debates with peers and teachers. Also, make sure you divide your larger question into manageable sub-questions, as this will make it easier for you to follow through with your research and for your audience to understand your approach. Keep in mind that once you develop your research question into a research project, you will need to settle on the methodological approach, most likely according to your disciplinary background. Developing a research question can be a daunting task for any scholar. Do not despair, and talk to your peers and teachers as much as you can throughout this process. Remember, good research always happens in dialogue. 7. Gabriele Vogt 64 Your research questions may change and that is ok Nicolas Sternsdorff-Cisterna My training is in Cultural Anthropology, a discipline that uses ethnographic methods to learn about the culture of the places where we work and the lifeworlds of the people we meet. While ethnographic methods are central to Cultural Anthropology, a number of other disciplines use them as well. When conducting ethnographic fieldwork, I have experienced that research questions often change as the project progresses. It is difficult to predict how fieldwork will unfold and thus it is important to have some flexibility about one’s approach. The social world is not static; circumstances change, new connections emerge, etc. Over the course of a project, events can change the conditions that led to an initial research question and the project will need to be adapted. Many colleagues with whom I have discussed fieldwork have also relayed their experiences of adapting their projects to what happens in the field. Given all the contingent ways in which fieldwork can develop, my suggestion is to remain flexible so that the researcher can respond to the actual experience of fieldwork and make the necessary adjustments to their project. Furthermore, ethnographic fieldwork hinges on the person conducting it. The ethnographer is a vehicle of sorts through which interactions happen and data is gathered. Researchers, however, are not neutral figures. They carry with them identities that include their gender, class, race, age, nationality and others, which shape how they are perceived by the people they work with. As such, even if two ethnographers worked on the same topic, there is a good chance that their positionality and individual interests would lead them in unique directions. These factors shape the body of data they collect and the types of questions they can answer. What an ethnographer envisions in the design phase of a project does not always work out, and thus it is important to have some flexibility to adapt one’s research to the vagaries of fieldwork. I have also found that I often need to revise my research questions as I become more familiar with a topic. What seemed like a good question at the beginning later reveals itself to be too broad or in need of adjustment. There are areas of inquiry that I may not have initially considered but later learned about, and they become central to the project. I usually ask at the end of an interview if there was anything that we did not discuss that the interviewee considers important (see Alexy, Ch. 7.3). Sometimes I have been told that we covered all the bases and I am reassured about my line of questioning. Other times, however, interviewees have pointed out aspects that they see as important that I did not address. These moments have been tremendously useful in broadening my perspectives and have sometimes resulted in revisions to my research questions, so I can incorporate these new angles. In my first major project (Sternsdorff-Cisterna 2019), I shifted the focus of my research in response to events that took place a few months before I planned to begin my main period of fieldwork in Japan (see this chapter, McElwain, Ch. 2.2). I entered graduate school with the 2.1 65 intention of studying food safety and quality in Japan. I was particularly interested in the distinction between domestic and imported food products; consumer surveys showed that given a choice, many consumers in Japan preferred domestic products, which they perceived as safer compared to imported alternatives. In the spring of 2011, I was in the United States preparing to begin my fieldwork on this topic. Then, Japan was struck by the triple disaster of March 11, 2011. I followed with alarm the news about the disaster and learned from these reports about the pressing concerns regarding food safety because of the radiation released from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. From these reports, I learned that discussions about food safety were shifting and I began to consider how I could adapt my research to incorporate these new developments. A few months later, I left for Japan and, with my committee’s blessing, I decided to use my preliminary research on food safety as background information which I could utilise to focus my attention on food safety in light of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. After I began my fieldwork, I learned about topics that I was not initially familiar with, such as the technical aspects of measuring radiation. Radiation does not have a colour, smell, texture or visual cues that reveal its presence. Rather, detectors are needed to measure how much radioactivity is present in a food sample. During my fieldwork, I met people who ran testing centres and learned from them about the different types of detectors available and how testing procedures can affect the degree of confidence in the results. In a nutshell, the longer a sample is tested, the more fine-grained the results become, and, as such, the length of the test affects the degree of confidence with which it can be said that a product has undetectable levels of radiation. As I learned about how these detectors operate, I realised that their technical specifications played a role in the production of data about the effects of the nuclear accident on food safety. From these insights, I developed new lines of inquiry that allowed me to include a discussion of measurement as part of my overall project. I have thus far stressed the importance of remaining flexible so that the ethnographer can adapt to new circumstances and what they learn during fieldwork (see McLaughlin, Ch. 6). Given the fluid nature of this process, it is important to have moments of reflection in order to evaluate what one has done thus far and where the project is heading. One of my mentors, anthropologist David Slater, introduced me to an exercise halfway through my fieldwork that allowed me to do this. In this exercise, we divided a blackboard in half. On one side, I summarised all the data I had collected thus far and the places I was gathering it. On the other side of the board, I listed the research questions that I wanted to answer by the end of my fieldwork. With everything laid out in front of us, we began matching my data to the questions listed on the other side. During this process, we discussed which questions looked like ones I could already address, which questions I could not yet answer, whether there was data that related to questions I had not listed, and also found connections between topics that I did not notice until everything was diagrammed in front of us. This exercise created a moment in which I was able to take stock of my fieldwork; it also gave me an opportunity to brainstorm how I might change my research strategies to ensure that I collected data with which to address the questions I could not yet answer. Through this exercise, I also began drafting an outline of what my ethnography would eventually look like and how I might organise the various research questions I was working with into an overall narrative. My next suggestion comes from advice I was given when I was preparing applications for graduate school. At the time, I was living in Tokyo and anthropologist Anne Allison was Nicolas Sternsdorff-Cisterna 66 teaching a seminar in which we read ethnographies about Japan and discussed our individual research interests. As Allison listened to our ideas, we discussed their merits and whether they were feasible. In addition, she often asked us to answer what seemed like a difficult question: why now? Asking a compelling research question was a first and crucial step, but by asking the ‘why now’ question, Allison prompted us to think about how our projects would speak to the contemporary moment. Different projects will have different answers to this question. For some, the answer may hinge on events of contemporary significance or social issues that merit further attention. In other cases, a project is designed to intervene in theoretical debates and its results will move disciplinary knowledge forward. I have also worked on projects for which it seemed difficult to explain what was unique about the topic at that moment in time. Nevertheless, even when it seemed difficult to answer this question, reflecting on it helped me to think about how to position my project and articulate the ways in which it would contribute to our knowledge about contemporary Japan and/or debates in Anthropology. In addition, I realised that thinking about the timeliness of the project became useful down the line when preparing funding applications. A good project will hopefully be competitive for funding, and it is important in these applications to make a compelling case for the significance and urgency of the research. In my current project, I am examining the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors in the makings of a ‘super-smart society’ in Japan. AI as a field dates back to the 1950s and sensors also have a long history, so when designing the project, I took care to note recent developments that make the contemporary moment unique. In 2016, the Japanese government introduced a vision to move towards ‘Society 5.0’, a super-smart society that relies on AI, the Internet of things, big data and robotics to optimise social processes and create a smart society. In 2020, Japan will also introduce 5G cellular networks, which will dramatically expand bandwidth and the speed of data transmission. As 5G networks become available, it is forecast that many objects and places that are currently not connected to the cloud will become ‘smart’ and transmit digital data; AI will play a crucial role in analysing these increasing quantities of data. When I conceptualised the project, I highlighted these developments to explain its contemporary relevance and why it was necessary at this moment in time to explore the role of AI and sensors in Japan. Lastly, I would like to introduce something that may seem obvious but is worth emphasising, and that is to choose a research subject that one is passionate about. Depending on the scope of the topic, a researcher can spend a substantial amount of time working on it; it can take years to decades to see a project through from conceptualisation to publications. Beyond disciplinary concerns, we have our own sense of curiosity, past experiences, political commitments and numerous other variables that shape our interests. The answer to why we are committed to a topic may not always be immediately clear or can change over time, but I would recommend taking a moment to reflect on what drives our desire to learn more about it. Chapter 2 How to ask 67 Studying Japanese political behaviour and institutions Kenneth Mori McElwain Finding a ‘good’ research topic or puzzle, and more importantly, avoiding a ‘bad’ one, is hard to do on one’s own. We are often drawn to questions and cases that interest us personally, but as a professor told us in graduate school, ‘everybody has the right to study what they want, but nobody has the right to get paid for it’. I often bear this aphorism in mind when advising young scholars: there is a distinction between a hobby and a profession. In Political Science, research agendas are inevitably shaped by real-world events. Over the last 30 years, scholarship on populism, climate change and terrorism has grown rapidly, even as interest in the inner workings of the Soviet era Kremlin has waned. The same holds true for the study of Japanese politics. The end of the Cold War and the rise of China have altered the salience of the U.S.–Japan Alliance or Article 9 to East Asian security. Following the collapse of the economic bubble, research on the supposed merits of the developmental state has given way to understanding the political causes of the Lost Decade. After electoral reform in 1994, many scholars began to work on their consequences for party system change and public policy outcomes, while abandoning further analysis of the old electoral system. In some ways, Japanese politics has become less exceptional since the 1990s, thereby challenging researchers who wish to publish in international journals or university presses to justify their case selection in new ways. In comparative politics, the value of studying a specific country—especially if the researcher is based outside that country—is often defined by its ability to explain events in other countries. This manifests in two ways. First, is the case an ‘exception to the rule’, whereby its internal operations or political outcomes force us to re-evaluate accepted theories? Second, is the case ‘typical’, in that understanding its inner mechanisms have direct implications for explaining empirical outcomes in a wide range of countries? Like most scholars who began their careers outside Japan, my research on political institutions uses Japan as a comparative case to explain broader political patterns. Having been trained in the United States after the Liberal Democratic Party’s (Jiyūminshutō, LDP) first defeat in 1993, ‘single-party dominance’ was no longer a sufficient hook to attract attention from my peers, advisors or hiring committees. However, Japan has a treasure trove of data that is unavailable in other countries, making it a useful case in which to (re)test (un)conventional theories empirically. In the rest of this chapter, I will discuss how research on Japanese political institutions and behaviour has changed over the last two decades, through the lens of my own work on electoral and party politics. 2.2 68 Studying electoral politics and LDP single-party dominance A central tenet of democracy is electoral accountability, wherein voters have the opportunity to throw out governments that enact unpopular policies or lack administrative competence. One expectation is that we should observe periodic turnovers in governing parties; exceptions to this rule, such as the LDP’s electoral supremacy between 1955 and 1993, attract interest as outlier cases (Pempel 1990). There are multiple explanations for the LDP’s success, particularly under the 1955 System. First, the LDP’s popularity was buoyed by rapid postwar growth and rising living standards (Miyake et al. 2001). Second, the LDP distributed pork-barrel projects to compensate for slower growth in rural areas, which were also their electoral strongholds (Calder 1988; Ramseyer/Rosenbluth 1993). Third, opposition parties failed to coordinate effectively against the LDP, and were particularly hampered by their inability to attract quality candidates (Scheiner 2006). Fourth, the electoral system was biased in favour of rural incumbents, through a combination of seat malapportionment and restrictive campaign regulations, thereby insulating the LDP from challengers (McElwain 2008). These explanations are not exhaustive, mutually exclusive or equally relevant to all time periods. However, the rarity of single-party dominance drew significant academic interest in the determinants of the LDP’s success and its implications for electoral accountability. After the LDP’s first defeat in the 1993 House of Representatives election, academic attention pivoted towards the effects of electoral reform. In 1994, the lower house system was changed from multi-member districts with single non-transferable votes (MMD-SNTV) to a mixedmember majoritarian (MMM) rule, which combined single-member districts with a proportional representation tier. The early 1990s saw electoral reform in a number of other countries, notably Italy and New Zealand. These offered opportunities to test long-standing theories about the relationship between 1. the electoral system and the number of parties, as well as 2. the effects of new electoral incentives on public policy outcomes. On the first point, the predominance of single-member districts under the new MMM system led to predictions that the fragmented opposition parties would gradually merge into a viable alternative to the LDP (Christensen 1994; Curtis 1999). This transition was messy, as both governing and opposition parties experienced a series of defections by Diet members (Kato 1998; Reed/ Scheiner 2003). On the second point, the elimination of intra-party competition over votes, which was endemic under MMD-SNTV, led to a greater focus on policy-based, programmatic competition over clientelistic redistribution (Catalinac 2016; Noble 2010). Since 2005, election outcomes have hinged on national swings in voter sentiment, rather than district-by-district characteristics, suggesting that elections have become ‘nationalised’ (McElwain 2012). The victory of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in 2009 seemed to herald a new era of (mostly) two-party competition, marked by greater electoral accountability and government turnover. The DPJ’s loss in 2012 was consistent with this trend, but the manner of its loss, as well as the refragmentation of opposition parties, belied simple expectations of a two-party equilibrium. New smaller parties continued to crop up only to fade away quickly—a still ongoing process. The DPJ itself no longer exists, and many of its former members have splintered into other parties. The fragmentation of opposition parties is important to understanding contemporary Japanese politics. However, it is not clear if the fluidity of the party system is a short- or long-term feature, raising the possibility that any in-depth, contemporaneous account of individual parties or events will quickly become obsolete. More fundamentally, the Japanese political system has Chapter 2 How to ask 69 become less distinctive from a comparative perspective. The LDP’s first loss in 1993 was due to the perfect storm of political scandals, economic collapse and intra-party defections, but it still remained the largest party in parliament. Its second loss in 2009 was more conventional: it was beaten by the more popular DPJ. The resurgence of the LDP since 2012, as well as the inability of opposition parties to settle on a unified banner, may have systemic roots in the institutional architecture of government, but this may be better studied when (if) the dust settles, rather than following events election-by-election. One possible avenue of comparative research is through the lens of party emergence and survival. There is a robust range of European literature on ‘new parties’, many of which have made significant gains in recent years, buoyed by growing anti-establishment or anti-immigration sentiments. There is evidence that the ideological basis of party politics in Japan has been changing over the last twenty years too. Christian G. Winkler (2017) argues that the LDP has been placing greater emphasis on post-materialist policies, rather than neo-liberal issues, in their election manifestos. The salience of constitutional revision, both in party platforms and in voter decision-making, has increased dramatically in the last decade (McElwain 2018; Sakaiya 2017). These may reflect generational shifts in ideological priorities and perceptions of the left–right dimension, as documented by Willy Jou and Masahisa Endo (2016). What’s new is what’s old: Public opinion and economic performance One topic in which Japan researchers have renewed their interest is the political causes and consequences of economic performance. Between the 1970s and 1990s, the focus of Social Science research on Japan was the political economy: the determinants of the ‘miracle’ growth of the 1960s–70s, the asset bubble of the 1980s, and policy paralysis in the 1990s. However, as the economy remained mired in the doldrums of the Lost Decade, comparative researchers shifted their emphasis to better-performing countries. This trend has begun to shift in recent years, in large part because of the global financial crisis. What was once seen as a ‘Japanese problem’—prolonged deflation, stagnant growth—started to afflict other advanced economies. While political economy research has historically focused on elite decision-making, there has been a proliferation of work that centres on voters, drawing on the literature on ‘economic voting’. Public support for the government is correlated with macro-economic performance, but governments often need to enact long-term policies that entail short-term pain. This makes it crucial to understand how voters perceive the economy, learn about public policies and attribute changes in their own lives to government actions. In a series of public opinion projects, I have been examining these linkages. I show that people’s macro-economic evaluations are highly sensitive to stock market fluctuations, in large part because these are the most reported economic items in the news (McElwain 2015). Greg Noble and I (2015) find that Japanese voters are more likely to support increases in the consumption tax if these are explicitly tied to funding social insurance programmes. Finally, Junko Kato, Tomoko Matsumoto and I (2018) explore attitudes towards government budgets and find that older men with higher educational attainment are more likely to worry about government debt, suggesting important sub-population differences in economic beliefs. There are three reasons why Japan is an ideal case to test the relationship between the economy and public opinion. First, Japan has been a front-runner in many (pessimistic) trends, such Kenneth Mori McElwain 70 as prolonged deflation and ballooning government debt. These link to other issues that indirectly affect the economy, such as the labour market consequences of an ageing population and reticence towards increasing immigration. Second, there is a wealth of public opinion data in Japan that allows us to test existing theories and develop new frameworks. For example, Jiji Press, a newswire service, has been running monthly surveys on attitudes towards the economy and politics since the late 1960s without ever changing the question wording. Third, Japan has an excellent infrastructure for running original surveys. While costs vary by vendor, survey length and sampling strategy, it is possible to run an original 2000-person survey for JPY 60,000–100,000. For many overseas researchers, this will be possible to budget in research grants, and is probably cheaper than a round-trip flight to Tokyo (see Hommerich/Kottmann, Ch. 10). Some concluding thoughts When conducting research on Japan, there are two broad approaches: using new knowledge from Japan to inform theories of comparative politics, and applying comparative theories to explain Japanese phenomena. Most scholars try to do both, but as I argued, Japan is no longer an obvious outlier among developed democracies on conventional political topics. Exceptions exist, such as the consequences of and policy responses to demographic ageing, but it is incumbent upon the researcher to justify one’s case selection. One way to do so is to identify ways in which Japan continues to be an empirical rarity that challenges conventional theory. Another is to use original or rare data from Japan that allows us to test theories in a more refined way. My interest in Japanese public opinion, particularly on perceptions of the government’s macroeconomic competence, comes from my belief that both approaches can be married successfully. Let me end by offering some practical suggestions about conducting new research on Japanese politics from my own experience. First, the best way to learn whether you have a good topic is to present your work in front of different audiences. In my case, learning to give different types of talks to political scientists, economists and Japan specialists has pushed me to better explain the Japanese case and also broadened my comparative scope. Each group has different types of expertise and interests (e.g. quantitative versus qualitative analysis, economic policy versus public opinion), which can inform avenues for fruitful research, gaps between theory and empirics, and ways to integrate Japanese and comparative research. Second, collaboration can be crucial for innovative research. Survey work is extremely difficult to do on one’s own, and I co-author with two graduate students at the University of Tokyo for both survey design and empirical analysis. Dissertations obviously require original, individual work, but for scholars who have an opportunity to do fieldwork in Japan, attending conferences and workshops can be valuable for identifying other like-minded scholars with whom you may eventually want to collaborate. Chapter 2 How to ask 71 Capturing social change in Japan David Chiavacci The research question is the alpha and omega of research and academic writing. It is, in my view, even more important than theories or methods. Throughout my academic career, I most often ended up with meaningful research results when I had a good research question to start with. In these cases, I let the research question flourish and develop, and tried not to lose sight of or to forget it along the way. It is, foremost, the research question that will allow you to generate findings that are new and innovative contributions to your field. Ideally, the research question defines which theoretical approaches and methods should be used and not the other way around. However, how do you find a good research question? Actually, I have to admit that, during over two decades of doing Social Science research on Japan, I never gave this question too much thought. I could even claim that I do not know if I found my research questions or if they came to me like uninvited but highly welcome guests. Still, the door has to be open for an uninvited guest to materialise. My main advice for ‘opening the door’ is to follow your interests: read up on those research topics that excite you and about which you would like to know more. And if you happen to come across a research gap or even a puzzle, then seize your opportunity and start to frame and reframe a research question, but don’t forget to think about which data or material is needed to answer this—ideally—open question. Research question first: From the question to the project When I review my research projects and questions, social change can easily be identified as the common and general issue that played an important role in most of them. In my experience, focusing on social change is a quite productive way to identify a research question, because a first step is to ask why change occurs. However, this does not mean that everything will go smoothly if you try to capture the meaning of social change. In fact, over the years, I encountered different challenges in developing research questions on issues of social change depending on the project. In my PhD project, I analysed the sudden surge in popularity of Western companies as employers of graduates from prestigious universities in Japan. In the final year of my master’s studies, together with a colleague I was able to secure financial support from the Swiss Asia Foundation for an empirical survey on the perception of Swiss companies as employers in Japan and the job satisfaction of their Japanese employees (Chiavacci/Lottanti 1999). As part of this research project, we found several quantitative surveys whose data showed a surprisingly sudden and strong increase in popularity of Western companies among graduates of top-ranked Japanese universities. Up to the mid-1990s, difficulties and often the complete failure in recruiting university graduates was, together with the high costs of doing business, one of the two by far most important barriers to Western companies successfully making direct invest- 2.3 72 ments and entering the market in Japan. However, in the late 1990s, almost from one day to the next, Western companies became attractive employers and many secured top positions in the rankings of the most sought-after employers of university graduates, even including those from the most prestigious institutions. In my PhD project, I discussed this new popularity as an indicator of macro-sociological change from the perspective of the continuing economic stagnation and increasing discourse of crisis under the buzzword ‘Lost Decade’ (ushinawareta jūnen) in Japan. In this case, the research question was already clearly defined at the very beginning of the research project. In fact, the new popularity of foreign companies as employers of elite university graduates was one of the main findings of the earlier research project on Swiss companies, for which we had, however, no explanation. The research question in my PhD project asked how this sudden increase in the attractiveness of foreign companies could be explained in the context of a new discourse of crisis and national stagnation, a changing transition process from university to labour market and the new life course ideals of the generation of university graduates in Japan in the late 1990s. As the research design was clearly defined from the very beginning of the project, the research question did not change at all during the research. Moreover, I was fortunate that I had already been able to gain ample experience in qualitative interview methods in the preceding project about Swiss companies in Japan and was able to successfully secure access to interview partners. This resulted in the smooth and fast realisation of the whole PhD project in about two years and its publication the following year (Chiavacci 2002). Struggling with research questions Developing good research questions in the two later projects was much more complex and time-consuming. When I came to Japan as a postdoc in the early 21st century, I soon noted an increasing number of academic publications about rising inequality and a public debate on this issue gaining momentum. My interest in social change and in social structures led me to embark on this topic immediately. However, empirical data and research were puzzling for me in this case. In public and academic debates, a new model of Japan as an increasingly unequal society became dominant up to 2005. It became condensed into a new discursive frame for Japan as a gap society (kakusa shakai) and displaced the former frame of Japan as a general middle-class society (sōchūryū shakai). Still, from a comparative perspective, the discursive juncture was not at all supported by empirical data. Quantitative indicators and research results showed an increase in social inequality, but widening social and economic gaps were very moderate in international comparison and by no means justified the complete transformation of Japan’s self-perception from a general middle-class society to a gap society. This contradiction between strong structural continuities and complete frame reversal inspired me to move away from my original research questions, which focused on explaining the context and main factors for increasing inequality. My new research question was how the gap between the dominance of a completely new frame on a discursive level versus a very moderate change according to structural data could be explained. This shift led me to explore the Sociology of Knowledge as a completely new and unplanned theoretical field. My focus was no longer on questions of structural or discursive change, but on the interrelationship between so- Chapter 2 How to ask 73 cial structures and discursive frames as central pillars of social reality. My research in this area resulted in publications on the question of why and how certain macro-sociological models reflect everyday experiences and become dominant frames in academia and society. The main finding was that these processes and the sequence of dominant social frames were not a question of scientific truth of models based on evidence, but a question of their persuasiveness in the micro-sociological lifeworld of the population and especially among those groups shaping public debates and discourses (Chiavacci 2008). While the research took years, I can also say that these unsolved puzzles helped me to turn a rather boring research question into a much more interesting research question. The excitement of this topic has not diminished for me, and I have continued to do research on it (Chiavacci/Hommerich 2017). Asking questions about non-change My main postdoctoral project was even more complex. After finishing my PhD, I urgently needed a new research project to be able to apply for research funding. Immigration and the need for comprehensive immigration policy reform in view of Japan’s demographic trajectory started to become an increasingly important issue in the mass media and on the political agenda. The emergence of a more active and less restrictive immigration policy seemed to be only a question of time. Hence, I had the idea of studying the forthcoming immigration policy reform and writing my second book about it. However, the more I worked on immigration policies, the more I noted a huge gap between an intensive and heated debate in public discourse and among policymakers versus a standstill and reform bottleneck in immigration policy. As the years passed by without any significant reform despite heated ongoing discussions, my frustration grew. Obviously, I had completely underestimated the risks of real-time research. Its degree of timeliness is excellent, and opportunities to collect good qualitative data on the policy process are very good, but the outcome is completely unknown and insecure. At some point, I even considered writing my second book about the research question of why no comprehensive immigration policy reform was happening in Japan. Hans Geser, one of my former professors in Sociology at the University of Zurich, had formulated a theory about non-action and refraining (Geser 1986). However, Geser pointed out that writing a whole book about a non-occurrence is very unusual in the Social Sciences. Finally, I realised that I had to expand my research question to solve my problem of political standstill by covering not only Japan’s immigration reform in the 2000s, but its immigration policy since 1945 in the context of developments in the East Asian region. While I had originally planned to analyse the large, upcoming immigration policy reform and its social consequences, my new research question focused on how immigration and immigration policy in Japan had developed and changed in a larger East Asian context and against the backdrop of the national institutional setting in immigration policy. In this book, I discussed the transformation of Japan from a non-immigration country to an immigration country in the late 1980s. I also compared the immigration policymaking processes that led to significant reforms around 1990, but only very limited reforms in the 2000s. This research design enabled me to comparatively analyse the question of why some reforms stall, while other are formulated and implemented very fast (Chiavacci 2011). This whole project took me eight years, much longer David Chiavacci 74 than originally envisaged, but made me realise the importance of developing an alternative plan if the original research question reaches a dead end. Concluding remarks Overall, my experience with research questions is that sometimes you are very lucky—like in the case of my PhD project—but normally it is a cumbersome process with many twists and turns, as in the two other projects discussed above, until you finally have your research question. As I said above, you are desperately looking for good research questions, but normally they seem to suddenly (and often after a long time) present themselves to you. This long process can be very stressful, especially for young researchers as they work under time constraints and know only too well that their academic career depends on their speed and ability to produce output in the form of publications. Still, this quest is not only a part, but a fundamental piece of the whole research process. The most important thing along the ride is not to lose track of your research question and to constantly try to improve it. Never forget to be and remain the master of your research question instead of letting it pull you in a one-way direction! Chapter 2 How to ask 75 Further reading Bryman, Alan (2007): The research question in social research: What is its role? In: International Journal of Social Research Methodology 10, No. 1, pp. 5–20. Coleman, James S. (1990): The foundations of social theory. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Kelly, Moira (2018): Research questions and proposals. In: Seale, Clive (ed.): Researching society and culture. Los Angeles, CA: Sage, pp. 79–99. Leung, Doris/Lapum, Jennifer (2005): A poetical journey: The evolution of a research question. In: International Journal of Qualitative Methods 4, No. 3, pp. 64–82. Mattick, Karen/Johnston, Jenny/de la Croix, Anne (2018): How to … write a good research question. In: The Clinical Teacher 15, pp. 104–108. References Bodemer, Nicolai/Ruggeri, Azzurra (2012): Finding a good research question, in theory. In: Science 335, p. 1439. Browne, Jacinta E. (2013): Getting started with research ‘Beginning: Defining a research question and preparing a research plan’. In: Ultrasound 21, pp. 102–104. Bryman, Alan (2007): The research question in social research: What is its role? In: International Journal of Social Research Methodology 10, No. 1, pp. 5–20. Calder, Kent E. (1988): Crisis and compensation: Public policy and political stability in Japan. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Catalinac, Amy (2016): Electoral reform and national security in Japan: From pork to policy. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Chiavacci, David (2002): Der Boom der ausländischen Unternehmen als Arbeitgeber: Paradigmawechsel in Japan? München: Iudicium. Chiavacci, David (2008): From class struggle to general middle-class society to divided society: Societal models of inequality in postwar Japan. In: Social Science Japan Journal 11, No. 1, pp. 5–27. Chiavacci, David (2011): Japans neue Immigrationspolitik: Ostasiatisches Umfeld, ideelle Diversität und institutionelle Fragmentierung. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Chiavacci, David/Hommerich, Carola (eds.) (2017): Social inequality in post-growth Japan: Transformation during economic and demographic stagnation. London: Routledge. Chiavacci, David/Lottanti, Stefania (1999): The Japanese employees of Swiss corporations in Japan: Image and reality. SAF Research Report. Lausanne: SAF (Swiss Asia Foundation). Christensen, Ray (1994): Electoral reform in Japan: How it was enacted and changes it may bring. In: Asian Survey 34, No. 7, pp. 589–605. Coleman, James S. (1990): The foundations of social theory. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Curtis, Gerald L. (1999): The logic of Japanese politics: Leaders, institutions, and the limits of change. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Gerth, H. H./Mills, C. Wright (1948): From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. New York, NY: Routledge. Geser, Hans (1986): Elemente zu einer soziologischen Theorie des Unterlassens. In: Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 38, No. 4, pp. 643–669. Hollifield, James (2000): The politics of international migration: How can we bring the state back in? In: Brettell, Caroline B./Hollifield, James (eds.): Migration theory: Talking across disciplines. New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 137–185. Institute for Analytical Sociology (2016): The Coleman Boat explained [film]. atch?v=dGaz0xKG060, [Accessed 15 April 2020]. Jou, Willy/Endo, Masahisa (2016): Generational gap in Japanese politics: A longitudinal study of political attitudes and behaviour. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Kato, Junko (1998): When the party breaks up: Exit and voice among Japanese legislators. In: American Political Science Review 92, No. 4, pp. 857–870. Kelly, Moira (2018): Research questions and proposals. In: Seale, Clive (ed.): Researching society and culture. Los Angeles, CA: Sage, pp. 79–99. 76 Leung, Doris/Lapum, Jennifer (2005): A poetical journey: The evolution of a research question. In: International Journal of Qualitative Methods 4, No. 3, pp. 64–82. Matsumoto, Tomoko/McElwain, Kenneth Mori/Kato, Junko (2018): Why do government deficits prevail? A survey experiment on budget making. Presented at the 2018 American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Boston, MA. Mattick, Karen/Johnston, Jenny/de la Croix, Anne (2018): How to … write a good research question. In: The Clinical Teacher 15, pp. 104–108. McElwain, Kenneth Mori (2008): Manipulating electoral rules to manufacture single party dominance. In: American Journal of Political Science 52, No. 1, pp. 32–47. McElwain, Kenneth Mori (2012): The nationalization of Japanese elections. In: Journal of East Asian Studies 12, No. 3, pp. 323–350. McElwain, Kenneth Mori (2015): Kabuka ka kakusa ka: Naikaku shijiritsu no kyakkanteki/shukanteki keizai yōin. In: Leviathan 57, pp. 72–95. McElwain, Kenneth Mori (2018): Constitutional revision in the 2017 election. In: Pekkanen, Robert J./ Reed, Steven R./Scheiner, Ethan/Smith, Daniel M. (eds.): Japan decides 2017: The Japanese General Election. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 297–312. McElwain, Kenneth Mori/Noble, Gregory W. (2015): Who tolerates tax increases? Age and gender in the raising of Japanese consumption taxes. In: Shakai Kagaku Kenkyū 67, No. 2, pp. 75–96. Miyake, Ichiro/Nishizawa, Yoshitaka/Kōno, Masaru (2001): 55-nen taisei-ka no seiji to keizai: Jiji yoron chōsa dēta no bunseki. Tōkyō: Bokutakusha. Noble, Gregory W. (2010): The decline of particularism in Japanese politics. In: Journal of East Asian Studies 10, pp. 239–273. Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J./Frels, Rebecca (2016): Seven steps to a comprehensive literature review: A multimodal & cultural approach. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Pempel, T.J. (1990): Uncommon democracies: The one-party dominant regimes. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Ramseyer, J. Mark/McCall Rosenbluth, Frances (1993): Japan’s political marketplace. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Reed, Steven R./Scheiner, Ethan (2003): Electoral incentives and policy preferences: Mixed motives behind party defections in Japan. In: British Journal of Political Science 33, pp. 469–490. Sakaiya, Shiro (2017): Kenpō to yoron: Sengo nihonjin wa kenpō to dō mukiatte kita no ka. Tōkyō: Chikuma Shobō. Scheiner, Ethan (2006): Democracy without competition in Japan: Opposition failure in a one-party dominant state. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sebe-Opfermann, Andreas (2016): Die Frage der Fragen: Was ist eine gute Forschungsfrage? In: Dunker, Nina/Joyce-Finnern, Nina-Kathrin/Koppel, Ilka (eds.): Wege durch den Forschungsdschungel. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien, pp. 21–36. Sternsdorff-Cisterna, Nicolas (2019): Food safety after Fukushima: Scientific citizenship and the politics of risk. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press. Vogt, Gabriele (2003): Die Renaissance der Friedensbewegung in Okinawa: Innen- und außenpolitische Dimensionen 1995–2000. München: Iudicium. Vogt, Gabriele (2018): Population aging and international health-caregiver migration to Japan. Cham: Springer. Winkler, Christian G. (2017): Right on? The LDP’s drift to the right and the persistence of particularism. In: Social Science Japan Journal 20, No. 2, pp. 203–224. Chapter 2 How to ask 77 Chapter 3 How to organise research: Research designs Kaori Okano Introduction Having decided on a research topic, researchers begin considering what research design best addresses their topic. By research design, I mean the whole process of investigation from refining the research questions based on a review of the literature, to writing up the findings in the form of a paper or a thesis. We design research so that it can most effectively address our research questions. A good research design functions like a map that provides researchers with orientation when they are aiming to collect the evidence that is needed to answer their research question or to test a theory in a convincing way (De Vaus 2001, p. 9). In this chapter, I will focus on case study research design, as it is most broadly conceived. While different disciplines (e.g. Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, etc.) and paradigms (e.g. positivist, interpretive and constructionist) may have slightly different ideas about case study research, there are generally agreed features. All research projects on Japan, which are intended to be published in a language other than Japanese, are ‘case studies’ in the widest sense of the term, in that they aim not only to understand Japanese society for its own sake, but also to advance our understanding of the social world at a more abstract level. Any study of Japan is inherently comparative in that researchers bring their own perception lens created through past experiences, when observing and interpreting the phenomena under study. Japan could be studied, for example, as an example of a non-Western liberal democracy with particular institutional features and cultural norms. This view reflects the reality of the Anglophone or Eurocentric dominance in global knowledge production, which views non-Western societies as peripheral societies with specific conditions for case studies, where researchers collect raw data or test a theory developed in the West (Okano 2018). In view of this, Yoshio Sugimoto proposes a cosmopolitan methodology which presumes that all Social Sciences are ‘Area Studies’ (including studies of Anglophone societies) without privileging studies based on societies at the centre (Sugimoto 2018). This chapter aims to address first-time or emerging researchers with little experience who are about to embark on a project. You may be an undergraduate honours student or a postgraduate student with Japanese language proficiency adequate for studying Japan (of course, your Japanese will improve as your project progresses). I write this chapter as a senpai with a particular positionality, which may help you understand what follows. Born in Hiroshima, my entire schooling was in mainstream schools in Japan until I completed an undergraduate degree. While I was an undergraduate student, I spent a year as an exchange student in Auckland, New Zealand. I subsequently studied comparative education in Australia for a master’s degree, 1. 78 and then worked as a full-time teacher (and a participant observer) at secondary schools in Sydney and in New Zealand. Inspired by micro-level experience of schooling as a teacher in a predominantly anglo-white environment, I subsequently researched working-class high schoolers in urban Kobe for a PhD from a New Zealand university. Writing in a foreign language was a challenge. Since then I have been a university-based academic in Melbourne, Australia. In this chapter, I will first provide an overview of different approaches in case study research designs and their features, advantages and disadvantages; I will then discuss ways to select a unit of analysis (single case or multiple cases both synchronic and diachronic). There are five types of multiple case study designs: 1. multiple cases within Japan, 2. cross-national multiple cases, 3. a time-series (or diachronic) design, 4. time-series analysis of multiple cases within Japan (which provide both diachronic and synchronic analysis) and 5. time-series cross-national multiple cases. Time-series design can take the form of a wave study or a panel study. Finally, I will discuss theory building and testing, and inductive and deductive processes. Case studies A case study is an in-depth empirical investigation of a case or multiple cases bounded by time and activity. These cases can be institutions, phenomena, events, processes, individuals, groups of people, organisations, activities and programmes (Hancock/Algozzine 2006, pp. 16–29). Case studies are useful when studying a phenomenon as a whole in its natural setting. Most case studies use multiple sources of data, including any combination of documents (both public and private), interviews, observations (direct and participant), archival records, physical items (e.g. CDs, pictures) (Yin 2018, p. 111), as well as surveys (see Hommerich/Kottmann, Ch. 10). Surveys can be officially designed and conducted by government agencies or companies, or by the researchers themselves. Most case studies include both quantitative and qualitative data components for different parts of a project, even when they claim to be qualitative studies (Gerring 2007, p. 11). In Japanese Studies, it is rare to see studies which comprise only narratives. For example, a study of non-regular workers in a company would first locate the place of non-regular workers in the national labour market (e.g. income levels, gender) and the company in the national context (e.g. size of companies), using quantitative data available in published statistics. The researcher may deliver a short questionnaire to employees of the company as a starting point to assist in refining research questions and formulating interview questions. Marie Roesgaard’s study of cram schools (juku) (2006), for example, included extensive quantitative data from surveys and national statistics about these institutions and their students, as well as qualitative data from interviews and observations. Key issues A case study is an in-depth investigation of phenomena in their natural setting. Case studies often use multiple sources of data, both quantitative and qualitative, at different stages of the investigation. 2. Chapter 3 How to organise research 79 Different approaches of case studies While John W. Creswell and Cheryl Poth (2017, pp. 65–109) name case studies as one of five research approaches to inquiry, along with narrative (biographical) research, phenomenological research, grounded theory research and ethnographic research, I see case studies as a generic term inclusive of all these approaches. Let me explain these one by one. Studies adopting a narrative and biographical approach investigate a person or persons (or other forms of units of analysis) over a relatively long period of time, drawing on oral life histories and other forms of narrative. For example, Ruth A. Keyso (2000) examined the life histories of eight women residing in Okinawa in order to understand their life trajectories and the nature of changes in their community. David Plath’s study of maturity (1980) examined the life paths of several individuals in the Kansai region over the postwar period, drawing on oral histories, archives and other documents, as well as novels. A biographical study of a prominent individual would also take this approach. Phenomenology is often adopted by studies that have a psychological or micro-sociological orientation. This approach illustrates the shared meaning of a phenomenon that all individuals of a group commonly experience in interaction, and attempts to grasp the meaning and essential nature of that interaction (Creswell/Poth 2017, p. 75), for example, between pupils and teachers, elderly and carer workers, doctors and patients, and so on. The study aims to identify and explain the essential nature of that interaction, drawing on interviews with these individuals. For example, when Nobuo Shimahara and Akira Sakai (1995) investigated fledgling teachers in a case study of primary schools, they found that all teachers considered teacher– pupil bonding, mutual trust and empathetic relationships as the most crucial elements in learning to teach at Japanese primary schools. Shimahara and Sakai called this phenomenon kizuna. The grounded theory approach, originally developed by micro-sociologists who studied the interaction between dying patients and their relatives (Glaser/Straus 1965), is most effective when little has been studied about the process in question. It aims to seek an explanation for the process and generate a theory that is ‘grounded’ in data. Researchers collect vast amounts of data through observation and interviews, devise categories and sub-categories in that data, identify patterns and try to explain them (Creswell/Poth 2017, pp. 82–90), which eventually leads to the formulation of a tentative hypothesis. Advantages of this approach are that it is likely to lead to original understandings (since little has been known) and grant a larger scope of ‘freedom’ to the researcher. But this can be a challenge to inexperienced researchers in that they are not guided by existing theories that inspire hypotheses they can build on to the same extent as the other approaches (see Meagher, Ch. 12). An ethnographic approach captures the unit of analysis as a whole in the most natural setting. It also encompasses a natural process of knowing, like someone entering a new organisation and getting to know the people and the place by observing, talking to people and becoming familiar with the immediate surroundings (see Tagsold/Ullmann, Ch. 8). It often involves longterm immersion in, and observation of, the organisation or people, and events and programmes as they occur in a natural setting. There are many advantages. A researcher can gather data from a wide range of sources and, since it involves a relatively long period of time, can revise questions as the study progresses. It also allows the researcher to test emerging interpre- 3. Kaori Okano 80 tations (tentative hypothesis) by asking relevant questions, seeking rival theories and/or other sources of evidence while in the field. The main challenge is the length of time required, not only for conducting the fieldwork but also for negotiating access to the fieldwork site. If the study includes institutions as a unit of study, it requires the institution’s approval (see Reiher/ Wagner, Ch. 16). If a study includes minors (under 18 years old), the ethics approval process will pose more challenges, since consent needs to be obtained from their parents or guardians. This is particularly true for ethnographies that examine schooling processes: preschools (Lewis 1995; Peak 1991), primary schools (Bjork 2016; Cave 2007; Sato 2003; Tsuneyoshi 2001), middle schools (Bjork 2016; Cave 2016; LeTendre 2000), senior high schools (Aspinall 2012; Okano 1993) and minority students in schools (Bondy 2015; Gordon 2008; Roth 2002; Ryang 1997). Instead of using an ethnographic approach that includes several methods, researchers can choose only one of these individual methods like interviews, observations, document analysis (including content analysis), policy analysis or discourse analysis (see Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7; Tagsold/Ullmann, Ch. 8; Arrington, Ch. 13; Eder-Ramsauer/Reiher, Ch. 14), separately, or in any combination, when the research question is more specific. These methods of data collection require significantly less time commitment, since they are more or less ‘one off’, and the time spent on data collection is shorter. The data collected will usually be more focused and specific than for an ethnographic study. Tasks for researchers • Consider why the case study method would be more effective for your project than other methods. • Consider what approach best suits your research question (narrative/biographical, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnographic). • What aspects of your project may be a challenge for each of the above approaches if you select one? Selecting cases: Analysis of a single case or multiple cases A research project can involve a single case or multiple cases. Researchers make this decision based on their research questions and practical considerations of time and resources. Some researchers select a case (or cases) because of typical and representative features that it presents (e.g. salarymen, married women with irregular employment), so that they can claim that the findings shed light on wider Japanese society. Others choose a case because of its unique and distinct features (e.g. motorbike gangs). Some choose cases with similar features: middle-income schools in suburbs (Cave 2016) and working-class urban schools with minority populations (Okano 1993). Others select cases with distinctive features like Thomas Rohlen’s study of five schools in Kobe (an elite private school, a high-ranking government academic school, a medium-ranking government academic school, a vocational high school and an evening high 4. Chapter 3 How to organise research 81 school).1 It is also possible to examine ‘all cases’ in order to cover the ‘universe of cases’, like Kay Shimizu’s study (see this chapter, Ch. 3.3). It examines all the local chapters of the Japan Agricultural Cooperative (JA) in order to understand the institutional changes that occurred in the nationwide institution. In a single case study, researchers examine one organisation, individual, phenomenon or event. Emma Dalton (2017) chose one political party, the LDP, in order to study Japanese political parties’ positions (both overt and covert) regarding women in politics. This is a relatively contained process, which may be a good starting point for a novice researcher. In multiple case studies, researchers select two or more typical cases (e.g. two urban primary schools) in order to study representative and mainstream features; or two or more schools with distinct but similar features (e.g. urban disadvantaged schools) in order to study working-class reproduction through schooling. On the other hand, a researcher may want to select two cases with contrastive features, for example, one working-class school and an elite private school, in order to illuminate differences in class-specific socialisation and reproduction. Another researcher may choose one girls’ working-class school and one boys’ working-class school in order to include gender in its analysis, with the social class factor constant. Existing studies of ‘working women’ in Japan illuminate how researchers have bounded their units of study. Studies have examined a group of clerical workers and a group of factory workers to illuminate differences (Lo 1990), factory workers (Roberson 1998; Roberts 1994) and tertiary educated white-collar ‘office ladies’ (Ogasawara 1998). The choice depends on the research questions. Analysis of multiple cases takes five different forms: 1. multiple cases of the same institution (or any unit of analysis) within Japan, 2. cross-national multiple cases (Japan and other societies), 3. a time-series design which examines a single case diachronically at different points in time, 4. a set of multiple cases within Japan across different points in time and 5. a set of cross-national multiple cases at different points in time. A project becomes more complicated both in design and implementation as it goes from 1 to 5. I will provide some examples in the following. We see the first type of multiple case design in Rohlen’s (1983; see above) study, which examined five different types of schools in Kobe, Japan. On the other hand, I chose two municipal vocational high schools (technical and commerce) with some minority students, since my interest focused on how final year high schoolers decided on and obtained postschool employment under the school-based job referral system, and the impact of class and minority backgrounds in this process (Okano 1993). An example of the second type (crossnational analysis of multiple cases in Japan and in other societies) is Lynne Nakano’s study (see this chapter, Ch. 3.1), which compares single women in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. There are several cross-national analyses of this kind about schooling. Gerald LeTendre (2000) presents an ethnographic study of two middle schools in Japan and two in the U.S., in examining how middle schools interpret adolescence and assist their adolescent students. Shimahara and Sakai (1995; see above) compared how fledgling teachers learn to teach at primary schools in Tokyo and the East Coast of the U.S. The third type investigates the same case (or unit of analysis) at different points in time, which is often called a time-series design (Tight 2017, pp. 109–110). The time-series design considers each time period as a case, and illuminates the chronological sequence of events, continuities and changes over that period. A di- 1 For comparative case studies and most similar or most different case study designs, see also Alexander George and George L. Bennett (2005). Kaori Okano 82 achronic approach is useful in a study of changes resulting from a new policy or intervention. When the time span covers years, then we can call it a longitudinal study. The fourth type of multiple case design is diachronic analysis of multiple cases within Japan at different points in time, presenting both synchronic and diachronic analysis of cases. This could take the form of a panel study which examines the same people over time, or a wave study which examines similar cases over time. For example, my own ongoing research, the Kobe women’s longitudinal panel study, takes the former approach. It examines a group of the same working-class girls (multiple cases) from 1989 (when they were in their final year of high school) to the present, examining their identities, and the accumulation of advantages and disadvantages over their life courses in light of structural changes during the Heisei period (Okano 2009). If the study had taken a wave study approach, the project would have studied the final year students of the same high schools (or similar high schools) in Kobe at different points of time, rather than following the same individuals over 30 years. The project’s aim would have been to identify continuities and changes in how final year high schoolers make decisions about their post-school destinations, and how the schools guide this process and with what outcomes. On the other hand, Cave’s study (2016; see above) can be seen as a wave study, in that it studied the same two middle schools 10 years apart. The fifth type is diachronic cross-national analysis of multiple cases, again presenting both synchronic and diachronic comparative analysis. Like the fourth type above, this can take the form of a panel study or a wave study. Preschools in three cultures revisited (Tobin et al. 2009) adopts a wave study design in examining changes and continuities in observed schooling practice in the same preschools in China, Japan and the U.S., 17 years apart in 1984 (Tobin et al. 1991) and 2002. Nakano’s project on single women in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai (see this chapter, Ch. 3.1) has the potential to take on a panel study design, if it were to follow the same women in the future. The Kobe women’s panel study: An evolving project I must confess that I did not originally design the Kobe women’s project as a diachronic analysis of multiple cases when it began. The project began as an ethnographic study of two working-class schools in the 1989–1990 academic year (the first year of Heisei), examined how final year high schoolers decided on their post-school destinations under the institution of school-based job referral, and identified the roles of class, minority status and gender in that process. I interviewed 100 students during that time. When I interviewed some of the same students two years later (when they were employed) in order to uncover the extent of the school-based job referral system’s effectiveness, I was intrigued by their descriptions of their emerging adult lives (including relationships and childbirths). It occurred to me that an interesting project would be to follow their process of attaining adulthood as a life course study. It has since then evolved beyond this into a 30-year project with the 22 participants now in their late 40s. There has been further development in the Kobe women’s project into another discipline. I vaguely felt that these women’s speech patterns and styles had changed over the years, and casually mentioned this to my colleagues working in sociolinguistics. They then became 5. Chapter 3 How to organise research 83 interested in studying language variations (both synchronic and diachronic) in the discourse of my interviews with these women over 30 years. The sociolinguistic part of the Kobe women’s project now involves a team of five linguists and me, and is funded by the Australian Research Council (Maree/Okano 2018). A novice researcher’s postgraduate project has unexpectedly evolved into something larger, and has involved serendipity and redrawing the boundaries of the unit of analysis (see this Chapter, Ch. 3.2). To my surprise, my own speech in the interviews was also closely analysed by my co-researchers! This (for me unexpected) widening of the scope of my research leads to another issue of research design—bounding the unit of analysis or a case. Tasks for researchers • Consider if your research question is best addressed by studying a single case or multiple cases in light of the advantages and disadvantages. • In view of your research questions, consider what specific features your case must have, and what features you can compromise in selecting cases. • If you adopt multiple cases, is it better to have cases with similar features or contrastive features? Bounding cases and units of analysis Researchers need to limit the boundaries of a unit of analysis in order to make the project manageable. While we as researchers are curious about many things, we cannot study all that interests us and need to limit the focus of our research and the boundaries of a chosen case in order to complete the project within the required time and resources. I would advise novice researchers to follow Pamela Baxter and Susan Jack’s approach (2008, p. 546) and confine their cases by considering these categories: time and place, time and activity, definition (of the case) and the context. For example, the case can be limited by time and place (e.g. the third year of a particular newly introduced type of six-year secondary school), time and activity (e.g. volunteer activities at the time of the Hanshin-Awaji earthquake), and by definition (of the case) and context (e.g. the elderly’s use of day-care services, in the context of other available care options, in an urban centre). The boundaries of a case can alter in the course of the research process, when researchers encounter relevant aspects that they had never considered. While it is wise to define clear boundaries for a case (or unit of analysis) at the outset when deliberating on data collection methods, I would also suggest being sufficiently open-minded to adjust the boundary at later stages of the project, a point that Jamie Coates (see this chapter, Ch. 3.2) would concur with. 6. Kaori Okano 84 Knowledge production: The theory building and theory testing continuum How does case study research contribute to theory building and theory testing, and ultimately knowledge production? In theory building, the research begins with an empirical observation of a phenomenon, and develops a theory by making sense of the empirical study through inductive reasoning. In contrast, in theory testing, the research begins with a theory, which will guide empirical observation in the research process; and eventually assesses the value of the theory through deductive reasoning (De Vaus 2001, pp. 5–6). Critics of the case study method have long commented that case studies cannot contribute much to theory building and testing (Maoz 2002) because of their limited scope of generalisation, non-replicability, ‘subjective’ conclusions or too many variables examined in too few cases (Gerring 2007, pp. 7–8). These debates, however, depend on what you mean by a theory. I see a theory as a tentative explanation. A theory may include identification of causal relationships, a sequence of events or simply a particular interpretation informed by analysis of evidence. The scope of tentative explanation (here in my understanding as theories) differs significantly: at what I would call a lower and immediate level (also: micro-level), a theory can be a tentative explanation of a specific event in a specific context, that is, an informed interpretation based on evidence of that particular case (e.g. class size has little impact on student learning in a Japanese primary school since learning centres on interaction amongst students there). On the other hand, at a higher abstract level (also: macro-level), a theory can be well established and deemed widely or universally applicable, such as the theory of gravity in physics. Somewhere between the two on the continuum are medium level theories (also: middle-range theories), that is, theories about phenomena which are often based on multiple units of study (e.g. school class size generally promotes self-directed learning). Therefore, theoretical discussion can occur at different levels. There are variations in how (far) studies want to contribute to theory building beyond an immediate specific level. Case studies undertaken to understand a specific society are called ‘intrinsic’, while those with the aim of contributing to general theory building are ‘instrumental’ (Stake, 1995, pp. 3–5). However, I do not see being either intrinsic or instrumental as mutually exclusive but complementary. Researchers can build theories both from single case and multiple case studies. A single case study (within-case analysis) collects data, and identifies patterns, sequences and themes in an event (the unit of analysis). In a multi-case study, researchers identify cross-case patterns and sequences, and develop a thematic analysis from within their own case study or from other published case studies. In so doing, they develop a tentative explanation, again look at another case and modify a tentative explanation to refine their theory, and the process continues. Novice researchers are likely to aim to advance theories at specific and lower levels, and possibly medium levels, rather than aiming to build grand theories. Theory building and theory testing are closely related, although it is often considered that qualitative studies contribute to the former and quantitative studies to the latter. However, case studies usually involve both inductive and deductive processes. A simple theory testing case study can investigate the extent to which an existing medium level theory is applicable in a specific local and institutional context, and where the theory might fail to provide an explanation. In so doing, the study can modify or refine that medium level theory. A more ambi- 7. Chapter 3 How to organise research 85 tious theory testing case study may examine a more established higher level theory (usually) developed in the West to see to what extent it is applicable in Japan, with its specific institutional and cultural features. Japan can be a useful setting for testing what is considered an established theory that has been developed elsewhere (Árnason 2002; Sugimoto 2014, pp. 24– 28). We can understand a case study’s relationship with theories as a continuum between deductive and inductive processes, drawing on and modifying classifications (Dooley 2002; Welch et al. 2011). One end of the continuum is the most deductive process, whereby a study attempts to test an existing theory for its applicability in the specific context of the chosen case. At the other end is the most inductive approach, whereby research begins with a large amount of empirical data (rather than an existing theory), which is coded and organised into categories and themes to identify patterns and sequences if any (see Meagher, Ch. 12). From these, researchers develop a tentative explanation concerning the phenomenon being studied in the particular case. A grounded theory approach especially strives to advance a theory of an unstudied theme from information from participants. Most qualitative studies are found somewhere in between the two poles, often involving both deductive and inductive processes at different phases of the study (Creswell/Creswell 2018, pp.56 – 58; pp.63 – 64). A study may begin with a tentative hypothesis that the researcher has developed from existing research literature. Even when researching an unstudied area using a grounded theory approach, a study is (at least to a certain degree) likely to be guided by some prior, if limited, understanding of the area and/or a theoretical perspective. The research process is thus both inductive in that case studies generate and build theories, and deductive in that existing theories are applied to a unit of analysis in the specific case. Let’s finally look at these processes in Nakano’s study of single women in three countries as an example (see this Chapter, Ch. 3.1). The study presents tentative explanations about single women in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai (at the immediate and specific level). By comparing the findings of these three cases, the study identifies patterns across three cases (cross-case patterns) of single women, and builds a tentative hypothesis as to how certain features of local laws, institutional practices and cultural norms may have influenced their lives in different ways (at the medium level). In the future, Nakano may wish to discuss these findings in the context of published case studies of single women in other societies, identify any cross-case patterns and develop theories at a more abstract level. At the same time, other researchers interested in single women, for example in Germany, may be interested in examining Nakano’s cases as published case studies in shaping their own theories. The value of case studies is that they provide empirical examination of a phenomenon, event and people in the natural setting of a specific local context with particular sets of institutions and cultural norms. Studies thus produced and published can be used as published cases where other researchers attempt to build or refine tentative hypotheses at a higher level. Therefore, I suggest that every case study contributes to tentative theory building in the long term, and eventually to knowledge production. Key task Think about the potential contribution of your study to theory testing or/and theory building. Kaori Okano 86 Summary The major value of case studies is their capacity to study diverse social phenomena empirically in the natural setting of their specific local context. A single case study (within-case analysis) identifies patterns, sequences and themes within the unit of analysis. In a multi-case study, researchers identify cross-case patterns and sequences. I consider all research on Japan to be case studies in the widest sense of the term, because Japan research never only aims at understanding Japanese society for its own sake, but also to advance our understanding of the social world at a more abstract level. Researchers studying Japan can advance, build or test theories based on their own empirical studies. This process involves studying other published case studies while other researchers may also be examining your case studies while modifying and refining their tentative hypotheses and theories. Therefore, every case study (not only) about Japan contributes to theory building in the long term, and ultimately to knowledge production. Knowing this gives us a sense of fulfilment in doing research. I encourage you to explore the opportunities offered by case study design for your project. In my research career, case study research has been both insightful and enjoyable. You never know where it might lead! 8. Chapter 3 How to organise research 87 Developing a comparative study: Single women in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai Lynne Y. Nakano Soon after arriving in Hong Kong in the mid-1990s, I enrolled in Cantonese language courses at the Chinese language school operated by the university where I worked. I took night courses with other faculty members, and learned that the daytime programme enrolled many women from Japan who were in their late twenties to early thirties and unmarried. They had quit their jobs in Japan to study the Cantonese language full-time in Hong Kong. Their actions contradicted the literature on Japan at that time, which stated that most women were very concerned about ‘marriage deadlines’ and basically married on time, that is, by their early to mid-thirties. What were these women doing in Hong Kong? Weren’t they worried about missing so-called ‘marriage deadlines’? If not, were social values changing or was something happening in Japanese social institutions such as workplaces or the employment market? These early questions led me to study the rise of singlehood in Japan. As I explored the topic, I discovered that women in Hong Kong married even later than women in Japan. In the late 1990s, women in Hong Kong were marrying at the age of about 29 and women in Japan were marrying around 28. Given the similar statistics, it seemed reasonable to construct a study that compared the two societies. I wanted to find out whether parallel changes in attitudes or social structures were occurring in the two societies or whether there were differences, and, if so, what was the nature of these differences. In my reading, I learned that the age of marriage is rising across Asia and the world, and the reasons for later marriages are complex, involving women’s increased levels of education and employment opportunity, and wealthier and smaller families. Rather than investigating statistical factors, I wanted to understand women’s views on marriage, how women’s choices reflected changing social values, and how women’s experiences were shaped by family, workplaces and friendships. To address these questions, I decided to interview women who had never married in the two cities on a broad range of topics, including their views and experiences of work, family, marriage, friendships and views of the future. When possible, I also conducted participant observation by joining single women in their everyday activities such as eating out, shopping, going to concerts, trips and other leisure activities. I met them wherever was convenient for them: in their homes, offices, coffee shops and restaurants. In structuring the study, I decided to compare Hong Kong and Tokyo rather than Japan as a whole. It made sense to me to focus on cities because singlehood is rising fastest in cities, cities attract single women and cities are home to more single women than rural areas. Tokyo has the largest percentages of single women in the country and the latest ages of first marriages. The two cities, Hong Kong and Tokyo, host consumer cultures that cater to single women such as restaurants, bars and leisure activities. The two cities are global cities (Sassen 2001) 3.1 88 that share similar structural features such as a high concentration of educational institutions, service industries and the availability of employment opportunities for women. After I started interviewing women, I began giving talks on my findings. At these talks, I was often told by members of the audience that my findings described the situation for single women in their home city as well. I was encouraged by audience members to add a third or even fourth city to my study. I received suggestions that I should conduct my study in Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, Bangkok and New Delhi. I agreed that the study would be more interesting with a third or even fourth city included for comparison. After considering my language abilities and time limitations, I decided to include Shanghai as the third city. I thought that a city in China would pose an interesting contrast to Hong Kong. People living in cities in mainland China would have very different understandings of marriage and a different recent history of marriage and family relations. I chose Shanghai because women marry later in Shanghai than in any other city in mainland China. I found it difficult to locate my study in a theoretical framework because there were many theories that might explain the data. I was not sure which body of literature I should address. One body of literature explains global shifts in marriage and family relationships. For example, the ‘second demographic transition’ argument developed by Ron Lesthaeghe (2014) identifies global patterns that describe some of the changes occurring in the societies in my study. Anthony Giddens’s (1991; 1992) theories of changing relationships in the modern period predicted greater freedom and equality in romantic relationships, but not all of his observations applied to the societies I was studying. A second body of literature explored singlehood from feminist perspectives, examining how singlehood is an inferior category that is necessary to create the superior category of married people (Borneman 1996; Lahad 2017). A third body of literature examines the rise of singlehood in East Asian societies. Eventually, all three kinds of studies helped me to shape my argument. The literature on global family changes helped me to identify commonalities in singlehood in the societies in my study, and see how they differed from Western societies. One key difference, for example, is that in Western societies singlehood is understood as a product of the decline of extended families. In the societies in my study, however, singlehood occurs in the context of strong family relationships. For a fascinating study on changes in family relationships over time in China, I recommend Yunxiang Yan’s study (2003) that explores this topic over a fifty-year period in a village in northeastern China. Feminist studies, such as those by Angela McRobbie (2004), helped me to see that single women are supposedly free to choose their own paths in life, but these paths are actually highly circumscribed. Studies of singlehood in the societies under study helped me to understand how the organisation of family resources in the three societies created different experiences of singlehood for women in the three cities. When I sat down to write about the data, I looked to studies that had taken a comparative approach for ideas about how to develop my analysis. I drew on the work of Ching Kwan Lee (1998), who compared women workers in a factory in Hong Kong and another across the border in Shenzhen, China. Building on what Michael Burawoy called ‘an extended case method’ (1991a), she asked why these societies with a similar cultural history produced very different work regimes. Don Kulick and Jens Rydstrom (2015) adopted a similar approach when they asked why two countries with similar cultural histories and welfare systems, Denmark and Sweden, had two very different ways of dealing with the sexuality and the desire for intimacy Chapter 3 How to organise research 89 of individuals with severe disabilities. Similarly, I tried to explain why three cities with similar cultural backgrounds would produce three different marriage regimes. In the end, I was glad that I had the opportunity to conduct a comparative study (Nakano 2016a; 2016b). It allowed me to take a macro-perspective, which is often difficult for anthropological studies. The comparative approach prevents myopic conclusions. Scholars and the mass media, for example, frequently comment on the nature of single women in their society, but their arguments do not hold up when we compare singlehood across the region and the world. Comparative studies, particularly within Asia, prevent simple conclusions about Japan or China versus Western societies. But there were serious drawbacks to the comparative approach. The biggest drawback was that it took an enormous amount of time. To make the most out of the data, I wanted to understand the three societies well. As a Japan specialist, I was familiar with the literature on Japan but less familiar with the literature on Hong Kong and China. It took me a year to read the literature on China. A third major challenge was my low level of spoken Mandarin. I already spoke Cantonese and Japanese at the start of the study, but my Mandarin was rudimentary and required an investment of time to make it serviceable. As I proceeded with the project, another issue emerged that I could not fully address. That is, I struggled with how I could discuss three societies without flattening the great diversity within each society. The handling of diversity within a society can be partially addressed by research design; one can narrow the focus of one’s study. In my case, I focused on never-married women who were near or beyond marriage ‘deadlines’, that is, women from their late twenties through to their early forties. But I did not narrow my study to a certain socio-economic class, although this may have been a better strategy in retrospect because it would have made the project more manageable. Excellent studies that explore women’s experiences in reference to socio-economic class include Kaori Okano’s study (2009) on working class women’s transition to adulthood in Japan and Jesook Song’s study (2014) on working class women’s struggles to find appropriate housing in South Korea. As I only interviewed around 35 women in each city, I could not come to far-reaching conclusions about different kinds of class-based experiences. But I could convey some of the diversity of the three societies when I explained my findings, and I suggested to the reader how I thought different walks of life and perspectives shaped my findings. For researchers who would like to try a comparative approach, I suggest starting with societies that one knows well, including the relevant research literature. I would also recommend narrowing the focus of the study so that the comparison is manageable in terms of the time it will take to conduct the study. I would then set out to consider the ways in which the societies under comparison are similar as well as different, and look for surprises (Burawoy 1991b). The strategy of explaining surprises may lead to interesting research questions and directions. Lynne Y. Nakano 90 Contained serendipity as fieldwork in Japan: Studying Chinese people in Japan Jamie Coates My research has focused on how new and emergent communities in China and Japan identify with one another. In particular, I have focused on the ways young Chinese people living, studying, working and travelling in Japan develop a sense of ‘being-in-common’ among themselves and with the various contexts they found themselves in in Japan. This research is part of a wider, loosely defined conceptual interest in how people imagine their place in the world, and more specifically, how young Chinese encounters with places like Japan afford new kinds of cosmopolitan imagination. In stating that these issues are the focus of my research today, I should note that it has taken a long time, a lot of mistakes and several poorly designed projects to come to my current understanding of my work. Each step of my research has relied heavily on what we might call ‘contained serendipity’, where I set certain parameters around a research project, while still allowing myself considerable freedom to discover ‘unsought findings’ (Van Andel 1994, p. 631). I was classically trained as an anthropologist. For readers who might not be familiar with the discipline of Anthropology, it has both scientific and humanities-oriented sub-disciplines, but most sociocultural anthropologists, such as myself, rely heavily on long-term fieldwork to develop new case studies and concepts about what it means to be a person. The research I would like to focus on in this short essay is comprised of the conceptual project I mention above, and two periods of ethnographic fieldwork I conducted to try and address this broader conceptual direction. The first project was for my PhD, which was about how Chinese student-workers form new communities in Japan. While studying in China in the early 2000s, I was struck by the anti- Japanese sentiment I came across in daily life. Yet, when I went to visit a friend studying in Japan in 2004, I soon discovered a large number of Chinese students in Japan whose perceptions of their place in the world had been transformed by their experience overseas. In the early stages of my PhD in 2008, I proposed to conduct fieldwork among a cohort of Chinese students in Japan, hoping to find further examples of the people I had met previously. I had originally designed this project as an investigation into how experiences of mobility, study and work affected young Chinese people’s sense of belonging in Japan. Trained in Chinese and Anthropology, I did not speak Japanese very well at the time, so I proposed to firstly enrol in a Japanese language class, where I could improve my Japanese and potentially meet more Chinese students as my sampling method. My goal was to eventually live with a group of students to better understand the daily pressures they faced, while also collecting interviews from my classmates and peers. This approach is an urban modification of the standard form of ethnographic fieldwork design in Anthropology, where you find a group of people to live with and observe how they go about their lives for extended periods of time. 3.2 91 Typically, you supplement this approach with interviews, social mapping and surveys depending on your research goal. I was also interested in how experiences of transnational mobility (e.g. being a migrant or international student) contrasted with experiences of mobility in the city (e.g. walking around in Tokyo), so I also proposed to use a variety of methods by which I would follow participants across the city. My approach took inspiration from the growing emphasis on ‘multi-sited ethnography’ as the best way to understand migration and globalisation (Marcus 1995) as well as the ‘mobility paradigm’ at the time by which movement was seen as foundational to social and cultural processes (Sheller/Urry 2006). When I started my fieldwork using this approach the first few months found me following a few generous individuals through their daily routines in Tokyo. Yet, I soon came to realise that, while I was learning a lot about this small number of people, I was struggling to develop a wider framework for how their different experiences related to each other. Moreover, the sample of people I was working with was very small and not growing. Through these first few months of following a few individuals however, I came to learn that in 2008 a group of business owners near a major station in Tokyo (Ikebukuro) had proposed to have the northwest corner of the station renamed ‘Tokyo Chinatown’. So, I started focusing on this area, setting clearer boundaries around my proposed field site. I became friends with the owner of a small hairdressing salon and decided to try observing daily life among young Chinese people from this one strategic location. My methodological ‘idleness’ (Coates 2017) allowed me to see the comings and goings of a larger number of young Chinese people, and eventually I was invited to other small spaces in the area where people lived, worked, studied and played, including a small privately owned dormitory where I lived with a group of young Chinese people. By taking up the opportunity to focus on this one area, my cohort shifted from focusing solely on students to a mixture of students and entrepreneurs in the area, although most of the people I conducted research with had previously been students. Making strategic decisions about when to move or not within a smaller fixed location allowed me to cultivate a form of serendipity (Hendry 2017), learning a lot about the unexpected aspects of people’s lives, and making close observations of the details of how people fostered friendships, maintained ties with their families and developed a nascent but somewhat conflicted sense of community. Altogether I conducted two years of fieldwork for this project. The material I collected and the people I met not only served as data for my final PhD dissertation on how young Chinese people foster a sense of ‘being-in-common’, but it also led to side projects on their favourite celebrities and a growing interest in the media they consumed. The second project built on these initial approaches and experiences, while also aiming to address some of the frustrations I faced in trying to write about everything I had observed. While writing about my first period of fieldwork research, I felt that much of what I had observed was difficult to capture in field notes and ethnographic prose. In particular, I became increasingly interested in how I might capture the intense point at which the media, emotions and play intersect in the tiny spaces of conviviality that I had observed in my previous fieldwork. Feeling that my words were not enough, I took some intensive filmmaking training over the summer before starting a postdoctoral project at Waseda University in 2014. In this research project, I proposed to look at how young Chinese people’s everyday interactions with various kinds of media might reflect their changing identities in the Sino–Japanese context. My approach focused on conducting filmed interviews with people in their living spaces, asking them to speak about the various items in their homes. I would then follow this up with an Jamie Coates 92 interview about their media habits, filming over their shoulder as they showed me various items and content. My intention was to use their living spaces as a way to define the parameters of my research, while also allowing for a very broad definition of what constituted ‘the media’ in their lives. I took inspiration from Daniel Miller’s The comfort of things (2008), where he used a similar approach among people in London to develop an argument about the importance of material culture in everyday life. My intention was to generate themes about their media consumption, rather than using pre-defined categories typical in Media Studies, such as forms of technology or platforms. My goal was to be more rigorous than in my previous study, using more structured interviews as the people guided me through whichever social media and streaming services they felt comfortable sharing with me. While filming these interviews, I also asked if I could participate in and document the online spaces they mentioned in their interviews. These spaces ended up mostly being group-based interactions on platforms such as Weibo, WeChat and to a lesser extent Instagram and Facebook. While doing this research, I was invited to film and document a range of other spaces, social events and interactions. These filmed observations blurred the lines between many of the categories I had developed from my interviews, but they also allowed me to develop contextualising insights. Further, through these invitations I met a network of young musicians and artists who were eager to share their story with me and help me produce a small ethnographic film. This opportunity saw me combine some of my PhD project themes about play, friendship and community with my interest in the media, which resulted in a 50-minute ethnographic film titled Tokyo pengyou (Coates 2018). The process of making the film provided feedback on the themes I was developing in my other work too. As I filmed and edited the work, I would show it to my participants and discuss the direction and themes of my broader research project. Fieldwork across disciplines relies on encounters with people, things and environments to produce different kinds of knowledge. As Isabelle Rivoal and Noel B. Salazar (2013) note, serendipity alongside reflexivity and openness are often quoted as the defining characteristics of anthropological fieldwork. Many classical stories of excellent anthropological findings depended on chance encounters, unsought observations and submitting oneself to the rhythms of the lives of those you hope to understand. This approach embodies Anthropology’s tendency to be the discipline of being undisciplined, which although romantic, can also prove difficult to justify in institutional settings or across disciplines. Yet, this approach provided me with a wealth of data that fed into observations about young Chinese and Japanese lives which might have been otherwise inaccessible. In the classical field sites of Anthropology, such as the Trobriand Islands in Papua New Guinea (Malinowski 2013), the excesses of this approach were often curtailed through the limits of scale. The populations they worked with were smaller and typically covered shorter geographic distances. In urban Japan, it is difficult to find contexts that naturally lend themselves to this kind of research. As Matei Candea (2007) has argued though, the importance of setting limits to one’s field site, while recognising that you yourself set those limits as an ‘arbitrary location’, are incredibly important. I would characterise this kind of research design as a way of fostering ‘contained serendipity’. So how might we build contained serendipity into fieldwork research design in urban contexts such as Tokyo? My advice is to start from a clearly defined, but relatively small field site. Recognising the somewhat ‘arbitrary’ nature of this location, I would then combine practices of both mobile and immobile participant observation to find differing sites of ‘contained Chapter 3 How to organise research 93 serendipity’. This approach to research corresponds well with urban Japanese contexts such as Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto, where life takes place in a series of interconnected spaces and sites that each have their own unique qualities. It also complements other modes of data collection, from visual ethnography, to structured interviews and perhaps event quantitative methods. Jamie Coates 94 The universe of cases: Agricultural cooperatives in Japan as a case study Kay Shimizu This essay draws on research concerning institutional changes to agriculture cooperatives in Japan to address the issue of research design in Political Science in general and in Japan in particular. The examples come from the book Cultivating institutional change: Economic liberalization, demographic decline, and the reform of Japan agricultural cooperatives, which I coauthored with Patricia Maclachlan and is forthcoming from Cornell University Press. I will discuss our research design, its development, characteristics and levels of analysis, and address its drawbacks and (possible) solutions to them. Research project: Studying institutional change in Japan through the lens of agricultural cooperatives While some research tests existing theories in new settings to better understand their explanatory power or discover their limits, our research aims to build on existing theory—in this case, theories of institutional change—by examining institutional change in one country, Japan. Unlike previous studies which have focused on the national level (i.e. studies of democracy) or those that have examined individuals within an organisation, this study focuses on a relatively homogenous set of organisations, that is, Japanese agricultural cooperatives known collectively as JA. JA has a national organisation, prefectural level offices and local (municipal level) branches. Our study mainly focuses on the latter. In the Japanese setting, agricultural cooperatives (co-ops) are organisations that strive to serve their members through a broad range of services including the provision of agricultural inputs and the marketing of agricultural outputs, along with a myriad of peripheral services such as banking and insurance. Historically, these co-ops have also served as vote-gathering machines for politicians who support policies favourable to agriculture (George Mulgan 2000). The study examines how these more than 600 organisations, which are spread nationwide, have adapted to the changing environment surrounding the Japanese agricultural industry and pushed for institutional change. We find that while some co-ops have embraced market competition and the pursuit of greater profits for their member farmers, other co-ops have failed to adapt to changing consumer demands or are struggling with ageing and depopulation. This comparative research design within a single country allows us to hold many factors constant, especially national level features that may be of concern in cross-border comparative studies, such as regime type or trade openness. Beyond its structural characteristics where the co-ops are of equal rank in the nationally hierarchical organisation of JA, the research subject of agriculture in Japan proved attractive for 3.3 95 several reasons. First, the politics of agriculture is a growing concern in many parts of the world, both in developed and developing countries. How agriculture is practised and regulated directly influences many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals including the protection of life on land and the goal of zero hunger. Second, agriculture in Japan has been in crisis mode for over two decades. Japan’s ageing and decreasing population and its evolving dietary habits have dramatically changed food consumption patterns, greatly decreasing overall demand, especially for the country’s staple food, rice. Consequently, agricultural production has had to adjust to these changing demands, but has seen limited success. Third, the global market for agricultural goods has become more open and fluid, exposing Japan to increasing imports and the pressure to export. The evolution of Japanese agricultural cooperatives, and how they are reacting to the challenges facing agriculture in Japan, makes a compelling area for research. One of the most intriguing aspects of Japan’s agricultural system and the norms and institutions that govern its practices is that they were last overhauled during the postwar years in the shadow of the U.S. occupation and still assume the family farm (nōka) to be the only legitimate producer of agricultural goods. As such, corporate participation in agricultural production remains extremely limited. At the same time, both the national and local governments play an oversized role in the governance of agriculture and its institutions. JA lies at the centre of this web of institutions that govern agriculture in Japan and its evolution reflects many of the ongoing changes in agriculture and the context in which it operates. Thus, our research project concerns JA itself, how it has evolved and what it might say about institutional change more broadly. Research design One of the first things to consider in research design is the unit of analysis—at what level should we study the issue at hand? JA as an organisation lends itself to a multilevel design due to its hierarchical nature. As mentioned above, JA has a national organisation, prefectural level offices and local (municipal level) chapters. As such, we are able to study its organisational change at all three levels. Furthermore, nearly every rural and peri-urban area with agricultural activity falls under JA rule. These local chapters each preside over several municipalities. To the extent that quantitative data on JA activity, for example the yen amount of agricultural products sent to market, is available, we wanted to examine all the local chapters in our analysis. Thus, we tried to cover the universe of cases, and thereby eliminated the need for random sampling or attempting its approximation. One caveat to this approach is that complete data for the universe of cases may not always be available. Nearly all of the data necessary for this study can be found on the websites of individual JA chapters or in the statistical yearbooks of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). However, some JA chapters do not make their annual data available online. In this case, a simple phone call can sometimes give you access to the missing data via postal mail. Occasionally, smaller organisations, in this case very small JAs, will not have collected the necessary data or will not want to share their data in order to hide perceived deficiencies. These smaller co-ops may need to be dropped even though this means acknowledging the bias that is introduced into the analysis when this occurs. Kay Shimizu 96 Another important consideration is the comparability of individual local cases. In our research, the very nature of agriculture and agricultural markets in Japan had to be carefully considered. First, differences in climate and topography make each region suitable for a wide range of agricultural products, and no two are the same. In Japan, the biggest difference lies in those areas dedicated to rice farming using rice paddies and those areas that are more focused on fruit and vegetables, some of which use greenhouses. Rice is in many respects the most important agricultural product in Japan, but it is also losing its influence both in volume and price. Second, recent mergers of JAs have decreased the number of JA chapters and increased the size of individual JA chapters, but not in a uniform manner. As such, the variation in geographic size of JA chapters has grown. In the most extreme case, four prefectures have just one JA chapter for the entire prefecture. In the end, the study retained the analysis of the universe of cases, supplemented by paired qualitative case studies based on more rigorous criteria for comparability. In short, studying the universe of cases has its share of drawbacks and is not always necessary or desirable. In our study, we complemented quantitative data from all local JA chapters with an indepth qualitative study of a handful of cases (see Hommerich/Kottmann, Ch. 10 on mixed methods). Understanding how to measure the extent to which JA chapters have embraced pro-farmer activities required extensive background research and interviews. We interviewed a wide range of people involved in multiple aspects of farming including farmers, JA officials, wholesalers, local government officials, scholars, national level politicians and MAFF bureaucrats (see Yamaguchi, Ch. 7.2). Retirees provided some of the best sources of information. These interviews also provided the detailed information used in our in-depth case studies. We selected our cases based on several criteria that were important in building our hypotheses but were not easily measured equally across the entire population of JAs. For example, one case study was based in a rice growing area, while another was based in a vegetable and fruit growing area. In each instance, we sought our ideal locations, but also planned for backup locations. Incidents (like sudden bankruptcies in our case) do occur, so it is always good to have a contingency plan! Problems and potential solutions Two issues emerged from the research design of this project. First, we encountered the vexing problem of missing data. This research was designed to examine the entire universe of cases so missing data, such as the lack of financial data from some of the smaller agricultural co-ops, was bound to emerge, but several characteristics of our research topic made locating the missing data particularly challenging. In this case, the missing data tended to be from the more remote and smaller co-ops with few dedicated staff members. As such, they did not have some of the data we sought, even though their national organisations required them. Some co-ops were also reluctant to share their data, as JAs have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. In such cases, an affiliation with a local organisation (such as a school or library) or an introduction from the local government was able to open some doors. Finally, in more rural areas of Japan, where elderly farmers kept the books, using the telephone worked much better than email. Of course, there are multiple ways to compute missing data using statistical methods, but we went to the original source. Chapter 3 How to organise research 97 Second, the selection of case studies was, as is often the case, limited by our access to our chosen subjects. Ideally, cases are selected according to strict criteria of where the cases lie along a spectrum. However, when working in rural, more conservative areas, establishing a relationship with an agricultural community was not always straightforward. One way to overcome such problems is to ask for introductions early in the research and to cultivate relationships over time. We visited some of our cases multiple times over several years. Diet members can also provide valuable connections and introductions to their home prefectures. Bureaucrats (in this case from MAFF) in local offices can also be helpful. General advice As scholars studying Japan, it is easy to lose sight of the rest of the world. Our work focuses on telling stories about Japan, rather than a more generalisable phenomenon. This greatly limits our audience and prevents us from participating in broader discussions about political or social behaviour. When designing our research, we can move beyond Japan by placing our questions into broader categories that are not country or region-specific. The research design does not necessarily need to be comparative across countries, but it can be helpful to keep potential comparisons in mind. In our case, comparisons included co-ops in other industries such as fishing as well as agricultural co-ops from other countries. Additionally, Japan occupies an ambiguous space in Political Science scholarship that can shed a different light on studies which are often conducted in more ‘typical’ regions such as Western Europe or the Asian continent. For example, it is a democracy long dominated by a single party (see McElwain, Ch. 2.2). It is also a market economy in a centralised, regulatory state. These features of Japan can be used to test the limits and explanatory power of existing theories that have been established elsewhere. Lastly, deep familiarity with a country or region allows for more creative and precise research designs. For political scientists, a highly centralised system like Japan generates rich sources of data at multiple levels of governance. Digitisation of data is lacking, especially in areas beyond Tokyo, but new technologies such as optical character recognition (OCR) and machine learning can help to overcome this hurdle by quickly turning printed documents into digital data that can be machine analysed. Official affiliation with a local institution, such as a school or research centre, can also facilitate greater access to information. Sitting at the frontlines of many important social phenomena such as ageing and post-industrial development, Japan is rich in sources for Social Science research. Findings from Japan can serve as a strong foundation for building theories which can then be tested beyond its borders. Kay Shimizu 98 Further reading Baxter, Pamela/Jack, Susan (2008): Qualitative case study methodology: Study design and implementation for novice researchers. In: The Qualitative Report 13, No. 4, pp. 544–559. 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Welch, Catherine/Piekkari, Rebecca/Plakoyiannaki, Emmanuella/Paavilainen- Mäntymäki, Eriikka (2011): Theorising from case studies: Towards a pluralist future for international business research. In: Journal of International Business Studies 42, No. 5, pp. 740–762. Yan, Yunxiang (2003): Private life under socialism: Love, intimacy and family change in a Chinese village: 1949–1999. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Yin, Robert K. (2018): Case study research and applications: Design and methods. London: Sage. Chapter 3 How to organise research 101 Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates: Reviewing the literature Urs Matthias Zachmann Introduction Why should I bother with what other people have to say on my subject? Can’t I just start with the raw data and work my way from there through analysis towards the finished dissertation? Conversely, others may ask: there is so much stuff already written. How can I stand on the shoulders of giants and produce something new at all? Should I not limit myself to just taking stock of what knowledge there is already and venture, at best, a modest interpretation thereof? These are doubts that trouble many scholars at varying stages of their career. As a historian of modern Japan, I wrote my doctoral dissertation on Sino-Japanese relations in the late Meiji period. At first glance, there seemed to be so much literature out there that it was hard to see how I could produce something new and relevant on top of this (after a while, it turned out there was still lots to find out). My second book on Japan’s engagement with international law was exactly the opposite: although there was an abundance of primary sources, little research had been done on this subject. This was not an ideal situation either, because in unmarked territory, one easily wanders astray. It turned out, however, that many Japanese legal scholars took a strong interest in the subject and were able to point me in the right direction. This dilemma of too much or too little scholarship on one’s research subject is, of course, a fundamental one. In his Analects, Confucius had already observed that studying without thinking makes one stupid and thinking without studying is dangerous. To paraphrase this in the context of the above questions and the subject of this chapter: Relying solely on previous scholarship without any research and analysis of your own brings no progress at all, but research and analysis without consulting previous scholarship is even more dangerous (also for your career). Professional science is a rational process of incremental knowledge production based on a division of labour. Ideally, you climb the communal edifice of knowledge and add a well-designed and functional building block of your own. At times, you might tear something down that does not fit in this edifice and replace it with something better (see Gerteis, Ch. 16.3). What you must not do is ignore previous scholarship and build your own little tower, as this is neither rational nor practical. There is a life and a career waiting for you beyond the PhD. But equally, you do not just want to paint the tiles yellow instead of brown because you found the edifice too intimidating to add something new to. This chapter and the following essays intend to help navigate your course through the sea of literature towards a completed literature review and towards writing up the dissertation itself. Here, I take the PhD research and writing process as the default situation, but what follows is 1. 102 applicable to a master’s thesis or a second book as well. I will first introduce the differences between reviewing literature as a process and a literature review as part of a thesis or other publications. I will then discuss different kinds of sources and elaborate on how to find secondary literature in general, and finally give some guidance on writing a literature review. Reviewing literature: Two kinds of review When we speak about reviewing literature, we often mean two different things, which should be kept apart because they vary significantly in their respective processes, scopes and purposes. Two kinds of review 1. Reviewing literature as a continuous process throughout your research, which is finished only when your thesis is submitted. • Process: a continuous, iterative and circular (see below) search and evaluation of material • Scope: comprehensive, includes all primary sources and secondary literature, even search tools (bibliographies, indices, etc.) • Purpose: to find all material that you need for further research and writing your thesis 2. The literature review as a critical narrative account of ‘what has been done and what needs to be done’ in your research field with a focus on the main debates and recent trends (Department of Sociology 2012, p. 18). • Process: a written partial result of reviewing literature, done and redone at different stages during your PhD and part of the final dissertation (see below) • Scope: selective, uses only such literature that answers the above questions and serves the following • Purpose: to explain to readers what motivates your research, the ‘puzzle’ that has remained unsolved by previous scholarship; to situate your own work within the recent debates and trends and thereby explain its relevance Reviewing literature is a comprehensive process that will accompany you from conceiving an idea until submitting your thesis. It is not a straightforward process, but takes a circular, iterative course (see this chapter, Liu-Farrer, Ch. 4.3). As you progress with your research, you will tweak your research question, pivot into a somewhat different direction or modify your theoretical framework or methods along the way. You will then start reviewing the literature again, bearing these changes in mind, find more and more items to add on your subject and ideally develop a better understanding of how your subject relates to cognate subjects in and outside your field as well. This, in turn, will inform your research question, theory and method in a circular motion. A literature review, on the other hand, is only a partial, selective result of the process of reviewing literature, which becomes part of the finished PhD thesis. In practice, you are often 2. Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates 103 required to write an increasingly refined literature review at different stages of your PhD process. When preparing a proposal to apply for a particular PhD programme, you already have to make a case for what you do and how this relates to what has been done in your field and to current debates and trends. This is also true for applications to scholarships and other kinds of funding. Most often, writing a literature review is part of the first-year review that decides whether you can progress with your project or not. So you will have a fair number of chances to improve your writing skills in this genre. Getting started: The scope of searching for secondary literature When starting to review literature, you should be comprehensive. This means not just looking for literature on the topic itself and the field it is situated in, but also that on methods and theories and on related studies in different fields. The rationale of this is 1. that you should not narrow your search down too quickly and miss the context, and 2. that you want to situate your research in a broader field and speak to audiences beyond the confines of your direct field of research. Gracia Liu-Farrer (see this chapter, Ch. 4.3) has described this oscillating movement of the scope of your search as ‘zoning in’ and ‘zoning out’. It is only after you have done a comprehensive search that you whittle down the results in terms of relevance, quality, etc. as described below. Throughout your research, I advise you to keep two records—an annotated bibliography and a research journal (see text box below)—and constantly add to them. Keep the following records throughout your research 1. An annotated bibliography (required): Keep a structured list of the literature you find, divided into primary sources and secondary literature (see below) and suitable thematic subsections (the most intuitive structure would mirror the structure of your PhD, with variations and additions as necessary). For this, use reference management software like EndNote or Citavi, or just a simple Word file. In any case, each entry should contain: • the full bibliographic data, • the main arguments, findings and method of the item and • your personal evaluation as to the relevance and usefulness of the source. This annotated bibliography will be a steady companion during your research and will provide the backbone for your literature review at the beginning of your PhD as well as at the end when you finalise your reference list. 2. A research journal (recommended): Keeping a research journal (preferable in analogue form) is also most useful in order to jot down notes and ideas on your dissertation in general. Apart from the memory function, keeping a journal gives a sense of continuity and progress, which is sometimes badly needed in those three to four years. Plus, it is excellent writing practice (Kolmer/Rob-Santer 2006, pp. 93–94). 3. Urs Matthias Zachmann 104 Basic types of sources and their general ambivalence In reviewing literature, you have to make a clear distinction between ‘primary sources’ and ‘secondary literature’. These two categories should be kept apart in the bibliography and sometimes in the references in your dissertation (depending on your discipline). Primary sources are any stable body of information that is the original (primary) object of your analysis, e.g. written texts, archaeological or contemporary objects, material or digital images, statistical data or recorded and transcribed interviews. Secondary literature, in contrast, is everything that is written about this body of information and your research topic in general. It typically contains explicit analysis or interpretation of it. It is secondary in the sense that it is layered on top of the primary source as the interpretive icing on the cake. Primary sources Traditionally, the division was not between primary sources and secondary literature but between primary and secondary literature, assuming that the main object of your study would be found in written sources. This certainly applied to heavily text-oriented, traditional philological and humanistic fields of Japanese Studies such as literature or philosophy that dealt (and deal) with texts, such as the Man’yōshū or a Buddhist treatise like Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō. With the general diversification of the field of Japanese Studies (see Goodmann, Ch. 1), the emergence of Social Science research on primary sources on Japan today particularly has diversified. In general, any material or immaterial element of information can constitute a primary source. This includes, but is not limited to, written texts, objects like archaeological artefacts or contemporary material culture or even such intangible information as observed rituals and practices in certain social settings or interviews (Kühmstedt 2013, pp. 19–21). The precondition for being a source is, of course, that it is manifested as a stable body of information that can to some degree be stored, reproduced and referenced in research. In some cases, the process of turning something into a workable source already leads to a certain subtle gap between ‘the real thing’ and the source itself, of which one has to be acutely aware. If we study gagaku, Japanese court music, our source is not the music and the performance itself, but recordings of it. We have to be aware of the mediality of the sources that, as mere representation, makes them one step removed from reality and subject to (inadvertent) distortion and we also need to maintain a healthy critical distance towards them. This is also the reason why, with written texts, one should use the critical, authoritative edition. This is mostly the collected works of an author (zenshū).1 As the collection and analysis of primary sources is discussed in chapters 5–14, in the following sections, I will focus on secondary literature. 4. 4.1 1 However, vigilance is useful here as well, because not all editions are as critical and thorough as they pretend to be. Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates 105 Secondary literature In contrast to primary sources, secondary literature is invariably just that: written texts. This body of sources comprises the previous research on your topic and constitutes the main bulk of your literature review. However, the boundary between primary and secondary sources/ literature is porous (see this chapter, Ganseforth, Ch. 4.2). Thus, at times, secondary literature too can and should become the object of analysis and interpretation, and therefore those works should become primary sources in their own right. This is particularly true with secondary literature informed by a certain political and ideological position or literature which reflects certain power asymmetries and thus becomes part of a specific discourse. A classic example of such fluidity is Ruth Benedict’s book The chrysanthemum and the sword (1946), which, at the time of its writing during wartime, was an anthropological study of the Japanese people. Today, this book is considered a seminal primary source for the genre of the so-called nihonjinron, the essentialist discourse on ‘the nature of the Japanese people’.2 These examples show that one has to be aware of the fluidity of the division of works into primary and secondary sources/literature. Finding secondary literature But what is the best way to find secondary literature? There exists a multi-pronged approach of different search strategies, which you should pursue routinely and simultaneously throughout your research. In the following, I provide a checklist of common and useful strategies. Finding secondary sources 1. When doing general bibliographic research • Search the OPAC of the university library you are affiliated with; • search several other OPACs of big research universities and institutions (e.g. Bibliothèque Nationale, Harvard University or Library of Congress) and regional aggregated or global catalogues (WorldCat); • use bibliographies such as the Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS) and other more specialised bibliographies in your field (online and print); • ask librarians at your institution, particularly Asian languages librarians, for advice; • browse review sections of journals in your field and reviews in dedicated mailing lists (e.g. EAJS; H-Japan; SSJJ); • go into the stacks, if you can, and have a look at what is physically there (you will find more and unexpected things). 4.2 5. 2 The same is true for Nakane Chie’s Tate-shakai no ningen kankei (1967) or Takeo Doi’s Anatomy of dependence (1973). Urs Matthias Zachmann 106 2. When searching Japanese sources in particular • Again, search several OPACs of big Japanese research libraries and institutions (National Diet Library, Keio University, Tokyo University, Waseda University); • use bibliographic databases like CiNii or, if you have access, CrossAsia; • use online repositories of publications and documents, such as the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records (JACAR) or the National Diet Library Digital Collections; • ask your mentors or peers at Japanese universities for bibliographic advice; • browse review sections of Japanese language journals in your field; • if you are in Japan, again, go into the stacks, and see what you can discover there and visit well-stocked bookshops, either new or antiquarian (see below). Some of the above strategies need some explanation: when using OPACs, make liberal use of advanced search tools, as otherwise you will be hit with a deluge of results that, despite what it says, often do not come with the most relevant on top. Librarians, particularly those working in your regional field, are mostly very happy to advise you on your research; and so are your supervisors, mentors and peers. But do your homework first and consult them only when you have done some substantial digging yourself. Ask your librarian also whether there are courses on bibliographic search tools available at your university. More and more institutions put their content online. I have only given two examples (NDL and JACAR), but there are of course many, many more. For access to Japanese university libraries, it is of course best to have an affiliation, e.g. as a guest researcher (kyakuin kenkyūin), at a university with an extensive research library. I, for example, spent blissful weeks and months in the stacks of Waseda, Keio and Tokyo University libraries. But if you are there only for a short time so that an affiliation seems impractical, the easiest way is to use the library of a public university or institution, as you can show up on the day and do not need a special letter of introduction. Tokyo University Central Library (Sōgō Toshokan), for example, will issue you a day pass if you can demonstrate an affiliation with your home university; take business cards (meishi) with you (see Tagsold/Ullmann, Ch. 8) and name a source in their holdings you want to consult. And then there is, of course, always the National Diet Library as a last resort: the NDL has fantastic holdings, but it takes time to make use of them (see Peucker/Schmidtpott/Wagner, Ch. 9). To search for and buy old or used books, use Nihon no Kosho-ya, the centralised online search tool for all used and antiquarian bookstores in Japan. Some also deliver overseas, but most require an address in Japan (but you can also just check online and then go there personally, of course). The same network also organises book fairs (furuhon matsuri), frequently held at the Tokyo Kosho Kaikan in Kanda. This area is also famous for its many specialised antiquarian and second-hand bookstores (see this chapter, Maclachlan, Ch. 4.1), where you will most certainly find many books in your field that are out of print. I would like to make one final remark: in the same way as there are Western-language manuals for searching for literature, there are of course similar manuals and bibliographies in Japanese for the same purpose (for example Fujita 2020; Hamada 2020; Hiraoka et al. 2013; Satō Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates 107 2000). Be sure to consult these, too, if you need more inspiration and guidance on finding Japanese literature. Cultivating a sense for the ‘best source’ As already indicated in the previous section, it is important to be discriminating in your selection of secondary literature from among the deluge of possible results. This is particularly so since we increasingly use electronic search tools that yield a huge number of hits if we do not teach them to narrow down the search with a number of criteria. These criteria and the cultivation of a sense and intuition help us to find the best source for our research. With ‘best source’ I generally mean that you should prefer a source that is 1. specifically targeted at your topic in scope, 2. the original source of information and analysis, and 3. likely to be the most reliable source in terms of academic quality. Let me explain these criteria in the following. Specifically targeted at your topic in scope is literature which specifically addresses the particular subject that you are writing about at any given time, not in a general way, but already by title (mostly; see below) and, of course, content. To give you just one example: suppose your dissertation is about late Meiji Japanese–Chinese relations. In your historical background chapter, you want to write about their premodern trajectories and, at this particular point in writing, about their relations during the Tokugawa period. You have a choice between Marius B. Jansen’s China in the Tokugawa world (1992) and Mikiso Hane and Louis Perez’ Premodern Japan: A historical survey (2015). In this case, Jansen’s work is the ‘best source’, because it is a specialised study that, in title and content, addresses the specific topic you are writing about. Hane and Perez’ general history textbook may have excellent passages on Japan’s foreign relations at the time and even contain information or analysis that may not be found in Jansen’s study. But in this case, Hane and Perez took it most likely from a third source, such as Ronald P. Toby’s State and diplomacy in early modern Japan (1984), which in turn is also the ‘best source’ (just not as obvious in the title, so the title’s recommendation has to be taken with a pinch of salt). In any case, the more specific literature always trumps the more general overview. The above example also brings us to the next criterion: use the original source of information and analysis. You should avoid all ‘second-hand’ literature that, in turn, only references back to another, the original locus of information. Check the original source as the ‘best source’, and reference this in your footnotes and bibliography. The original source-rule also often excludes, most importantly, Internet sources that take their information and analysis from published sources (whether explicitly or without references). Here, again, the published source is the one that should be used. Of course, this does not exclude Internet sources per se as long as these are, in turn, the original site where the particular information or analysis can be obtained (i.e. published studies may reference statistics from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website; in this case, the website is the best because it is the original source). As a rule of thumb, the use of Internet sources as the best source increases the more contemporary the subject is. 6. Urs Matthias Zachmann 108 The final criterion, the most reliable source in terms of academic quality, is somewhat delicate because, as one should not ‘judge a book by its cover’, one cannot gauge the academic quality of a work without actually having read it. But with the deluge mentioned above, we cannot read everything (even if we try skimming) and we have to develop some strategies and an intuition that allows us, maybe not to exclude, but to order the literature in terms of what to read first and later. Here are some recommendations. How to select reliable scholarly literature Generally, as a rule-of-thumb, the best scholarly source 1. is published in a professional academic publication venue (either print or online) as an article or (E-)book; 2. has an identified author (i.e. is not anonymous); 3. if it is a monograph, it will be published with a good academic or commercial publisher: • a university-associated press (e.g. Cambridge, Columbia, Cornell, Edinburgh, Harvard, Oxford, Tokyo University); • some international commercial presses (e.g. Brill, Palgrave, Routledge, Sage); • established national academic and commercial publishers (e.g. Beck and Nomos in Germany, Presses universitaires de France, CNRS Éditions and Flammarion in France or Einaudi and Skira in Italy); • Japanese publishing houses like Chikuma shobō, Iwanami, or Kōdansha. 4. If it is an article, it is published in • a peer-reviewed journal in Area Studies (ASIEN, Contemporary Japan, Japan Forum, Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Japanese Studies, Monumenta Nipponica, Social Science Japan Journal); • or the discipline(s) you are working in (e.g. American Anthropologist, American Historical Review, Gaikō Forum, Shigaku Zasshi, Shirin, Sociology, etc.). The main rationale in favour of the publication venues listed above actually follows from the first stipulation, namely that these are professional publication venues which have, as such, inbuilt quality assurance mechanisms, ideally a strict peer review process (with commercial publishers, quality assurance can be a bit patchy, though). Which means that other people, experts in your field, will have already pre-screened these publications for you and rejected some or required substantial improvements to them before publication. As cautioned above, this does not mean that one should ignore publications in ‘esoteric’ or unlikely publication venues (e.g. in journals that otherwise do not have any track record with Japan or the discipline you are working in). But often enough there is a reason why someone chose to publish there and not in an established academic journal that is central to the field. This is not snobbery but, considering the flood of sources one has to deal with, pure practicality. However, there is one exception to be made for Japanese language articles: Japanese colleagues often publish excellent articles in university-associated smaller venues, particularly bulletins (kiyō) or faculty-related periodicals. These should be taken into full consideration, despite all rules of thumb. Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates 109 An inclusive approach to literature: Literature in Japanese and other languages Now that we have discussed means of whittling down the bulk of available literature by scope and quality, this section follows the other direction and encourages you to be as inclusive as possible when it comes to languages, and particularly regarding Japanese language literature. Although it is often said that 90% of literature in Japanese Studies is produced in English, this is actually not true. The vast majority of literature on Japan and on any Japan-related subject is written in Japanese. This should be a self-evident fact just from statistics: the number of authors as well as the number of readers who write and read about Japan-related topics are, of course, biggest in Japan itself. This simple calculation applies to Japan-related topics even more so than to other national academic communities, as Japanese colleagues still tend to write more exclusively in Japanese than other academics. It is therefore paramount to consider all the Japanese language literature that is relevant to your topic (see this chapter, Liu-Farrer, Ch. 4.3; Maclachlan, Ch. 4.1). At least in Japanese Studies, you as a scholar and your publications will not be taken seriously if you have not included the relevant Japanese language literature on your subject in your work. As a non-native speaker, this requires more linguistic effort on your part. Unfortunately, this does not mean that you may read less literature just because it is written in Japanese. Nor should it be a fig leaf exercise, i.e. including Japanese language literature in a superficial way so that you have ticked this box, too. You should engage with Japanese language material as seriously as with literature in English or other languages. Consequently, previous scholarship on your topic in Japanese also sets the height of the bar over which you have to jump in order to arrive at new findings. At times this bar seems awfully high. But this does not mean that you should mystify Japanese sources. As Liu-Farrer (see this chapter, Ch. 4.3) argues, Japanese colleagues have a more intimate relationship with their subject, enjoy more sustained access to Japanese sources and profit from linguistic and cultural advantages. However, good scholarship is the product of hard work in all languages. For example, Japanese students of History have to learn to read premodern or even Meiji sources in the same hard way as Western students do. Also, an intimate relationship and cultural proximity can be a double-edged sword for a scholar. Similarly, unlimited access to sources is not always a blessing (a hard-earned personal insight after one year in the Waseda University stacks). And although it is often argued that Japanese scholarship can offer different insights to Western scholarship, this goes both ways. Thus, as a non-Japanese scholar, one should not feel intimidated by Japanese sources either, or accord them with a special status of being naturally more authoritative. But, of course, the sheer number of Japanese scholars doing research in a particular Japan-related field is much higher than elsewhere, and therefore it is likely that there exist more very good studies in Japanese than in other languages. When dealing with Japanese secondary sources, beware of another Western-centric bias that values Japanese language sources predominantly as a ‘data mine’. Some scholars appreciate it for its richness in factual detail and information, but otherwise see Japanese scholarship as lacking in analysis, theoretical contextualisation and methodological rigour. Ironically, this attitude among many Western scholars in Japanese Studies mirrors the attitude with which they, in turn, are treated by their colleagues in ‘hard disciplines’ (Cheah 2001). They use the materi- 7. Urs Matthias Zachmann 110 al diligently accumulated by Japanese scholars/Japanese Studies scholars for the ‘real’ rigorous analysis done in Japanese Studies or/and Social Science or the Humanities. But often enough, this seeming lack is a matter of representation and of differences in academic cultures. In Japanese scholarship, analysis and methodology are often more implicit, but still present. However, with regard to languages other than Japanese and English, one could argue that all relevant literature should be included in your study. Depending on the topic of your research, a multilingual approach is even ingrained into your research design (see this chapter, Ganseforth, Ch. 4.2). This universal approach may seem impractical for languages you do not speak (although you could ask someone or use rough translation software for a start). But at least you should include the literature in languages you do speak, particularly when you submit your thesis in a non-English speaking country (colleagues get very disappointed when their research is overlooked just because it is not written in English). This has the practical consequence that you should always search OPAC with keywords in various languages (the language button on the side often does not work properly). Reading secondary literature: Some practical advice An important part of reviewing literature is, of course, reading it. However, do not try to read ‘everything’ before starting to write. I suggest the following: During your orientation phase (usually the first year of your PhD), do several rounds of literature reviewing. After the first round, skim lightly what you have found (see this chapter, Maclachlan, Ch. 4.1) and note in your bibliography the main arguments, findings and methodological approaches of the work in question as well as your own valuation of it. Then pick out a handful of publications that you deem the most relevant and important and read them thoroughly, before starting the next round of research. Reading literature thoroughly means that you read it with absolute concentration, while taking copious notes. Without concentration, nothing good can be accomplished in research. So, develop a set routine of when and where to work, create an environment as disturbance-free as possible and, most importantly, lock away your mobile phone, shut down the email browser and cut off the Internet. Do not try to multitask and take up one source at a time. An important routine while reading is taking notes. For each piece of literature, create a separate file in which to store your notes (you can do this with Citavi, EndNote or just a simple Word file; file them in a structure that mirrors your bibliography). In these notes, jot down a summary of the book, notable quotes you want to use and also your own observations on how the arguments, findings, theory and method relate to your topic. This has several purposes: three to four years is a long time, and just scribbling in the margins will not help to find things when you need them most—when writing. Also, taking notes in an organised way will help you develop your own thoughts in conversation with what you read and, thus, is good preparation for easing into writing. Finally, and also importantly, carefully taking notes helps you to avoid inadvertent plagiarism (Massengill 2012, p. 18; see also Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16). When you read so much, the lines between your own thoughts and other people’s get blurred 8. Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates 111 if you do not take notes. Consequently, when taking notes, distinguish between direct quotes, paraphrases and your own observations! A final note on the general mindset while reading secondary literature: Academics often say that one should read critically. But, to paraphrase Bertrand Russell (1946/2004, p. 47), it would be better to start with an attitude of hypothetical or detached sympathy that first and foremost seeks to really understand what the author is driving at (even if it is only imperfectly presented or evidenced) and only then start criticising it. This way, your reading will be much more fruitful and balanced. Identifying relevant debates and situating one’s own research The two main purposes of reviewing literature are 1. to identify the relevant debates in your field, both in Area Studies and the discipline you work in, and 2. to situate your own work in relation to it. Also, it is quite dangerous (and not very motivating either) to ‘go it all alone’ and pursue your research in the isolation of your library carrel, your office or your desk at home. The best way to get on top of recent debates is—while doing your literature review and continuing to work at it—to embed yourself in and engage with different scholarly communities. In the following, I offer some advice on how to do this. Efficient ways to get an overview of recent trends in academic debates 1. Reading • Consult up-to-date handbooks (e.g. Brill, Routledge, SAGE) (both in Area Studies and your discipline(s)); • look for recent edited volumes and particularly screen the introductions which are supposed to outline the state of research (both in Area Studies and your discipline(s)); • look for special issues of relevant journals; • study book reviews as they usually contextualise findings in the current trends and debates. 2. Communicating with peers and senior scholars in your field • Ask senior scholars in your field for advice and introductions; • sign up to relevant mailing lists and academic fora (e.g. EAJS-L, H-Net, J-Studien); • apply to and attend as many PhD workshops as possible (e.g. EAJS PhD workshops); • apply to and attend postgraduate and regular conferences in Area Studies (e.g. Association for Asian Studies, British Association of Japanese Studies, European Association of Japanese Studies, Japanologentag) and in your discipline(s) (e.g. American Anthropological Association, American Historical Association, International Sociological Association, etc.). Note that there are often travel grants for PhD students. 9. Urs Matthias Zachmann 112 3. When staying in Japan • Ask senior scholars in your field for advice and introductions. • If possible, attend a zemi (a regular ‘seminar’ or colloquium of postgraduate students under the same supervisor) run by a senior scholar working in your field; participate actively and present your research in Japanese. It is perfectly fine to read from a manuscript and distribute it among participants for them to read along (Hiraoka et al. 2013). • If possible, attend one or several kenkyūkai (regular meetings of national or local research networks) in your field; if asked (do not venture to do so by yourself but wait until asked), present your research in Japanese; also make sure you attend the konshinkai, the social gathering, after the workshop. When you present at conferences, workshops or kenkyūkai, people are often eager to point out relevant literature and to contextualise your research in the relevant debates. This is also very motivating and makes you realise that research is not a solitary fight with the material, but a living debate about ideas. Even negative or muted feedback, as much as it stings at first, is extremely helpful in the long run. Just do not let it get under your skin or demotivate you (see Farrer/Liu-Farrer Ch. 17). When presenting at disciplinary (non-Japan-specific) conferences, be prepared to get other or fewer questions than you are used to from Japanese Studies conferences, or even harsher and methodologically more fundamental questions than you might be used to from Japanese Studies conferences. Finally, let me make a remark on time management: As interesting and aspiring as it is to attend conferences and workshops to discuss issues and meet people, it also takes a lot of (often underestimated) time to prepare and can be disruptive to your research routine. Keep in mind that a conference paper is not your dissertation. So, when presenting, go for quality, not for quantity, and find the right balance between presenting papers and writing your dissertation. Writing the literature review The literature review is a critical narrative account in a section at the beginning of your PhD thesis (and proposal(s) leading towards it). I use the word ‘narrative’ to stress the purposedriven nature of the literature review, which is to explain what you do by way of what has been done, or not. It is therefore not the bibliography you have compiled, nor a report on the state of the field in general. It is a much more selective and purposeful narrative that always has the same ending to its tale: ‘And that is why what has been done is not enough and why what I am doing is important.’ Its general content, purpose and structure are always as follows. 10. Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates 113 Content, purpose and structure of the literature review Every literature review contains the same narrative elements that answer the following questions • What has been done by previous research in the field regarding your topic? What are the main findings, arguments and debates in previous scholarship? • Why is previous scholarship not enough to solve the ‘puzzle’ from which your research question arises? What contradictions or gaps does this research contain that create your puzzle in the first place? • How does your own research contribute to debates and recent trends in your field in terms of topic, theory and method? The scientific purpose is, of course, to situate your project in the edifice of professional science (see introduction). Invariably, however, a literature review also serves • to demonstrate your grasp of the most important arguments, debates and trends in research regarding your topic; • to clear space for your own contribution and to showcase its importance; • to relate your research to peers and predecessors in Area Studies and disciplines in which you intend to pursue an academic career. The general structure of the narrative follows from these elements and purposes • Its narrative clusters around larger debates and trends rather than single contributions of scholars. • The order in which you present the narrative can be 1. chronological (How has the field evolved in terms of theoretical or methodological trends? How has the debate evolved?) or 2. thematic (What are the main arguments relating to the topic? How can they be broken down?). • In any case, the presentation usually follows a dialectical sequence (while A argued x, B contended -x, upon which C suggested y…). • Participants in the debates are introduced with their main findings, arguments and theoretical or methodological contributions, not a description of book or article contents. • The relevance of all sub-fields and approaches to your project must be addressed (and vice versa). In terms of the flow of presentation, it is useful to imagine a metaphorical dinner party (Kamler/Thomson 2006, pp. 37–38; Lloyd 2017/18) or, if you like, to visualise Raffael’s fresco The School of Athens, in which groups and factions of people lead lively debates. Imagine them to be your peers and predecessors who are discussing the research in your field regarding your topic. You are right in the middle, holding forth why this is not good enough and why something has to be done about it (see McMorran, Ch. 15)! But, of course, keep your tone civil in your counterarguments. Just like reading (see above), write your literature review with detached sympathy. However, there is no simple fit-for-all template for a literature review, as every discipline has its own style. Each sub-field of Japanese Studies takes its rules from the respective discipline (see this chapter, Maclachlan, Ch. 4.1). To get a better idea of what a literature review can Urs Matthias Zachmann 114 look like in your field, my suggestion is that you dig up the original PhD theses of the books most relevant to your topic (not the published book itself, because that contains only a muchabridged version) and take a look at the literature review. This might also help to answer the following two questions: When do I have enough literature? When do I start writing? Reviewing literature can be overwhelming. You might think that there is so much material out there that you cannot cope. Keep calm and do not let the seeming immensity of the task overwhelm you. Take one quick step back and reconsider it in the greater scheme of your research. Generally speaking, a ‘perfect’ or ‘comprehensive’ literature review is the enemy of a very good one. As you should not aspire to write a masterpiece with your dissertation (although you might certainly produce one), you should also not aim for perfection in reviewing literature. These things serve a purpose and are not ends in themselves. So, what you should aim for is a thorough literature review at first that is good enough for you to continue with the next steps in your research. When to start writing Do not try to read ‘everything’ before you start writing. This takes too much time and can result in massive writer’s block. Of course, during the first year of your PhD, you mainly read and search without producing much (except your notes, and your entries in the bibliography and journal). But during the second year, you will see the fog clear and get a feeling for the lay of the land. You can start drawing up a final marching route for the dissertation and for the particular chapters with a sense of where the whole thesis and each of the chapters are heading (a rough narrative). When you have reached this point, I suggest that you start writing while continuing to read. Writing, as much as researching, is a circular process, so when you reach the end of your thesis/of each chapter, you will have to go through it/them from the beginning and add to where there is something missing. Once you have acquired a general sense of direction, follow the guide below. 11. Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates 115 When you roughly know your direction, start writing (and continue to read) 1. Do not try to read ‘everything’ before starting to write, but read as much as you need in order to orient yourself in a certain direction (a general ‘marching route’) in order to get going and then read along the way, filling in the gaps. 2. When starting on a particular chapter or section • First, review the necessary literature (primary and secondary) and skim through what you find. • Pick the most important and promising works (say five or eight) and work through them thoroughly. • Draw up a general outline of the chapter with the particular points and aspects you want to address and the sequence in which to do so (a ‘storyboard’ or ‘marching route’, as it were). • Then start writing in line with this, working the rest of the literature into the various aspects while writing. • Naturally, this being a circular process, you might have to start from the beginning and readjust the chapters, etc. somewhat until the end. Summary Naturally, people have different writing strategies and habits. However, I think the general principle is that you have to find a balance between reading and writing. In figurative terms, imagine research is like growing a tree. Nature does it incrementally and iteratively. The trunk, roots and some main branches come first, then the whole is strengthened and more detail (branches, leaves, etc.) is added. Nature does not make jumps and, similarly, you should grow your literature review as an important part of your dissertation with patience and tenacity. Safe journey and good luck! 12. Urs Matthias Zachmann 116 Looking for sources in all the right places Patricia L. Maclachlan Searching for good primary, secondary and tertiary sources in Japan Studies can be a daunting task. While Japan offers a cornucopia of riches for scholars in search of the printed and electronic word, it can be hard for the foreign researcher to fully access that information. In this chapter, I draw from my own—often trial-and-error—experiences to offer some tips on how to navigate these challenges and opportunities. Definitions Before progressing, I will provide some definitions. Primary sources are accounts of some event or phenomenon written by someone who experienced it first-hand. They include autobiographies, interviews, photographs and newspaper accounts that are contemporaneous with the event in question. Also included in this category are government policy statements and survey data, and in Cultural Studies and other Humanities fields, original literary, theatrical and other artistic works. Secondary sources, by contrast, are works that interpret those events or artistic works; books and edited volumes, journal articles, newspaper editorials, television documentaries, literary criticisms and the like. Finally, tertiary sources are compilations of primary and/or secondary sources, and can include bibliographies, online databases and indexes, and so on. Depending on the topic, researchers should expect to work extensively with all three types of sources. Secondary sources When launching a new research project, start by perusing the available secondary literature. This essential step in the research process will give you general background information, position you to write a literature review and help you identify your own distinctive contributions to your topic. Fortunately, the Japan Studies field has grown so much over the last half-century that there should be no shortage of materials on your chosen topic in your native language. When searching for secondary sources, pay close attention to recently published articles in peer-reviewed disciplinary and Area Studies journals and books from reputable university and commercial publishers, as these will alert you to the latest scholarly contributions to your topic. The rapid digitisation of scholarly work over the last decade or so will allow you to access most secondary sources from your desk. You can locate most major journals via databases provided by your university library. Be sure to try out the Bibliography of Asian Studies, a comprehensive catalogue of not only books and journal articles in Japan Studies and related 4.1 117 fields but also chapters in edited volumes. When searching for journal articles, it is important to consult several databases, since many journals will contract with only one of them. As for books, many—but by no means all—are now available electronically. Figure out which titles you need by consulting the citations and bibliographies of other key works and searching your university library’s holdings. If you are in the U.S. and need a print version of a book that your university does not own, you can borrow a copy via your library’s interlibrary loan (ILL) service. Locate the volume on WorldCat—a bibliographic database covering tens of thousands of libraries around the world—and take note of the volume’s bibliographic information, including the all-important ‘OCLC number’, and record that information on your library’s ILL request form. While you’re on WorldCat, remember to search for other sources as well. ILL services can also be used to access journal articles located beyond your library’s immediate reach; these are normally delivered to the user electronically. All of us are understandably most comfortable working with sources in our native language, but it is essential that you master the relevant Japanese secondary literature as well. And this is where the research process can get tricky. Many university libraries in North America and Europe have substantial holdings in Japanese, but many more do not; once again, ILL will help you fill in any gaps. Some ILL services borrow hard-to-find Japanese-language sources directly from Japan via the National Diet Library (NDL), although this service is still a work-inprogress. The NDL has been gradually digitising its collections, which is promising news for foreign users, but as of the time of my writing this paper, those digitised versions are only accessible in Japan at either the NDL’s headquarters in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo or one of its branches. You can, however, search the library’s excellent online databases while still abroad. First-time visitors to the NDL must present their passports in order to receive a registered user card. The card is good for three years and can be renewed online. Needless to say, students affiliated with a Japanese university have access to that university’s library. If you wish to search a particular library’s specialised holdings without an affiliation, be prepared to provide a letter of introduction from a librarian at your home institution that includes a list of the sources you wish to consult. Letters of introduction are also helpful when requesting access to corporate, museum and government archives (see Peucker/Schmidtpott/ Wagner, Ch. 9). For a list of Japanese, American and European libraries and archives of specific interest to Japan Studies scholars, you can consult the website of the North America Coordinating Council of Japanese Library Resources (NCC). Once you have located your secondary sources, the next challenge is reading them. Many Japanese scholarly books lack indexes, which means you will have to skim them to find what you need. This is easier said than done when you are researching a new topic with specialised vocabulary. But with a little time and patience, you will soon master that terminology and realise that ‘skimming’ in Japanese has its advantages, since topics can often be gleaned just by glancing at a few key characters. Primary sources Primary sources are essential to the research process, and many of those materials can now be obtained online. Government White Papers (hakusho), press releases, and advisory committee (shingikai) minutes and reports can be retrieved directly from the websites of the government Patricia L. Maclachlan 118 organs that produce the information, and some of it is in English as well as Japanese (see Aizawa/Watanabe, Ch. 9.3). The NDL website includes links to the minutes and other information relating to Diet deliberations since the early Meiji era. Newspaper articles can be accessed directly from newspaper websites (e.g., The Japan Times, Mainichi Shimbun), although a small subscription fee may be required for extensive searching. Also helpful are subscription-supported newspaper databases (e.g. Kikuzō bijuaru: Asahi shimbun kiji dētabēsu, Nikkei Telecom), each of which offers access to a variety of different news sources. And then there is the wealth of hard data that is now available online—not all of it easy to navigate. Sometimes the problem is conceptual or related to measurement. Many social scientists, for example, find out the hard way that the data provided by some government ministries are inconsistent over time, which thus complicates longitudinal analysis. Other statistical sources are simply out of reach. Every seasoned researcher tells stories about learning of the existence of a dataset that seems integral to their work, only to discover that the notion of ‘open access’ has yet to take firm root in Japan (see Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16). If you find yourself in this position, be persistent. Visit the organisation that owns the data. If possible, arrive armed with a letter of introduction from someone who has a close connection to that organisation. Provide the powers-that-be with a detailed explanation of exactly how you plan to use and disseminate that data. And make follow-up visits, if necessary. Locating qualitative primary sources comes with a different set of challenges, particularly if you are researching a topic that few scholars know anything about. Brace yourself for false starts and roadblocks, but know that once you locate one or two good sources, other discoveries will soon follow. As a PhD student working on the impact of Japanese consumer organisations on the legislative process (Maclachlan 2002), I spent the first few weeks of a lengthy research stint in Japan spinning my wheels. But I soon snared a great interview, which led to several more. One of my interviewees invited me to attend a symposium for consumer activists, which led to invitations to attend more symposia, consumer rallies and even a few demonstrations. Another interviewee introduced me to an archive on consumer-related topics (Kokumin Seikatsu Sentā) close to Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station, where I discovered a treasure trove of back issues of consumer-related newspapers, the in-house histories and newsletters of consumer organisations, memoirs of consumer activists and the like. And repeated interviews with the wonderful activists at the Japan Housewives Association (Shufuren) eventually led to an open invitation to explore the organisation’s in-house archive. Years later, as a student of the history and politics of the Japanese postal system (Maclachlan 2011), I spent dozens of hours in a small archive at the Communications Museum (Tei Park) in the Ōtemachi district of Tokyo. Like many other specialised archives in Japan, this one had yet to electronically catalogue its holdings. Locating relevant material meant searching through printed catalogues and filling out request forms by hand. The work was tedious but well worth the effort. I found invaluable sources that were unavailable through the NDL. And much to my surprise, I got to know many of the other ‘regulars’ at the archive, some of whom turned out to be scholars and retired postmasters who generously agreed to be interviewed. One last point about primary sources: the value of memoirs. While researching the politics of the postal system, I struggled to piece together the storyline of how local postmasters participated in the electoral process; since these activities were illegal, no postmaster would divulge the details to me during interviews. I then happened upon two ‘kiss-and-tell’ memoirs written by disgruntled former postmasters that included extraordinary accounts of the political inner Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates 119 workings of the profession. Based on those memoirs, which corroborated both one another and newspaper sources, I was able to construct a detailed chronology and analysis of an otherwise obscure topic. More recently, during a hunt for materials on Japanese agricultural cooperatives, a Japanese expert on the topic alerted me to the out-of-print autobiography of a co-op leader published during the early 1990s. The memoir filled gaping holes in my knowledge and offered a revealing glimpse into how local co-ops operated a generation ago. Bookstores in Japan: Some concluding thoughts Finally, every Japan Studies scholar should spend some quality time in Japanese bookstores. Virtually every town and urban shopping street (shōtengai) has a small bookshop that sells the latest issues of news magazines and recent bestsellers on a variety of subjects. Large cities boast of multi-story book meccas the size of small department stores that can take hours to navigate. And there is no shortage of used bookstores, most notably in the fabled Jimbōchō neighbourhood of Tokyo, where history buffs can find all manner of out-of-print multi-volume sets and other rare gems on topics both mainstream and obscure. Visit these bookstores and do it regularly. Find the weekly or monthly news magazines that are relevant to your research interests and read as much as you want while standing in the aisles. Locate the sections that stock the sorts of primary and secondary sources that are relevant to you, and be on the lookout for new acquisitions. If your research budget precludes a purchase, worry not; you can take note of the bibliographic information and locate the volumes at a library. If you can make a purchase, take your acquisition to the bookstore café, dive into it over a cup of tea or coffee and revel in your life as a scholar! Patricia L. Maclachlan 120 Ambiguity and blurred boundaries: Contextualising and evaluating heterogeneous sources Sonja Ganseforth In my work on Japanese development policies in Palestine (Ganseforth 2016), I conducted a discourse analysis to examine how different actors tried to frame development policies and to leverage different aspects of an industrial park project according to their respective interests. Looking for sources and information for my research, I mainly encountered challenges in three areas: first, situating my own research in scholarly discussions; second, finding relevant sources in different languages to inform my analysis; and third, identifying relevant discourses and dealing with ambiguous and politicised sources. Beyond disciplinarity: Positioning one’s own research Having studied two Area Studies, namely Japanese Studies and Arab Studies, but no ‘core discipline’, I had received a comprehensive education encompassing the histories, politics, societies, economies, literatures and languages of my regions of specialisation. My own interests as well as academic courses and advisor choices had led me to some degree of specialisation in Human Geography, discourse analysis and qualitative fieldwork methods. I had also participated in some optional methodological courses and a longer field research expedition, but I was far from the security—or constraints—a traditional disciplinary determination might have given me. There was no obvious choice of theoretical model or methodological approach for me, and all such decisions were in need of prior deliberation, explanation and legitimisation— possibly more than in narrower disciplinary contexts. On location in Palestine, I had found the research topic for my dissertation rather quickly after reading and hearing about a contentious large-scale Japanese development project in the West Bank. However, I needed to identify the theoretical and methodological framework to guide my research as well as the scholarly discourses I wanted to contribute to with my work. After drawing on some introductory works on development theories and consulting with my doctoral advisor, I found the ideas of so-called post-developmentalist thinkers to be the most interesting and promising. Extending Michel Foucault’s discourse analysis (1977), one of the most prominent exponents, Arturo Escobar (1995), criticises development discourses as political constructs, and emulates Edward Said’s (2003) criticism of Western Orientalism in proposing that ‘development’ creates its own ‘other’: the ‘underdeveloped’. He contends that ‘development’ has become a hegemonic discourse in the 20th century and the dominating interpretative framework that allows control over countries and peoples conceived as ‘underdeveloped’ and in need of salvation by Western technology and expertise. This idea of discourses legitimising far-reaching policy interventions, while at the same time depoliticising social and political disparities through technical and economist language, is particularly relevant in the Palestinian 4.2 121 context. Here, the international community has started massive development programmes since the 1990s, and many different truths and narratives justify very diverse political positionalities and programmes. A second major conceptual influence came from my doctoral programme in a structured research training group, which brought together research on issues of globalisation from different disciplinary backgrounds, albeit focusing on perspectives integrating ideas of the so-called spatial turn in the Social Sciences since the late 1980s. Conceptualising space as a contingent product of social, political and cultural construction and constant renegotiation, rather than as a fixed, homogeneous container or arena of events and relations (Massey 2005), offered me a fruitful perspective from which to analyse how spaces are being appropriated by different actors during and by means of a Japanese development project in Palestine. Even if you think that an Area Studies audience is the most likely readership for many of your publications, it is nevertheless important to contribute to scholarly and theoretical discussions that are relevant beyond the regional frame. In order to reach an audience beyond Area Studies, it is therefore advisable to aim for publications in disciplinary journals as well. Treating ‘Japan’ as a case in the study of universal political, social, cultural, economic or historical questions can avoid the pitfalls of solipsistic specialisation without relevance beyond a very specific case—a case that might appear quite exotic, such as a Japanese development project in the Palestinian West Bank. Literature research: Hunting for relevant multilingual sources Even if I would argue strongly against this apparent exoticism, and even if Japanese development cooperation has constituted a major influence in the Middle East in recent decades, finding and choosing the appropriate sources on Japanese policies in Palestine sometimes proved challenging. While there is certainly no scarcity of literature on development cooperation in general, the sources on Japanese official development policies in the Middle East were very limited. Local case studies mostly focused on Southeast Asia, and there was virtually no research on Japanese aid in Palestine. Of course, this lack of specialised secondary sources was not only a challenge, but also an opportunity for me to fill a considerable research gap with my own work. The first rounds of literature research unearthed mainly English language texts and were limited to the range of possibilities offered by access to a library at a European university as well as various online repositories. I did find an array of studies on more general fields, such as Japanese development cooperation on the one hand, and the problematic aspects of international development and aid in Palestine on the other. However, it was important for me to go beyond the English literature and include Arabic and Japanese language sources. Otherwise, I was bound to ignore crucial parts of the scholarship and some of the discourses probably most relevant to those involved in the process I was studying, even if I also conducted quite a few interviews with Japanese- and Arabic-speaking actors. Obviously, there were language hurdles and long office hours spent cursing two non-European writing systems, but accessibility of sources also proved difficult on a more practical level. Sometimes I asked travelling colleagues and friends to bring back home certain publications that were not available in Germany. Japanese sources—even grey literature and primary sources—were often well accessible via the usual means of libraries, online catalogues, Internet Sonja Ganseforth 122 repositories, organisations’ websites or media outlets. However, it was not so easy for Arabic language material. In some cases, it proved most useful to personally visit some of the research and activist organisations in Palestine and Israel. They often publish their own research and have additional collections on regional issues for sale in their information centres. Pertinent bookshops in the region were another good resource for some of the relevant publications. I also received a lot of material as well as recommendations directly from people I contacted for interviews or information and advice, which was extremely helpful. In this way, the search for literature became a form of field research as well. The politics of research: Blurred boundaries and ambiguous sources The overlap of field and literature research correlated with blurred boundaries between primary and secondary sources at times. Occasionally, I had to rely on primary sources such as activists’ reports or official policy statements for information, while at the same time some of the scholarly literature, the secondary sources, had a rather politically charged character. While it would be a fallacy to assume there is an objective, neutral and detached author behind academic publications, I felt that particular care was necessary in evaluating many of the writings I had collected. Analyses by leftist activist organisations from Palestine and Israel, sometimes bordering on the polemic and highly critical of Israel’s occupation and international development policies in the West Bank, painted a very different picture of the industrial park project than studies by semi-independent research institutes from Japan or Israel. Such publications were, of course, important primary sources for my discourse analysis of the power struggle to interpret and frame development policies. At the same time, I sometimes depended on them for information and contextualisation, so it became crucial to verify their depictions as much as possible and never to take them at face value. The problem, however, was not limited to primary sources. The political character of secondary sources became most obvious in analyses of the—still ongoing—Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Studies of international development cooperation in Palestine also tended to be highly critical of either international donors or the Palestinian leadership. At the same time, polemic language and idiosyncratic Palestinian expressions, such as speaking of Israeli settlements in the West Bank only as ‘colonies’ or of Israel as ‘the occupier’ as well as usage of the term ‘apartheid’, occasionally disguised solid academic analyses by Palestinian authors and contributed to their disqualification in international academia—an interesting aspect of discourse politics in itself. It was therefore indispensable to critically scrutinise my sources for their scientific integrity and to consider their respective backgrounds when trying to evaluate the significance of their findings to inform my own research. There were also a number of rather judgemental and biased accounts of Japanese development politics, especially those by some North American scholars since the 1970s. The literature was often limited in its sources, e.g. hardly drawing on any Japanese sources, and some texts seemed to be highly influenced by the growing economic prowess of Japan and the intensifying trade frictions with the United States of America since the 1980s. They focused on critiques of policies that mainly seemed to aid the promotion of Japan’s own export industries, whereas Japanese positions since that time often seemed to take a defensive stance towards these criti- Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates 123 cal tendencies. It is, of course, imperative to always be aware of the contextuality and historical contingency of academic literature and examine its validity as thoroughly as possible. As it happens, detecting these nuances and overtones proved quite interesting and fruitful for my actual study. I found that many of these secondary sources contributed to discourses that became the object of my analysis, for example the discourse on the self-interest of Japanese aid, or the discourse on apolitical economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians as a prerequisite to peace—as well as the fierce rejection of this idea. This way, the literature assumed an ambiguous role: it was still an important source of information, contextualisation and analytical framework, but at the same time some of the secondary literature became a form of primary source for discourse analysis. In the beginning, I worried about the lack of a neat division into primary and secondary sources as I had learned in basic academic education. However, I came to the conclusion that this ambiguity was inevitable and tolerable as long as I was aware of it and dealt with the sources in a transparent and reproducible manner. In putting the results of my research on paper, I therefore felt it was important to make explicit at every point whether I was drawing on a study in order to gain analytical insights and critically engage with their findings on the one hand, or whether I was treating a source as material for discourse analysis on the other. Engaged scholarship The ambiguous character of some secondary sources had me pondering the positionality of my own writing, especially as my research dealt with highly contentious and sometimes unsettling issues. While assuming ‘objectivity’ or ‘neutrality’ in one’s own work might be as problematic as in other authors’ works, it is of course crucial to adhere to academic standards in terms of rigour, reflexivity, transparency, reproducibility and verifiability and not to sacrifice ethical research for political aims. Nevertheless, I would strongly argue the case for engaged scholarship (see Slater et al., Ch. 16.2) and the responsibility of academics to highlight problematic findings such as social grievances or political injustice, as science is in a potentially powerful position of knowledge production. In fact, many salient researchers and theorists—like the geographer Doreen Massey and the anthropologist Escobar—do not limit themselves to academic audiences, but become vocal advocates of social and political causes. The blurring of roles, activist engagement and collaboration with activist groups does not automatically blur the clarity of academic analysis as long as it is transparent. Good academic research can be interested and engaged. Sonja Ganseforth 124 Doing migration research in Japan: The roles of scholarly literature Gracia Liu-Farrer This essay shares my experiences of using different types of literature in the process of my research about immigration into Japan. I broadly categorise the relationship between literature review and research as a three-step process of ‘zoning in’, ‘reorienting’ and ‘zoning out’. In addition, I highlight the importance of drawing on scholarly literature in Japanese. Qualitative research is often used for studying emergent social phenomena, for understanding the subjective meanings of particular practices and for investigating the processes of how some events are unravelled. The underlying assumption of qualitative research is that not all concepts pertaining to a given phenomenon have been identified, are fully developed or are sufficiently understood, and further exploration on a topic is therefore necessary to increase understanding (Corbin/Strauss 2008). Our statements about why and how such situations exist or events take place contribute to both the empirical understanding of the phenomenon and theoretical development in the related fields. In other words, qualitative research is often employed to investigate phenomena that we know very little or do not yet have a reliable theoretical statement about. In such a process, literature review recurs at different stages of the research. It provides the initial direction of our research, is used to inform the next stage of data gathering, and offers tools for interpreting our findings and debates to situate our findings in. Zoning in: Localising the research Since our research interest is often kindled by curiosity or concerns about an emergent phenomenon, an ongoing crisis or intriguing situations, a starting point of one’s research is to find out how much has already been done on the specific subjects and phenomenon. Without surveying the field, it is difficult to know where and how to start, let alone identify gaps in research. The literature one needs to be familiar with needs to cover several areas: the theoretical and conceptual discussions in this field and the research that has been done on a specific topic. In other words, a study needs both theoretical and empirical literature to provide a road map. Some researchers might start from the specific issues and subjects, and work outward to more general conceptual and theoretical discussions. I usually do these different types of literature review simultaneously because empirical case studies allude to different theoretical discussions. Each field has its key questions as well as concepts and theories that are aimed at addressing such questions. That is why one needs to educate oneself about the broader field of one’s study. In my field of international migration studies, some key questions have been: why and how people move; why and how they move to a specific place; how people are related to both the new environment and the places they depart from; and what migration does or means to migrants, those who receive them and those who are left behind. Different disciplines tend to 4.3 125 have different issue focuses. After numerous empirical studies in different contexts, a large number of concepts and theories have been developed to answer these questions. This theoretical background might not directly enter into one’s literature review section in the end, but it informs the initial questions of one’s research. Issue and context specific literature, i.e. empirical literature, is an essential part of a literature review. The specific literature for my research is migration into Japan. Since the mid-1980s, increasing contemporary migration into Japan has stimulated interest in this social trend. When I started my research in the early 2000s, there was already a substantial amount of literature in English on immigration into Japan. For example, several anthropological studies had researched ethnic Japanese who were brokered from Latin American countries to be manual labour in the name of ethnic return (Linger 2001; Roth 2002; Tsuda 2003). Studies about Filipino entertainers and marriage migration emerged in the 1990s (Ballescas 1992; Suzuki 2003). There was also a group of Japanese sociologists that, working in the urban sociological tradition, studied immigrant communities and the neighbourhoods they dwelled in. While there was practically no English literature on Chinese people in Japan when I started my research project, Japanese scholars had already produced a number of scholarly publications in Japanese, delineating their migratory trends and describing their life in Japan (Tajima 1998). This body of literature brought me closer to the field. I could see that some of the key issues in immigration in Japan have to do with the dilemma created by a need to import labour and the conservative stance the government took on immigration, which created many informal channels for migration. The nature of Japan as an ethno-nationalist receiving context and the particular migration channels it created necessarily produced different sets of research questions. With the key questions provided by general migration theories and a knowledge of the specific migration conditions in Japan, as a sociologist, I entered my field with a broad interest in understanding how networks play a role in Chinese migration into Japan, and whether and how immigrant communities are formed in Japan, and how the migratory trajectories into a nonimmigrant country unfold. These questions remained the guiding questions throughout my later research, but the specific fieldwork findings produced more specific research outputs. Reorienting: Continued literature review in the field Qualitative research is such that as soon as we enter the field, we are immediately inundated with new information and unexpected findings. Where we do our research and whom we approach influence what we find out. Although I did not plan to focus on international students initially, I found that among my interviewees the majority of them came as students. Their narratives presented discernibly patterned mobility trajectories. Most noticeable was their double identity as both students and migrant labour. In order to understand such an interesting trend of migration and make sense of my findings, I had to look for literature that specifically examined international students. A quick survey of the existing literature revealed to me that most of the studies about international students before the early 2000s fell within the purview of education research, and were limited mostly to their life on university campus and their education outcomes. At the same time, international migration studies then were primarily about labour migrants. Skilled labour migration had emerged as a trend and attracted concerns about the issues of brain drain. Policymakers and researchers in countries such as Australia Gracia Liu-Farrer 126 had begun to treat international students as potential skilled labour migrants. No literature had yet discussed this group as simple migrant labour. However, doing lowskilled labour was an integral part of being international students in Japan. This revelation was exciting because it showed the importance of merging the fields of international education and labour migration. Meanwhile, looking at Chinese student migrants’ career trajectories, I noticed their particular locations in the transnational businesses between China and Japan, and that their activities often involved transnational movements. Another round of focused reviewing of immigrant transnational practices and theoretical discussions about transnationalism necessitated me putting more effort into observing and identifying various patterns of Chinese student migrants’ transnational behaviour. With these newly gained conceptual insights and such empirical evidence, my research focuses therefore shifted to examining patterns of Chinese student migrants’ transnational practices, asking why such phenomena emerged in the context of immigration into Japan (Liu-Farrer 2011). Because of its role in reorienting one’s research and shaping one’s approaches and ultimately findings, the literature one draws on in the process of actual research is the most pertinent to one’s study, and therefore often ends up in the literature review section of one’s academic output. Zoning out: Situating your study After one has immersed oneself in the field and accumulated many empirical findings, one’s next step is to think about how to reconnect the case study to the literature and situate one’s study in a broader academic field. Aside from offering more knowledge on the specific group and topic in this particular context, one’s research findings should also speak to the larger concerns of the field. In other words, who do you have in mind as your readers and interlocutors beyond the researchers who might be doing the same study? My study obviously added to the research about Chinese student migration into Japan and more broadly about migration in Japan, so anybody who wanted to carry out such studies, I hoped, would read it. At the same time, I saw my study as having broader relatability in the field of Migration Studies, both the topical area of student migration and migrant transnationalism—the two sub-fields of Migration Studies that I had to read up on while doing research in the field. They therefore became the broader literature that I situated my project in. Though I emphasise the need of ‘zoning in’ from and ‘zoning out’ to the larger theoretical conversation, it does not mean that our study is merely an empirical case to substantiate existing theories. For example, transnationalism as a framework with which to examine migrant practices has fundamentally changed how we approach migrant subjects and what we will eventually find out. But our study does not aim to prove that yes, migrants in Japan are indeed transnational and this is the proof. Instead, we want to identify the specific characteristics and patterns of transnational practices migrants in Japan are engaged in, and ask whether they are conditioned by the specific institutional, social and cultural contexts Japan presents; how our case study modifies the theory; and whether and how our findings can be generalised in other contexts. Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates 127 One pitfall of social scientific research, particularly in Migration Studies on Japan, is to impose a concept or theory derived from very different social contexts onto the observations in Japan. Social theories are created out of concrete social contexts. More than other social scientific topics, Migration Studies were borne out of Western, especially traditional settler societies. Some concepts and theories, for example those positing and describing community formations, do not necessarily apply in a Japanese context. One important task for research, and the reason to engage with literature, is not to find a case that fits a particular concept, but to critically engage with the concepts and see in what way our own research, out of particular contexts, might help shape and modify the existing conceptualisation in the field. Drawing on publications in Japanese Researching events taking place in Japan, one cannot ignore contributions by scholars in Japan and publications in the Japanese language. This is because scholars who are based in Japanese institutions often have more intimate relationships with the subjects they investigate. They have more access to them or better knowledge of the social contexts into which our subjects enter. Overall, Japanese scholars also tend to have more linguistic and cultural advantages in doing such research, and can offer different perspectives. In the field of Migration Studies, Japanese researchers, or researchers who write in Japanese, have accumulated a large body of literature and are particularly prolific in the following subjects: • immigration and integration-related policy analysis; • case studies on international education/international students, including students’ career aspirations and post-graduate mobilities; • in-depth anthropological and sociological studies on specific immigrant communities and family formations; • neighbourhood research, especially done by urban sociologists, geographers and anthropologists; • immigrant children’s educational mobilities; • immigrants’ economic practices, including entrepreneurship; • Japanese people’s reaction to immigration and immigrants. Japanese scholarship is a rich source of information and empirical insights. Aside from indepth and sometimes longitudinal qualitative research, Japanese scholars often conduct social surveys of different scopes, something non-Japanese scholars and scholars who are not based in Japanese institutions have difficulty doing. For example, my recent work (Liu-Farrer 2020) draws heavily on Japanese literature on migrant children’s educational situations in Japan (Kaji 2007; Sakuma 2006; Takaya et al. 2015). In addition, social scientists from outside Japan sometimes bring with them concepts and theories that might not apply in Japanese contexts. By looking into Japanese scholarship, one can understand how the real situations are and what concerns the people within Japan. Although it is understood that not all researchers can read Japanese proficiently, ignoring this body of literature is not only a missed opportunity for mining important research outputs, but also impairs the credibility of a ‘Japan Studies’ project. Finally, researchers who write in other lan- Gracia Liu-Farrer 128 guages bear the responsibility of introducing such scholarship. By presenting Japanese research outputs through our non-Japanese publications, we are helping to build a more substantial scholarly foundation for research on Japan. Concluding remarks This essay shares some of my own experiences with academic literature in the process of doing qualitative research on migration in Japan. One needs to be equipped with an understanding of the key questions, main concepts and theoretical debates in this field as well as specific disciplinary approaches. This will be the foundation one continuously builds on throughout one’s research career. However, specific projects tend to draw on more specific empirical literature. The relationship between research and literature review is a cyclical process, continuing throughout the course of a project, broadly analogised as ‘zoning in’—localising the research, ‘reorienting’—finding theoretical constructs that help you fine-tune your ongoing research and provide interpretive frameworks, and ‘zoning out’—situating your study in a broader range of literature. This essay also emphasises the importance of drawing on the research output of scholarship in Japanese, because there is often more research done in Japan and published in Japanese on the topic we research. Works in Japanese are an indispensable part of scholarly output which we should reference and utilise. However, although other scholars’ research serves as signposts for the terrain one is treading on, one needs to contour one’s own research trajectories. Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates 129 Further reading Callahan, Jamie L. (2014): Writing literature reviews: A reprise and update. In: Human Resource Development Review 13, No. 3, pp. 271–275. Kamler, Barbara/Thomson, Pat (2006): Helping doctoral students write: Pedagogies for supervision. London: Routledge. Oliver, Paul (2012): Succeeding with your literature review: A handbook for students. Maidenhead: Mc- Graw-Hill Education. Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J./Frels, Rebecca (2016): Seven steps to a comprehensive literature review: A multimodal & cultural approach. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Turabian, Kate L. (2018): A manual for writers of research papers, theses, and dissertations: Chicago style for students and researchers. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. References Ballescas, Maria Rosario Piquero (1992): Filipino entertainers in Japan: An introduction. Quezon City: Foundation for Nationalist Studies. Benedict, Ruth (1946): The chrysanthemum and the sword: Patterns of Japanese culture. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Cheah, Pheng (2001): Universal areas: Asian Studies in a world of motion. In: Traces 1, No. 1, pp. 37–70. Corbin, Juliet/Strauss, Anselm (2008): Strategies for qualitative data analysis. In: Corbin, Juliet/Strauss, Anselm: Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Los Angeles, CA: Sage, pp. 65–86. Department of Sociology (2012): A guide to writing a senior thesis in Sociology. https://sociology.fas.harva, [Accessed 13 May 2020]. Doi, Takeo (1973): The anatomy of dependence: The key analysis of Japanese behavior. Tokyo: Kodansha International. Escobar, Arturo (1995): Encountering development: The making and unmaking of the Third World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Foucault, Michel (1977): Die Ordnung des Diskurses: Inauguralvorlesung am Collège de France— 2. Dezember 1970. Frankfurt: Ullstein. Fujita, Setsuko (2020): Toshokan katsuyō-jutsu: Kensaku no kihon wa toshokan ni. Tōkyō: Nichigai Associates. Ganseforth, Sonja (2016): Besetzungen: Japanische Entwicklungsräume in Palästina. Bielefeld: Transcript. Hane, Mikiso/Perez, Louis G. (2015): Premodern Japan: A historical survey. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Hamada, Kumiko (2020): Nihon-shi o manabu tame no toshokan katsuyō-jutsu: Jiten, shiryō, dētabēsu. Tōkyō: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan. Hiraoka, Kōichi/Takegawa, Shōgo/Yamada, Masahiro/Kuroda, Kōichirō/Suda, Yūko/Shizume, Masato/ Nishino, Michiko/Kashida, Yoshio (eds.) (2013): Kenkyūdō: Gakuteki tankyū no michi annai. Tōkyō: Tōshindō. Jansen, Marius B. (1992): China in the Tokugawa world. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Kaji, Itaru (2007): Chūgoku shusshin seito no shinro kitei yōin: Ōsaka no chūgoku kikoku seito o chūshin ni. In: The Journal of Educational Sociology 80, pp. 331–349. Kamler, Barbara/Thomson, Pat (2006): Helping doctoral students write: Pedagogies for supervision. London: Routledge. Kolmer, Lothar/Rob-Santer, Carmen (2006): Geschichte SCHREIBEN: Von der Seminar- zur Doktorarbeit. Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh. Kühmstedt, Estella (2013): Klug recherchiert: Für Historiker. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Linger, Daniel Touro (2001): No one home: Brazilian selves remade in Japan. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Liu-Farrer, Gracia (2011): Labor migration from China to Japan: International students, transnational migrants. London: Routledge. Liu-Farrer, Gracia (2020): Immigrant Japan: Mobility and belonging in an ethno-national society. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Lloyd, Charlotte (2017/18): Literature reviews for Sociology senior theses. https://socthesis.fas.harvard.ed u/files/socseniorthesis/files/pres-litreview.pdf, [Accessed 13 May 2020]. 130 Maclachlan, Patricia L. (2002): Consumer politics in postwar Japan: The institutional boundaries of citizen activism. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Maclachlan, Patricia L. (2011): The people’s post office: The history and politics of the Japanese postal system, 1871–2010. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center. Massengill, Rebekah (2012): Writing Sociology: A guide for junior papers and senior theses. https://sociol, [Accessed 13 May 2020]. Massey, Doreen (2005): For space. London: Sage. Nakane, Chie (1967): Tate shakai no ningen kankei: Tan’itsu shakai no riron. Tōkyō: Kodansha. Roth, Joshua Hotaka (2002): Brokered homeland: Japanese Brazilian migrants in Japan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Russell, Bertrand (2004): History of Western philosophy. London: Routledge. Said, Edward (2003): Orientalism. London: Penguin. Sakuma, Kosei (2006): Gaikokujin no kodomo no fushūgaku. Tōkyō: Keisōshobō. Satō, Yoshimaru (2000): Nihon kingendai-shi: Bunken. Tōkyō: Fuyō Shobō. Suzuki, Nobue (2003): Transgressing ‘victims’: Reading narratives of ‘Filipina brides’ in Japan. In: Critical Asian Studies 35, No. 3, pp. 399–420. Tajima, Junko (1998): Shakai toshi: Tōkyō no ajiakei ijūsha. Tōkyō: Gakubunsha. Takaya, Sachi/Omagari, Yukiko/Higuchi, Naoto/Kaji, Itaru/Inaba, Nanako (2015): 2010-nen kokusei chōsa ni miru gaikokujin no kyōiku: Gaikokujin seishōnen no kateihaikei, shingaku, kekkon. In: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences—Graduate School of Humanities and Social Science, Okayama University 39, pp. 37–56. Toby, Ronald P. (1984): State and diplomacy in early modern Japan: Asia in the development of the Tokugawa bakufu. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Tsuda, Takeyuki (2003): Strangers in the ethnic homeland: Japanese Brazilian return migration in transnational perspective. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Chapter 4 How to identify relevant scholarly debates 131 Chapter 5 How to collect data: An introduction to qualitative Social Science methods Akiko Yoshida Introduction This chapter provides an overview of qualitative data collection methods used in Social Science research primarily for undergraduate students with a limited knowledge of research methods. I first explain different types of methods and discuss what each method is useful for, with a focus on fieldwork, qualitative interviews and observational research. I then present what researchers should consider in selecting data collection methods for their research. I close this chapter by discussing anecdotally what other things should be considered in preparing for qualitative research, drawing on the accounts shared by experienced researchers in the three essays included in this chapter as well as my own experience as a sociologist who conducted interviews for my doctoral dissertation research in Japan. What qualitative data collection methods are there? There are different types of data collection methods within qualitative Social Science research. The most commonly employed methods, which are the focus of this book, are fieldwork, qualitative interviews, observational research and archival research (see Ch. 6–9). These methods are not necessarily mutually exclusive, meaning that there are significant overlaps among them. Researchers may employ just one or multiple data collection methods in their study; they may also combine qualitative methods with quantitative methods or use some other form of mixed methods research or triangulation (see Hommerich/Kottmann, Ch. 10). Fieldwork (see McLaughlin, Ch. 6), or field research, is generally understood as research in which researchers immerse themselves in their research sites, making observations in natural settings, interacting with research participants and interviewing or just talking with them. Despite the fact that fieldwork has been commonly employed by qualitative researchers for over a century, meanings and applications of this concept are not shared among all social scientists (Berg 2007). In this chapter, I keep the conceptual definition of fieldwork rather loose and general and treat it as a combination of qualitative interviews (see Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7) and observational research (see Tagsold/Ullmann, Ch. 8). 1. 2. 132 Qualitative interviewing, which may also be called in-depth interviewing, involves asking open-ended questions to research participants in which participants choose their own words in answering the questions or, for example, elaborate on their answers. Researchers ask followup questions to participants to clarify, elaborate or explain their answers. Researchers often make observations on participants’ facial expressions, body language, speed of speech, use of pauses, tone of voice and other non-verbal expressions. This contrasts with survey questionnaires, which typically ask sets of prepared closed-ended questions with prepared answer categories, from which research participants choose answers. Though questionnaires can include open-ended questions, what differentiates qualitative interviewing from questionnaire research is that it aims to obtain in-depth accounts instead of direct answers to particular questions. The driving force behind qualitative interviewing is therefore ‘an interest in understanding the lived experience of other people and the meaning they make of that experience’ (Seidman 2006, p. 9). Another difference from questionnaire research is that researchers may accidentally encounter new themes that were not previously anticipated. As discussed in more detail in Chapter 7, there are different types of qualitative interviews based on the nature of questions (e.g. structured, semi-structured, unstructured and life story/ history interviews), the method of interviews (e.g. face-to-face, via phone, via the Internet) and the number of interviewees (i.e. one-on-one, couple/small group or focus group interviews). Semi-structured interviewing, which utilises a prepared set of open-ended questions called an interview guide, is probably the most common method. Life story/history interviewing, in which researchers ask questions regarding participants’ life experiences or prompt them to tell stories about their lives in the past, is also common (see Kinoshita, Ch. 13.2). These can be semi-structured or unstructured interviews, the latter of which does not involve any prepared questions. Tomoko Hidaka (2010), for example, conducted life history interviews with Japanese elite white-collar salarymen of a large age range—those born between 1925 and 1984—and found interesting differences and commonalities in childhood experiences according to age group. One-on-one interviews, in which a researcher interviews one participant at a time, are the most common forms (see Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7). Although couple/small group interviews and focus group interviews are less common, they are nonetheless suited to certain research questions and so worth mentioning here. To study the patterns of and reasoning for the division of household labour among Japanese married couples, Scott North (2009) interviewed married couples together. Couple interview research could inhibit individuals from sharing honest accounts in the presence of the other. In his research, however, most couples ‘used the interview to proclaim, and at times, negotiate, feelings about family, the division of family work, their marriages and self-identity’ (North 2009, p. 31), which generated valuable and rich data for his research. North was also able to observe how married couples interacted with each other, which added more nuance to his data. The ‘couples’ in couple interviews need not be pairs of intimate partners. In her study of care work for elderly parents in Japan, Kristen Schultz Lee (2010) interviewed an 88-year-old mother and her 66-year-old daughter together. The interview of this pair helped Schultz Lee conceptualise the ambiguous sentiments shared among adult daughters: many harboured resentments towards their mothers and had conflictual relationships with them, yet they held a desire to provide care for their parents (Schultz Lee 2010). Chapter 5 How to collect data 133 Focus group interviewing (see Yamaguchi, Ch. 7.2) was originally developed by marketing researchers (e.g. to obtain consumer feedback on products) and adopted by social scientists. Time efficiency is a definite appeal as researchers can interview a fairly large number of participants at once. This method, however, poses challenges such as keeping track of who said what, needing additional staff and possibly video cameras (which can conflict with confidentiality promises) or group dynamics to influence people’s accounts, to list a few. Group settings, however, may facilitate conversations among otherwise reserved individuals. Yoshie Moriki (2017) successfully obtained interesting accounts on sexless marriages and family cosleeping through two focus group interviews with 83 Japanese married women and men. Observational research is a method in which researchers make observations on social processes in natural settings, as little disturbed by researchers as possible. Chapter 8 provides details on what might be called overt participation, in which researchers participate in group activities, communicate openly about their research and build a rapport with the people they observe. Researchers, however, may assume a covert observer role, which means that they do not participate in any activities or reveal to participants that they are observing for a research purpose. You may do research, for instance, by systematically observing public spaces such as anime conventions, restaurants, train stations, protests and baseball games without explicitly interacting with any participants. You are unlikely to learn what these participants feel or think about what they do, but you might gain some understanding of norms, rituals, roles or processes by observing their normal activities as undisturbed by the presence of the researcher as possible. In some cases, researchers may assume a covert participatory role, but participate in activities without disclosing that they are doing research. The researcher can gain richer data in this case, but this approach raises ethical concerns. Researchers should be honest and respectful. Alternatively, researchers may tell the truth, or debrief, during the research or after completing the fieldwork. Whether this role can be carried out ethically is for researchers to consider and for the review board of researchers’ institutions to determine prior to data collection (see Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16). Yuko Ogasawara (1998), in her study of a Japanese bank, did not disclose her research purpose. She entered the site as a temporary clerical worker instead of a sociology student doing research because Japanese corporations would not have hired her if she had told them her purpose. During her research, she faced a psychological dilemma. Some of the female clerical workers of Japanese companies, or so-called ‘OLs’ or Office Ladies, began to share their dreams and problems with her, but she was unable to reciprocate by sharing her own. In the end, however, she was happy with her decision, as her role as a female employee tremendously helped her gain insights into power and gender dynamics within the Japanese white-collar corporate world (Ogasawara 1989). She used pseudonyms for the bank and individuals to protect their privacy and reputation. Her book aimed for women’s empowerment; thus the OLs would probably have appreciated her work. Whether her choice was ethical, however, is debatable. Other qualitative data collection methods include, but are not limited to, archival research, content analysis, action research, visual ethnography and autoethnography. Archival research (see Peucker/Schmidtpott/Wagner, Ch. 9) entails examining archival records to assess human traces. This is one of a few examples of an unobtrusive strategy—a method that does not intrude into people’s lives—in qualitative data collection methods. Another unobtrusive method —which at the same time is a tool for data analysis (see Chiavacci, Ch. 11)—is content analy- Akiko Yoshida 134 sis (see Arrington, Ch. 13), which involves a systematic examination of recorded communication (Babbie 2014; Berg 2007), such as written and/or visual materials in newspapers, books, magazines, advertisements, websites, songs, letters, e-mails, speeches, TV shows and more. Ayami Nakatani (2006) used magazines, newspapers and government reports to analyse the emerging concept of ‘nurturing fathers’ around the turn of century in Japan. Justin Charlebois (2013) examined discourses on ‘herbivore masculinity’ in literature on herbivores published in the late 2000s and early 2010s (see Schad-Seifert, Ch. 14.1). Action research is a unique way of conducting research in that research participants actively collaborate in the process of doing research (Berg 2007). Visual ethnography or visual sociology utilises visual images such as photography, video and other media. Photographs or videos can be the data to analyse (Dowdall/Golden 1989; Pink 2007; see also Slater et al., Ch. 16.2). Researchers may also use visual images (e.g. showing old photographs) to solicit responses from participants (Schwartz 1989; Walker/Moulton 1989). In autoethnography, researchers produce ‘accounts that draw upon the experience of the author/researcher for the purposes of extending sociological understanding’ (Sparkes 2000, p.21). This postmodern method challenges traditional scientific methods (Wall 2008) and has been questioned due to its lack of objectivity, for example, but I think it would be interesting if non-Japanese scholars recorded their perceptions, experiences and so forth of living in Japan. I encourage readers interested in this subject to consult the literature on these innovative methods. Thus far, I have used the term data without specifying what it means. Most people think of ‘data’ in relation to numbers, and in quantitative research data collected are indeed numeric or converted into numbers (such as 1 = strongly agree) and analysed statistically (see Hommerich/ Kottmann, Ch. 10). In qualitative research, on the other hand, data is anything but numbers (although, theoretically, numbers can also be part of qualitative research to some degree). Words, stories told in interviews, descriptions of scenes written by researchers, visual images, news articles or diaries, among others, are the data. Qualitative researchers transcribe interviews and write up field notes based on their observations. These are the data to analyse (see Ch. 11–14). Qualitative data collection methods include fieldwork (ethnography, field research), qualitative (in-depth) interviewing, observational research, archival research, content analysis, action research, visual ethnography (visual sociology) and autoethnography. What is each method useful for? Qualitative data collection methods are generally suited to, and excellent for, gaining a deeper, fuller understanding of the social phenomena under study (Babbie 2014). By directly observing natural behaviour/settings and/or asking questions in depth, researchers can, among other things, capture social life as experienced by participants, witness and record how certain events unfold, examine individual behaviour in relation to social contexts, gain insights into reasons for certain actions and behaviour, identify subtle nuances of attitudes, and better un- 3. Chapter 5 How to collect data 135 derstand human subjectivity and meanings attached to words, acts or events (Babbie 2014; Berg 2007; Schutt 2012). The units of social settings appropriate for fieldwork are: 1. practices, 2. episodes, 3. encounters, 4. roles and social types, 5. social and personal relationships, 6. groups and cliques, 7. organisations, 8. settlements and habitats, and 9. subcultures and lifestyles (Lofland et al. 2006). Because qualitative research typically takes an inductive approach (i.e. not to collect data for hypothesis testing), researchers can use this method for exploratory research or dive into areas that are understudied (Schutt 2012; see also Hommerich/Kottmann, Ch. 10). Anne Allison (1994) and Akiko Takeyama (2016) wanted to understand the unknown worlds of, respectively, hostess and host clubs in Japan. In her ethnographic research, Allison (1994) worked as a hostess at a high-class hostess club in Tokyo for four months. Takeyama (2016) visited numerous host clubs and conducted interviews with hosts, managers, owners and clients of clubs over the course of ten years. They obtained rich data on routine practices among hostesses/hosts, patterns of host(ess)–client encounters, roles played on the front stage and their lives behind it, and more. Of course, not everything in human behaviour is physically observable. Researchers may wish to understand what people think, feel, perceive, remember, reason, justify, experienced in the past and so forth. Qualitative interviewing is suited to such purposes. By gaining access to subjective understanding/reasoning, perceptions, sentiments, lived experiences or life stories/histories as told/expressed by research participants, researchers can identify, for instance, the reasons behind people’s actions and life choices (or lack thereof). Ekaterina Hertog (2009) conducted qualitative interviews with unwed mothers in Japan. Her study provides a great insight into why and how these women made the ‘tough choices’—the title of her book—of bearing and rearing children out of wedlock in the Japanese cultural context, which stigmatises unwed mothers. While qualitative interviewing appears to focus on micro-level human interaction/ behaviour, data collected could help identify structural and cultural problems as well. My interview research on singlehood aimed to identify structural constraints that kept many women in Japan from marrying. Never-married women cannot pinpoint the structural causes of their single status, of course. So instead of asking why they remained unmarried, I conducted life history interviews. In other words, by learning about these women’s subjective lived experiences, especially during the prime marrying age, I reconstructed the social and cultural structure they had lived through. Their life stories indicated that, among other things, many employees were spatially segregated by gender and age (which inhibited romantic encounters at workplaces), and that the 1980s economic boom and the 1990s recession had significant impacts on their life paths (Yoshida 2017). When conducting qualitative interviews, researchers do not have to predefine concepts (whereas operationalisation of concepts is crucial prior to data collection in quantitative research). For instance, Barbara Holthus and Wolfram Manzenreiter (see this chapter, Ch. 5.3) questioned the operationalisation of ‘happiness’ in widely used international surveys that rank Japan very low. They conducted interview research in rural Japan using a creative way to assess the sense of well-being. Similarly, concepts such as ‘social class’ are not easy to operationalise and quantify. Years/level of education and household income, which are commonly used as measures of social class in quantitative research, are far from accurate measures. Social class encompasses cultural practices and identity, for example (Bourdieu 1987). To gain a better understanding of the association between social class and reproductive practices in Japan, Akiko Yoshida 136 Aya Ezawa (2010) conducted qualitative interviews with divorced single mothers of various social and class backgrounds. By doing so, she identified different strategies for and perceptions of mothering depending on women’s class origin. Limitation in quantitative data—availability, inadequacy in measurements (see Hommerich/Kottmann, Ch. 10)—is another good reason for conducting qualitative interviews. One example is given by Karen Shire (see this chapter, Ch. 5.2). Her research question on Japanese corporations’ practices of recruitment and employment of transnational workers could not be answered by government statistics, as they were severely limited. Observational research is an excellent method for researchers interested in studying social processes as they happen. Ayumi Sasagawa (2006) observed, as a participant, various community and self-organised mother–preschooler groups. Her data explain how young mothers, in the era of low birth rates, were shaped into ‘good’ mothers through the practices of these groups, some of which were funded by local governments. Ogasawara’s aforementioned study (1998) of a Japanese bank provides detailed (and even humorous) accounts of how OLs expressed their resentment towards undesirable male supervisors through the use of Valentine’s Day chocolate-giving. Her observations challenged the notion of passivity among female clerical workers in Japan. Yet their resistance was certainly not to challenge the power structure. In other words, power dynamics were much more nuanced than male dominance–female subordinance, which was captured thanks to her observational research. One should, however, be aware of the limitations of qualitative methods. The flip side of the advantage of rich data is the limitation in sample size, sample representativeness and, hence, generalisability. The reliability and validity of interviewee accounts and researcher observations can also be questioned, as interviewees may lie, rationalise or remember things inaccurately. Similarly, researchers’ biases or moods (which change) may affect their observations. (There are, however, ways to manage reliability and validity, as subsequent chapters discuss.) Furthermore, ethics guidelines may inhibit data collection and the dissemination of research findings (see Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16). This being said, rich data collected from qualitative research can outperform these limitations, and its significance in enhancing our understanding of the human social world cannot be overstated. Additionally, it can truly be a rewarding experience to enter a community—the lifeworlds of people—and become connected through the means of conducting research. We just need to keep it in mind, as good social scientists, that our research is never perfect. Key issues Qualitative research allows researchers to explore understudied areas, gain access to people’s thoughts, feelings, life experiences, etc., and observe social processes so that researchers gain a deeper and fuller understanding of the human social world. Which data collection method should you select for your research? The first thing to consider when selecting your data collection method is which methods best answer your research question. The above section should already have given you some tips in 4. Chapter 5 How to collect data 137 this respect. There are other things to consider, such as time and budget, disciplinary norms or ‘personality and personal comfort’ (see this chapter, Cook, Ch. 5.1). Time and budget are determining factors for most researchers. Few researchers can afford to allocate time and other resources, or even have such opportunities, to conduct extensive participant observation research like the aforementioned Allison (1994) and Ogasawara (1989) did. Indeed, these studies are typically doctoral research or research generously funded by fellowships and grants. Your personality and preference also matter. Are you a good listener? Are you observant? Are you patient? These are important factors to take into consideration when selecting your data collection method. Even when researchers attain funding, other factors such as employment or family status can constrain the length and location of research (see McMorran, Ch. 15). This is especially the case for researchers who wish to conduct research in another country. As a Japanese national living and working in the U.S., I do not have the option of doing fieldwork in Japan most of the time. For my singlehood study, which I conducted when I was a doctoral student, I was fortunate because I was able to stay at my parents’ house in Tokyo (with a mother who cooked meals for me!). But I could not stay longer than two months, leaving my young child behind in the U.S. My parents’ residence in Tokyo also meant my research site was limited to the Greater Tokyo Area. In an ideal world, I would have conducted interviews in other urban centres and rural regions, and also with men. With the advent of social media and video calling services, however, qualitative interviews can be conducted from a long distance (see Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7). What to consider in choosing data collection methods Research question Which method best answers your research question? Time How much time can you spend on data collection? Budget How much money can you allocate to data collection? Can you obtain funding for your research? Discipline Which methods are considered appropriate in your discipline? Personality Are you observant, a good listener/communicator? Access Do you have access to research sites, interviewees, etc.? How to prepare your research? Once you select your data collection methods, you need to consider and make plans for other things, such as how to choose your interviewees and/or research sites, when and where to meet your interviewees or what to ask or observe. These are discussed in detail in the subsequent chapters for each method. Here, I share some anecdotal episodes on this matter, addressed in the chapter’s three essays and also drawing from my own research experience. Your choice of samples (i.e. your interviewees, sites for fieldwork/observation, etc.) can be theoretical—e.g. should you interview both married and never-married women for your single- Table 5.1: 5. Akiko Yoshida 138 hood research? How about divorced singles? But it can also be made for practical reasons (e.g. my choice to interview women living in the Greater Tokyo Area) or even dictated by factors outside a researcher’s control. Emma Cook (see this chapter, Ch. 5.1) illustrates the latter point well: whereas the selection in her first research (on young men in irregular employment) was relatively easy, her more recent project (on food allergies) was first inhibited by a lack of cooperation from relevant support groups. She eventually turned to one of her colleagues for help, which ended up expanding her research opportunities. Her essay demonstrates not only how research is an evolving process and can be affected by luck, but also how important it is for researchers to build and maintain good social networks. I have already discussed how the time and resources available to researchers may constrain their research projects. Researchers also need to consider such constraints imposed on research participants as well. For instance, it was a big challenge for me to interview women in fulltime career occupations in Japan because they worked incredibly long hours every day! They were often unable to keep promises regarding when they could be available on weekday nights. I am forever grateful to them for sparing their precious weekend hours for my research. I also had to cram in two or more interviews per weekend day despite the undesirability of being unable to take extensive fieldnotes right after each interview. The importance of expressing gratitude for study participation cannot be understated in the cultural context of Japan. Generally speaking, you should prepare a token gift—souvenirs from your country, gift certificates, etc.—and plan to pick up the bills for meals, coffee, etc. consumed at interviews (see McLaughlin, Ch. 6). But depending on the research sites, research participants may feel it is they who should be hospitable to the researcher. Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher (see Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7) discuss that research participants may invite the researcher to stay for dinner after having interviews at their home. Kottmann and Reiher recommend accepting such invitations. But as a Japanese native, I have mixed feelings about this. I think acceptance of such invitations is probably appropriate for non-Japanese researchers as they are perceived as ‘guests’ (in Japan). But for Japanese nationals like me, having received such an invitation when I interviewed a married woman at her home, I saw it as a polite and obligated offer—the Japanese feel they should not kick out their guests just before mealtime. I turned it down, and she appeared relieved. This was, however, a different story when an unmarried interviewee suggested we could go out for a drink after the interview. The difference here was that I did not want to inconvenience the first woman. This is quite tricky to navigate, even for a Japanese native like me who is well-versed in Japanese culture. My rule of thumb is to apply the old-fashioned norm: you turn down the offer three times. If they insist after you politely say ‘No’ three times, they must really mean they want you to stay. When interviewing in Japan or with Japanese nationals, which language to use is an important consideration for researchers who are not native Japanese speakers (see Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7). Additionally, researchers should be aware that within the Japanese language, there are variations in language according to region (i.e. dialects), gender, ethnicity and social class. If possible and appropriate, it is best to use the language of the people researched, although it is not always appropriate to do so. For instance, it is simply strange if a male researcher uses the feminine form of Japanese when interviewing a woman! If it is not possible to use the same language or dialect, I strongly urge that researchers carefully consider the implications of this. Power structures are embedded in language, and researchers can easily offend or alienate the Chapter 5 How to collect data 139 people researched by using language of a higher status than that used by their research subjects. One of the challenges in conducting qualitative interviews in Japan may be to open up the ‘closed lips’ of the Japanese, who are culturally expected to be humble and suppress their honest feelings. Holthus and Manzenreiter (see this chapter, Ch. 5.3) discuss the effective use of props. I had a similar experience in my research, in which I used cards for different life courses (e.g. married and work full-time, lifetime singlehood, unwed motherhood, etc.). The use of props set up a game-like atmosphere and relaxed the interviewees, which facilitated conversations on a very light note. Easy-to-answer warm-up questions also help. At the beginning of interviews, many of my interviewees said they were just ordinary (futsū) and had little to tell me. After answering the many questions that I posed, they were pleasantly surprised to learn they had plenty to tell about their lives. Key issues When preparing your research, consider the choice of samples, time and resources available, expressing gratitude, language issues and strategies like the use of props or warm-up questions to make people talk. How to position yourself when collecting data? As mentioned earlier and discussed more in subsequent chapters, researchers need to be cognisant of their positions in relation to their study participants, or reflexibility/positionality. Western scholars may take the importance of age hierarchy too lightly (though foreigners may be excused for it). As a Japanese native, this was extremely important to me, especially because I was older than most of my interviewees. I did not want younger interviewees to speak to me in the polite form of Japanese (and establish too formal an atmosphere) and feel pressured to answer all my questions because of my seniority. I managed the situation by deliberately dressing younger and by joking (Yoshida 2017). Inequalities based on other attributes (and their intersection) of course matter as well. Of particular relevance to Japanese (and Area) Studies is the impact of nationality, gender, race and ethnicity. In Japan, Westerners, especially of white race, are regarded as ‘higher’, while other races and ethnicities, including (non-Japanese) Asians, are often placed ‘lower’ in social strata (Yamashiro 2013). In her study of Filipina women in rural Japan, Lieba Faier (2009) discusses her struggle. Filipina women were discriminated against in rural Japan, and there were tensions between the two groups of her interviewees: Filipina women and Japanese nationals. Her whiteness and U.S. nationality (along with her affiliations to prestigious universities) were received with respect by the Japanese participants, but this positioned her in a different status from Filipina women. Some of her Filipina participants questioned her openness towards Filipina women (Faier 2009). Furthermore, researchers’ outsider status (i.e. non-Japanese) could inhibit them from gaining entry to research sites. Yet some researchers may discover their outsider status to be rather advantageous, because Japanese participants may feel more relaxed 6. Akiko Yoshida 140 about sharing their honest feelings with researchers who are not part of their community (Yoshida 2017; see also this chapter, Holthus/Manzenreiter, Ch. 5.3). All of these issues discussed above lead to one important conclusion: qualitative researchers cannot anticipate everything necessary to design research perfectly in advance. In fact, one of the most important guidelines in qualitative research is that researchers remain flexible and go with the flow. Research agendas and designs may change as time passes and researchers gain trust, as Cook points out (see this chapter, Ch. 5.1). Interview questions may be added, modified or dropped based on interviewees’ accounts (Yoshida 2017). Shire (see this chapter, Ch. 5.2) discusses how her research project carried out by a team of researchers with various backgrounds evolved against the backdrop of legal constraints. They had to be flexible and to reframe their research question. This flexibility, however, is an exciting thing about qualitative data collection. Key issues Researchers always have to be aware of their reflexibility and positionality. This includes being mindful of inequalities based on age, gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, etc. Most importantly, researchers have to remain flexible and go with the flow. Summary This chapter has provided an overview of various qualitative data collection methods, focusing on fieldwork, qualitative interviewing and observational research. These methods allow researchers to directly observe natural settings and/or learn about people’s views. Thus, they are suited to gaining a deeper understanding of the subjects under study. Which method best answers the research question should be the most important criterion for choosing the data collection method, but availability of time, resources, access to sites/interviewees and other things such as one’s own personality should be taken into consideration. When collecting data, researchers should remain flexible and be aware of the impact of their own position on the people they are researching. 7. Chapter 5 How to collect data 141 Participant observation and interviews: Going with the flow and dipping in and out Emma E. Cook [R]igorous anthropological inquiry [involves] … long-term and open-ended commitment, generous attentiveness, relational depth, and sensitivity to context. (Ingold 2014, p. 384) Fieldwork is a technique of gathering research material by subjecting the self—body, belief, personality, emotions, cognitions—to a set of contingencies […] such that over time —usually a long time—one can more or less see, hear, feel, and come to understand the kinds of responses others display (and withhold) in particular social situations. (Van Maanen 2011, p. 151) [E]thnography […] does not claim to produce an objective or truthful account of reality, but should aim to offer versions of ethnographers’ experiences of reality that are as loyal as possible to the context, negotiations and intersubjectivities through which the knowledge was produced. (Pink 2007, p. 22) Take a look at any qualitative methods research book and you might be overwhelmed at the possibilities on display. Perusing just one book’s table of contents, we are provided with chapters on: interviews, oral history, biographical research, focus groups, narrative research, conversation analysis, participant observation and action research, to name just a few (Seale et al. 2007). This chapter is not an overview of the different methodologies that you could potentially use in your project; it’s not a how-to guide. Instead, I aim to provide some insight into the actual choice and use of methods within my two main research projects to date. The methods we choose are, of course, fundamentally designed to help us answer particular research questions, yet they are also more than that. They are chosen for disciplinary reasons, time and money constraints, as well as personality and personal comfort, among others. As a social anthropologist my go-to methods always involve extensive interaction with people through participant observation and semi-structured and unstructured conversations. As Tim Ingold (2014, p. 386) argues, ‘in the conduct of our research, we meet people. We talk with them, we ask them questions, we listen to their stories and we watch what they do. In so far as we are deemed competent and capable, we join in.’ As you can imagine, the ways in which we do this are contingent: on the locations we choose, the people we meet, the reception we get, and on our gender, age, ethnicity and class, to name just a few (see Goodman, Ch. 1; Kottmann/ Reiher, Ch. 7). These are also circumscribed by the project itself, the research questions and 5.1 142 also the amount of time we can spend in any one place at any one time. In this chapter, I will briefly explain the methods I’ve used in two research projects, the reasoning underlying my choices and some of the limitations that have arisen. Project methods In my PhD research, I set out to explore masculinities and part-time labour in Japan. In particular, I was interested in how men who are not working in a normative way—as salaried fulltime workers—understood, lived and constructed their masculinities. To do this, I had to first ask, what is masculinity? How is it produced, experienced, negotiated and lived? How are labour and masculinities linked in the Japanese context? Why were young men working in the irregular labour market (‘freeters’) regarded so critically in wider society? These are just some of the questions that directed my PhD research and informed the methods I chose. It is quite difficult to ask people directly about their masculinities and the links with their labour practices because such questions are individual and inherently social (Cook 2019). I therefore decided that I needed to come at it from a variety of different angles by engaging primarily in participant observation and semi-structured interviews. Before starting the fieldwork, I made a list of all the possible places that I thought would give me a good chance of meeting and working with a number of freeters: coffee shops, bars (izakaya) or the multi-screen cinema, for example. Having arrived in the city, I also began to look for any support organisations that existed to help young people into work. Ultimately, I did participant observation at two places: a cinema where I worked three to four days a week and a non-profit organisation which helped young people build confidence and find work. After building relationships, I also conducted semi-structured interviews with male irregular workers, asking about their personal histories, experiences, lives and aspirations. Semi-structured interviews were done with people I worked with, and through some limited snowballing (for an in-depth discussion of the methods used Cook 2016, p. 16–22). As the fieldwork progressed, I realised that to understand the moral panic about young male labour practices it was also important to talk more deeply with people who were not working in the irregular labour sector. I therefore began speaking to a range of other people of different ages, genders and occupations that I met through friends and acquaintances. My most recent project on socio-cultural aspects of food allergies in Japan and the U.K. is more methodologically challenging than my PhD research on a number of fronts. It is a crosscultural project that explores experiences of food allergies in Japan and the U.K. Moreover, it explores the experiences of two different groups: specifically, parents of children with food allergies as well as adult individuals who have food allergies. As I am working in a full-time position in Japan, there are constraints on the amount of time and uninterrupted participant observation I can do. Instead, I have to dip in and out of the field. Finding my fields took time and is ongoing. It takes patience and perseverance. I had originally planned to do the Japanese side of the research primarily in Hokkaido where I’m based, and so I reached out to a support group that had an informative website as a starting point. In late 2013, I emailed the representative of the group, explaining my interest. In response to my email, the representative wanted to talk on the telephone, so I gave her my number. When she called she asked about my research, my allergies to fish and nuts, and if I had children (I Chapter 5 How to collect data 143 don’t). It was plain throughout the conversation that she didn’t want me to join, and she wasn’t interested in meeting in person. Her last comment was ‘well, if you birth a child you can join (maa, kodomo undara sanka dekimasu)’. After casting around looking for other groups—and struggling to find any—I decided to contact a fellow anthropologist who had done work in Japan on an allergic disease. She very kindly mentioned my research to the director and CEO of the non-profit organisation that she had worked with, and they invited me to attend their summer camp for children with atopic eczema, asthma and food allergies. There began a working relationship with the NPO that lasts to this day. Finding places willing to accept an anthropologist entails a certain amount of luck and the willingness to reach out to others. Having someone to speak on your behalf is also important (Bestor et al. 2003; see Hendry, Ch. 1.3). My colleague was someone who had volunteered and worked with the NPO for years for her research, and she was liked and trusted. Moreover, the director of the NPO has a degree in Sociology and is interested in—and sees the value of—qualitative research. Working with them has also opened up the project in many different directions. For example, they are members of—and represent Japan—at the International Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Alliance (IFAAA), which brings together the heads of organisations from 21 countries each year. Since 2015, I have been able to attend the meetings with them, meeting the heads of organisations from around the world, and hearing about the various issues and solutions that different groups in different countries have been working on. This has helped me develop relationships with the two charities that work on allergy and anaphylaxis in the U.K., who have allowed me to post information on their social media sites and put out a call for interviewees for each summer that I’m in the U.K. However, it also allows me to begin to trace the ways in which scientific and received knowledge is transmitted in different cultural contexts. In addition to such kinds of participant observation, I have done a range of informal and semi-structured interviews with people who have food allergies and those who are parents of children with food allergies in Japan and the U.K. Problems and ongoing problem-solving Unlike in my doctoral research—where the bulk of my time was spent on research—working in a full-time position puts constraints on methodologies because of time, research budgets and location. Whilst I originally intended the food allergy research to be a cross-cultural comparative project, the comparison aspect has, to an extent, taken a back seat for the present moment. With time in the U.K. limited to a month of research in the summer, it has not been possible to undertake extended participant observation in addition to travelling around conducting semi-structured interviews. I have therefore focused my attention so far on meeting with, and interviewing, individuals and families. Time issues are solvable by understanding that it’s not possible to do everything at once and by planning methodologies accordingly. There are also logistical elements to consider: the locations of allergy charities in the U.K. are not in major cities, and public transport is expensive and not always particularly reliable. This is solvable by renting an Airbnb close by or a car, but this also depends on finances. In contrast, in Japan I have done more participant observation than interviewing. With advance notice of events and meetings, I can secure lower priced tickets using low-cost air carriers to travel or I can travel by train. Emma E. Cook 144 The methods I currently use—whilst ostensibly similar on the surface to what I did in my PhD research: participant observation and semi-structured interviews—are different from when I was doing my doctoral research. In that case, I worked alongside irregular labourers three or four days a week in one location, and I interviewed people primarily in the local area. Now I dip in and out throughout the year, attending events when and where I can. Work circumstances, research funding, time and the ability to travel or live in the areas where the research is conducted are thus just as much a factor in the kinds of methods we choose as the research questions we are trying to answer. Moreover, the methodologies themselves are carried out quite differently depending on these factors. It is necessary to remain aware and reflexive of these issues (see Coates, Ch. 3.2), and how this affects the kinds of research and data being collected. Moreover, as time progresses, as trust increases and as the research moves on, methods change. Staying open, flexible and reflexive is therefore important. General advice Think about what is doable given the time—and research budget, if relevant—that you have. Be patient, reach out to people you know and those you don’t yet know, and don’t give up when the door is closed on you: there will be other ways to do the research. And don’t be afraid for your project, research questions and methodologies to change. Research is a dynamic process that we don’t do alone, so be confident to go with the flow whilst remaining alert and reflexive to what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Chapter 5 How to collect data 145 Transnational research in Japan Studies—an oxymoron? Studying cross-border labour mobility in globalising Japanese production organisations Karen Shire Social surveys and official statistics define their units of analysis as located within specific national state territories. If statistical methods generate data on internationally mobile populations, it is usually in relation to their presence within rather than their mobility between national contexts. Data gathered on an international scale by organisations like the OECD or the UN are mainly compilations of nationally generated statistics and serve a comparative purpose at best. Even in the European Union, where the institutionalisation of a supra-national polity would seem to meet a fundamental condition for the generation of world regional data, Eurostat relies almost exclusively on compiling country-level reports. ‘Methodological nationalism’ continues to infiltrate the world of social indicators, despite almost twenty years of research about transnational mobility. Within this broader scientific situation, a transnational form of Japan Studies would seem to be an oxymoron. The tendency of Area and Regional Studies to focus on a specific country, almost by definition, favours research designs bounded by the national container of a single society. John Urry in his research programme on horizontal mobilities defined the task of transnational research as one of investigating ‘the respective and uneven reach of diverse networks and flows as they move within and across societal borders’ (Urry 2000, p. 18). In this essay, I recount the experience of studying employment practices which extend ‘above and between’ the scale of nation states (Djelic/Quack 2003, p. 305). The focus is on how national Japanese labour market institutions are increasingly reconstituted across Japanese borders, thus linking labour markets in Japan, including those for migrant labour, with supplies of labour and organisations of production in East and Southeast Asia. The project Cross-Border Temporary Agency Work: The Construction of Markets and Transnational Regulation in International Comparison funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, SH/82/5–1, 2013–2016) aimed to understand how supplies and demands for foreign labour were linked through the employment of migrants in Japan and the mobility of Japanese transnational enterprises abroad in search of labour supplies, especially technical and skilled labour. Developing a multi-site, actor-centred and qualitative research design, the project focused on the role of temporary staffing firms as agents driving the making of crossborder labour markets, and their interactions with local states and regulatory requirements, Japanese client firms and local workers to develop new patterns of transnational labour mobility. In this way, the research questioned whether the Japanese labour market exists as a nationally contained exchange of labour or, at least in part, was developing as a transnational institution. 5.2 146 Transnational research design: Following the staffing agencies and tracing mobility patterns In developing the research design, we found that two sets of national quantitative indicators were important in sketching out the spatial scope and longer-term changes—Japanese immigration statistics and data on Japanese foreign direct investments (FDI). Immigration statistics lent some insight into the increasing dependence of the Japanese domestic labour market on migrant labour (a fact that the secondary literature on migration in Japan has now well established). FDI statistics, however, hardly paid attention to foreign labour forces, local labour recruitment and employment practices, or to how Japanese transnational enterprises structured careers for local foreign labour. The research strategy was to investigate the links between foreign labour in Japan and in their home countries in relation to the globalisation of Japanese production organisations. Our previous research on Japanese temporary staffing agencies suggested that agency recruitment and employment practices were at least one important mechanism of cross-border labour market linkage. The consequence of this research strategy for the research design was the adoption of a multisite approach focusing on the activity of market making. We conceptualised staffing firms as cross-border market makers, and defined the basic research concern as following Japanese temporary staffing firms and documenting their recruitment and placement practices within and outside Japan. Interviews with staffing industry representatives in headquarters in Tokyo revealed a dense network of Japanese temporary staffing firms in all of the major urban centres of countries where Japanese FDI was located in East and Southeast Asia. Vietnam, though not among the countries named in the research proposal, was named early on by staffing firms in Tokyo as an especially important case, leading us to add Vietnamese labour in Japanese enterprises at home and abroad to our research activities. An important prerequisite for implementing research about the transnational practices of private enterprises is gaining research access to the same enterprises in multiple countries. Gaining access was also a challenge in relation to foreign actors in multi-site designs, including experts in foreign governments and the labour movement. The author had long studied Japanese staffing agency employment and could enter into a research collaboration with two scholars based in Japan (Steffen Heinrich and Jun Imai), both of whom had excellent contacts in the industry. A third researcher from Taiwan with quantitative research skills (Chih-Chieh Wang) allowed us to draw on Chinese language sources, to better analyse available official statistics in all the destination countries, and to conduct additional interviews in Taiwan. Finally, a doctoral researcher following up on the study (Aimi Muranaka) extended the research design to study the motivations of Vietnamese workers moving between Tokyo, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. These contours of the research design and the constitution of the research team underline how transnational research requires an international network of researchers and a combination of linguistic and methodological competencies. Following the staffing firms abroad, we soon learned that a number of legal constraints on the industry meant that it could not operate in the same way as in Japan. Only China has a legal framework for temporary agency work, requiring all foreign agencies to enter into joint ventures with Chinese agencies. To work around legal constraints, Japanese staffing agencies abroad changed their business model to what they called shōkai, or introducing labour to clients, rather than dispatching to clients, as they do in Japan. This discovery led the research Chapter 5 How to collect data 147 team to readjust the research approach again, to focus on how staffing firms invented new practices for organising mobility in the context of foreign national legal constraints. Qualitative interviewing methods The main method for the field study was semi-structured interviews (see Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7) with operational managers at branches of temporary staffing firms, with a focus on two specific leading firms with branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok. Starting with corporate headquarters in Tokyo, we obtained contact to the branches in each of these cities. Japanese enterprises abroad are notorious for continuing to do most of their business in the Japanese language. For Japan Studies scholars, this was of course an advantage. Nearly all interviews in China, Vietnam and Thailand were conducted in Japanese. The research design also involved understanding the different sets of national regulatory constraints and how these affected mobility and employment practices. In many cases, the staffing firms could supply us with information, but in Vietnam and Taiwan, it became necessary to gain access to experts in the Labour Ministries. The Vietnamese Labour Ministry staff over the past decade have received policy advice and support from a number of international (for example, the ILO) and foreign government aid organisations, so that an interview could be conducted with some effort in English. Transcripts were completed in the original language by native speakers. Since the research was designed as an inter-regional comparison, with the same research conducted in the European Union, transcripts were eventually summarised as memos in English to support broader comparative analyses of the data. In designing the interviews with staffing agency managers in Japan and abroad, we structured our questions around three main types of horizontal labour mobility—staffing firm recruitment of foreign labour to Japan, their cross-border recruitment from Japan to foreign-based clients, and movements back and forth, including evidence of intra-company transfers. A short project description was sent with each request to interview, where we also named the contact person in Tokyo (or in some cases, other Asian locations). Making our networks of contacts transparent to potential interview partners was a key factor in gaining access. In most cases, it became evident that the contacts checked up on us before accepting our requests for interviews. In one case, where we contacted a trade union organisation in Hong Kong, the contact checked back with organisations close to trade unions in Germany to assess the neutrality of the principle investigator. In Taiwan, the government official contacted for an interview knew of the prior research activities of the Taiwanese team member, and told him when they met that she agreed to the interview because she had heard he was a serious researcher. Research networks and reputations have a very long reach. The interviews always began with a brief description of our research activities and with openended questions about the staffing business in the specific context (What is your business here? How does it compare to what you do in Japan?). Some questions were always repeated, for example, what the interviewees would like to see changed in the regulatory environments in which they operated (in this way, we could gather information on dealing with legal constraints). Towards the end of each interview we asked about the interviewees’ own work biography and, in most cases, these questions generated individual cases of cross-border labour mobility—one of which is presented in the following. Karen Shire 148 Patterns of cross-border labour mobility: The case of JiaIi Kobayashi We received the contact to Jiali Kobayashi, the operating manager of a major Japanese staffing firm in Beijing, from her colleagues in Shanghai (whose contact we had received from headquarters in Tokyo; here and in all our publications, persons and organisations are anonymised). Jiali is a Chinese citizen, who studied in Japan and is married to a Japanese businessman. She relocated to Beijing with her two children when her husband’s employer, a Japanese automaker, transferred him to China. Unlike many Japanese women, Jiali continued to work full-time after the birth of her son. When her husband’s company announced he would be transferred to Beijing, they also expressed their expectation that Jiali would quit her job and go with him. She agreed, expecting to find a job in Beijing. The company, however, refused to allow this. Instead, they enrolled her in a training programme for wives, to prepare her and the other wives for supporting their husbands’ careers. For the first year, Jiali describes having enjoyed the break from work, but soon began to worry about the effects of a long interruption on her future employability back in Tokyo. Though a Chinese citizen, being from a rural area, she had no idea about how to find a job in Beijing. For that reason, she visited the Japanese staffing company for advice and ended up being employed by them. Within two years, she was promoted to manage the branch. She expected to continue to work for the staffing firm when she and her husband eventually return to Tokyo. Nearly all of Jiali’s clients were Japanese manufacturing firms and trading companies, who wished to employ Chinese citizens who could speak Japanese. Jiali’s biography represented exactly this pattern of mobility. Her work consisted of organising job fairs in cities back in Japan where Chinese students were known to enrol in Japanese universities. Many Chinese students in Japan, like Jiali, are originally from rural regions in China. For the students, finding a job before moving back home to China allows them to exchange their rural hukou (registration) for an urban one, and in this way re-enter China as part of the urban workforce. The problem, however, for Japanese staffing firms was that their Japanese clients were notorious for paying lower wages than Chinese competitors. Jiali recounted how she and her Japanese clients were losing her Chinese recruits to Chinese enterprises. She and others in the industry, however, noticed that Chinese enterprises were beginning to establish branches in Japan (even citing lower labour costs of young college-educated labour in Japan). For the Japanese staffing firm in China, this opened a new opportunity to recruit Chinese with Japanese language skills in China and return them back to Tokyo to work for Chinese rather than Japanese clients. Japanese client enterprises in China, facing high labour turnover (as well as geopolitical uncertainties) were, as a result, beginning to move out of China and into Vietnam. What began as recruitment for foreign invested Japanese enterprises in China evolved, in our observations, into a cross-border labour market. Chapter 5 How to collect data 149 Conclusion The research experience reported above demonstrates that transnational Japanese Studies is not an oxymoron, if research is designed to move beyond the comfort zone of the ‘national container’ we call Japan, and to follow activities and processes of Japanese people, organisations and institutions across borders. Moreover, without available statistical data at present, transnational research is strongly dependent on qualitative research designs and international collaborations, but also on language-based research skills in Japan Studies. Karen Shire 150 ‘Bullseye view on happiness’: A qualitative interview survey method* Barbara Holthus and Wolfram Manzenreiter Since 2014, we have been trying to decipher the social DNA of happiness in Japan. The conference of the same title in 2014 was the starting point for a joint research project focusing on the current state of well-being in Japan, in time developing into a focus on regional differences in well-being, particularly in rural Japan. Even though happiness research has been burgeoning, a comprehensive understanding of the underlying impact factors of subjective happiness is still wanting. The same is true for the definitions and conceptualisations of the terms happiness, life satisfaction and well-being. There also exists a fuzziness in the use of the terms, both in everyday life as well as academic works (Holthus/Manzenreiter 2017; Izquierdo/Mathews 2009; Manzenreiter/Holthus 2017). The relevant literature in this respect is often inconclusive and contradictory. Different disciplinary approaches do not simply highlight different aspects of happiness; they generate different data and draw diverging conclusions. This is all the more the case for happiness research that has been dominated by Psychology and Economics. And quantitative surveys all too often gloss over the cultural particularities of respondents. Large-scale international surveys on happiness that present Japan as unhappy in comparison to other highly developed societies often rely on a single-item measurement of overall happiness or overall wellbeing. The meaning of happiness and its importance in human life as a universal standard is hardly ever questioned. Qualitative studies, which by contrast do indeed take context into consideration, focus on specific sub-groups or singular factors, such as ageing, the workplace, parenthood or political participation, to name but a few. A comprehensive study of Japan that investigates the multidimensionality of happiness and pays tribute to a culture-sensitive understanding of happiness is still lacking. Our interest in rural happiness derives from conflicting views on rural life in contemporary Japan, oscillating between the dystopian vision of the countryside in irreversible economic decline and the nostalgic romanticisation of rural Japan as the repository of traditional values and institutions or an alternative space for individual self-realisation. We have good reason to believe that well-being and life satisfaction are not lower in rural Japan than in urban Japan, but instead that rural life offers a distinctive set of factors that influence residents’ happiness. Our research objective is to find out how these factors account for the subjective sense of wellbeing among types of residents in rural Japan. Because we can access happiness only in terms of conscious reflection and verbal expressions, we were looking for appropriate interview 5.3 * This chapter is a shortened version of Holthus, Barbara/Manzenreiter, Wolfram (2019): Bullseye view: Developing a sociological method for studying happiness. Tokyo: DIJ Working Paper Series 19/3 and Holthus, Barbara/Manzenreiter, Wolfram (2020): A gameboard approach to studying the multidimensionality of life satisfaction. In: Cieslik, Mark/Hyman, Laura (eds.): Researching happiness: Qualitative, biographical and critical perspectives, Bristol: Bristol University Press. 151 methods in order to address the diversity of factors that rural residents deem to be of significance. Access to the field and the interviewees A common hurdle in social research is to get access to the field, which is potentially even more pronounced in the case of rural communities and in the case of happiness research, by dealing with the highly private aspects of individual emotions and subjective experiences. What considerably helped us to gain access to people in rural Japan was the extensive ethnographic research history of former members of the Japanese Studies section at the University of Vienna, where we both worked. This research history in the Aso area in central Kyushu dates back half a century. Since 2015, we have carefully rebuilt relations at different levels (with locals, officials, governments and scholars) in the area; numerous visits considerably eased our access to individuals in the region and lay the foundations of trust relationships. Trust and respect are crucial prerequisites of any research method that relies on self-reporting. In that regard, we believe the local population’s familiarity with us through our recurrent presence in the field was advantageous. In addition, our outsider position as visible foreigners was surprisingly helpful. No matter which culture, most people naturally feel reluctant to reveal their feelings about happiness and life satisfaction to strangers in a face-to-face interview. Yet the threshold at which one feels willing to reveal personal sentiments to complete outsiders is actually lower, and we as foreigners were allowed to act naively and address issues that native researchers seem more hesitant to ask. At the time of writing, we have interviewed 30 people from a small rural settlement of about 60 households and the nearby town, with a population below 10,000. In fairly equal measure, we have spoken with newcomers and lifelong residents and with young, middle-aged and elderly men and women. The interviews usually took place at the homes or shops of our interviewees. Experimental design: Coming to terms with happiness We began our one to 1.5-hour interviews with a short word association part as a warm-up, naming seven terms: happiness (shiawase), sadness (kanashimi), worries (nayami), hope (kibō), success (seikō), anxiety (fuan) and failure (shippai). Our interviewees were asked to talk about anything that came to their minds associated with these terms or how they would define them. A few mentioned at the outset that they had never really thought about happiness, before trying to formulate definitions or providing us with stories of their experiences of happiness. These concrete examples of moments in which they feel or felt happy, sad or worried range from large issues to small incidents. ‘Large’ happiness often appears to be tied to the interrelatedness of the self, in many instances to the well-being of the family. One example of ‘small’ happiness is the appreciation of ‘the sensation in May when rice seedlings are just protruding from the water surface of paddy fields under a clear early morning sky.’ Such an attitude was occasionally summarised as futsū no shiawase, which either signified ‘the usual happiness’ or ‘happiness due to everything being normal.’ This opening to the interview demonstrated that Barbara Holthus and Wolfram Manzenreiter 152 happiness is very much an interpretative process, embedded in social networks and across personal biographies. During the main part of the interviews, we worked with a two-coloured bullseye-shaped chart and tokens to be placed on the board, which to our knowledge is a unique contribution to happiness research (see Figure 5.1). The idea of designing an interactive tool came out of our desire 1. to make the interviews less abstract for the interviewees, 2. to have a hands-on approach as a starting point for detailed questions to follow thereafter, 3. to be able to cover the multidimensionality of happiness and life satisfaction in a comparably short period of interview time, 4. to understand the importance of some elements in people’s lives in relation to other elements in their lives and 5. to make visible and understand clusters of elements, namely how some elements are clustered together on the chart by the interviewees, whereas others were placed on the board at a distance from each other. The chart is divided into a blue and red part, the blue representing the things one is dissatisfied with, red the things one is satisfied with. Circles radiating from the centre weight the significance of the factors, here in the form of round tokens that we provided. The interviewees were instructed to first place a board game figure representing one’s self on the bullseye, and then to arrange the tokens on the board. By selecting and placing tokens on the chart, the interviewees revealed which aspects they think to be important for living a good life, how important these are—also in relation to other factors—and if they are currently satisfied or not with them. Tokens identified as irrelevant were omitted from the board, those for which interviewees felt both satisfaction and dissatisfaction were placed on the dividing line between the red and blue halves. We chose the content of tokens in accordance with our understanding of the state of happiness research. The 30+ terms cover a wide range of aspects between politics, nature, social relations, media usage, work and cultural life. In addition, we offered the interviewees the chance to label blank tokens with other terms. Once all the tokens had been placed, we embarked on an in-depth conversation about the tokens to learn more about the meaning attached to them, the reasons for their placement and their specific realisation in the lives of our interviewees. In wrapping up the interviews, we handed the interviewees a piece of paper, featuring three quantitative survey questions on happiness. All three questions offer the same answer option, a Likert-scale from 0 to 10. We used smileys instead of words to identify the extremes of the scales. Question 1 on the general state of happiness is posed in the same wording as most large-scale surveys in Japan, asking ‘These days, all things considered, how happy do you feel?’ (see Hommerich/Kottmann, Ch. 10). The single-item measurement enables us to tie in with quantitative research, as well as to understand how interviewees rate their state of happiness in comparison to others. It helps us put the overall view of life satisfaction, as extrapolated from the chart and the conversation in the main part of the interview, into perspective. Question 2 ‘In your opinion, what is the ideal level of happiness?’ is important in light of our understanding that Japanese do not universally subscribe to the Western concept of ‘the happier, the better’, but rather to an idea of happiness as fluctuating in a cyclical, sine-wave fashion, in which happiness is a transitory experience and rather based on interpersonal connectedness and balance between the self and others (Uchida et al. 2015). Question 3 ‘How important is it to be happy?’ is an additional attempt to make a cultural argument. While many studies tacitly presuppose the desire for happiness to be universal, and happiness to seemingly be the ultimate goal in life, cultural anthropological as well as cultural psychological research has Chapter 5 How to collect data 153 demonstrated that happiness is far from being an unquestionable good in every cultural context and, under certain conditions, is even seen as socially undesirable. We found for our respondents levels of happiness throughout the scale of 0 to 10. The majority chose either 5 or 8 or a number between these values. Some chose a 10, and only one person, who was outspokenly unhappy, chose a 0. As much as we see great variability in happiness levels, we also see a wider range of what people consider ideal levels. Reflections Evaluating the benefits of the methodological approach, we find the quality of our findings as well as the ease of conducting the interviews exceeded our expectations by far. The bullseye chart made our interviewees alive and talkative. Interviewees accepted the outcome as a visualisation of a current slice of their life, and in more than one case they thanked us, saying that they experienced the interviews as enjoyable and a kind of a psychoanalytic session. The visual tool allowed us to get into the complexities of the different aspects and their interrelatedness, which would have otherwise been extraordinarily difficult to extrapolate from our respondents in such comparably short interview times. The visual aid of the chart provides stimulation for high-quality conversation. It displays the different factors in relation to each other and evaluates the strength of these indicators, also in relation to each other. This complexity could not be grasped without any visual tool. The instructions for the exercise are extraordinarily simple, which makes it appealing to many different types of interviewees. We believe this method is applicable and easily adaptable to different social groups, cultural contexts and different research topics. Therefore, we hope that our method will be tried out in many different ways and with different types of interviewees, beyond rural areas or even Japan. Bullseye chart in practice, three examples Copyright: authors Figure 5.1: Barbara Holthus and Wolfram Manzenreiter 154 Further reading Alasuutari, Pertti/Bickmann, Leonard/Brannen, Julia (eds.) (2008): The SAGE handbook of social research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Amelina, Anna/Nergiz, Derrimsel D./Faist, Thomas/Glick Schiller, Nina (eds.) (2012): Beyond methodological nationalism: Research methodologies for cross-border studies. New York, NY: Routledge. Denzin Norman K./Lincoln, Yvonna S. (eds.) (2005): The SAGE handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Leavy, Patricia (ed.) (2014): The Oxford handbook of qualitative research. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Savin-Baden, Maggi/Major, Claire Howell (2013): Qualitative research: The essential guide to theory and practice. London: Routledge. Silverman, David (2000): Doing qualitative research: A practical handbook. London: Sage. Sprague, Joey/Zimmerman, Mary K. (1989): Quality and quantity: Reconstructing feminist methodology. In: The American Sociologist 20, No. 1, pp. 71–86. DOI: 10.1007/BF02697788. References Allison, Anne (1994): Nightwork: Sexuality, pleasure, and corporate masculinity in a Tokyo hostess club. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Babbie, Earl (2014): The basics of social research. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning. Berg, Bruce L. (2007): Qualitative research methods for the Social Sciences. Boston, MA: Pearson. Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (2003): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press. Bourdieu, Pierre (1987): What makes a social class? On the theoretical and practical existence of groups. In: Berkeley Journal of Sociology 32, pp. 1–17. Charlebois, Justin (2013): Herbivore masculinity as an oppositional form of masculinity. In: Culture, Society & Masculinities 5, No. 1, pp. 89–104. Cook, Emma E. (2016): Reconstructing adult masculinities: Part-time work in contemporary Japan. London: Routledge. Cook, Emma E. (2019): Exploring masculinities and labour through intimacy. In: Alexy, Allison/Cook, Emma E. (eds.): Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of closeness and conflict. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 246–247. Djelic, Marie-Laure/Quack, Sigrid (eds.) (2003): Globalization and institutions: Redefining the rules of the economic game. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Dowdall, George W./Golden, Janet (1989): Photographs as data: An analysis of images from a mental hotel. In: Qualitative Sociology 12, No. 2, pp. 183–213. Ezawa, Aya (2010): Motherhood and class: Gender, class, and reproductive practices among Japanese single mothers. In: Ishida, Hiroshi/Slater, David H. (eds.): Social class in contemporary Japan: Structures, sorting and strategies. New York, NY: Routledge, pp.197 – 220. Faier, Lieba (2009): Intimate encounters: Filipina women and the remaking of rural Japan. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Hertog, Ekaterina (2009): Tough choices: Bearing an illegitimate child in contemporary Japan. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Hidaka, Tomoko (2010): Salaryman masculinity: Continuity and change in hegemonic masculinity in Japan. Leiden: Brill. Holthus, Barbara/Manzenreiter, Wolfram (eds.) (2017): Life course, happiness and well-being in Japan. London: Routledge. Ingold, Tim (2014): That’s enough about ethnography! In: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4, No. 1, pp. 383–394. Izquierdo, Carolina/Mathews, Gordon (eds.) (2009): Pursuits of happiness: Well-being in anthropological perspective. Oxford: Berghahn. Lofland, John/Snow, David/Anderson, Leon/Lofland, Lyn H. (2006): Analyzing social settings: A guide to qualitative observation and analysis. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning. Manzenreiter, Wolfram/Holthus, Barbara (eds.) (2017): Happiness and the good life in Japan. London: Routledge. 155 Moriki, Yoshie (2017): Physical intimacy and happiness in Japan: Sexless marriages and parent-child cosleeping. In: Manzenreiter, Wolfram/Holthus, Barbara (eds.): Happiness and the good life in Japan. London: Routledge, pp. 41–52. Nakatani, Ayami (2006): The emergence of ‘nurturing fathers’: Discourses and practices of fatherhood in contemporary Japan. In: Rebick, Marcus/Takenaka, Ayumi (eds.): The changing Japanese family. London: Routledge, pp. 94–108. North, Scott (2009): Negotiating what’s ‘natural’: Persistent domestic gender role inequality in Japan. In: Social Science Japan Journal 12, No. 1, pp. 23–44. Ogasawara, Yuko (1998): Office ladies and salaried men: Power, gender, and work in Japanese companies. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Pink, Sarah (2007): Doing visual ethnography. London: Sage. Sasagawa, Ayumi (2006): Mother-rearing: The social world of mothers in a Japanese suburb. In: Rebick, Marcus/Takenaka, Ayumi (eds.): The changing Japanese family. London: Routledge, pp. 129–146. Schutt, Russell (2012): Investigating the social world: The process and practice of research. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Schultz Lee, Kristen (2010): Gender, care work, and the complexity of family membership in Japan. In: Gender & Society 24, No. 5, pp. 647–671. Schwartz, Dona (1989): Visual ethnography: Using photography in qualitative research. In: Qualitative Sociology 12, No. 2, pp. 119–154. Seale, Clive/Gobo, Giampietro/Gubrium, Jaber F./Silverman, David (2007): Qualitative research practice. London: Sage. Seidman, Irving (2006): Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the Social Sciences. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Sparkes, Andrew C. (2000): Autoethnography and narratives of self: Reflections on criteria in action. In: Sociology of Sport Journal 17, No. 1, pp. 21–43. Takeyama, Akiko (2016): Staged seduction: Selling dreams in a Tokyo host club. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Uchida, Yukiko/Ogihara, Yuji/Fukushima, Shintaro (2015): Cultural construal of wellbeing: Theories and empirical evidence. In: Camfield, Laura/Glatzer, Wolfgang/Møller, Valerie/Rojas, Mariano (eds.): Global handbook of quality of life: Exploration of well-being of nations and continents. Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 823–837. Urry, John (2000): Sociology beyond societies: Mobilities for the twenty-first century. New York, NY: Routledge. Van Maanen, John (2011): Tales of the field: On writing ethnography. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Walker, Andrew L./Moulton, Rosalind Kimball (1989): Photo albums: Images of time and reflections of self. In: Qualitative Sociology 12, No. 2, pp. 155–182. Wall, Sarah (2008): Easier said than done: Writing an autoethnography. In: International Journal of Qualitative Methods 7, No. 1, pp. 35–53. DOI: 10.1177/160940690800700103. Yamashiro, Jane H. (2013): The social construction of race and minorities in Japan. In: Sociology Compass 7, No. 2, pp. 147–161. Yoshida, Akiko (2017): Unmarried women in Japan: The drift into singlehood. London: Routledge. References 156 Chapter 6 How to do fieldwork: Studying Japan in and outside of Japan Levi McLaughlin Introduction All research necessitates fieldwork, to some degree. Even the most archive-dependent scholar must forge interpersonal connections within hierarchical academic communities in order to gain access to resources (see Schmidtpott/Schölz, Ch. 9.1). The same certainly applies to researchers who are intent on producing original data through participation, observation and interviews. Major fellowships frequently require an introductory letter or statement of support from a Japanese professor, and researchers who spend an extended period of time in Japan may seek a visiting position within a Japanese university, a government agency or a private institution. Ethnographers must gain a place in a Japanese community and build relationships based on trust that they can rely on, potentially for their entire careers. All introductions, no matter the researcher, require careful attention to Japanese conventions. This chapter provides guidelines on how to begin and sustain fieldwork. Ambiguity necessarily surrounds the topic, not least because ‘fieldwork’ and ‘ethnography’ are often treated as synonyms. This is partly due to the fact that, thanks to our social media-saturated world, the classic division between going ‘into the field’ and returning ‘home’ to write up results tends to no longer apply, to the extent that it ever did. The ‘field’ persists as an active presence in the researcher’s life, no matter her location. It remains essential to carry out ethnography in person in Japan to most fully learn about people’s lives, but the researcher will also construct a digital persona to perpetuate ethnography while she is not physically present. Ongoing fieldwork relationships generate exciting possibilities. They also accrue heavy responsibilities. In this chapter, I lay out strategies for initiating new fieldwork projects, ways to keep fieldwork going when you are travelling back and forth to Japan, how the researcher’s identity and disposition shape projects, and ethical concerns. Throughout the chapter, I make general points that apply at all stages. The chapter serves primarily as a how-to guide; please read the essays by Nana Okura Gagné, James Farrer and Hanno Jentzsch in this section for examples of fieldwork in action (see this chapter, Ch. 6.1; 6.2; 6.3).1 1. 1 In a 2010 essay for the Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, I made detailed suggestions on how to begin fieldwork in Japan (McLaughlin 2010), which I update here. For further Japan-specific fieldwork advice, I recommend essays in a 2007 special issue of Critical Asian Studies in which Japan researchers reflect on ethical dimensions of their ethnography (Robertson 2007), and the appendix of the 2019 book Intimate Japan, edited by Allison Alexy and Emma E. Cook, in which the volume’s authors break down difficulties they encountered in the field (Alexy/ Cook 2019; see also Cook, Ch. 5.1; Alexy, Ch. 7.3). Theodore C. Bestor, Patricia Steinhoff and Victoria Lyon- Bestor’s Doing Fieldwork in Japan remains useful (Bestor et al. 2003b). 157 Getting started: Connecting with a Japanese university For novice researchers, the most fruitful introductions to universities are forged via personal relations between their advisors and faculty in Japan. Politely request that your academic advisor write on your behalf to top researchers in Japan who are pursuing projects related to your own. If these connections do not exist, identify leading researchers in your speciality and contact them yourself. You should be familiar with who is publishing the most useful material in your field, but do not be shy about reaching out to knowledgeable scholars for advice on who to approach. Even if your potential Japanese advisor understands English, or another language, it is best to initiate your connection in Japanese. You will most likely need to operate in Japanese in order to carry out your research, and the advisor will need to know that you can function comfortably in her institution.2 Write a message with appropriately formal openings and closings and phrase your requests in honorific language. It is best to ask a native speaker to edit your initial messages to a potential advisor. From your initial introductory email to a prospective academic advisor to your most recent correspondence with a fieldwork interlocutor, ensure that the other person is the focus. By making other people’s priorities your priority, you make yourself their priority. In his pitch for transforming Asian Studies into Asian Humanities, Donald R. Davis (2015) places ‘care first’ as the starting point for scholarly enquiry. Following Emmanuel Levinas (1969), he stresses that because the knowable forever exceeds the known, humility should drive personal relations. Put aside an instrumental approach and instead focus on what you owe as you interact with the people from whom you wish to learn. Before you ask for support, familiarise yourself with the other person’s work by reading at least one of her recent articles and/or books. Ask about this work in your introductory message (see below for written self-introductions and the ‘elevator pitch’). The best possible place to land is in a vibrant seminar (zemi) in which enthusiastic graduate students learn from an engaged professor as they publish and present papers on topics connected to your own. In your correspondence with the professor, do not be afraid to ask about her zemi and what her students research. In the future, these students will be your colleagues, to whom you will send your own grad students and to whom you will owe obligations. Do not alienate them. Turn to them for help. The professor herself will most likely be too busy to spend much time with you, so your fellow students will be key. Again, make the other person your focus. In exchange for their aid, help fellow students by offering to edit English-language abstracts for their articles. Help them identify resources outside Japan by introducing them to conferences and study abroad opportunities, and by making them aware of publications out- 2. 2 There are numerous, ever-updating blogs and social media-based guides for writing formal messages; search for ‘writing letters in Japanese’ for the latest versions. Writing Letters in Japanese, which was published for The Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies and is now out of print, remains an invaluable guide (Tatematsu 1993). Levi McLaughlin 158 side Japan. Involve them in your own publications and panel presentations. Be a consistently relevant presence for them. General point #1: Your primary focus should always be the other person. Forging new ties in Japan You learn from people by creating sincere human connections. This requires building relationships based on trust and care. I call the people I spend time with ‘friends’, and I avoid the term ‘informant’. It projects a disingenuous impression of impartial objectivity, and it creates the sense that you are using people simply as data dispensers. Recent decades have seen the American Anthropological Association and other professional organisations adopt the term ‘research participants’.3 In all fieldwork, there is a mutuality to interactions, so ‘participant’, ’interlocutor’, or preferably ‘friend’ serve as honest descriptors. An interlocutor who is initially separated from the researcher by one degree provides an ideal balance of trust and distance. This person will not suffer severe social costs from dealing with you and will therefore be more liable to share information. At the same time, because your relationship was facilitated by a mutual friend, you are sufficiently trustworthy and obligation-laden to deserve the interlocutor’s attention. General point #2: The best interlocutors are often a friend of a friend. How do you meet people who are part of the social group you want to study? You can approach people yourself, but the best way in is to be introduced by someone else. Seek introductions from people you know, or from friends of friends. Introductions are relatively straightforward: contact the person by phone, email or social media. Mention your friends in common, if you have them. Optimally, you will be introduced in person or via message by your mutual acquaintance. Sometimes, even these introductions do not work. Make this your mantra: ‘the worst thing that happens is nothing.’ If you get a negative response, or no response, move on to the next person. It is imperative to remember that every introduction to an individual is necessarily an introduction to a social group. The individual you meet will report on your conduct to other potential research participants. Be very careful: behave well as you learn where this individual is situated within her group, to whom the individual is beholden and how the person’s network operates. Some researchers seek to spend time with politicians and others who are accustomed to scholarly attention. Much of the time, you will be introducing yourself to someone who is not a public person. You may be the first academic they have met. You may even be the first non- Japanese person they have ever spoken with. Meeting you will be a big deal for them, just as 3. 3 ‘Informant’ remains common parlance among fieldworkers, but ‘research participant’ has been official convention for over two decades. See, for example, the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth’s Ethical guidelines for good research practice (1999) and the American Anthropological Association’s Statement on ethnography and institutional review boards (2004). Chapter 6 How to do fieldwork 159 meeting them might be a big deal for you. You must respect this experience by making your research relevant to them. General point #3: An introduction to one person is always an introduction to a social network. Starting out by connecting with someone in a leadership position may yield important insights, but leaders are liable to issue demands downwards to underlings, who may subsequently regard interactions with you as following orders rather than fostering friendly interpersonal relations. Be enterprising: seek to become acquainted with people who carry out the day-to-day operation of what you intend to study and ask them to introduce you to others in their circles. General point #4: Your best contacts are at the bottom or middle of a hierarchy. Pitches You never know when you may meet someone who could be vital to your research. Always be prepared with 1. memorised pitches and 2. written descriptions. Imagine that you are standing next to someone in an elevator going from the twentieth floor to the lobby. This person is vital to your research. You have approximately one minute to introduce yourself and explain what you research in advance of asking for this person’s contact information. Memorise two versions of a Japanese-language ‘elevator pitch’ about your work that you are ready to deliver to anyone who will listen. Each pitch should be three sentences long. • Version 1 should address an academic audience. Sentence 1: Who you are and the topic of your research. Sentence 2: Why the topic is relevant. Sentence 3: Which resources you require to carry out this work. This introduction can segue smoothly into requests for help accessing the resources you named. • Version 2 should be pitched at a non-academic audience. Sentence 1: Who you are and where you are from. Sentence 2: What you study, explained in accessible terms. Sentence 3: Why this study is relevant to the person to whom you are speaking. Remember the first general point: the other person comes first. This is particularly important in your relations with non-academics. A fellow researcher will understand that you need resources to carry out your work. A non-academic needs to know why what you do is important, and why it will be beneficial for her to help you.4 General point #5: Always be ready to discuss your research. 4. 4 See also Booth et al. (2016) for advice on crafting elevator pitches. Levi McLaughlin 160 Written self-introductions Prepare two versions of an approximately one-page-long Japanese-language written self-introduction (jiko shōkaisho). Have them ready for dispatch into messages to potential interlocutors. These will be slightly extended versions of your elevator pitches. The first version should suit an academic audience by addressing three main points: 1. Your driving research questions and the contexts in which they emerge. 2. Anticipation of the ever-present ‘so what?’ question by discussing how your work is relevant to your sub-field and to broader scholarly enquiry. 3. Which resources you require to carry out your work. Use this document as a template for messages to potential academic advisors or collaborators. Rework this document as your research develops. The second jiko shōkaisho should be suited to potential interviewees or other parties who may grant you fieldwork opportunities. Non-academic recipients will need to know about you in personal terms. Three points you must address: 1. Who you are, where you came from and why you study Japan. 2. The specific topic you want to learn about and why you became interested in this. 3. Dilemmas you face as you seek to pursue your research and how the person to whom you are writing can help you. Most importantly, you must make your study relevant to the recipient. It is only through making your work personally relevant that you can ask for help. General point #6: Always be ready to introduce yourself in a way that suits your interlocutor. Who you are matters Given the deep social conservatism that prevails in Japan, initiation costs are not evenly distributed. Who the researcher is exerts an inevitable impact on how she makes inroads. I am an able, married, white cisgender male. Because of this, I have not suffered as much as many of my colleagues have from Japan’s innate prejudices—notably its misogyny. If you are young, female, not white, not married, not cisgender, disabled or otherwise do not satisfy a stereotypical foreign professor image, you will most likely confront significant roadblocks. Japan is certainly not unique in this regard, but it is measurably worse than many other places when it comes to prejudicial attitudes towards ethnic, sexual and other minorities.5 However, you will always be able to gain insights others cannot access by virtue of who you are. When it comes to fieldwork, what can you observe that others ignore? Who can you spend time with that the majority of researchers cannot access? What, or who, can you advocate for that others have overlooked or purposefully silenced? Listing entry points you can access thanks to who you are creates a productive to-do list for your research. 5. 6. 5 Numerous measures could be cited, but that Japan ranked 164th in the world in 2019 for numbers of women elected to the national parliament (Inter-Parliamentary Union 2020) and that women occupy fewer than 10% of management positions in Japanese corporations (Kajimoto 2018) indicates a dispiriting imbalance. Chapter 6 How to do fieldwork 161 Go for the ask People are busy. Japanese academics spend absurd amounts of time in boring committee meetings when they are not teaching too many courses or striving to meet daunting writing deadlines. Anyone you seek to interview or spend time with, academic or not, will almost certainly have a packed schedule. As you introduce yourself, you need to move quickly to specific requests. Do your homework. If you are looking for a place in an academic setting, learn as much as you can about the research in the institutions you are contacting. The same goes for non-academic settings: find out what you can about what the people you seek to learn from do, along with their backgrounds and present-day contexts. Preparing this way allows you to put forward a specific request. Most importantly, be clear about time. Specify when you wish to meet and how much time you will require. Be clear about what you want to ask and why your enquiry is relevant—to them and to a reading public. Specify names of documents you wish to read, people you wish to meet, the topics you wish to discuss, activities you wish to observe or join, and other clear-cut information. The more relevant detail you can supply, the clearer your objectives will be. If you are vague about what you want, you will make a new interlocutor nervous; she will have difficulty vouching for you within her hierarchy, and this may compromise her position. Put her at ease by giving your request sharp, easy-to-comprehend contours. Overly ambitious requests may still be refused, but you are more likely to get yes as an answer if your ‘ask’ is unambiguous and well-informed. General point #7: The more specific your request is, the bigger it can be. Fieldwork stuff: Practical considerations Once you have made initial contact and have arranged to meet, prepare the following: • Meishi: People in Japan are increasingly likely to share social media contact information, but exchanging meishi, the ubiquitous ‘name cards’, is still standard practice. Have cards printed on high-quality paper stock with English on one side and Japanese on the other. Have a native speaker check your translations and katakana renderings. Include your social media contact information. Kinko’s print centres in Japan have many pleasing meishi templates. • Notebooks: You will collect data through sound and video recordings, paper and electronic documents, and other means, but handwritten notes are often your most vivid record. When you are starting to write up, and whenever you are unsure of where to go in your research, return to the notes you took by hand. Always have an extra notebook with you, and never lose your notes! 7. 8. Levi McLaughlin 162 • Phone/data: You will need to stay in touch with your interlocutors via LINE, Facebook and other messaging systems they prefer. You will exchange contact information when you meet new people, and you will need to navigate to unfamiliar locations for interviews and participant observation. Purchase a phone, either before you leave for Japan or from a Japanese provider when you arrive. Purchase an external battery pack. If you are not going to be in Japan for long, rent a pocket Wi-Fi device. If you are in Japan for a year or longer, purchase a contract as soon as you receive your alien registration card. • Recorder: Some fieldworkers use their smartphones to record, sometimes with an external microphone. I prefer to keep my phone free to exchange contact information, show or take photos, or look things up. Purchase a separate digital high-quality recorder, and always check the battery. • Camera: Carry a small digital camera that is separate from your phone. They are preferable for taking shots of documents—you may need to record an entire book on the fly—or for capturing details that phone cameras tend to miss. Photos that make it into publications need to be very high resolution, so non-phone camera shots are often preferable. • The omiyage: Do not show up empty-handed to a first meeting. Even if you are visiting a large institution, it can be appropriate to bring an omiyage, or a small gift (see Yoshida, Ch. 5; Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7). It is essential that you do so if you are visiting someone’s home. Do not overthink the omiyage. People will tend to prefer food and drink as gifts; avoid burdening them with non-perishable stuff. There may be sweets or other foods from your home country that will work well as omiyage, but it is generally best to err on the side of the familiar. Purchase a pre-wrapped gift in the basement of a well-appointed department or grocery store. Avoid giving alcohol unless you are certain it is appropriate. Fieldwork tips Once you have forged introductions and are ensconced in a fieldwork setting, there is no onesize-fits-all way to carry out your work. However, there are dispositions you should foster, no matter what you study. Even if you are just listening, you should cultivate the understanding that you are there to be useful to the people from whom you are learning. If your role is limited, by choice or necessity, to observing without participating, you must still consider how retaining information about what is happening is useful to your interlocutors. You will learn the most by making yourself a student. Be proactive about this by seeking an apprenticeship role. Volunteer to take on mundane tasks that provide chances for you to spend time with people. Take advantage of skills you possess to join ongoing activities, and treat fieldwork as an opportunity to learn new skills. If you are a student, the people in the society you are learning about will (hopefully) offer straightforward explanations. Do not be afraid to 9. Chapter 6 How to do fieldwork 163 ask obvious or even stupid-sounding questions. If you take on an apprenticeship-type role, these questions are appropriate. General point #8: Always be useful. Asking questions is how we learn. However, the veteran Japan ethnographer Jennifer Robertson put it best: when you are doing fieldwork, try to be Hello Kitty—big ears, no mouth.6 Remember that when you are talking, you are losing a chance to hear what your interlocutors have to say. Ask brief questions when you are lost, but otherwise shut your mouth and listen. Anything you think to ask will be less informative than what the people you spend time with bring up themselves. Be silent, let pauses build and let others fill them (for details on interviewing, see Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7). General point #9: Let others do the talking. Because the people you meet are most likely not familiar with scholarly scrutiny, they are not accustomed to being interviewed. This means that if you ask someone if you can interview them, they are liable to refuse outright or offer inhibited responses. Instead, simply ask if you can speak with them. If you suggest that ukagaitai koto ga arimasu ga (‘there are things I would like to enquire about’) and ask for permission to record the conversation, ethical guidelines on interviews still apply (see Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16), but the conversation will flow more naturally. Seek to record the interview. Explain that you are not a native speaker, that you have difficulty retaining detailed information, or other plausible reasons why you need a recording. Explain that the recording is for your exclusive use and that no one else will hear it, barring a research assistant who may transcribe or translate the interview. Never lie about this. General point #10: Be honest about your research, but do not use the word ‘interview’. Strategies for notetaking and storing data If no one else is writing in a notebook, it may be inappropriate for you to take notes while events are unfolding around you. Employ the principle of kūki o yomeru—‘reading the air’, or going with the flow—to determine if it is all right for you to pull out a notebook. Whether or not you can take notes, turn yourself into an all-senses recording device. Strive to remember every sight, sound, smell and other sensation. As soon as you can, sit down at the computer or with your notebook and record as much as you possibly can of what you remember. If you have time restraints, first take down ‘head notes’, or keywords and phrases—what Robert Emerson, Rachel Fretz and Linda Shaw (2011) call ‘jottings’—that serve as mnemonic triggers for detailed recollections.7 Do your best to write out complete fieldnotes before another bout of fieldwork overwhelms your memory. You will sacrifice sleep to make this possible. Notetaking can serve as a strategy to learn from research participants. Offer your notebook to them to ask them to write the kanji for unfamiliar words, or to sketch maps, institutional hier- 10. 6 Personal communication, December 6, 2019. 7 See also Van Maanen (2011) and Hammersley/Atkinson (2019) for practical fieldnote-taking advice. Levi McLaughlin 164 archies or other information. Make your notes interactive, and they will become relevant and familiar to the people you spend time with (see Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7; Tagsold/Ullmann, Ch. 8). At regular intervals, scan your notebooks at convenience stores, or anywhere you can, and save the scans in at least three places: your computer, on a separate hard drive and in a cloud account. Subscribe to an online backup service that keeps your data safe even if your equipment is lost or destroyed. Compulsively save all of your recorded interviews, documents and every scrap of other digital data in the same three places. Save photos of all the meishi you receive, along with other ephemera. General point #11: Cultivate paranoia about your data. The all-important thank you Invest in the long-term health of your fieldwork by always thanking people for their time (see this chapter, Gagné, Ch. 6.1). At bare minimum, after an interview or meeting people in a fieldwork setting, send them a thank-you message via email or social media. This is one important reason to keep meishi. Consult the aforementioned Writing Letters in Japanese and search online for up-to-date online examples of thank-you messages. Better than electronic messages are printed letters, especially on university or other institutional letterhead. The best thank you is a handwritten letter in Japanese. However, you may not have every person’s mailing address, and time and energy are always limited. No matter what, always make the effort to write a message or phone people to thank them. The arigatō denwa, the ‘thank-you phone call’, will be reported positively. Be confident that the sincerity of your thanks is always more important than how well it is executed in Japanese. Ethnography in and outside Japan via social media As a fieldworker, you create the primary sources you analyse in your academic writing. To enable maximal access for primary source creation, you must create and maintain an online presence. People in Japan are busy, so face-to-face meetings are often difficult to organise, while online discussions remain robust. You will need to join social media interactions. These connections will be all the more crucial when you leave Japan. Social media platforms shift, but at the time of writing the three essential platforms for a Japan researcher are LINE, Facebook and Twitter. These are not simply data caches you can pull from; they are extensions of the people you research. As online ethnographer Kaitlyn Ugoretz (2017) notes, considerable re-evaluation of fieldwork ethics is now underway to determine how researchers should take part in online communities. For some researchers, even lurking in chat groups or otherwise observing online conversations demands privacy consider- 11. 12. Chapter 6 How to do fieldwork 165 ations (King 1996; Roberts 2015). Some advocate for proactive co-creation of online content with interlocutors (Kozinets 2015). In all cases, let the best interests of your interlocutors guide how you interact online.8 LINE groups are topic-specific, subgroup-specific, family-specific—you name it. Request to join them and contribute judiciously, if at all, to ongoing interlocutor conversations. Overall, the stakes for communicating via LINE can remain comparatively low. It essentially functions as a message service akin to WhatsApp, which your fieldwork communities may also use. Your community members will also create Facebook groups in which vigorous discussion is likely to play out. Facebook will become a sensitive platform for many researchers. Friends in Japan will pay close attention to what you post and how people comment on your posts. For your own sake, and to help anonymise people who appear in your writing, adjust your privacy settings so that no one but you can see who your Facebook friends are. Depending on the sensitivity of your research topics, you may choose to prevent people from posting on your wall. Understand that everything you do on Facebook will be observed and that you will be held accountable by interlocutors for what you post. Topics of interest to your research community will flow through Twitter feeds, so keeping up with them will keep you up to speed in your online and in-person conversations. Twitter and Facebook commentary on the topics you research will guide what you read and how you write; this will simply happen, consciously or unconsciously, so you should gird yourself to accept it. Just as you necessarily develop a persona in the field, you will cultivate an online persona. Your online and physically in-person personas will shape one another and navigating between them will become part of your long-term fieldwork. You are a different person online, and it is essential to remember that this is also true of your research participants. Keeping up with digital and in-person versions of the people you spend time with is hugely informative. In terms of your online conduct, a good principle to maintain is less is more. Just as you will do your best work in person shutting your mouth and letting others speak, so too should you think twice before offering opinions online. To retain long-term online connections, offer to take up conversations on more developed or controversial ideas through private messages rather than public posts; your conversation partners will feel more comfortable responding, and you will learn more. Anonymity, already a fraught issue before the advent of social media, has been seriously compromised by digital platforms. There is no reasonable way to keep one’s fieldwork engagements separate from one’s online presence. When it comes to concerns for your research community, you will be the one to make adjustments that best protect them. Keep discussions about your interlocutors within private posts, to the extent that you can. Do not be afraid to erase posts on your pages that may compromise the people to whom you are responsible. If things get too heated, limit your connections to personal messages. This will require more work at your end to keep conversations going but may be worth it when it comes to protecting the people you research, and your own mental health. When it comes time to write up, keep in mind how you have been corresponding on social media platforms. Adjust how you characterise your interlocutors in print in light of how readers may trawl through your posts looking for identity clues. In person and online, as you spend extended periods of time with your interlocutors, you will run up against opinions and activities you find objectionable. People you care about may speak and 8 See also Przybylski (2020) for tips on ‘hybrid ethnography’. Levi McLaughlin 166 act in ways that clash radically with your own values. You will need to devise personal coping mechanisms in order to learn from people on their own terms. Enormous research benefits await those of us who keep our egos in check. A mantra to repeat is: This research is not about me. It is about the people I’m learning from (see general point #1). Remaining task-oriented will prove to be a useful strategy in assessing the costs and benefits of personally challenging fieldwork situations. Ask yourself: What will I gain from continuing to spend time with people whose views challenge mine? What are the personal costs I will accrue in persisting with this work? Are they worth it? You will discover your own threshold. It is likely that this threshold will move during the time you spend with a community. General point #12: Develop compartmentalising strategies. Ethical concerns If the field comes with you, no matter your physical location, so do its ethical obligations. Many institutions require its affiliated researchers to uphold mandated ethical practices, such as the Institutional Review Board (IRB) in the United States. Even if your institution does not maintain formal requirements, you must always keep a final general point in mind: the person you interview is not a document for you to cite. People’s lives will be profoundly affected by your field research. Your presence in their lives makes them highly vulnerable, particularly when it becomes time for you to write up, and you have no way of knowing just how much even a seemingly token interaction may affect them. This means that you must maintain rigorous ethical principles at all times. Here are three principles that should never leave your mind: • Always anonymise. Unless the person you are interviewing or learning from has published under her own name or is otherwise a prominent public person, you must change her name in your publications. In particularly sensitive cases, mask her location. Even if your interlocutor declares that she is proud to be known by her own name, anonymise her for her own protection. • Never misrepresent yourself. There should never be a situation in which you misrepresent who you are or why you are carrying out your work. In cases where you are confronted with opinions or actions that run contrary to your own principles, you may respond by emphasising the fundamental questions that drive your research. These may include why you wish to understand people who are not well understood, or the importance of a group or practice that has not received sufficient academic attention. • Always act with extreme kindness and caution. You cannot know the consequences of your actions. Even if you do everything right, you may be unprepared for the outcome. General point #13: People are not your data. 13. Chapter 6 How to do fieldwork 167 Conclusion To end, I supply an illustrative fieldwork vignette from my research in Japan in 2019 to emphasise that people are not your data. Friday, January 25, 2019: I had an important lesson reinforced for me in Fukushima. I was fortunate to meet up with an interlocutor I will call Mister Arimoto, someone I had met once before. He is a resident of Iwaki, a city on Fukushima’s coast that was devastated by the tsunami on March 11, 2011. Arimoto is a hero. His house was steps from the water, and it was completely destroyed when the waves hit. Knowing that some of his neighbours were elderly and physically disabled, Arimoto waded back into the wreckage repeatedly to carry out those he knew could not make it to safety on their own. He went back and forth for hours and carried out five people. He is justly celebrated in Fukushima. When we met, Arimoto brought with him a large file folder; it is not rare for me to meet people who are eager to show me documentary records of their lives. As he spoke, he pulled out paper after cutting after flyer after paper, creating a mound on the low table before us that flowed onto the floor. What he wanted to show me most was a letter I had sent him in the summer of 2013. After I had returned to the U.S. following my visit to this region, I sent letters on North Carolina State University letterhead to people who were kind enough to meet with me, as a means of expressing my thanks. Arimoto told me that my letter was an important reason he was still alive. He had lost his job as an electrician when the company he worked for collapsed in 2014. He spoke hesitantly and elliptically, but it appears as if he had contemplated suicide after this. He stressed to me repeatedly that, in his lowest moments, he would reread my letter, which was a fairly short but sincere expression of my thanks to him for sharing his experiences and of my commitment to relaying his account beyond Japan. He found a new job in 2016, working on the lighting rig for a hospital helicopter pad, among other meaningful projects, and things had improved for him over the last couple of years. Shortly after the New Year in 2019, Arimoto had a heart attack. He received surgery to clear a ventricle and was urged by doctors to remain in hospital, but he pushed against this, driven by a commitment to meet with me again, knowing I was coming back through Iwaki. He was cleared to leave hospital this past Tuesday, and we met today. He seemed fit, energetic. Driven. The hospital stay had led him to quit smoking, which he seemed particularly grateful for. He was very happy to see me. We spoke for hours. You have to be very, very careful about how you treat people. A casual word or action by you can be treated as a life-or-death matter by the person you intersect with. This is true for all of us. But it is really, really important for those of us who do fieldwork. Some who received a thank-you letter from me may have simply thought it was a nice note and tossed it aside. Arimoto clung to it. Online connections attenuate and enhance these responsibilities, but they are not the only determining factors, or even the most important ones, necessarily, as Arimoto demonstrates. You may have published your book, and your grant funding may have elapsed, but you remain responsible to the people with whom you have forged a relationship. You must live with that commitment. 14. Levi McLaughlin 168 The cosmology of fieldwork: Relationship building, theoretical engagement and knowledge production in Japan Anthropology Nana Okura Gagné What is ‘fieldwork’? What is ‘successful’ fieldwork? What does it mean to do fieldwork in Japanese society? Although all fieldworkers encounter unexpected challenges as well as gratification in the field, there is little discussion about what fieldwork actually entails. This chapter aims to demystify this experience by introducing the concept of fieldwork and analysing the question: Why is fieldwork particularly important for those who study Japanese society? Fieldwork is, by definition, ‘working in the field’. Fieldwork in the anthropological sense consists of ‘participant observation’. The core of fieldwork is its function of ‘contextualisation’ and ‘binding’. It contextualises structures/systems and daily routines, as well as your informants and the delicate human relationships and dynamics of power in the field. Fieldwork can also bind you to your informants and the space itself. This can be done through ‘real’ participation by ‘working on the ground,’ immersing oneself fully in participating just as your informants do (Roberson 1998; Roberts 1994; Roth 2002), or being in situations where ‘real’ participation is not possible (e.g. Bestor 2004; Raz 1999; Robertson 1998). This can be conducted through what Theodore D. Bestor variously calls ‘inquisitive observation’, ‘self-consciously work[ing] on a technique for gaining access to people’, ‘parachuting’, ‘dropping into the midst of things from multiple entry points’ (2003, p. 319) and ‘engaging in […] unstructured interviews’ (2003, p. 320). Crucially, such active participation is invaluable for anthropologists to offer grounded knowledge for contextualising and cross-checking other research methodologies such as surveys, formal interviews and archival research, as well as to reveal new avenues of research (Bestor 2003, p. 333). The practice of fieldwork First, identifying what kind of field site is relevant for examining the particular research questions that you aim to answer is crucial to conducting good fieldwork. Scholars have expressed the importance of ‘serendipity’ as well as well-thought out plans; thus, flexibility in the field is very important. In the course of fieldwork, your research questions may guide you to do research across multiple field sites. Just as your informants are not confined to one space or one institution, researchers now conduct comparative research across different groups or spaces (comparative fieldwork), or follow informants as their lives criss-cross through multiple sites (multi-sited fieldwork). In my own research, to analyse the changing dominant ideologies and the impact of corporate restructuring on Japanese workers, I chose to conduct my fieldwork in three different spaces: 6.1 169 corporations, after-work leisure spaces and the weekend space of hobby activities. I chose these venues in order to fill the gaps in the previous works that had examined either corporate or leisure spheres exclusively. This way, while it was time-consuming and labour-intensive, I was able to understand individual employees more holistically as they moved through different contexts and crafted themselves by navigating through varying spheres and ideologies (Gagné 2010; 2015; 2019, 2020). Moreover, it is hard to understand sensitive corporate tensions and office politics as well as personal desires and life experiences only through corporate contexts (e.g. by working together in the office). This was especially true toward the end of the first decade of the new century, when many corporations had implemented various forms of restructuring. Resonating with Glenda Roberts’ (1994) research on female factory workers and Joshua Hotaka Roth’s (2002) research on Brazilian nikkei migrant workers, in which they pursued intense participant observation as workers themselves, I was also challenged by the actual limited time of interacting with informants when at work. Instead, lunch breaks as well as after work or non-work contexts became indispensable to understanding office politics. At the same time, if I focused only on the leisure spaces of after-work or weekend activities, I would have missed the larger contexts behind individuals’ leisure participation and desires, as work and leisure co-construct each other for many of my informants. As many scholars have pointed out, informants use different contexts to express the various sides of their selves (Kondo 1990), and the power of shifting social contexts can influence the manners in which they present themselves to others (Lebra 2004). Therefore, the venues that one chooses and the ways in which one conducts fieldwork greatly influence the kind of data one may collect. In my own research, getting into corporate sites was the most difficult part. No companies were interested in having a researcher inside their walls, especially during this period of corporate restructuring. Thus, I ended up using a bottom-up approach. I became a volunteer assistant for Company A, while I was introduced to Company B and C through former informants I had gotten to know. For the leisure spaces, I was introduced to different types of hostess clubs by my corporate informants. While the mama-san, the heads of these clubs, were sceptical about my request to do fieldwork, after I had submitted my research proposal and explained my reasons, they accepted having me there. At the same time, getting accepted by fellow hostesses was a completely different matter. At hostess clubs, where I was introduced as a researcher, many hostesses did not think of me favourably, and developing good relationships was challenging. However, it was long-term participant observation at the same site that enabled me to be accepted. We shared late nights together, helping each other through entertaining customers when they felt sick and overly drunk; other times we were harshly scolded by the mama-san. Altogether, this gradual bonding helped to reduce the distance between us. For the communal hobby and volunteer spaces, I was introduced by corporate informants who were participants in those activities and so access was relatively easier. At the same time, in such spaces, participants deliberately avoid talking about private matters, such as corporate affiliation and their occupations, because they were seen as differentiating participants and thus as taboo topics related to the ‘opposing’ corporate spaces. This once again makes it clear how each space has benefits and limits as a field site. Finally, another strength of fieldwork is familiarising oneself with the field and with informants, which can refine your knowledge and understanding about what is most important to your informants. Some of the information can be elicited from interviews, but seeing them in Nana Okura Gagné 170 action in particular spaces or networks offers deeper insights and holistic understanding. Also, ‘good’ fieldwork can lead to fruitful interviews in later stages, as individuals become familiar with you as a person in the same field and networks. In my field study of hostess clubs, for the first four months I wrestled with the question of male to female tensions and gendered consumption. However, after my long-term involvement, I came to realise what issues were really important for participants, especially for hostesses as this was fundamentally a workplace for them. In this way, informants in the field will often teach you what is at stake through their actions (as opposed to in interviews). In this sense, fieldwork is not just about knowledge production, but it can also redirect and rewrite our research questions and agenda in the field. Maintaining relationships Bestor (2003) highlights the importance of cultivating and expanding ‘networks’. Therefore, it is important to immerse oneself in networks and human relations consciously and continuously, which can also speak to post-fieldwork relationships. This leads to an important challenge: How can we maintain relationships with informants? And why might this be particularly important for those who do research on Japanese society? Many fieldworkers have emphasised the importance of visiting sites after long-term fieldwork to correct their early misconceptions, deepening understanding and identifying continuities and changes over time (Bestor et al. 2003a, p. 16). For example, Roger Goodman’s (2003, p. 184) long-term research reveals how the once problematised concept of kikoku shijo (returnee children) underwent a dramatic transformation between the 1960s and the 1980s, and these individuals even became appreciated as an ‘international elite’ due to the larger socio-economic changes of globalisation in Japan. I also found it important to visit the sites in the years after, as I was able to see first-hand the long-term effects of corporate restructuring. In addition, some of my informants’ lives and worldviews greatly changed after being directly affected by corporate restructuring and family medical problems, as well as due to the triple disasters of March 11, 2011. As many research phenomena are constantly subject to change, it is important for researchers to be aware of this and follow up on their field sites and informants in order to avoid being trapped in synchronic and essentialist theorisations. While essentialism is certainly a caveat, there is something particular about ‘doing fieldwork in Japan’. Several scholars have demonstrated the importance of ‘maintaining good relations in the long term’ and ‘the practice of gift-giving’. While this is true for any fieldwork elsewhere, Hardacre (2003, p. 85) calls this ‘one of the obligations’ of doing fieldwork in Japan. Gift-giving is also a marked feature of doing fieldwork, not only for anthropologists but also for historians and Religious Studies scholars. Moreover, having some third person introduce you to your field site can help open doors for your research. However, it is important to note that this involves gratitude as well as obligation, as ‘such introductions involve the standard Japanese cultural practice of borrowing trust from other people’ (Bestor et al. 2003a, p. 14, emphasis added). Thus, researchers should be aware of how their behaviour in the field affects both the researcher’s relationships with their informants as well as impacts on the person who made the initial introduction. To understand the importance of reciprocal and reflexive relations as well as the complexity and ambivalence toward these practices among Japanese people themselves, Katherine Rupp’s Chapter 6 How to do fieldwork 171 (2003) fieldwork provides valuable insights into how relations within Japanese society are developed and maintained. What undergirds gift-giving practices in Japan is the strength of relationships, gratitude and hierarchy (2003, p. 50). Thus gift-giving is not a practice conducted on a purely ad hoc and case-by-case basis, but rather it is underwritten by ‘symbolic systems’ that integrate it within social life. For instance, through gift-giving, a receiver can discern the depth and commitment of one’s relationship with a giver by understanding the time, effort and monetary value that one puts it into exchanges and the giver’s perception of the strength of the relationship with the other person. Thus, Rupp pushes us to acknowledge that interpersonal exchanges create and perpetuate social relationships, just as rituals work to create and perpetuate social worlds. Moreover, researchers who have conducted fieldwork in Japan can relate how many informants are ‘responsive’: individuals will come to meetings at agreed times, or once institutions grant you access they will prepare well for your visit. However, as ‘reciprocity goes hand in hand with the process of getting along’ (Roberts 2003, p. 311), this also entails reciprocal expectations and responsibilities for the fieldworker. While this can be constraining to a researcher who deals with multiple responsibilities across various groups (Roth 2003, p. 349), it is important for the fieldworker to be aware that they are also becoming part of such cosmological relationships, as well as to recognise the meaning of such involvement in terms of trust and responsibility. The cosmology of fieldwork The opportunity to do fieldwork is a very rare and special chance for researchers. To take fieldwork seriously, you must place value ‘on a holistic approach to the entities that are the subject of this form of knowledge’, which form ‘the constitution of anthropological theory’ (Stocking 1992, p. 284). Moreover, the time and effort you put into your fieldwork will directly impact the subsequent stages of your research, analysis and writing. As fieldwork in Japan entails becoming part of the cosmology of your informants, complete with its own challenges, responsibilities and gratification, it is a long-term endeavour that can lead to long-lasting and life-changing engagements for you and your informants, as well as to anthropological knowledge and theory production that may shape your personal and professional life for years to come. Nana Okura Gagné 172 A mobilities approach to ‘Japan’ fieldwork James Farrer I once remarked to a famous ethnographer of Japanese foodways that my project, in contrast to his own, applied a ‘Sinocentric perspective’ to Japanese cuisine, a tongue-in-cheek comment, but also one meant as a challenge to traditional Japanese Food Studies. Historically, not only has China impacted many aspects of Japanese society, including foodways (Cwiertka 2006; Solt 2014), but so have other Asian countries. Beyond considering historical influences, however, my comment about a Sinocentric perspective points to a broader issue in the ethnography of Japan, which is how we capture the cross-border mobility that is inherent in modern society in our fieldwork practice, without giving up on the advantages of traditional placebased or site-based fieldwork. First of all, as a migrant in Japan myself, I see it as important to incorporate the viewpoints of migrants in Japan, especially if we remember that Asian migrants are the majority, with the Chinese the most numerous (Liu-Farrer 2020). However, the mobility intrinsic to modern Japanese society goes far beyond traditional inbound migration stories, and includes the multiple forms of mobilities of Japanese themselves as well as the mobilities of Japanese cultural artefacts and ideas around the world, many of which are not created by Japanese people. A mobilities perspective (Urry 2016), which takes movement as the norm in human societies, therefore represents exciting opportunities, as well as challenges, for conceptualising fieldwork on Japan, including my own studies of Japanese foodways (Farrer et al. 2017). A Sinocentric perspective comes naturally enough to me. I began working in Japan after years of fieldwork in Shanghai, a very cosmopolitan city in China, and this experience has shaped my take on mobilities. First, my study of Shanghai sensitised me to the outsize role a small number of migrants can play in forming a city’s larger identity. Secondly, there was my direct observation of how deeply Chinese people were involved in the spread of Japanese culture. This is evident in Japanese gastronomy around the world. Where would people in Europe, Africa and the Americas get their sushi rolls without all those Chinese and other Asian migrant restaurateurs? A lesser-known story is the boom in Japanese food in China, including Shanghai (Farrer et al. 2017). Here, I use my experiences to discuss some challenges of incorporating a mobilities perspective —especially an Asian centred one—into two fieldwork projects on Japan. The first is an ethnography of a Tokyo culinary community (Farrer n.d.). It documents foodways in a single neighbourhood with a focus on the people who make food and their relationships to customers. On the surface, this is an example of old-fashioned, place-based ethnography of Tokyo, one emphasising the rootedness and particularities of local foodways. Moreover, there is nothing fancy about the methodology, just going from door to door, entering as many places as I can, eating, drinking, observing, interviewing and writing up. For young social scientists, I still recommend this kind of ‘pedestrian’ fieldwork, which though time-consuming allows ethnographers to orient themselves to a scene, to become themselves a local expert. Place- 6.2 173 based research is the best way to ground oneself empirically and to learn basic skills of observation and conversation. My traditional approach to gathering data, however, does make use of modern technology. I post most of the interviews I conduct as articles on my website (see above), a practice aimed at reaching a broader audience beyond academia. It also forces me to continually analyse and reflect upon the data I am gathering, generating feedback from informants and readers, but also from the process of writing itself (see Farrer/Liu-Farrer, Ch. 17). My point here is that a mobilities perspective can still inform traditional place-based fieldwork practice. In my door-to-door fieldwork in Tokyo, I learned that many businesses, including izakaya, bars or convenience stores, are run by migrants, even if they are not owned by them. Many are Chinese, though I would not have known this from looking at the shops’ marketing. A more selective sampling of ‘migrant restaurants’ might have missed these assimilated migrant workers in nondescript locales. Every Tokyo neighbourhood is already a migrant neighbourhood (Coates 2015; Liu-Farrer 2020), and we should include these migrant voices in the design of ethnographic fieldwork, through consideration of systematic inclusion of different voices and even interviewing in multiple languages, not only Japanese. Mobility has many faces beyond inbound migration, however. While I was learning about migrants making local Tokyo spaces, I also was learning about Japanese creating Chinese culinary spaces in Japan. One of the most popular types of restaurants in urban Japan is the ‘neighbourhood Chinese’ restaurant. My study revealed a parallel between rural Japanese who migrated to Tokyo to make a living by running Chinese restaurants in the immediate postwar era and Chinese who migrated to Japan as students and opened quite similar establishments serving the daily needs of local residents. Sometimes these migration trends intertwined, as when the son of a Japanese restaurant owner married a Chinese migrant, who continues to work with the son in the Chinese restaurant business. These are migrant businesses, but the more common Japanese-run places would likely be ignored in a study of ‘migrant’ or ‘ethnic’ restaurants. The Chinese-run places conversely might not be considered local Japanese spaces. So the ‘neighbourhood Chinese restaurant’ is an anomalous space that represents two migrant trends, one internal and one international, yet both are also very much part of the local community (Farrer 2018). They are also declining because both types of migrant flows are declining. The new culinary trend in urban Japan may be Nepali-run curry restaurants, and it is a phenomenon driven by the migration industry, not necessarily by changing consumer demands (Kharel 2016). As a fieldworker in Japan, it is not necessary to speak other Asian languages to study such spaces, but it certainly helps. It is advisable to work jointly with people who do, since one fieldworker cannot be expected to do all things well. Language difficulties are endemic to mobility, in fieldwork as in life, and no one should be shy about getting help. I work with my former Japanese teacher, who transcribes and edits the Japanese interviews we do. But I have also had Chinese students work on the project to transcribe Chinese interviews. I do the English translations (and participate in nearly all the interviews). As a graduate student, I did almost all the transcription myself (a good practice), but a benefit of research funding is affording transcription and editorial help. For students without funding, other forms of collaboration are advisable, including co-authoring with other students with compatible skills. In short, there is often a Chinese—or Vietnamese or Nepali—story to tell about Tokyo neighbourhood scenes. Mobility, however, not only concerns the Chinese, Nepalese and Vietnamese, but also the Japanese working in Japan. Indeed, even now, most of the ‘ethnic restaurants’ in James Farrer 174 my neighbourhood are run by Japanese who make ‘Asian’ cuisine. Many are multiple migrants, some having grown up in other parts of Japan, others having lived abroad for years, either to study cooking or for other reasons. We share their mobility stories on our webpage. In short, a mobilities perspective on Japanese society will be sensitive to the role migrants play in producing Japanese cuisine, and also to the role of migration, travel and overseas study among Japanese producers. A singular focus on ‘migrant cuisine’ in the traditional sense would miss out on these complex stories of mobility and food, which are now part of everyday Japanese life. As in other areas of social life, we need to capture how Japan is a multiply mobile society. A mobilities perspective is even more central to my second ongoing project, a study of the global spread of Japanese cuisine. It is designed as a Global Studies project based largely on ethnographic fieldwork, involving six main members and several research assistants, conducting fieldwork on Japanese cuisine in cities on every inhabited continent. We are looking at the movement of people, foods, recipes, design elements and the media images that accompany modern culinary culture. Our main focus, however, is on the people who make the food, including their mobility paths (Farrer at al. 2017). One thing that became quite apparent to us when we began is that the traditional Japanese Studies approach to Japanese culinary culture had radically undervalued, indeed largely dismissed or ignored, the contributions of non-Japanese actors in producing and recreating Japanese cuisine around the world. This bias is apparent in both the Japanese and Western language writings on the globalisation of Japanese cuisine. There are undoubtedly many reasons for this, but one is that Japanese Studies is simply too focused on Japanese actors. In our research project, we want to focus on the Asians, Europeans, North and South Americans, and Australians who are also producing, transforming and consuming Japanese cuisine. This is their story too. The point is a simple one, but has radical implications for redefining the practice of fieldwork about Japan. Even when studying the spread of Japanese cultural forms around the world, we need to equally examine these ethnically diverse producers and purveyors of Japanese culture and not simply expose them or criticise them for not selling the ‘genuine article’. This approach to fieldwork requires radical rethinking, not only of the basics of demographic sampling in our fieldwork, but also of what ‘Japan’ really is. For us, Japanese cuisine—and by extension ‘Japaneseness’—is now a global cultural product, and not simply the product of Japanese people. We let our informants and their advertising tell us what ‘Japanese food’ is. Ethnographers should not police the boundaries of authentic Japanese culture, though the attempts to do by others are part of what we study. Japan is now itself a global product, and fieldwork about Japan can now happen anywhere. The challenges of doing this type of multi-site fieldwork are large, and I don’t generally recommend multi-city fieldwork to lone young scholars, because one can very easily end up with too little information about too many places. Sometimes, however, such an approach may be fruitful. For me, a very important practical element has been to find expert informants in each location who can not only provide data about a single site—e.g. their own restaurant—but also about the larger context that one is trying to understand but will not have enough time to understand on one’s own. Collaboration with local scholars can also be helpful, though strong relationships with informants in the field are far more important than those with academics. Overall, the mobilities approach to fieldwork lends itself to teamwork, and effective teamwork requires much more than a conference leading to an edited volume. Frequent meetings within Chapter 6 How to do fieldwork 175 the group and joint fieldwork with multiple members are essential to make teamwork function. Fieldwork and interviewing together with other team members produces insights that weave together the multi-sited ethnography (see Tagsold/Ullmann, Ch. 8). Writing as a group takes time, but the journey is also the destination. James Farrer 176 Building arguments on national policies from everyday observations Hanno Jentzsch A political scientist by training, I have been interested in the rules, norms and practices that shape social, political and economic life in Japan, and how these rules change over time. But I have always felt particularly vulnerable to the criticism that qualitative researchers are often exposed to in the field of Political Science: How can you build an entire argument on the personal observations and accounts you gathered in a small number of field sites? While I have almost always collected my empirical data locally, i.e. on the municipal level or below, the arguments I have used this data for are mostly aimed at understanding changes to and the stability of broader institutional arrangements operating at the level of the nation state, or even addressed the logic of institutional change in general. The distance between the field site and the analytical objective, however, is a methodological challenge. But as a non-Japanese political scientist working on Japan, another challenge comes up almost inevitably: How can researchers collect reliable qualitative data despite their socio-cultural, linguistic and—given that research stays are probably limited—spatial distance? I want to address both of these potential sources of insecurity with some examples from my own experience. Studying national policies on the local level First, I want to emphasise the value of frequent, everyday observations in a particular locality and over extended periods of time as opposed to the use of brief field trips and interviews alone. When I collected data for my dissertation on institutional change in the Japanese agricultural sector, I relied on interviews (both semi-structured and unstructured), informal conversations and participatory observation in two main field sites for three months and three and a half months respectively. While this may appear like two brief visits from an anthropologist’s viewpoint, it was a long and ethnographic engagement with the field sites from a Political Science perspective. I went into the field to understand the local manifestations of the agricultural reform process in Japan and—in a more abstract sense—the trajectories of Japan’s extensive agricultural support and protection regime, a multi-faceted arrangement of formal and informal institutions. The opportunity to collect data during two research periods helped to offset the rookie mistakes I made during interviews, particularly in the first research period. For example, the way I asked farmers to explain local rules and practices and their relations with their hamlet or their local cooperative were far too direct and too abstract to yield useful information. Moreover, my questions were based on the academic literature I had read on rural social organisation in Japan, some of which were written decades ago and typically derived from research in ricegrowing localities (Dore 1978; Fukutake 1980). In my first field site, however, the Kōfu Basin 6.3 177 in Yamanashi Prefecture, rice cultivation played virtually no role. During my second research stay, this time in a rice-growing locality in Shimane Prefecture, I learned to ask less directly, and I did actually encounter elements of traditional social organisation. Moreover, I realised (in hindsight) an issue that linked both sites despite their differences, namely the role of social ties and certain unwritten rules and practices for exchanging farmland. The finding that farmland exchange was organised very differently in both field sites later became a cornerstone of my thesis’s first argument. I argued that the pace and the direction of structural change in the Japanese agricultural sector are crucially shaped by the way in which local social ties, norms and practices are integrated into distinct local manifestations of farmland governance. Brief research trips for interviews with local stakeholders, the collection of (official) documents and expert interviews with policymakers at the national level could not have yielded the same results. Far more important than the respective administrative techniques that were employed to govern the exchange of land in each field site or than statistics on how much land was obtained by professional farms were factors less visible at first sight. They included personal ties between certain farms and the administration, actual practices underlying the exchange of land (sometimes quite different from what the formal contract would stipulate) or the spatial boundaries of local social networks. In my second research period, for example, I lived in one part of the city and commuted to another part, which was my actual field site. Although both localities are only separated by a river and have belonged to the same municipality since 2011, the organisation of farmland exchange was (and still is) very different. Over the three and a half months of my stay, I realised that every morning I would cross the bridge into a distinct social world. In this world, every interviewee knew everybody I had interviewed so far, and everybody I was going to interview in the future. I did not find this density of social ties on the other side of the river. This experience became the foundation of my second argument that the Japanese agricultural support and protection regimes consist of a multitude of distinct local agricultural regimes, in which national policies intersect with local social ties and norms in ways that produce very different local interpretations of the same national reform process. This does not mean that interviews with local officials and the collection of statistics, documents or presentations were not useful—they were, and so was studying the details of the national policy process. It means, however, that political scientists can profit from immersion to build arguments on abstract social phenomena such as institutional change: getting to know faces and family ties, oral local history, attending drinking parties and regular visits to the local bar; this is all fieldwork. The very mundane act of ‘being around’ has practical benefits: I found out which festivals to attend, what stakeholders I could meet there or where I could get myself a car over drinks and snacks in the local bar. But more importantly, these practical benefits can quickly turn into crucial building blocks for actual research. Informal conversations are immensely useful for finding out what the critical issues are in a certain place: which topics come up routinely, and which topics tend to be avoided? Casual conversations can also be helpful in order to double-check issues that came up in more formal interview situations. The information local officials present during formal interviews on a certain local policy will likely become far more colourful when discussed with random strangers over a beer. Even if the information sourced at the bar might be flawed, it provides the raw material for better, more grounded interview questions. Hanno Jentzsch 178 Thus, although political scientists have often been sceptical towards immersion and ethnographic methods and rather adhere to the positivist notion of keeping maximum distance from the ‘object’ under study (Schatz 2009), I have found ethnographic methods to be immensely useful for understanding how local actors translate abstract policies into practice. The flourishing discourse on practice theory also highlights the value of studying local practices as a means to understand large social phenomena, such as organisations or institutional arrangements (Nicolini 2017). The empirical focus on the emergence and reproduction of certain practices does not imply that the arguments derived from these micro-level observations have to get stuck in ‘localism’—i.e. the descriptive study of local social phenomena with no intention to analytically connect them to other phenomena across time and space (Nicolini 2016). Much to the contrary, the ‘interest for the mundane and often unsung details of organisational life’ can—when carefully contextualised—very much become the foundations from which to ‘explain social matters’, and how they change over time through practice (Nicolini 2017, pp. 22–23). Open-ended field research When a researcher is applying qualitative methods of data collection, fieldwork never ends, and certainly not after the interview is over. Yet, fieldwork in Japan often ends quite abruptly, when the research funding runs out or the semester starts. Leaving the field site, however, is only the beginning of other equally important tasks: contextualising the data and keeping in touch with research participants. In fact, I did substantial parts of my work on local agricultural regimes on my desk. After I had established farmland exchange as a crucial process, national statistical data helped me to put the diverging outcomes of farmland exchange in my field research sites in context. Moreover, the perspective on land exchange (as opposed to the broader topic of agricultural reform) unlocked a new batch of policies that I had only touched on superficially before. Some of the most important details on my field sites—for example, changes regarding their administrative and cooperative boundaries—were easily accessible online, but only once I knew what to look for. Such contextualisation helped to reduce the distance between the local field sites and the analytical objective of studying the trajectory of the agricultural regime as a whole. Moreover, it shaped the profile of so-called ‘small cases’ to strengthen the empirical data and helped me to identify these additional cases, including the right interview partners, and to formulate questions. The foundation of previous ethnographic field research has allowed me to conduct short field trips to additional locations in a much more productive way, since I could rely on a concrete set of questions focused on certain topics and stakeholders. While there will rarely be the time again for longer periods of field research once a dissertation is finished, such additional research trips and revisiting the original research sites whenever possible (including, of course, the bar) help to keep the data alive. Beyond occasional visits, little gaps and statistical details can be asked about via email, Facebook or text messages. I found that all of these channels were important ways to stay in touch with the field site—whether to ask if everybody is OK after the area was hit by an earthquake, or to quickly follow up on a particular detail you need to know right now to write up an article. Not least, keeping in touch via various channels helps to build stronger arguments on change. Every abstract policy change at the national level becomes easier to understand when Chapter 6 How to do fieldwork 179 traced down to the local context of a familiar field site, and an email to the right person among your local contacts can be sufficient to unlock this specific knowledge. In that sense, to paraphrase Levi McLaughlin (2010), not only is all research in Japan fieldwork—keeping in touch with your field site is also the foundation for continuing research on Japan from abroad. Hanno Jentzsch 180 Further reading Alexy, Allison/Cook, Emma (2019): Reflections on fieldwork: Exploring intimacy. In: Alexy, Allison/Cook, Emma (eds.): Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of closeness and conflict. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 236–260. Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.) (2003): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press. McLaughlin, Levi (2010): All research is fieldwork: A practical introduction to studying in Japan as a foreign researcher. In: The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus 8, No. 30. 3388/article.html, [Accessed 14 August 2020]. Robben, Antonius/Sluka, Jeffry A. (eds.) (2012): Ethnographic fieldwork: An anthropological reader. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. Robertson, Jennifer et al. (eds.) (2007): Politics and pitfalls of Japan ethnography: Reflexivity, responsibility, and anthropological ethics (Special Issue). In: Critical Asian Studies 39, No. 4. Reiher, Cornelia (ed.) (2018): Fieldwork in Japan: New trends and challenges (Special Issue). In: ASIEN— The German Journal on Contemporary Asia 149. References Alexy, Allison/Cook, Emma E. (eds.) (2019): Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of closeness and conflict. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press. American Anthropological Association (2004): Statement on ethnography and institutional review boards. Advocate/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=1652, [Accessed 20 April 2020]. Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth (1999): Ethical guidelines for good research practice. downloads/ethics/Ethical_guidelines.pdf, [Accessed 20 April 2020]. Bestor, Theodore C. (2003): Inquisitive observation: Following networks in urban fieldwork. In: Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 315–334. Bestor, Theodore C. (2004): Tsukiji: The fish market at the center of the world. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (2003a): Introduction: Doing fieldwork in Japan. In: Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 1–17. Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.) (2003b): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press. Booth, Wayne/Colomb, Gregory G./Williams, Joseph M./Bizup, Joseph/Fitzgerald, William T. (eds.) (2016): The craft of research. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Coates, Jamie (2015): ‘Unseeing’ Chinese students in Japan: Understanding educationally channelled migrant experiences. In: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 44, No. 3, pp. 125–154. Cwiertka, Katarzyna J. (2006): Modern Japanese cuisine: Food, power and national identity. London: Reaktion Books. Davis, Donald R. (2015): Three principles for an Asian Humanities: Care first … learn from … connect histories. In: The Journal of Asian Studies 74, pp. 43–67. Dore, Ronald (1978): Shinohata. A portrait of a Japanese village. New York, NY: Pantheon Books. Emerson, Robert M./Fretz, Rachel I./Shaw, Linda L. (eds.) (2011): Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Farrer, James (n.d.): Nishiogiology., [Accessed 16 October 2019]. Farrer, James (2018): The decline of the neighborhood Chinese restaurant in urban Japan. In: Jahrbuch für Kulinaristik—The German Journal of Food Studies and Hospitality, No. 2, pp. 197–222. Farrer, James/Wang, Chuanfei/Wank, David/de Carvalho, Mônica R./Vyletalova, Lenka/Hess, Christian (2017): Japanese culinary mobilities research: The globalization of the Japanese restaurant. In: Foods & Food Ingredients Journal Japan 222, No. 3, pp. 257–266. Fukutake, Tadashi (1980): Rural society in Japan. Tokyo: Tokyo University Press. 181 Gagné, Nana Okura (2010): The business of leisure, the leisure of business: Rethinking hegemonic masculinity through gendered service in Tokyo hostess clubs. In: Asian Anthropology, No. 9, pp. 29–55. Gagné, Nana Okura (2015): Romance and sexuality in Japanese Latin dance clubs. In: Ethnography 15, No. 4, pp. 446–468. Gagné, Nana Okura (2019): Neoliberalism at work: Corporate reforms, subjectivity, and post-Toyotist affect in Japan. In: Anthropological Theory. DOI: 10.1177/1463499618807294. Gagné, Nana Okura (2020): Reworking Japan: Changing men at work and play under neoliberalism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Goodman, Roger (2003): The changing perception and status of Japan’s returnee children (kikokushijo). In: Goodman, Roger/Peach, Ceri/Takenaka, Ayumi/ White, Paul (eds.): Global Japan: The experience of Japan’s new immigrant and overseas communities. New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 177–195. Hammersley, Martyn/Atkinson, Paul (2019): Ethnography: Principles in practice. Abingdon: Routledge. Hardacre, Helen (2003): Fieldwork with Japanese religious groups. In: Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 71–88. Inter-Parliamentary Union (2020): Global data on national parliaments., [Accessed 20 April 2020]. Kajimoto, Tetsuji (14.09.2018): Women in management at Japan firms still a rarity: Reuters poll. s-poll-idUSKCN1LT3GF, [Accessed 20 April 2020]. Kharel, Dipesh (2016): From Lahures to global cooks: Network migration from the western hills of Nepal to Japan. In: Social Science Japan Journal 19, No. 2, pp. 173–192. King, Storm A. (1996): Researching Internet communities: Proposed guidelines for the reporting of results. In: The Information Society 12, No. 2, pp. 119–128. Kondo, Dorinne K. (1990): Crafting selves: Power, gender, and discourses of identity in a Japanese workplace. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Kozinets, Robert V. (2015): Netnography: Redefined. London: Sage. Lebra, Takie Sugiyama (2004): The Japanese self in cultural logic. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press. Levinas, Emmanuel (1969): Totality and infinity: An essay on exteriority. Pittsburg, PA: Duquesne University Press. Liu-Farrer, Gracia (2020): Immigrant Japan: Mobility and belonging in an ethnonationalist society. New York, NY: Cornell University Press. McLaughlin, Levi (2010): All research is fieldwork: A practical introduction to studying in Japan as a foreign researcher. In: The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus 8, No. 30. 3388/article.html, [Accessed 14 August 2020]. Nicolini, Davide (2016): Is small the only beautiful? Making sense of ‘large phenomena’ from a practicebased perspective. In: Hui, Alison/Schatzki, Theodore A./Shove, Elizabeth (eds.): The nexus of practices: Connections, constellations and practitioners. London: Routledge, pp. 98–113. Nicolini, Davide (2017): Practice theory as a package of theory, method and vocabulary: Affordances and limitations. In: Jonas, Michael/Littig, Beate/Wroblewski, Angela (eds.): Methodological reflections on practice oriented theories. Cham, CH: Springer International Publishing, pp. 19–34. Przybylski, Liz (2020): Hybrid ethnography: Online, offline, and in between. London: Sage. Raz, Aviad (1999): Riding the black ship: Japan and Tokyo Disneyland. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Roberson, James (1998): Japanese working class lives: An ethnographic study of factory workers. London: Routledge. Roberts, Glenda S. (1994): Staying on the line: Blue-collar women in contemporary Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press. Roberts, Glenda S. (2003): Bottom up, top down, and sideways: Studying corporations, government programs, and NPOs. In: Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 294–314. Roberts, Lynne D. (2015): Ethical issues in conducting qualitative research in online communities. In: Qualitative Research in Psychology 12, No. 3, pp. 314–325. Robertson, Jennifer (ed.) 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Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Solt, George (2014): The untold history of ramen: How political crisis in Japan spawned a global food craze. Oakland, CA: University of California Press. Stocking, George W. (1992): The ethnographer’s magic and other essays in the history of Anthropology. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. Tatematsu, Kikuko (1993): Writing letters in Japanese. Tokyo: The Japan Times. Ugoretz, Kaitlyn (2017): A guide to unobtrusive methods in digital ethnography. Unpublished paper, https: // raphy, [Accessed 13 May 2020]. Urry, John (2016): Mobilities: New perspectives on transport and society. London: Routledge. Van Maanen, John (2011): Tales of the field: On writing ethnography. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Chapter 6 How to do fieldwork 183 Chapter 7 How to interview people: Qualitative interviews Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher Introduction Scholars researching Japan from across the Social Science spectrum rely on qualitative interviews with a variety of actors to learn about their lifeworlds, experiences, practices and perspectives on a range of issues. These include, for example, residents in a specific neighbourhood, local government officials, parents, married and divorced couples and farmers (see this chapter, Alexy, Ch. 7.3; Brumann, Ch. 7.1; Yamaguchi, Ch. 7.2). In this chapter, we examine what qualitative interviews are and what insights researchers can gain from interviews in general, as well as from interviews both in and outside of Japan. We detail decisions a researcher should make before conducting interviews to ensure the data produced addresses the research question. We then introduce different types of interviews, elicit the process of selecting and contacting interviewees and give practical advice on preparing for the actual interviews. This is followed by in-depth discussion on the practice of interviewing: specifically language issues, the process of interviewing, dealing with (non-)verbal expressions, negotiating interviewer–interviewee relations and recording. The chapter concludes with reflections on interview followups, particularly in regard to the transcription of interviews, and how and why to stay in touch with informants. Qualitative interviews Qualitative interviews range from the ‘traditional’ question and answer type to more openended and spontaneous ‘conversations’. Interviews are probably the most frequently used tool in qualitative research (Keddi/Stich 2008, p. 2) and are utilised in the Humanities and Social Sciences to enable the researcher to ‘elicit views and opinions from the participants’ (Creswell 2014, p. 190), to learn about the interviewees’ experiences (Rubin/Rubin 2005, p. 2) and to obtain descriptions of their lifeworlds in order to understand how an interviewee interprets the meaning of phenomena they describe (Brinkmann 2014, pp. 277, 286–289). In contrast to surveying through questionnaires, interviewing people directly enables researchers to ask questions, listen to stories and respond to unexpected issues and opinions immediately. In addition, when meeting informants in their homes or coffee shops, or when following them through their paddy fields, researchers can catch a glimpse of the environments the informants live in. 1. 2. 184 Although differences in the definition of the qualitative interview types exist across disciplines, most scholars agree on three basic strategies to produce verbal data: asking individuals more or less fixed questions, listening to stories and talking with couples or groups (Flick 2006, p. 149). Depending on a researcher’s discipline, the boundaries between interviews and ‘normal’ conversations can be blurred. In Anthropology, for example, ‘questioning and/or just listening take place within everyday conversation’ (O’Reilly 2005, p. 116; see this chapter, Alexy, Ch. 7.3). This approach stands in contrast to more formalised interview settings where researchers and informants might meet for the first (and sometimes only) time in order to ask and answer questions for a fixed period of time. Qualitative interviews, regardless of their specific definition, always involve explicit rules concerning their content, duration and setting. These rules and practices may differ according to disciplinary conventions, but foremost according to the research topic, context and interviewees. This also applies to ethical rules ‘concerning consent for the interview, for recording and for preserving the subject’s anonymity and the confidentiality of the respondent’ (Hammond/ Wellington 2013, p. 91; see Slater et al., Ch. 16.2). Because of the plurality of approaches to interviews, it is important to familiarise oneself with how interviews are conceptualised within one’s discipline, as well as best practices for how they are to be conducted, documented and analysed. Key issues Qualitative interviews are a method to find out how people characterise and view their lives, to identify what they find important and to understand their perceptions and interpretations of the topic a researcher is interested in. Therefore, it is people’s perspectives and not ‘objective facts’ researchers can find out. Choosing the ‘right’ type of interview and questions Once a researcher decides on interviews as a suitable tool to answer her research question(s), two intertwined decisions must be made: how to interview, and how and what to ask. There exist different interview types that can be distinguished between based on 1. their degree of structure, 2. the number of interviewees (individuals, couples or groups) and 3. the interview method (face-to-face, via phone or online). Deciding which interview type to use is primarily dependent on whether the data ‘made’ through interviews will be used as evidence to answer the research question (Hammond/Wellington 2013, p. 92). Other factors that influence the choice of interview type include the researchers’ abilities with regard to the local language, her personal as well as professional experience, available funding, time and staff, structural circumstances such as access to informants, geographical distance, and the abilities and needs of the interviewees in terms of health or privacy. The most obvious distinction between interview types is in their structure (see this chapter, Yamaguchi, Ch. 7.2). Interviews are commonly divided into structured, unstructured and semistructured types. In reality, however, this distinction is more of ‘a continuum ranging from relatively structured to relatively unstructured formats’ (Brinkmann 2014, p. 285). Although in 3. Chapter 7 How to interview people 185 the literature on research methods, the various interview types appear as neatly separated, in practice their use is more intertwined (Helfferich 2004, p. 11). Generally speaking, unstructured interviews, such as narrative (often biographical), episodic or ethnographic interviews, strongly focus on subjective meanings or the interviewee’s perspective and system of relevance. They often evolve around a ‘generative narrative question’ as in the case of narrative or episodic interviews (Flick 2006, pp. 173–188) or often develop spontaneously out of a ‘normal’ conversation in the field. In contrast, more structured interviews mainly aim to refute or confirm a hypothesis and centre around questions the researcher has decided on before the interview(s) (Brinkmann 2014, p. 286). Most researchers in qualitative Social Science research use semi-structured interviews (ibid.). Their intent is to identify individual views, but they are based on a (loose) interview guide a researcher can use for orientation. Sticking to the guide is not, however, obligatory, and the researcher can ask various additional questions or include a new topic whenever she feels it is appropriate to do so. Mixing different degrees of openness in interviews can be necessary for collecting different kinds of information (demographic information and individual perceptions) or when researchers need to flexibly adjust their (theoretical) plans to the actual interview situation or the ‘flow’ of the conversation (Rubin/Rubin 2006, p. 35). The level of structure of an interview can change anytime during the interview process. While unstructured interviews are particularly helpful in exploratory phases of a research project, a more structured interview format is often better suited to later phases of a project, to follow up on specific issues or to test a hypothesis that derived from earlier exploratory and unstructured interviews (Froschauer/Lueger 2003, p. 35). Different interview forms: focused interview, semi-standardised interview, problemcentred interview, expert interview, ethnographic interview, narrative interview, episodic interview, couple interview, group interview, group discussion, focus group1 Questions asked during interviews may differ significantly based on the interview approach. However, regardless of the interview type, researchers should produce ‘a set of questions that are meaningful for the interviewee’ (Hammond/Wellington 2013, p. 92) and ask the ‘right’ questions in order to get answers that help her to answer the research question. In semi- and unstructured interviews, the questions should ‘invite interviewees to give descriptions’ (Brinkmann 2014, p. 287), as interviewees are expected to answer ‘as freely and as extensively as they wish’ (Flick 2011, p. 112). Hammond/Wellington (2013, p. 92) stress careful use of language, such as avoiding jargon, striving for clarity in phrasing and asking open-ended questions that relate to the expertise of the informants. Flick (2011, p. 113) suggests that questions should ‘allow room for the specific, personal views of the interviewees’ and should not influence them. Questions that refer to abstract theoretical concepts like ‘globalisation’ or ‘hypergamy’ or questions that imply a certain understanding of a term or concept like, for example, ‘love’ should also be avoided. 1 For differently structured overviews on interview forms, corresponding questions and possible research goals, see Cresswell 2014; Flick 2006; Rubin/Rubin 2006. For detailed information on couple interviews, see Yoshida, Ch. 5. Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher 186 Key issues Consider whether the data produced through a specific interview type is best suited to your research topic and will help you answer your research question. Take available resources and practical issues like access to the field or the needs of informants into account. Mixing different interview formats in one interview or across interviews might be helpful or even necessary. Selecting and finding interviewees The research question and topic are key factors in deciding on appropriate interviewees, just as they are in determining the optimal interview format. When selecting interview partners, a researcher should keep in mind the practical considerations discussed in section 3, but also consciously reflect on sampling strategies and determining what expertise interviewees need in order to produce meaningful data. Sampling refers to the process of selecting whom you will interview (case sampling) (Flick 2006, p. 122). In order to produce reliable and valid research, it is important to reflect on the criteria according to which you have selected the interviewees and make this process transparent to the audience. For some research projects, it might be useful to choose the interviewees before going to the field (a priori sampling) based on certain criteria: for example, age, occupation or gender (statistical sampling, Flick 2006, p. 123). In other projects, sampling can occur during the process of collecting and interpreting interview (and other) data (theoretical sampling, Flick 2006, pp. 125–131). Theoretical sampling is derived from grounded theory (Glaser/Strauss 2005; see Meagher, Ch. 12), but has become widely accepted in qualitative research. The gradual selection of cases and material is based on criteria concerning content and relevance rather than representativeness (Flick 2006, p. 128). The ideal informant is ‘experienced and knowledgeable’ and contributes ‘a variety of perspectives’ (Rubin/Rubin 2006, p. 64) on the researcher’s topic of interest. When you are selecting interviewees, it is best to think of all informants as experts in their respective lifeworlds, experiences and opinions. Different types of expertise exist, however. These experts derive their status from being part of a certain group (intra-systematic knowledge), from possessing knowledge of several systems in a larger field (intra-field expertise) or from external expertise (theoretical knowledge). Examples of such experts are scholars or journalists, who are often targeted for ‘expert interviews’ (Froschauer/Lueger 2003, pp. 37–38). In Japan, social networks, introductions and trust relations are crucial in order to identify and connect with informants who are willing to be interviewed (Bestor et al. 2003a, p. 14). Foreign researchers in Japan often obtain access by affiliating with a Japanese host institution (McLaughlin 2010). Although in some cases researchers prefer not to mention their affiliation (Steinhoff 2003), Japanese supervisors and colleagues can introduce researchers to potential informants and thus become important gatekeepers. Some scholars rely on snowball sampling to access ‘informants through contact information that is provided by other informants’ (Noy 2008, p. 330). But being introduced to informants by only one gatekeeper can result in a biased perspective on the research topic. Thus, to find interviewees, creative and plural modes of access via different gatekeepers are crucial (McLaughlin 2010, p. 8–9), as are reflecting on the 4. Chapter 7 How to interview people 187 influence of gatekeepers and sampling strategies on the findings of research projects (see Gagné, Ch. 6.1). Contacting people to make an appointment for interviews with or without the help of gatekeepers might demand the use of different media. While in some cases an email with an introductory letter from a scholar’s home or host institution and an outline of their research is necessary to set up a connection, in other cases all that is required to gain access is a phone call or a visit to the person’s shop or farm. Sometimes social media can be the most efficient tool with which to arrange an interview. In her research on local culture in post-disaster Tōhoku, Julia Gerster (2018) arranged almost all her interviews via Facebook and Line. How to best contact interviewees after you identify them as knowledgeable depends on the people one would like to interview and demands creativity, patience and often involves a lot of trial and error. Key issues In order to decide whom to interview, you should consider different kinds of sampling methods and reflect on the kind of knowledge the ‘ideal interviewee’ should possess to answer your research question. Try plural modes of access to interviewees and don’t rely on only one gatekeeper. Different media can be helpful when contacting informants to arrange interviews. Preparing interviews: Location, timing and things to bring Once a researcher has (roughly) decided how and whom to interview, the appropriate preparation is crucial. The first step is to find a location to conduct the interview. Interviews can take place at people’s homes, favourite restaurants, cheap fast-food chains, parks, coffee shops or workplaces. When possible, it is preferable to leave the decision about the location to the interviewees so they can choose a place that is convenient and comfortable for them. This has the added benefits of both giving researchers an insight into the life of the respondents, especially if they are invited into their home or one of their favourite local hangouts, as well as freeing the researcher from having to search for an appropriate location, which can prove rather difficult in a city like Tokyo. Sometimes researchers have to select locations themselves. Public spaces like coffee shops can be a good choice, even for interviews on sensitive topics. If the interviews are going to be recorded, it is crucial to consider all the sources of environmental noise and seek ways to limit it as much as possible. Nothing is more disheartening than discovering that hours of audio are ruined due to background noise (as we both know from experience). Once the meeting place for the interview is set, it is best to visit the location and confirm its opening hours. When a face-to-face interview is not possible, there are other good options, such as sending questionnaires or conducting phone or online interviews (Flick 2006, pp. 254–260). These techniques of producing verbal, written, audio and/or video data enable the researcher to carry out ‘both asynchronous and synchronous online interviews’ (Hammond/Wellington 2013, p. 92) and to widen the scope of her research. (Written) online interviewing can be less intrusive, can produce more reflective answers, and can help people feel more comfortable (ibid.). How- 5. Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher 188 ever, the responses might be less spontaneous and the relationship between the researcher and the interlocutor less familiar (Flick 2006, pp. 256–260). It is also important to take sufficient time to conduct interviews and, if possible, to have a coffee or dinner with the interlocutor afterwards (see this chapter, Alexy, Ch. 7.3).2 The length of an interview depends on the interviewee’s available time, the topic, the number of people involved, the type of interview and the overall atmosphere. We have conducted interviews ranging from thirty minutes up to around four hours and experienced interviews to last longer when invited to individuals’ homes, as interviewees showed us personal belongings and even invited us for dinner. Nora usually writes in a first email to possible interviewees that the interview will take ‘approximately one hour’ because a longer time span seems to be a deterrent, especially to working people. Before the interview starts, she also asks the interviewee again how much time she has in order to adjust the interview guide (if there is one), to plan the interview and to frame the situation. Finally, there are several things the researcher should bring to the interview. Apart from items like a recording device that help the researcher with organisational matters, we recommend bringing name cards (meishi) and a gift (McLaughlin 2010). Gifts create a pleasant atmosphere and show gratitude for the interviewees’ help and efforts. They don’t need to be expensive and can be something from the researchers’ home country or some sweets bought in Japan. We recommend always bringing extra gifts in case one is met by more people than expected or gifts are presented to the researcher. Key issues Ask the interviewee where she wants to meet for the interview. In case they leave the decision up to you, suggest convenient locations and bear topics like privacy, noise or opening hours in mind, and always check the location beforehand. Take enough time, but also think about the interviewee’s needs and constraints. Always bring name cards (meishi) and a small gift. Bring more than you think you will need. Deciding on the language When you are conducting interviews in Japan or with Japanese interlocutors outside of Japan, language is of paramount importance. Usually researchers contact their interviewees in advance via email or phone in the language the interview will most likely be conducted in. In cases where contacts were established through a third person, the question of language has to be explicitly discussed. Ideally, interviews should be conducted in the language informants feel most comfortable with, so they can express their opinions and feelings. In most cases, this is Japanese. Therefore, ‘advanced reading and comprehension skills are a prerequisite to doing research in Japan’ (Smith 2003, p. 161). However, researchers should not fear conducting interviews in Japanese due to anxiety about their language skills as ‘doing fieldwork is in itself a powerful language-learning opportunity’ (Bestor et al. 2003a, p. 9). 6. 2 For a different opinion on this topic, see Yoshida, Ch. 5. Chapter 7 How to interview people 189 Even with fluency in Japanese, there will likely be many new specialised terms to master (Smith 2003, p. 162). Therefore, it is important to study the specialised vocabulary necessary to conduct interviews on your research topic. In Cornelia’s (Reiher 2014) project on porcelain production in Kyushu, she learned the special terms for different types of kilns and glazes in advance. In addition, interviews in multicultural communities may also demand fluency in several languages. In Chaline Timmerarens’ (2018) project on Brazilians in Hamamatsu, for example, she conducted interviews in Japanese and Portuguese. Using multiple languages when researching Japan increases the ‘burden of checking and double-checking that we have interpreted meaning correctly’ (Smith 2003, p. 161). Thus, the interviewer must not be afraid to ask for explanations of unfamiliar Japanese terms while conducting the interview. When in doubt, one should always consult Japanese colleagues and friends for help or contact research participants to clarify what they meant by a certain term. Although most interlocutors will prefer to speak Japanese, some Japanese interviewees will insist on ‘speaking “impoverished” English’ to foreign researchers (Johnson 2003, p. 146). In transnational settings where interviewees are bilingual or multilingual, researchers are likely to encounter a language-mix in interviews, as Nora encountered in some interviews during her research on marriage decisions and relationship worlds (Kottmann 2016; 2019). Key issues Conduct the interview in the language the interviewee is most comfortable with. Study specialised terms related to your research topic. Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewee if you don’t understand what she is saying during the interview or to get help from native speakers. Reflect on the language(-mix) used in the interviews. The process of interviewing: Listening, contradictions and (non-)verbal expressions The interview process can be roughly divided into an introductory, main and final part (Hopf 2007, p. 356). Before the interview starts, the researcher should briefly explain the interview’s goal and procedure, and talk about ethical norms, such as anonymity and how the data will be used. After some small talk, she should ask if she can turn on the recording device and start with more general introductory questions (see McLaughlin, Ch. 6). In case the interviewee has asked for the questions to be sent in advance of the interview, going over the questionnaire is a good place to start. Be transparent and create a pleasant atmosphere to get interviewees to talk more freely. We usually start an interview by asking informants for a brief self-introduction (jiko shōkai) or to talk about an item related to the topic. Cornelia, for example, brought fairtrade chocolate from Germany to interviews about food labelling. In all interview approaches, it is important to begin and proceed with an interview in a way ‘that makes the conversational partner feel comfortable, [the researcher] obtains [the] needed information, and [that] is compatible with the researcher’s [and the interviewees] personality’ (Rubin/Rubin 2006, p. 31). After the introduction, researchers then ask main questions, follow-up questions and probes (Rubin/Rubin 2006, pp. 134–139). In the main part of the interview, it can be helpful to con- 7. Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher 190 tribute one’s own thoughts and experiences on the subject matter to establish ‘conversational partnerships’ (Rubin/Rubin 2006, p. 79). These contributions should be limited so as to not influence the interlocutor or direct the narrative. Regardless of the interview type, it is important to listen to the interview partner and not interrupt her. Similarly, a researcher should also ‘listen’ for the stories that have not been told. This may require accepting moments of silence, ambiguities and contradictions. Both researcher and interlocutor might feel uncomfortable with silences, but not interrupting the ‘flow’ of thinking and talking can also offer insights. The same is true for evasive replies, when there is no response and when the interviewee does not address salient topics—one can gain insights from what is not said. In addition, it is important to pay attention to body language, tone of voice, speech rhythm and the overall atmosphere, as well as one’s own immediate feelings as they are meaningful and can be understood as commentaries on the verbal data (Kaufmann 1999, p. 117). Possible ways to handle contradictions in interviews that can be seen as ‘normal’ ‘internal conflicts in narratives and descriptions’ (Brinkmann 2014, p. 288) are to either ask follow-up questions or to simply continue conducting the interview as planned. This also applies to ‘untrue’ narrations. One of Nora’s informants told a life story that significantly differed from information about the interviewee that was obtained from other informants (including her marital status). Despite the interviewee deflecting questions, Nora still decided to continue with the interview, which later provided enlightening material with regard to the research question. It also demonstrated that instead of asking if stories are ‘true’ or not, it is important to reflect on how is what (not) being told and ‘what truth did [the interviewee] tell’ (North 2009, p. 31). The final part of an interview is often devoted to enquiries on specific topics that came up during the interview. To be able to ask these follow-up questions, Cornelia recommends taking notes during the interview. Before ending an interview, we usually include some open questions that allow further room for the interviewees to reflect on their interpretation of the topic (‘Is there anything you would like to add?’) (see Sternsdorff-Cisterna, Ch. 2.1). After you have obtained all the necessary information or if the interviewee starts checking the time, thanking them and switching off the recording device is a practical way to end the interview (see below). For further valuable insights and out of politeness, we recommend accepting invitations for a joint meal after the interview (see this chapter, Alexy, Ch. 7.3). Akiko Yoshida (see Ch. 5), on the other hand, is reluctant to accept invitations due to concerns about bothering the interviewees. In any case, a researcher should always carefully consider the situation before accepting an invitation. Key issues Creating a pleasant atmosphere and asking introductory questions are a good way to break the ice at the start of an interview. Don’t interrupt your interviewees and listen to the stories that are (and are not) told. Endure silence and contradictions, and also take non-verbal expressions into account. End the interview with open questions that invite the interviewee to bring up their own questions on the topic and possibly add issues. Chapter 7 How to interview people 191 Negotiating interviewer–interviewee relations and reflexivity Just as it is important to create a comfortable atmosphere during an interview, it is also crucial to create a comfortable relationship between the interviewer and interviewee. This is greatly influenced by the interview approach. In ethnographic interviews—in contrast to more structured interviews—the relationship tends to be more ‘equal’ and the roles are more blurred. However, regardless of the interview form, the relationship has to constantly be negotiated— as do mutual expectations, aims and interests. The researcher, therefore, has to face the difficulty of balancing proximity and distance, strangeness and familiarity, being an insider and an outsider, being empathetic or not, as well as being active and passive (Flick 2006, p. 118, 120; Rubin/Rubin 2006, pp. 81, 86–89). Negotiating these balances can be particularly difficult in interviews on sensitive issues, such as illness and death (Spoden 2015). The expectations of the interviewee(s) may also differ significantly: they might expect the interviewer to adopt their perspective (and support them) or they might regard the interviewer as an ‘expert’ who can give ‘objective’ advice on various matters. These topics are closely connected to a researcher’s positionality and reflexivity: that is, being aware of one’s implicit assumptions, questioning them and being conscious of the impact or influence of the researcher on the research in general, and the interview specifically (Brayda/ Boyce 2014). The importance of reflexivity is widely acknowledged. Yet, researchers refer to this process with different terms, such as ‘being self-aware’ (Rubin/Rubin 2006, p. 31f.) or doing ‘backyard research’ (Creswell 2014, p. 87f.). Reflexivity also refers to a researcher’s sociodemographic factors, like age, gender, nationality and marital, familial or occupational status. Certainly, the interview and stories the interviewees tell depend significantly on the researcher (Takeda 2013). Genaro Castro-Vázquez, for example, experienced in his research on intimacy and reproduction in Japan that his interlocutors—all of them married women between the ages of 29 and 45—‘found conversation on intimacy […] challenging’; especially in front of a single, childless, middle-aged, non-Japanese male scholar (Castro-Vázquez 2017, p. 66, 186). Being a non-native, obviously not Japanese researcher also has significant (often positive) impacts on the interviews. Nora, for example, experienced the situation of her interlocutors explaining many things in great detail that they assumed she didn’t know as a non-Japanese. Considering reflexivity is also important when working with research assistants, as James Farrer (2013) elaborates on in his research on sexual stories of Chinese women in Shanghai. Key issues When negotiating interviewee–interviewer relationships, reflexivity is important. It is essential to be aware of one’s own implicit assumptions, to question them and to be conscious of the impact or influence of the researcher on the research in general, and the interview specifically. 8. Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher 192 Recording, taking notes and (not) transcribing During interviews, many researchers record their interviews as audio files via a voice recorder or smartphone. Others create videos or take pictures. It is important to always ask for permission to record before the interview begins. Some researchers and ethics boards demand written consent for you to record an interview on audio and video files (see Slater et al., Ch. 16.2), and always bring a form to sign to the interview. Others ask for permission by email prior to the interview. Some scholars recommend taking notes, even if the interview is recorded, as there are cases when audio files are incomprehensible. If one does take notes during an interview, it also helps to pick up on topics your interview partner mentions and to grasp non-verbal expressions. As soon as one leaves the interview site, it is helpful to find a place to sit down and write up everything one remembers from the interview: describe the situation, number of people, the vibe, maybe even draw a map of the room and where everyone was seated during group interviews (see this chapter, Yamaguchi, Ch. 7.2). This is important even when recording, but especially when taking notes during the interview is not possible, as Patricia Steinhoff (2003) experienced when conducting interviews in prisons. After such interviews, we recommend jotting down quick notes before writing a longer report. Last but not least, make sure you store your audio files and notes. McLaughlin (2010, pp. 17– 18) advises researchers to ‘save everything in at least three places’ such as one’s computer, a flash memory, an external hard drive or online. In the likely case that a researcher records her interviews, she has to decide after the interview whether to transcribe the audio material and, if so, which method to use. While some researchers see transcribing as a ‘necessary step on the way to […] interpretation’ (Flick 2006, p. 288), others are resistant to making a full transcription as they argue that the nature of the raw material changes in the process and loses its depths and complexities, which are inherent in speech rhythm, tone of voice and breaks of silence. Jean-Claude Kaufmann (1999, p. 117), for example, recommends only transcribing important parts of the interviews, while constantly relistening to the whole audio data. If the researcher decides to transcribe (some parts of) the interview, she also has to decide on the level of detail of the transcription: from notes to written versions of the interviews up to extremely precise transcriptions that include stalling words, as well as their pronunciation. As transcription can be extremely time-consuming, it might be helpful to get (paid) assistance when a detailed full transcript is required and/or use a transcribing device operated by a food pedal and/or transcription programs.3 For most projects, however, transcripts do not have to be perfect. Decisions on the level of detail should be based on the level of analysis and ‘include any information that might influence the interpretation, such as laughter or gestures of emphasis, [breaks of silence] or puzzlement’ (Rubin/Rubin 2005, p. 204). Regardless of the level of detail, it is important to create a table in which important abbreviations and characters are introduced and explained. It is especially necessary (and vital for analysis and writing) to clearly mark direct citations and parts which are summaries of what was heard (Kottmann 2016, pp. 117–119). 9. 3 See, for example, FOLKER (free of charge). Chapter 7 How to interview people 193 Key issues Always take notes, even when you record the interview. Sometimes the most interesting things are said after you have turned the voice recorder off. Document all information about the interview, the interview situation and your informants immediately after the interview and store them in different places. We recommend transcribing at least part of the interview. Transcriptions do not have to be perfect but should include non-verbal expressions. A table with abbreviations and a clear mark-up of direct citations is helpful. Following up and keeping in touch Scholars writing about fieldwork in Japan advise researchers to ‘follow up every interview with a thank you, either in writing or by phone’ and suggest writing ‘thank you letters on high-quality paper’ (McLaughlin 2010, p. 13). This is not only because of the importance of trust, social networks and reciprocity for fieldwork in Japan (see Gagné, Ch. 6.1), but also because one might want to contact sources again for questions that arise during data analysis or to ask them for follow-up interviews. Recently, social media has become an equally important means for expressing gratitude and maintaining long-term relations with informants. In addition to writing thank you notes, Gerster (2018) also likes the informant’s personal social media profile and shares pictures via Facebook and Line. Through social media, Skype or emails, a researcher can stay in touch easily with informants to ask follow-up questions or to ask for help in gaining access to informants for a new research project. When Cornelia (Reiher 2012; 2017) started a new project on food safety in Japan, she first contacted farmers she knew from her previous fieldwork in rural Japan. Many researchers even maintain life-long relations with their informants, particularly when they have conducted fieldwork over a longer period of time (see Gagné, Ch. 6.1). Interviewees and gatekeepers might ask the researcher for favours as well. Although ideally informants will collaborate in research projects voluntarily (Sluka und Robben 2012), reciprocity in the research process means that researchers should return favours to informants and gatekeepers to thank them for their support and efforts (McLaughlin 2010, p. 7). Cornelia, for example, regularly meets with consumer advocates and bureaucrats from Japan who come to Berlin to study the German food system. Sometimes informants also expect researchers to take sides, represent their views and advocate for them. After Japan’s 3.11 triple disaster, for example, some called for enhanced political engagement and scholar activism and raised questions about researchers’ responsibility towards those being studied (Yamashita 2012). Particularly in Anthropology, reciprocity also refers to ‘reciprocal processes with tangible benefit for local communities, if ethnographic work is to continue’ (lewallen 2007, p. 509). This might also include presenting one’s findings to informants before and after the research is finished (Gerster 2018). In some cases, however, it is impossible to maintain relations with informants. Sometimes this is due to sensitive research topics, but in other cases research participants can no longer be located (Steinhoff 2003, p. 39, 40), are simply too busy or are not interested in remaining in touch. 10. Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher 194 Key issues Thank your interlocutors for the interview and try to maintain relations with them. You might have follow-up questions or want to conduct follow-up interviews. Reciprocity means that interviewees may also ask you for favours, which should be reasonable. Summary In this chapter, we have provided an overview of qualitative interviews used in research on Japan. Qualitative interviews should be conducted in a reliable and ethical way. This requires researchers to actively reflect on the entire interviewing process and make the process transparent to their audience. Reading the literature on interviews from specific disciplines is a good first step to prepare for conducting interviews in Japan. But it is important to bear in mind that conducting interviews in a different cultural setting presents specific challenges, especially in regard to language and getting access to informants. Therefore, reading about interviewing in Japan, reviewing literature on methodology in Japanese and asking your Japanese colleagues for advice are all helpful before getting started. We found interviews to be a wonderful way to study people’s lifeworlds, opinions, experiences, values and beliefs in and outside of Japan. Meeting informants in person at a variety of places, listening to their always interesting stories and experiencing their kindness has been a great experience for us. We encourage you to give it a try in order to gain one more perspective on Japan. 11. Chapter 7 How to interview people 195 The empire of interviews: Asking my way through Japan Christoph Brumann Quite a few Japanese have told me that their culture does not encourage self-expression, but in my ethnographic research in the country, I have never managed to confirm this stereotype. On the contrary, and in a play on Roland Barthes (1970), I consider Japan the empire of interviews: many Japanese are familiar with this kind of interaction, even if only from the mass media, and are sufficiently polite, patient and curious to try and subject themselves to the exercise even when it is for the first time in their lives. Interviews can therefore be a valuable tool for social research in Japan. In the following, I will reflect on my experiences with this method, hoping that this will provide ideas and encouragement for the reader’s own practice. As a social anthropologist, I have used interviews in all my ethnographic research projects, be it on Japanese utopian communes and their histories and current conditions (Brumann 1996), the gift-giving practices of my former landlord in Tokyo (Brumann 2000), the conflicts about heritage conservation and urban development in Kyoto (Brumann 2012) and the decision processes of the World Heritage Committee (Brumann 2021), where my broad set of interlocutors included Japanese nationals. In 2016, I also used interviews for a yet unpublished study of Buddhist temples in Kyoto. The first Kyoto study in particular included over a hundred formal interviews, and I must have spent months of my life asking Japanese individuals questions and listening to their answers. Most of the time, I enjoyed myself—when interesting people open up about a topic one is interested in, this can be a stimulating experience. I am a dilettante in the sense that beyond some reading in methods handbooks, I have never been formally taught how to do interviews, proceeding in a more or less intuitive way most of the time. This is certainly easier with the ‘open-ended’, narrative type of interviews I conducted most often: in these cases, I had no rigid questionnaire to be ticked off but only a laundry list of items to be covered, often on just one or two pages. These could include fairly precise questions but also more vaguely delineated topics. Such an open methodology has the advantage of allowing for discoveries: often enough, my interlocutors revealed facts, views and connections I had not expected. Beyond this, open-ended interviews are good for exploring worlds of thought and feelings and the chains of reasoning and association in people’s minds. Interviews are better suited to retrieving stories than to checking isolated facts. Quite often, the people I met were involved in some sort of structured activity I was interested in, representing a specific cause or the organisation set up to pursue it (such as, for example, an NGO engaged in saving traditional houses). This meant that upon meeting them for the first time, I was regularly presented with a stack of brochures, leaflets and press clippings that would often explain basic facts and positions at least as well as the most structured conversation. Where possible, this might speak for a brief previous meeting in order to obtain and process such information, so that precious interview time can be reserved for what cannot be gathered otherwise. Interviews are particularly good for uncovering the informal side of formal facts: a can- 7.1 196 did conversation can reveal quite a bit about what official self-presentation really means or what it actively tries to hide, which is important in a society where appearances count. Interview strategies Interviews are contingent social interactions, and I think that it is prudent not to see them as opening a tap out of which pre-formed pieces of information then flow freely. Rather, an interview is a not very closely controlled experiment in which a researcher and those researched coproduce something that, at least to some degree, is unique to the encounter and might not have arisen under different circumstances. Obviously, social scientific research pursues general insights and therefore aims to control this effect, rather than embellish it (different from, say, a late-night show host questioning a celebrity guest). Yet still, it is advisable to face the fact of co-creation, rather than to ignore or conceal it (see Gagné, Ch. 16.2; Klien, Ch. 8.1). This means that the personality of the interviewer and their way of conveying empathy and understanding have a bearing. The ability to think (and feel) along is important to keep an interviewee interested and engaged. There are a lot of verbal and non-verbal ways to signal that one is following what an interviewee says. Beyond this, I talk quite a bit myself in my interviews, such as by summarising an important or surprising point and making comments, just as I would in an everyday conversation. This no doubt increases my impact on what happens, but I tend to think that it helps to maintain the intellectual and emotional flow, and since not influencing what the interlocutor utters is impossible (see above), I prefer such a dialogic approach to reading out a question and then falling silent, come what may. What I still have to learn, however, is to resist the temptation to finish sentences in the interviewees’ stead, such as when they are groping for words or prefer not to express the obvious—I am sure that this has cost me a number of interesting quotes, and tolerating a moment of silence until the interviewees finish a sentence in their own words can have its advantages. When asked for an interview, quite a few people will offer one hour even when they often end up talking longer than initially intended. After one and a half hours or two, concentration often starts to drop on one or both sides, but I have also had rewarding interviews of double that length. It may then be preferable to meet more than once, however, and in my Kyoto research, I interviewed some individuals half a dozen times or more. Staggering the encounters in this way also allows the prior ones to be digested and new questions to be built on the insights gained. Interviews do not prescribe a one-on-one format, and it was sometimes the interlocutors themselves who preferred to meet me together with their married partner, their colleagues or another researcher intent on questioning them. I myself brought the person who had provided the contact or my own colleague in a number of cases. In Kyoto, I did a whole series of interviews with a circle of elderly female friends who regaled me with their reminiscences of the social mores of their youth. Here, the control I exerted over the encounter diminished greatly—the animated conversation took leaps and bounds, making systematic coverage of any given topic difficult, but the joint excavation of memories brought up things that each lady might not have thought of on her own. Group interviews can also ease the stress of simultaneously listening, taking notes and thinking about the next question, given that the flow of conversation depends less on one’s own input. Chapter 7 How to interview people 197 For some projects, systematic comparison across a number of interviews is a possibility, and I did interview series with all the members of a citizens’ group I observed in Kyoto or most households in the neighbourhood where I had followed the Gion festival (Brumann 2012, pp. 15–45, 156–208). This might require a different approach to interview questions. In my case, many of my questions were identical and a comparison was intended. For strict comparability, however, a written questionnaire is often the better choice, as it exposes all individuals to the questions in the same way. Integrating a not too arduous survey in an interview can lighten the mood, and I used one in a number of my interviews (see Holthus/Manzenreiter, Ch. 5.3; Yoshida, Ch. 5). For example, I included a test where I asked Kyotoites to sort photos of buildings according to their personal likes and dislikes (Brumann 2012, pp. 211–219). This yielded both a numerical data set and the live comments the interviewees made when fulfilling the task. In the course of long-term fieldwork, interviews often grow out of prior social encounters and are followed by further ones. This usually makes for more relevant and suitable questions and more trust. Interviews can become intimate occasions—encouraged by the flattering interest in their personality and views, quite a few interlocutors end up revealing more than they initially intended, and mutual understanding makes people feel closer. This can increase trust and support in subsequent encounters, and the choice of interview partners might reflect this hope, not only what they might have to say in the specific interview. Recording and ethics Strategising should not involve deception, however. Research ethics require disclosing one’s own identity and purpose at the outset, and in line with common anthropological practice, I assure my interlocutors that they will remain anonymous in my writings. Sharing the contents or recordings of an interview with others requires explicit consent. Depending on the topic, individuals may not be worried about being named or even insist on it. Such demands should be treated with circumspection but, where possible, with the interviewee’s wishes as a guideline. If interviewees agree—and a number of times, I was overly cautious in asking—audio recording an interview is an option. Some interlocutors refused to be recorded and others became perceptibly nervous, but most Japanese I met did not mind and seemed not to adjust their candidness greatly. I share Ellis S. Krauss’s observation (2003, pp. 182–183) that the device is often completely forgotten—it sometimes came back to mind only when I stopped the recording in the end, prompting the occasional sceptical remark and my reconfirmation of confidentiality. I usually offer to send my interlocutors the sound file of the interview, which some of them accept. A recording is, of course, a more faithful rendition than taking notes and allows for repeated listening, including also of passages one failed to grasp initially. When the precise wording of longer passages is not an issue, however—and in much research, it is not—one can also jot down notes (in my own case, often in a mix of Japanese and my native language German). To avoid long pauses, it is advisable to be brief here, writing just enough to jog one’s memory when typing or dictating a full version of what was being said. Time should be set aside for Christoph Brumann 198 this purpose immediately after the interview, and I was often surprised how much detail I could still remember then. Sound quality is important: most current smartphones make good recordings but particularly in noisy environments such as cafes, an external microphone can be advisable, and stereo recording makes it easier to filter out the interlocutor’s voice from background chatter. Scratching and knocking on tables can produce disturbing sounds when a device is placed on them without cushioning. For outdoor situations, the device or microphone must have wind protection (I lost a good part of one interview by not paying attention to this). It is best to test the equipment beforehand or use earphones to assess conditions. Recordings are a blessing and a curse, given that in order to be useful, they must be processed. I generally discourage full transcriptions. It is better to type summaries of what was being said, including the occasional verbatim quote, but even that takes many times longer than the interview itself and has kept me busy for months on end. So unless one has help, it might be best to devise an indexing system with keywords under which hyperlinks lead directly to the respective interview passages. Text analysis software such as MAXQDA allows for this option, and I am sure there are other possibilities. In this way, analysis can precede the selection of telling passages that are worth writing down and translating. To analysis the interviews must lead: gratifying as they might be, they are not an end in itself but just a step towards a result. Excessive quotations—down to ethnographies consisting almost entirely of raw interview passages (Dwyer 1982)—can be taxing for the reader, whose main interest is often the researcher’s voice. In closing, I stress that much of what I do in interviews I learnt on the job and I have perhaps not reflected too deeply on it. The reader should take this as encouragement not to shy away from trying interviews themselves, starting perhaps with those interlocutors who are least likely to be estranged and most open to a second attempt if things do not work out as planned. Chapter 7 How to interview people 199 The art of interviewing: A Japanese perspective Tomiko Yamaguchi In recent academic discussions in Japan, the value of qualitative research methods has been increasingly appreciated across a wide range of disciplines, from Sociology and Anthropology to Public Policy, Nursing Science and more. While ‘qualitative research’ encompasses a variety of techniques, including participant observation and text analysis, the focus of this chapter is qualitative interviews: in particular, guiding principles and practical aspects of carrying out qualitative interviews in Japan. I will address here what qualitative interviews are and what we can learn from them, as well as the art of interviewing in Japan. What are qualitative interviews? A qualitative interview is a research method whereby a researcher seeks answers to an established research question by eliciting people’s thoughts, opinions and attitudes. Put simply, qualitative interviewing is ‘a conversation with a purpose’ (Berg/Howard 2007, p. 105). There are various ways that qualitative interviews are carried out, such as in-depth interviews, which are usually done one-on-one, and focus group discussions. While in-depth interviews are used to gather data on individuals’ perspectives and experiences, focus group discussions use group dynamics to elicit data on the cultural norms and practices of the group and to gain overviews of issues. My own rule of thumb, when a project is relatively new and I am not yet familiar with the topic, is to use the group discussion method to learn who is who in the field and their relationships. My own project that examined nanotechnology in food was new to me in the sense that I did not know key people in the field, so I chose the focus group discussion method (Yamaguchi 2011). The method helped me greatly to learn who is who and identify important issues on the topic. Similar types of information gathering can also take place by attending programmes such as public forums, conferences and seminars; that information can later be used to make an appointment for in-depth interviews. I attempt to do ‘homework’ thoroughly when carrying out a project in Japan, because the fact that I am Japanese and a professional researcher means that there are expectations that I have a decent knowledge about the subject and have maturity of judgement regarding the situation; maturity means knowing what to ask and what not to ask. When dealing with a topic some of whose elements are familiar (e.g. issues problematised within that community, technical words used by informants, or acquaintanceship with at least one or two key informants) and when I feel confident, I choose to use in-depth interviews right away. As the idea of ‘the active interview’ (Holstein/Gubrium 1995) suggests, an interview not only functions as a form of dynamic social interaction between the researcher and the respondent, but also involves the active participation of the respondent in shaping the meaning of the 7.2 200 social phenomena studied. Therefore, I try to pay close attention to the timing of carrying out interviews so as to carefully cultivate field relations. What can we learn from qualitative interviews? First, interviews are a good method to help the voices of marginalised people to be heard, provided that we listen carefully to what they say in order to learn from the perspectives of the people interviewed (see Ganseforth, Ch. 4.2; Slater et al., Ch. 16.2). For example, using a life history approach, Yukiko Araragi (2017) carried out a study of people with leprosy, explicating the experience of people who were forced to live in a sanatorium. Through careful conversation and listening, Araragi built trustful relations over a period of years with people suffering from social discrimination, and thus gathered and reported on stories which otherwise would not have been known by the majority of people. Similarly, by listening and observing carefully, Christopher Bondy (2015) explored the question of what it is like to grow up as burakumin (Japan’s largest minority group and an outcast group) in contemporary Japan. Again, the perspectives of burakumin are rarely heard. My own project that dealt with Latino organic farmers in California was an attempt to understand the livelihood of immigrant organic farmers who are minorities in the organic sector in the U.S. (Yamaguchi 2016a). What these studies demonstrate is that qualitative interviewing can be a powerful tool with which to uncover personal experiences that individuals have hidden, either willingly or unwillingly, often because they are at odds with the dominant norms, values and beliefs of wider society. Second, qualitative interviewing can also enable researchers to understand complex and contradictory social phenomena. Complex problems are often multifaceted; thus it would be useful to carefully unpack the experiences of varying stakeholders situated in differing sociocultural, economic or political contexts. For instance, by examining radiation contamination of food and farms in Japan, some researchers have shed light on the experience of organic farmers after the Fukushima accident (Kimura/Katano 2014; Yamaguchi 2016b), while another looked at the experience of mothers in Fukushima (Sternsdorff-Cisterna 2015), and yet another carried out interviews with public policymakers, scientific experts and consumers (Reiher 2017). We learn from these studies that, for farmers, the major issue has been whether and how to continue farming; on the other hand, for mothers, or more broadly for consumers, the issue has been about the safety of food for their children. Differing takes on the problem suggest multiple and contradictory social agendas, which raises difficult issues for public policymakers who are responsible for finding a way that is agreeable to most people. An interview method which stands on the premise that none of these perspectives is privileged is useful for unpacking complex social reality. Third, qualitative interviewing allows one to go beyond current incidents and to gain insights into past events. Studying a political riot involving Korean Japanese in Osaka in the 1950s, for instance, Sara Pak (2010) interviewed people who were involved in the riot and asked them to reconstruct incidents from their point of view. In short, qualitative interviews enable the researcher to explicate the complexity of the real world by shedding light on matters that are unnoticed or hidden, and by unpacking things that are complexly entangled. Chapter 7 How to interview people 201 The art of interviewing When carrying out interviews in countries outside one’s own, one may encounter new challenges. Some are practical, such as conducting interviews in a foreign language or with an interpreter, and others have to do with cultural logic and how to navigate interview dynamics in order to overcome cultural differences. I will delve into the latter. To gain access to interview subjects, introductions from someone who knows the people are key (see this chapter, Alexy, Ch. 7.3; McLaughlin, Ch. 6; Yoshida, Ch. 5). This is the case with any fieldwork situation but is especially so in Japan, as noted by a number of U.S. scholars with experience (Bestor et al. 2003b). Many overseas researchers who have carried out studies in Japan indicate that people know ‘how to avoid a substantive response’ if an interviewee is uncomfortable with a researcher (Bestor et al. 2003a, p. 14). One may thus spend hours asking questions, but get practically no answers, or interviewees may give socially acceptable but insincere replies. I almost always look for someone who can introduce me to an interviewee; through that person an interviewee has a chance to find out about me and my intentions beyond what it says in a formal letter of request. Providing this background information before I am physically present helps to set the tone for our eventual conversation. This will be seen as my attentiveness or thoughtfulness (kiokikasu) or even my respect for the interviewee. The other reason that I go through someone is that I deal with socially contentious issues such as the use of genetically modified food and social conflicts over food safety; society is often divided on these issues (Yamaguchi 2014; Yamaguchi/Suda 2010). Therefore, people generally tend to be on guard. Going through someone may ease tensions, and also makes it easier and less embarrassing for an interviewee to decline the interview request if they are not comfortable being interviewed. After all, qualitative interviews are carried out in a conversational style; inevitably they are entangled with cultural norms, and thus paying close attention to what is expected culturally is important. Once an appointment is made, the question is how to conduct the interview. Unfortunately, there is not one perfect way of dealing with interviews because each interview situation is unique and grounded in a particular context. Upon exchanging name cards with you, interviewees will obviously have some sense of your social position, expect that you have done some homework (studying the subject), and expect you to know and respect appropriate social norms, though often this sense of ‘appropriateness’ varies from individual to individual. So you will need to figure things out each step of the way by carefully observing interactions with interviewees. What is required resembles an art—a practice and a habit that reflects connected ideas. There are four pieces of advice I would like to give based on my experience. First, even if you might not be fully confident with your Japanese language proficiency, do not be afraid. Foreign researchers may have an easier time than native Japanese in getting people to open up to them (see Holthus/Manzenreiter, Ch. 5.3). Why is this? In Japan (and in Asia more broadly), if one is ‘a visitor’ or ‘an outsider’, people tend to be more generous and courteous, which frequently translates into willingness to share stories and information with a visitor. When I carried out fieldwork in India during my graduate school days, even without an introduction, I was given opportunities to meet and interview key informants such as farmer leaders and high-profile scientists, and was even invited to their homes to carry on conversations, etc. but my graduate colleagues who were Indian natives were not granted the same opportunities. I have heard similar stories in Japan. Tomiko Yamaguchi 202 Second, it is typical for a researcher to encounter reluctance on the part of interviewees when it comes to openly sharing their thoughts with people they have just met for the first time. Do not be discouraged by such an encounter. As you make progress with your project, it almost always gets easier and faster to establish rapport with an interviewee. Third, when asking questions, start by asking for facts, then gradually move to the questions that seek people’s opinions and ideas. Factual questions are easier to answer than requests for opinions. When a person is not directly responding to your question, it could be an indication that you have infringed on the logic of the individual, or you might have asked something culturally inappropriate. Be thoughtful and respectful, but do not be afraid; even if you make a blunder, native Japanese are likely to assume that, as a foreigner, you were not well-versed in their cultural expectations. As long as you apologise and give the interviewee an opportunity to avoid answering an uncomfortable question, you should be able to part on good terms. You can always try out that question with other interviewees if the question is important, because different people will have different reactions to the same question. Fourth, striking a balance between talking and not talking on the interviewer’s side is important. While it may be useful if you tell people about yourself, your ideas on the subject or about your country throughout an interview, too much talking on the part of the researcher will generate insufficient and sometimes poor data, so remind yourself that you are there to listen. In my experience, when responses are long and story-like, it is an indication that people are comfortable with you. When I hear a comment such as, ‘I’m not sure if I’ve given you the information you need, but it was fun talking to you,’ at the end of an interview, it is a sign that the interview has gone well. Qualitative interviewing is more than meeting people and collecting information about Japan. It is a medium through which to build relations, gain insights and learn from the experience and perspectives of others. What you learn through this method will not only change the way you see and experience the world, but it may also change the people you have interviewed. An interview is an encounter where your ideas and their ideas come together. Chapter 7 How to interview people 203 Talking through difficult topics Allison Alexy Although my research includes many methodologies, ethnographic interviews play a key role in how I understand and represent contemporary Japan. I am a sociocultural anthropologist and have conducted two major research projects in Japan. My first project explores divorce in contemporary Japan, or how people decide what makes a marriage worth ending (Alexy 2020). My second project examines ‘parental abductions’, when one parent takes their own child and prevents the other parent from having access to it. Broadly, both of these projects investigate how intimate relationships are shaped by, expressed through and are resistant to legal categories and changing social norms in contemporary Japan. I analyse the ideologies and methodologies that people use to imagine, build, critique and dissolve romantic and family relationships at a moment when both the heteronormative marriage system, and the postwar cultural practices that have sustained it, are increasingly under stress. In my research, I often talk with people about deeply traumatic, difficult or personal topics. In this brief reflection, I describe why and how I use ethnographic interviews as a fundamental element of my analysis. In any humanistic research, the researcher’s own positionality shapes the project, basic assumptions underlying it and people’s willingness to participate in the research (see this chapter, Brumann, Ch. 7.1; see also Klien, Ch. 8.1; Yoshida, Ch. 5). In this way, it matters that I am a white American woman who started learning Japanese in high school. I am not a native speaker of Japanese, nor do I look phenotypically Japanese. I believe that my visible foreignness is helpful in my research because it provides a bit of distance for those worried about sharing personal or potentially stigmatising stories. Multiple people have told me that they imagine a Japanese researcher might judge them more harshly (see Yamaguchi, Ch. 7.2). While I do not believe that to be true, their perception shapes my work and what I am able to learn. In addition to the identifying attributes over which I have no control, during fieldwork I maintain a strict perspective of non-judgement. As people tell me about terrible family conflicts or custody fights, I focus on understanding how they understand the world, responding to what they think is important. Moreover, all my research is structured by my conviction that everyone is constantly interpreting and analysing the world. Throughout my participatory research and interviews, I know the people with whom I am conducting research are smart and thoughtful about their own lives. They do just as much analysis as I do, if through slightly different lenses and with different goals in mind. In my writing, I work hard to represent people’s own interpretations in parallel with mine. In the research moment, this means I am always interested in whatever people want to share with me and I am grateful if they want to correct or redirect my interests. Ethnographic interviews occur, in my work, within a broader context of participant observation. I spent most of my research time hanging out with people and participating in their lives or special events. For any anthropologist, everyday life is just as interesting and important as 7.3 204 particular activities. If I really want to understand how divorce changes families, for instance, I need to have a good understanding of people’s regular lives. I know this volume includes other chapters more directly focused on participant observation, but it is impossible for me to think about research interviews outside of that broader context. I can count on one hand the number of people with whom I only recorded an interview and did not spend any additional time. Like other ethnographers, my general rule is to accept any invitation; following this logic, my research has included going to movies, sharing meals, discussing politics and gossiping while watching TV, among many other mundane activities (see Yoshida, Ch. 5). So when I ask someone to participate in an interview, rather than being a one-off interaction, it is often a recorded conversation interposed within our longer relationship. These interviews regularly include reference to shared experiences or mutual acquaintances, or are bookended with their direct requests for my assistance or questions about my life. These relationships enable me to meet potential interlocutors through networks of connection. When I conduct a research interview, I use a format that is intentionally designed to be extremely flexible. I type and print out the questions I would like to ask during the interview, clustering them into broad categories. I bring this printed copy of the questions to the interview and physically put them on the table, facing the other person, so interlocutors can see what I plan to ask. After all, being interviewed by an anthropologist is not a common experience and people feel more comfortable when they know what is coming. Because anyone who agrees to be interviewed is likely interested in helping a research project, I have found that many interview subjects are very concerned about providing me with what I ‘want’ or ‘need’. While I appreciate their enthusiasm, I have developed techniques to convince them that I have no particular goals in mind and am genuinely interested in whatever they want to share. Throughout the interview, I follow their narrative and respond positively to any digressions. For instance, in my divorce research, the first cluster of questions was gathered under the heading ‘marriage’ and included questions like ‘When did you meet your (former) spouse?’ and ‘Why did you decide to get married?’ In many cases, when I asked either of these initial questions, my interlocutor’s response could last more than an hour. These are broad questions that get people talking about the categories of experience my research explores. When they say something surprising or confusing, I probe gently on that question to make sure I understand what they intend to convey. Sometimes my inquiries reflect genuine questions I have—things I am trying to figure out—and sometimes they instead reflect my attempts to confirm something I have already been wondering. For instance, see the exchange between Fujita-san and myself (Alexy 2019, p. 104), an example published in a volume available through Open Access. In that conversation, he uses the term ‘love like air’ and I respond by asking him what that means. At that point in my research, I had heard this phrase a lot and literally knew what it meant, but I needed to confirm my increasing suspicion that this was a key measure some people used to judge their intimate relationships. Mr. Fujita’s answer helped me concretise why intimacy metaphorically described as ‘like air’ was suddenly a flashpoint of tension in the mid-2000s. Stated another way: sometimes, it is important to play a little dumb in interviews, both to make sure you do not push your views on your interlocutor and to get independent confirmation that your ideas hold water. After asking permission, I record all my interviews using a relatively unobtrusive audio recorder that I place clearly on the table, pointing towards the other person. I simultaneously take notes and jot down the time when they say anything of particular interest. This makes it Chapter 7 How to interview people 205 easier to quickly find choice quotes later in the process. I never, ever look at my own watch because that makes people immediately stop talking, thinking you are bored or out of time. Instead, I always schedule interviews in a very long block of time, so they can go as long as needed. I have also learned that I cannot be hungry going into an interview; even if I am conducting the interview in a restaurant or cafe, I make sure to arrive with a full stomach so I can focus entirely on the conversation, rather than shovelling food into my mouth. I bring a small gift to every interview and offer it after the conversation is over. In Japan, I most typically buy gift boxes of crackers (senbei), figuring that people either will enjoy it themselves or can easily re-gift it. In a nice department store, these typically cost about JPY 2,000, and seem like a small but appropriate gesture of my gratitude. Towards the end of each interview, I always ask a series of questions that have substantially helped me expand my research topics and gather richer data. First, I ask if my interlocutor has any questions for me, and they almost always do. People are legitimately curious about my background and motivations, and I answer honestly. Second, I ask my interlocutor what they would focus on if they were doing this research. This question often prompts excellent ideas that did not come up earlier because I had not thought to ask about them (those pesky unknown unknowns). Finally, I make a point of waiting as long as possible to turn off my recorder because the most interesting comments can come at the very end of a conversation, when everyone is packing up to leave. I always recommend letting the recorder run as long as possible. After the interview, I pay native speakers to transcribe the recordings. When I am analysing and writing from these interviews, I work with the Japanese versions and selectively translate any parts I want to publish in English. When first mentioning your research to people, it can be helpful to use different phrases to describe your project, trying out different options to see how people react. For instance, in my first project, I started by telling people that I was studying ‘divorce’ (rikon) and asking for their thoughts or reactions. While this provoked interesting reflections, after some months, I realised that it was too on the nose and therefore had the social effect of alienating people. If, say, a woman was in an abusive marriage and starting to think seriously about how to address it, she might not immediately identify herself with the word ‘divorce’, even if that might eventually be in her future. Moreover, by introducing my project with that relatively specific term, I unintentionally excluded all sorts of unhappy but ongoing marriages, and all the people who might want to divorce but had not yet done so. In the course of my research, I began to use more inclusive terminology to introduce my project, shifting from framing it as exploring ‘divorce’ to ‘family issues’ (kazoku mondai, which also has the connotation of ‘family problems’ in Japanese). This small shift had the effect of including many more people who were willing to share their experiences with me. I learned a lot from happily married spouses who explained what made their relationships ‘good’ and single people who were willing to share their worries about what was not successful with their parents’ relationship, among others. I am not sure these people would have been as willing to talk with me if I had more narrowly framed my project as only about ‘divorce’. Simply broadening my initial introduction to my project shifted how people responded to it, who was willing to talk with me and the data I was able to gather. In English and Japanese, I am a person who thinks through conversation. My research projects, and indeed my professional identity as an anthropologist, build on this personality trait. Of course, there are many ways to be a successful researcher, but my final recommenda- Allison Alexy 206 tion is to find methods that correspond best to your own tendencies. No matter the topics you hope to explore, and the discipline(s) in which you are working, there are ways to gather interesting data. As this volume makes clear, no singularly ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ method exists for research and instead should reflect the researcher’s own positionality, personality and interests. Chapter 7 How to interview people 207 Further reading Brinkmann, Svend (2013): Qualitative Interviewing. Oxford University Press. Flick, Uwe (2006): An introduction to qualitative research. London: Sage. Fontana, Andrea/Anastasia H. Prokos (2007): The interview: From formal to postmodern. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. Gubrium, Jaber F./Holstein, James A./Marvasti, Amir B./McKinney, Karyn D. (2012): The SAGE handbook of interview research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Kvale, Steinar/Brinkmann, Svend (2008): InterViews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Rubin, Herbert J./Rubin, Irene S. (2012): Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. References Alexy, Allison (2019): What can be said? Communicating intimacy in millennial Japan. In: Alexy, Allison/ Cook, Emma (eds.): Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of closeness and conflict. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 91–111. Alexy, Allison. 2020: Intimate disconnections: Divorce and the romance of independence in contemporary Japan, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Araragi, Yukiko (2017): Yamai no keiken o kikitoru: Hansenbyosha no life history. Tōkyō: Seikatsushoin. Barthes, Roland (1970): L’empire des signes. Paris: Seuil. Berg, Bruce L./Howard, Lune (2007): Qualitative research methods for the Social Sciences. Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn&Bacon. Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (2003a): Introduction: Doing fieldwork in Japan. In: Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 1–20. Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.) (2003b): Doing fieldwork in Japan, Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press. Bondy, Christopher (2015): Voice, silence, and self: Negotiations of buraku identity in contemporary Japan. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center. Brayda, Winsome C./Boyce, Travis D. (2014): So you really want to interview me? Navigating ‘sensitive’ qualitative research interviewing. In: International Journal of Qualitative Methods 13, pp. 318–334. Brinkmann, Svend (2014): Unstructured and semi-structured interviewing. In: Leavy, Patricia (ed.): The Oxford handbook of qualitative research. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 277–299. 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References 210 Chapter 8 How to observe people and their environment: Participant observation Christian Tagsold and Katrin Ullmann Introduction Participant observation is one of the main methods of conducting fieldwork. It helps us generate new topics, ideas and even theories in a unique way. But being in the field is often hard work. It takes time, patience and courage to become part of surroundings that the researcher is probably unfamiliar with, not to mention a great deal of effort to understand their specifics, rules and challenges. Nonetheless, we want to emphasise that fieldwork is still a lot of fun and you can get a lot out of it. Fieldwork gets us ‘irritated and stimulated’ (Bergmann 2006, p. 16) at the same time by giving new insights into daily routines and procedures that we simply could not examine without being ‘out there’ (see this chapter, Ho, Ch. 8.3; Klien, Ch. 8.1; Takeyama, Ch. 8.2). By walking through a specific area, speaking to its inhabitants and dwelling in one place for a prolonged period of time, fieldworkers gain new perspectives, which would not have been possible if they had not left their comfort zones and shed their convictions. Participant observation is about becoming a part of an unknown—often at first glance ‘strange’—culture, milieu or scene. At the same time, we are researchers and have to stick to some important rules when conducting participant observation. Our chapter will give a short introduction to conducting fieldwork and participant observation by discussing its history with a focus on Japan, its theoretical assumptions and its practical requirements. We will discuss how to select a field—which at times is facilitated by coincidences and surprise—and how to gain or maintain access to it. In addition, we will highlight why it is so important to think about positioning ourselves as researchers in the field, and how our decisions during fieldwork affect our research. We are both Westerners and non-native speakers, a fact that influences our approach. Researchers with a Japanese or even an Asian background might find that some of our advice does not apply to them. This certainly is a first indication that fieldwork is not only about ‘others’ but also about ourselves situated in the field. We will give practical advice on how to conduct participant observation and how to document it by taking notes and pictures, using smartphones or recording sounds. We also address ethical considerations when participating, observing and interacting in and with the field. 1. 211 What is participant observation all about? Participant observation requires a specific frame of mind and lots of practice. While this is true for every method introduced in this volume, participant observation most likely stands out as a case with special needs. Even though the term participant observation seems to be self-explanatory—being there, observing and taking part—it can raise tricky questions. To what extent should we participate? Does our involvement not run counter to science as we ourselves get involved in the field and, as a consequence, alter events? As we mentioned before, participant observation is about dwelling, about making contact and establishing a rapport. We aim to gain access to a field in a way that enables us to participate, indeed without disturbing the setting inappropriately. Participant observation is thus related to daily life experiences in various ways. However, without us being visible, people in the field would not react to us and we would have a hard time finding out what they are thinking by just looking at their actions. In contrast, being visible will help us to establish rapport, which in turn will also give us access to the underlying logic of actions. But how can one fit into unknown surroundings while being a curious, yet informed outsider at the same time? H. Russell Bernard (2011) has stressed two very important skills which participant observers have to train: explicit awareness and memory. Explicit awareness, a term he has borrowed from Bernhard Spradley, refers to the ability to focus on the ‘little details of life’. We usually tend to ignore such nuances, since they do not seem important for everyday life. As anthropologists, however, we have to notice these small details. As Clifford Geertz (1987, p. 9) puts it, our research is about understanding culture as ‘webs of significance’ spun by people, in which social interaction takes place. To that end, we have to create ‘thick descriptions’. For example, when someone moves their eyelids very quickly, we cannot be sure whether the reason for this is because something is irritating their eye or whether it is a cultural way to signal or parody something (ibid., pp. 10–15). As a researcher doing fieldwork in a novel setting, it is important to note these details and reflect on them: What is happening? Which questions do we have to pursue? How are these actions significant in a wider context and can thus be part of a thick description? And at what point do our own cultural codes and ideas influence our interpretations? Therefore, participant observation is also a hermeneutic technique about sense-making, recognising, interpreting and understanding signs (Illius 2012, p. 76). Yet, the ability to notice subtleties does not suffice. We have to memorise what we discern in order to document it. This is the first step towards making sense of our observations and fitting them into the bigger picture of culture. A good researcher should be able to memorise a short sentence verbatim and write it down ten minutes later, when the time and situation finally allow for it, without distorting an informant’s words. In formal interviews, recording devices perform this task, but in many instances of fieldwork we have to rely on our faculty of memory. Explicit awareness and memory are best trained by actually doing fieldwork. Empathy, curiosity, a sense for formal frames, etc. are all necessary. Once again, practice and self-reflection are the path to better fieldwork. In other words, a good participant observer not only observes others, but also herself! All these points and requirements may sound intimidating for a neophyte, but it all comes down to practice. Going into the field will teach you what locals expect from you in this very specific situation. This cannot be generalised or gleaned from even the best manuals. Learning about these expectations and catering to them in the field is the first 2. Christian Tagsold and Katrin Ullmann 212 step in collecting valuable data. We recommend training your professional awareness in daily life situations and observing, for example, routines, habits and communications while waiting for an appointment, travelling by train or other moments when you can watch and learn to be a precise observer. Try to memorise as much as possible without taking notes and without guessing (see below). Becoming a good fieldworker means accepting errors as part of the game. Not every conversation or participant observation will immediately yield great results and lead to new theories. Wasting time, getting ill, forgetting about important questions, losing contact to a key informant—all this can and will happen from time to time. However, such mishaps are quite normal and part of the process. Entering the field is not laboratory work and can sometimes be chaotic (Ehn/Löfgren 2012, p. 273); therefore, one should distinguish between the often-idealised descriptions from handbooks and the ‘messy’ practice of actual research in the field. Key issues Participant observation requires a specific frame of mind and lots of practice. Explicit awareness, i.e. the ability to focus on small details and changes, is important for giving good interpretations and recognising structures. Empathy, patience and learning from mistakes in the field are important. Participant observation is essential for good fieldwork because it can add information to your research that your informants may not be aware of themselves and that you can only gain by observing, reflecting and being out there. Participant observations in Japan: From the 16th to the 21st century Writing on Japan based on participant observation actually has a long history. When Europeans first reached Kyushu in the mid-16th century, Jesuit missionaries started to send back letters to their order, in which they assessed the chances of converting the Japanese. Jesuits were keen observers who tried to understand others, albeit with the strategic goal of conversion (Rubiès 2017). In the case of Japan, Francisco de Xavier’s letters are an excellent example of this. Late 19th century travel reports often published as books also used participant observation (see for example Schliemann 1995). As many introductions to Anthropology have noted, participant observation first started off as an acknowledged method of Cultural and Social Anthropology with Bronisław Malinowski’s book Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922) Because of World War I, Malinowski got stuck in the Papua region in 1914. The region was controlled by the British, who did not allow him to return to Europe. Malinowski made a virtue out of necessity and studied the islanders of the region in-depth. The ideal of staying in the field for at least a whole year –four seasons!– to understand the full cycle of rural activities partly originates from his work. Nonetheless, much of current anthropological research is no longer tied to agriculture. Even though it still makes sense to stay in the field for prolonged periods in order to fully understand foreign lifestyles, values and beliefs, the ideal of four seasons has lost its meaning. For a long time, fieldwork based on participant observation in Japan was often tied to rural regions 3. Chapter 8 How to observe people and their environment 213 (Hannerz 1980, p. 1). Yet Akiko Takeyama and Swee-Lin Ho’s accounts prove that the division of cities for sociologists and rural regions for anthropologists is severely outdated. Research today does not have to focus on ‘foreign’ cultures; research just ‘around the corner’ might also yield new insights. Participant observation is no longer bound to a specific spatial setting. While Ho, Takeyama and Susanne Klien have done their research in rather well-defined places and settings, such as among urban employees, northern Japan or host clubs, fields are often threaded together by specific questions. For example, Christian’s research (Tagsold 2017) on Japanese gardens in the West spanned three continents and included fieldwork in more than eighty gardens. It even extended to unlikely places such as a factory, where a temporary stone garden was employed by a laminate company to impress customers with the endless possibilities of designing flooring patterns (Tagsold 2016, pp. 293, 294). In his seminal paper Ethnography in/of the world system: The emergence of multi-sited ehnography (1995), George Marcus proposed that anthropologists follow certain concepts rather than stick to a specific place. He gives a couple of threads to take up when suggesting that one could follow ‘the people’, ‘the thing’, ‘the metaphor’, ‘the plot, story, allegory’, ‘life or biography’, or ‘the conflict’ (Marcus 1995, pp. 90–94). A focus on researching concepts, specific mobile groups and challenges instead of places allows the researcher to deal with the complex conditions of the intertwined globalised world we live in today. Global flows of people, ideas, goods, capital, technologies and media, and their unequal distribution, demand fluid, flexible and mobile research methods (Inda/Rosaldo 2008, p. 4; Welz 1998). The development of digital communications technologies made it necessary to open up to a form of research that can cross borders and act in different, but connected places. As a consequence, ethnography becomes multi-sited and fit for the 21st century. Multi-sited, mobile and even virtual ethnography needs to reflect on its methods and fields like every other kind of ethnography. Sometimes it can also be useful to use autoethnography, that is, the observation of oneself and one’s own culture. Key issues Participant observation in Japan has a long history that began in the 16th century. However, it only turned into a well-established method in the 20th century. Today, fields of participant observation are no longer defined solely in terms of place, but rather by the questions that thread them together. New mobile research practices have arisen. They are able to connect different places, follow mobilities or/and add to information that is raised in virtual spaces. Selecting field sites Before we can commence engaging in participant observation, we need to select a field site as a starting point. ‘Field’ has become the term used for the site we want to observe. A field was once a well-defined place like a village. Nowadays, we need to think much more about the boundaries of our fields, as they can actually extend over the entire globe. Yet field sites do have meaningful boundaries, and it is up to us to define them cleverly—otherwise we would lose ourselves. Choosing a geographical field for research can be based on a very pragmatic 4. Christian Tagsold and Katrin Ullmann 214 decision, for example when a junior researcher has a scholarship for a year abroad in one specific area. But settling for a field that relates to a specific research question can be a very demanding task, while following a research topic through space is often a complex challenge in terms of logistics. This is because fieldworkers do not just study books, but real-life situations that tend to be messy. Sophisticated plans and theories may turn out to be inappropriate when the reality of the field and the practices explored differ from presumptions or there is a lack of access to the field. However, coincidences may offer surprising new paths to follow, and a skilled observer will exploit such situations to find out much more than she could have imagined beforehand. This is why the ideas of lingering, patience and serendipity are so crucial for fieldwork (Ehn/Löfgren 2012, pp. 273–285; Illius 2012, p. 85; see also this chapter, Klien, Ch. 8.1). As Paul Rabinow (1977, pp. 125–126) puts it, significant processes of understanding will sometimes occur when the researcher is waiting and feeling bored or stuck: ‘Slowly and sporadically, I was moving in the kind of understanding I was seeking.’ In fact, just staying somewhere and being alert to unfolding events can open up fresh perspectives. In this way, surprise, chance and attentiveness often lead to new fields and consequently to new findings. Klien (see this chapter, Ch. 8.1) provided an example of the importance of serendipity from her research in Japan. When she as a female was not allowed access to sacred events while researching the Shinto mountain festival, this was not a setback in the end as it turned into a chance to generate fresh research opportunities. In his attempt to do research about the social strategies of young people in a neighbourhood of Chicago's South Side in 1988, French anthropologist Loïc Wacquant (2010, p. 9) joined a boxing gym and became an accepted member of the local boxing community. After 16 months of practice, he changed his original research topic into a ‘sociology of boxing’ (ibid., p. 11). With the approval of the boxing community, he turned into a fully fledged boxer fighting in the ring. Wacquant then made the best use of his own bodily experience, the thrill of being a boxer and all the insider information he was able to gain. He turned his data gleaned through ‘observant participation’ (ibid., p. 12) into an impressive book and thus proved that coincidental access to fields can lead to deepened theoretical understanding if a fieldworker stays alert and open to any kind of new information. These examples prove that being open, flexible and most of all attentive are core skills in successful fieldwork. Of course, being open and attentive does not mean going into a field entirely unprepared; you still have to do your homework. Fieldworkers should certainly acquire language skills and knowledge about political, social and economic conditions, while also keeping in mind social and cultural rules, habits and taboos. In addition, pre-existing research on the region/field will yield valuable insights and help to avoid conflicts. However, being open to surprises and questioning pre-existing knowledge concerning the field are indispensable. Ho’s research on Tokyo’s working life and nightlife and its influence on gender roles as well as Takeyama’s fieldwork in Tokyo’s host clubs and her findings about affective sensations are excellent examples of such an attitude (see this chapter, Ch. 8.2; Ch. 8.3). Openness and (self-)reflexivity in specifying the field as something that does not exist ‘beyond the imagination of the ethnographer’ (Madden 2017, p. 38) have become even more crucial since the postcolonial and postmodern turns in Anthropology led to a heightened awareness of often stereotyped ‘localization of “natives”’ (Clifford 1997, p. 78). Reproducing cultural stereotypes and established power relations must be avoided (ibid.; Robben/Sluka 2012, pp. Chapter 8 How to observe people and their environment 215 18–20). If we follow this train of thought, participant observation is not concerned with dreams of investigating as yet undiscovered and isolated fields. Rather, our task is to generate a useful construct that helps us hone the research as a defined ‘synthesis of concrete space and investigative space’ (Madden 2017, p. 39). Furthermore, we must document the processes of construction in the most transparent way possible (see Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16). Key issues The selection of a field is about finding a good point to start from in terms of place and topic. Although there is a lot of preparation to be done in advance, it is important to note that even the best plans will have to be adapted at some point. Being open to coincidences and serendipities helps to refine research topics and reshape the field. (Self-)reflection is important because choosing and defining an appropriate field might otherwise reproduce cultural stereotypes and established power relations. Gaining access The next step after identifying a field where you can begin to search for answers to your research questions is gaining access. If, for example, you want to research how cosplayers organise their conventions in urban Tokyo, simply going to one of these events is the most obvious way to start. In many fields, being non-Japanese will be enough to attract some basic curiosity from the people involved and give you a head start in establishing a deeper rapport. Rapport has long been a keyword for good access to the field. The term describes the ability to connect to locals, show empathy and gain trust. Only then will a researcher be able to elicit the information and feelings that lead to new insights. However, some fields are not as accessible as a public convention and require more developed skills to be accessed. People you encounter in the field may not be interested in you at all or may even distrust you. Luckily, from the various experiences of Christian’s fieldwork, Japanese people’s interest in foreigners is usually substantial enough to overcome initial thresholds. But bureaucratic fields can be quite different. Often enough, you will need to identify yourself and persuade gatekeepers, as we call people who control access to the field, to grant you access. In these cases—and generally in Japan—having well-printed business cards (meishi) with a thorough Japanese translation on the reverse side is an important precondition for building up professional credibility. Furthermore, a letter of recommendation in Japanese can be very helpful in overcoming obstacles. Knowing people with good networks is important everywhere around the world. But this is especially relevant in Japan, since being introduced by a trusted business partner, advisor or friend usually opens up almost any field. Thus, kindly ask professors at home and in Japan to help with networking. Obviously, in these cases preparing some sort of interesting omiyage is a good way to show gratitude and will facilitate conversation in the beginning (see Alexy, Ch. 7.3; Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7; McLaughlin, Ch. 6). Finally, the obvious inroad is having skills and knowledge connected to the field. When one of us, Christian, was visiting a residential care home for elderly people suffering from dementia, he first gained access through a colleague. However, his ability to bake a German cake togeth- 5. Christian Tagsold and Katrin Ullmann 216 er with the elderly patients enhanced his contact to the caregivers considerably. Still, fields can ask for skills you do not have! Studying in rural areas often entails talking to people with a strong dialect, which will limit the degree of your communication skills considerably, even for those of you who speak Japanese very well. Here, the best solution is to spend time and learn the dialect as much as possible—and this, by the way, is what the classic anthropologists did, who often did not even speak the language of the field at all before going there. Often though, teaming up with an informant who is well versed in both the dialect and standard Japanese can help as she can translate for you. In general, it is a good idea to look for one privileged contact, someone whom you get along with well and who understands your research goals. This is also a typical strategy of experienced anthropologists in the field. Key issues Rapport describes the necessary ability to connect to locals, show empathy and gain trust. It is very important to bring in your personality and skills to be able to connect to people and encourage them to spend time with you. Think about who you are and what you can offer to the field. Whom do you know who could help you to gain access or have valuable contacts to the area, the topic, etc.? Recommendations, mediation and credits are valuable. How does the field you want to enter work? What can help you gain credibility? Ethical implications In the wake of postmodern and postcolonial critiques of fieldwork, important debates on ‘writing culture’ and a new awareness of power relations, the notions of ethics, fieldwork and participant observation have shifted considerably in recent decades (Clifford/Marcus 1986; Robben/Sluka 2012, pp. 18–23). As a consequence, professional standards for conducting fieldwork were established: from making prior decisions about field investigation itself to writing and communicating the findings later on. The American Anthropological Association (AAA) regularly publishes a Code of Ethics, which states the core ideas about the professional responsibility of anthropologists (AAA 2012). Obviously, the AAA standards are valuable for everyone who engages in fieldwork and employs participant observation as a method (see Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16). The points regarding a researcher’s responsibility towards informants and the fields of research are particularly relevant. The AAA (2012) reminds us to be ‘sensitive to the power differentials, constraints, interests and expectations characteristic of all relationships’. This requires reflection on the potential consequences and impacts research may have for and on the individuals, communities, identities, institutions and environments involved. Furthermore, we are reminded to be aware of ‘possible ways that the research might cause harm’ (ibid.). Therefore, it is important to disclose the general aims of one’s research and protect those who participate in it. Participants should be informed about ‘the purpose, methods, outcomes and potential sponsors’ of the investigation and be able to consent with clarity to their participation (ibid.). Rules of anonymity and credits should be negotiated in advance and renegotiated during the research process if necessary. The informants’ privacy should be protected through the use of 6. Chapter 8 How to observe people and their environment 217 pseudonyms (ibid.). In her chapter, Ho states that ‘[a]ccess is both a privilege and a responsibility.’ To sum up, participant observation and fieldwork can be considered interrelated processes that involve social relations to others and therefore need to be conducted in an ethical and responsible way. Japan is probably not the most complex case for applying the standards of the AAA—for example, PR China poses much more pressing questions, especially in regions with minorities such as Uygur. Yet we can easily think of fields in Japan which need extra care too. Doing research with people like the homeless or sex workers can quickly lead to conflict with official institutions and cause harm to research participants if you do not take care (see McLaughlin, Ch. 6). This responsibility towards our research partners is closely intertwined with the idea of reciprocity. Reciprocity means that researchers have to give something back to their research partners for the data they acquire. This can include drawing public attention to a specific problem as well as (financial) compensation for informants (AAA 2012, p. 22ff.). Fieldwork may also entail some sort of collaboration and partnership with informants (see Ganseforth, Ch. 4.2; Slater et al., Ch. 16.2). In many cases, the lives of potential informants are not strictly separated from the researcher’s own life. The informants will often be able to access our publications, for example through the Internet. While the latter can be a great form of reciprocity, it also demands careful anonymisation in order to protect research participants’ privacy. For the protection of their privacy, responsible storage of research data is also essential (see Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16). Key issues Assumptions and attitudes towards fieldwork have changed over recent decades. In this process, ethical questions have become central. We should reflect carefully on our responsibilities to informants as well as the field during the whole research process. This includes transparency about our research as well as considering compensation for the informants’ time and expenses. The protection of data and anonymity, and the possible impact of our fieldwork have to be taken into account. Positioning oneself in the field When entering a field site, researchers learn a lot about their new environment. But in order to do so, they have to become visible as people themselves (Bourdieu 2005, p. 404; Schlehe 2008, p. 139). The idea of the neutral observer who invisibly studies ‘the other’ while adding nothing to the field is a futile ideal. Such an approach will not invite others to open up and feel comfortable (ibid.). Apart from that, hiding oneself is simply impossible over an extended period of time—especially as a Westerner in a country like Japan. The Swedish movie Kitchen Stories (Hamer 2003) convincingly and comically narrates the story of a completely failed non-participant observation project and is worthwhile for anyone who wants to understand why this seemingly neutral approach does not work. Fieldwork does not take place under laboratory conditions. As a consequence, fieldworkers have to bring in their own personality. Furthermore, and even more importantly, they are at- 7. Christian Tagsold and Katrin Ullmann 218 tributed to and perceived by different, intersectional, intertwined settings that influence the way they are addressed and accepted by potential informants. This can entail freedoms or restrictions in terms of the way they are able to explore or even access the field they wish to enter and examine. At that point, we have to reflect on our own status and personality in relation to the fieldwork at hand. For example, doing research on marriage in Japan as a married woman puts the researcher in a specific relation to the (un)married informants (Kottmann 2016). Likewise, conducting research on the love lives of employees in Tokyo will yield different results depending on the researcher. Ho’s fieldwork (see this chapter, Ho, Ch. 8.3) vividly proves this point. Thus, our gender, race, power and educational background, profession, nationality, age, etc. all influence how others in the field will deal with us and, consequently, impact our findings. A focus on power relations during a study, for example, can help disclose our status and position to the field and our informants. Possible forms of relations are: 1. Studying down denotes research relations where informants are typically less educated or empowered than the researcher. An example is Stephanie Osawa’s (2018) research on deviant students in a school in Tokyo. Osawa’s position as a researcher employed at a German university and as an adult obviously entailed more power than the position of her informants. This was underlined by the teachers introducing Osawa to her informants. 2. Studying up works the other way around. Here, the researcher has less power and influence, for example in research on political or economic elites (Gusterson 1997; Nader 1972). Studying up is not that rare in Japan, though it has been rather untypical in conventional Anthropology, which can usually be considered as studying down. In the Japanese case, studying up also raises problems of language. Usually, we would have to use very polite forms to address our informants, not only because we are outsiders, but also because of status differences. However, seeming too clever and native might have the adverse affect, because Japanese usually do not expect foreigners to be fluent in grammatical politeness. 3. Studying sideways means that the researcher and the informant in the field have a comparable status (Hannerz 1998, p. 109; Marcus 2006, p. 21; Rao 2006, p. 27). One of this chapter’s authors, Katrin, conducted participant observation studying sideways. She wanted to study members of the mostly well-educated, widely travelled, transnational backpacker scene. Therefore, it was necessary for her to represent similar experiences in travel to gain accepted status among her target group (Ullmann 2017).1 As a consequence, it is essential for us to reflect on our major traits, which people will perceive and maybe react to when facing us as a fieldworker. Reflecting on our position is not only valuable for collecting data. It is also part of our analysis later on as it helps us to evaluate social relations in the field (Robben/Sluka 2012, p. 2). Former fears of ‘going native’, meaning that the researcher loses her professional distance and gets taken in by the field, are often contested today. Without getting temporarily lost, deeper insights will be hard to gain. In order to write about ‘commodified romance’ in host clubs in Tokyo, Takeyama, for example (see this chapter, Ch. 8.2), let herself be seduced emotionally and sensorially while developing ‘affective ethnography’. Even though this is not a research practice that we would recommend for beginners, it shows what is possible without losing 1 There exist a number of other terms and concepts to describe the way research is done, e.g. ‘studying through’ (Hannerz 2010). Chapter 8 How to observe people and their environment 219 focus when you are an experienced and self-aware researcher. In most situations, less involvement is sufficient and appropriate. ‘Selective authenticity’, a term from counselling (Amendt-Lyon 2000, p. 55), might be helpful here. For fieldwork, it means that you should be fully yourself while doing fieldwork, but like in every human relationship you can choose which aspect of your personality you actively want to involve in a relationship and the field. How much you get involved of course depends on you, your subject, and your ability to stay focused as a researcher and to protect yourself and the people involved. Key Issues Getting involved is essential to get any useful information. Fieldwork does not take place under laboratory conditions. People will reacting to you anyway; when you hide as a person they will not open up. Think about the (power) relations involved and how to deal with them. Reflecting on your position in the field will help you to collect better data and to do better analysis. Cell phones, writing pads and field notes Traditionally, participant observation has been documented in field notes collected in a field diary, and this practice still holds up today. Of course, we now use cell phones to make notes or record voice memos and laptops to write our diaries. Nonetheless, field notes should be written immediately after finishing the observation process. Memories and other notes can be backed up by jottings from the field. Carrying a small notepad to instantly jot down an impression, a quote or a sketch is highly beneficial and can be expanded into more extensive field notes afterwards. In some fields – if, for example, we wanted to know how Japanese behave in public libraries – it is completely natural to use a laptop from the start. In other settings, even a traditional pen and notepad might be disturbing, and we have to rely on our memory (see Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7; McLaughlin, Ch. 6). As a rule of thumb, taking down field notes after observation takes as long as observing itself. We should be prepared to roughly spend another hour on writing field notes based on observing an NGO meeting for one hour. Sometimes observing takes the whole day, because our role in the field does not allow us to leave and start documenting our observations right away. In these cases, it is wise to focus on specific moments and events because it is simply impossible to remember everything after a full day of work. In any case, our field notes should be rich in detail and add a sense of how we came to conclusions on the spot. Noting that ‘the old man looked puzzled’ is unlikely to be very helpful halfa-year later when you start writing your thesis. Instead, recording more details about what made you think that this man was puzzled – raised eyebrows or a comment to his wife – will provide much welcomed information when carving out the significance of this moment at a later stage. A better description of how you came to the conclusion that this was an old man – roughly how old? – will also be very valuable in the end. Going into detail can be quite tiring at times, but without the discipline to write down our observations accurately, participant observation will not yield good data. 8. Christian Tagsold and Katrin Ullmann 220 Personal feelings are an important part of field notes. We should make the best use of our own subjective views and emotions, as illustrated by Takeyama’s account (see this chapter, Ch. 8.2) of ‘affective ethnography’ (Robben/Sluka 2012, pp. 20–23). Your own relation to a situation is not entirely objective, but it may be useless, or even disturbing, if you do not learn to observe yourself. It is important to take down what, for example, made you ‘irritated’, and how this feeling came about and affected you. Otherwise, this bit of information is likely to be of no worth in the future. When you are documenting spatial settings, photos are an important supplement to traditional sketches. Indeed, not using a cell phone to take photos or short movies will often enough mark you as an outsider today, especially in high-tech countries like Japan! Owing to modern media we are able to take the field with us in various ways and, for example, learn about changes in a community via social media or call an important informant when we realise that we forgot to ask a crucial question. In contrast to the early days of ethnography, these extended connections demand researchers to think carefully about how they want to go on with the relations they have formed during their fieldwork (see McLaughlin, Ch. 6). Key issues Fields and fieldwork change along with technology. This can be helpful when jotting down notes, as notepads and laptops are nowadays used nearly everywhere and thus can be employed without causing confusion in the field. Social media is helpful for staying in contact after the end of fieldwork, though we have to take care to what degree we want to let the field intrude into our daily life as researchers at home and how much time we can devote to staying in touch. Summary Participant observation can be a lot of fun—and sometimes one even has to be careful about becoming too immersed in it! Documenting the process and taking field notes certainly feels more demanding and tedious, but they are extremely important steps in transforming observations into useful data. And participant observation quite often yields data which could not have been attained through other methods, thus producing rich and lively examples of ethnography. Students often assume that participant observation is too subjective and introduces too much bias into research, since we get directly involved with our informants and even affect their lives while in the field. But it is precisely this kind of immersion and reciprocity that helps us to see and understand things which may otherwise remain concealed. The great potential of participant observation and fieldwork is that there will be surprises which will inevitably lead to new results and findings. Furthermore, personal experience and its detailed codification in field notes make excellent material for presentations, papers and theses. Anthropologists usually quote their own field notes in well polished papers and books in order to add lively impressions. Field notes can also 9. Chapter 8 How to observe people and their environment 221 give a vivid account of the researcher’s own problems in grasping the meaning of situations and coming to terms with local sense-making. Examples of this writing strategy abound. Sometimes writers are more concerned with establishing their authority in relation to their readership and sometimes they just aim at conveying data. But when employed mindfully, field notes can be extremely convincing. Wacquant’s above-mentioned book Body & soul: Notebooks of an apprentice boxer (2006) is one such powerful account that uses field notes to a rich and intoxicating effect. Wacquant succeeded in demonstrating his own, occasionally painful conversion into a boxer in Chicago through many excerpts from his field diary. His textual strategy certainly is debatable, but that is precisely why his book offers a good starting point for reflection on field notes as part of a finished text. Christian Tagsold and Katrin Ullmann 222 Of serendipities, success and failure and insider/outsider status in participant observation Susanne Klien ‘You are female, aren’t you?’ I will never forget that question asked by the local government representative I was talking to on the phone back in 2009 in order to inquire about permission to conduct fieldwork during a renowned local Shinto mountain festival in Okinoshima, Shimane Prefecture. It turned out that I could not actively participate in the festivities as it was a sacred Shinto event, with women only taking part in backstage preparatory roles. I remember my initial frustration, thinking that this was a major setback for my research. In hindsight, however, I found out that I was fortunate. My partner (who hardly spoke any Japanese but actively participated) ended up with black and blue knees and aching muscles all over as he had joined the team that did the two-day preparatory work for the festivities. I, on the other hand, accompanied the team throughout, but was not actively involved and focused on observing, gaining important insights in the process. This episode shows that what may be perceived as a setback may eventually turn out to be a merit. Similarly, Thomas Hylland Eriksen has observed that ‘…Even unsuccessful is rarely entirely unsuccessful, and it is often stressed that the notorious ability of anthropologists to make fools of themselves in the field […] can actually be a methodological advantage’ (2009, p. 54). The above episode also highlights the broad range of roles that participant observation may entail. Being actively involved is usually perceived as a key feature of fieldwork; yet, external circumstances may limit the scope of participation. Evidently, being a member of the team preparing the festivities is bound to give you insights that cannot be obtained by being a mere observer. Spending extensive periods of time with the group one is researching; sweating and downing sake together with locals creates a level of visceral rapport that is beyond reach for armchair researchers. However, ‘simply hanging out’, lingering at the site may in fact give you a larger analytical sense of the site and its people. It may in fact yield valuable insights into how people relate to one another, communication patterns, power relations and other key features of social life. Thus, the next section is concerned with the concrete process of observation. How to observe Few ethnographers would contest Eriksen’s description of fieldwork as a ‘time-intensive enterprise’ (2009, p. 49). After all, researchers spend months, if not years, at their sites. Compared to other research methods, fieldwork involves large amounts of individual time spent researching a relatively small sample of interviewees. Whereas sociologists and other researchers relying on quantitative methods regularly criticise this small sample, this constellation has afforded ethnographers the leeway of implementing in-depth observation of their chosen sites (see 8.1 223 Jentzsch, Ch. 6.1). Ethnography is an effective research tool that facilitates systemic observation, which does not rely on first (or second) impressions, but combines the researchers’ extensive observations with interviewees’ narratives, often blending these multiple layers of meaning into an incisive analysis. Once you enter the field, many things that you observe as a researcher may strike you as odd. At this stage, I would say that the key to turning your fieldwork into a success is to sharpen your sense of your own view and its limitations—‘seeing one’s seeing’ (jibun no mie o miru), as Fumitoshi Kato (2009, p. 51) incisively puts it. Certain assumptions that we take for granted may not be valid in the field; expanding your self-reflective skills is essential. Bronislaw Malinowski (1922, p. 2) famously pointed out that ‘foreshadowed problems’ should be a key feature of fieldwork, yet ethnographers are bound to encounter unanticipated occurrences, phenomena and events. From my own experience, it is these serendipities that often, literally, open doors to new networks, interviewees and insights. I vividly remember standing on a square in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, during lunchtime, wondering where I could get a bite to eat. Just then, three elderly local women appeared, opening a door to a place that looked like a private house. I seized this opportunity to ask them whether that place was a restaurant; they nodded and asked me to join them. This moment eventually resulted in me eating a large part of the ladies’ lunch and befriending the restaurant owner, who became a key interlocutor and, incidentally, my home stay host in later phases of my fieldwork. This episode indicates that during fieldwork, acting on the spot, behaving a tad beyond what is considered socially appropriate is often productive. It does not need to be emphasised that respecting the local community (or the group of your interlocutors) should be accorded the highest priority at all times during fieldwork. In order to seize such moments effectively, however, we need to sharpen our sense of visceral instinct, something we have often unlearned in academic contexts. I generally recommend lingering around wider rather than smaller groups of people, especially in the initial stages of your fieldwork, but starting with a clearly bounded group may be helpful. After some time spent in the field, more specific sets of questions and issues will emerge that strike your research interest so that you can narrow down your themes. For example, during my ethnographic research into disaster volunteers after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, I started by signing up as a disaster volunteer myself. First, I mostly spent time with other disaster volunteers, but later expanded my fieldwork to disaster volunteer coordinators, local government representatives, local residents supporting disaster volunteers and local residents who had no personal relations with volunteers. Engaging with diverse groups of interlocutors gave me a more comprehensive view of the phenomenon I was researching, i.e. the motives of disaster volunteers to embark on altruistic work. In a similar vein, Roth observes about his fieldwork among Japanese and Japanese Brazilian workers in Japan that ‘[b]y talking to as many of these workers, bureaucrats, and other intermediary cultural brokers as I could early on in my research, I was able to get my bearings in the field site more quickly than I could have on my own’ (Roth 2003, pp. 343–344; see Goodman, Ch. 1). Susanne Klien 224 Challenges during preparation and implementation As emphasised by numerous other researchers, the way ethnographers enter the field considerably shapes the research to come. The position of the person introducing the researcher to others in the field, the gatekeeper, must not be underestimated. For example, during my recent fieldwork with hip-hop practitioners in Hokkaido, northern Japan, one of my key interlocutors and gatekeeper was a local male who had previously been a DJ in the club that was my key field site. On the one hand, the fact that he was a veteran practitioner gave me access to events and parties that were only open to members of the scene, as such events were disseminated by word-of-mouth (Klien 2020). However, at the same time, the fact that I attended many events together with him placed me in a special segment of the scene. In other words, I recommend making informed choices when choosing gatekeepers and keeping in mind that there are always downsides, regardless of what choice you make. I believe that we can minimise such downsides by behaving in an accessible (i.e. open and amicable) manner when hanging out and encountering members of the site that we are researching, although we have to accept downsides as facts of life. Related to this, from my own ethnographic experience, I would like to argue that the most insightful fieldwork results from a balance between the researcher’s insider and outsider status. As Ian Reader (2003, p. 103) has previously argued: ‘By contrast, my outsider position worked to my advantage, as my Japanese academic colleague recognized, I had been able to make a suggestion and get away with what could have been an indecorous request’. Laura Dales and Beverly Anne Yamamoto similarly note that some of their interviewees ‘would not have felt comfortable sharing certain stories with us had we been Japanese’ (2018, p. 242). Evidently, being an outsider does entail numerous advantages that we need to work with in order to obtain incisive results as fieldworkers. During my fieldwork into the hip-hop scene, I aimed for a balance between inconspicuousness and out-of-the-box questions. My gender turned out to be more of a merit than a disadvantage as male practitioners seemed eager to share their thoughts with a female outsider unrelated to the scene—something I had not anticipated at the beginning of my fieldwork. General recommendations To sum up, I will provide four pieces of advice for a smooth fieldwork experience. First, as previously indicated by Joy Hendry (2003, p. 69), seizing chance encounters is key to successful ethnographic research. I encourage all fieldworkers, especially neophytes, to overcome inhibitions to talk to strangers. As outlined in my episode with the senior ladies in Ishinomaki, I would not have met my long-term host and gatekeeper there had I not followed them on the spur of the moment (Klien 2016a, p. 44). Second, verbal statements by interlocutors need to be taken with a grain of salt. Carla Freeman emphasises the importance of ‘the ways in which they spoke, the timbre and lilt of their voices, the intensity of their expression, and the look in their eyes’ (2014, p. 135). Make sure that you do not focus too much on oral narratives, but also observe people’s facial expressions and body language (see Kottmann/Reiher, Ch. 7). I remember a group interview in northeast Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 that I was conducting with two Chapter 8 How to observe people and their environment 225 colleagues, one of whom did not speak a word of Japanese. Sharing our impressions after the interview was a real eye-opener since the colleague with no Japanese language skills was forced to focus on facial expressions and body language. Thirdly and related to that, I highly recommend talking to key interviewees several times and arranging meetings with them outside the field, if possible (Klien 2016b, p. 362). The field shapes interlocutors’ statements to a larger extent than we assume, especially in rural communities. During my fieldwork with lifestyle migrants in Tokushima Prefecture in 2017, a female settler described her life in her newly chosen community in overly positive terms, although she did refer to some challenges. Six months later, we met again in Hokkaido. It turned out that she had decided to leave the community soon after our meeting as she generally disliked rural life. In a small rural town, she felt that she could not talk freely about her real thoughts. In other words, talking to interlocutors outside the field may provide more nuanced insights. Last but not least, listening well is a skill that is usually taken for granted, but is the key to gaining in-depth insights during fieldwork. Susanne Klien 226 Doing and writing affective ethnography Akiko Takeyama A splendid wonderland awaits at the bottom of a long staircase as I descend from the midnight darkness. On the dance floor, well-dressed men and women hold each other closely as a romantic melody plays. Under dim light, mildly intoxicated couples flirt. At one particularly lively table, a handful of young men surround a woman to entertain her. A man kneels down with a lighter on his palm waiting for a woman to put a cigarette in her mouth. Another man with a steaming towel in hand waits next to the powder room for a lady’s return. This is a scene in a Tokyo host club. The men serving the women are called hosts, or hosuto in Japanese. Their job is to sell love, romance, companionship and sometimes sex to women for exorbitant sums of money. Deploying stylised masculinity—feathered fringes, polished nails and fine European suits—they serve women attentively and seek their fortunes assiduously. Women of a wide range of ages visit the club to escape from their everyday lives and indulge themselves in fantasy. In and outside the club, these men and women mutually seduce one another to foster a commodified form of romance. I closely studied the art of ‘love business’ for my book Staged Seduction: Selling Dreams in a Tokyo Host Club (Takeyama 2016). I asked: What does it mean for these actors to engage in commodified romance? What are the hosts and their female clients getting out of the seemingly feminised labour and apparently fake love, respectively? What does it say about the changing gender dynamics, lifestyle consumption and market economy in contemporary Japan? To answer these questions, I conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Tokyo for 36 months. My research methods included participant observation (observing and analysing social events and activities), in-depth interviews and extensive ‘hanging out’ with my informants in order to see things from their perspective. Through my fieldwork, I have found that romance, which evokes anticipation, is intertwined with the future-oriented aspiration of not only individuals but also of the hosting business and, by extension, Japanese society at large. The aspiration process itself is capitalised on in post-industrial society: seducing people out of the present and into a future where hopes and dreams are imaginable. Some might ask: How can you study something as vague and undefined as the art of seduction in future-oriented aspiration? What does it look like? What kind of fieldwork does it entail? How do you write about the findings? My answer is to do and write what I call ‘affective ethnography’. Affective ethnography is a tool to invoke one’s own feelings to sense and study the often invisible dimensions of human experience. It is about vicariously experiencing what it is like to be seduced by, and seducing, another person into acting out for one’s own, as well as the other’s, ends. 8.2 227 Let me share how I was seduced into a host club in the field. One late Saturday night in September 2004, I walked alone into Tokyo’s Kabuki-chō red-light district, the bustling centre of Japan’s sex and entertainment industry. When I arrived, I was hit by the lively sounds of hundreds of people on the streets, solicitors shouting, computer games and the colourful arrays of billboards and neon signs. It was getting late and I was feeling a bit fatigued by it all, yet a strange excitement kept me awake. ‘Hey lady, interested in a host club?’ a young man in a black designer suit addressed me off guard. Across the district, men in such suits attempt to lure salarymen and other passers-by into hostess clubs and pornographic peep shows. This man, however, was different. He was a host who advertised both himself and his club to passing women. I became nervous. I did not intend on visiting a host club that night. I planned to observe the street scene only as an entry point to my future study. Why did he approach me? I need to be cautious around men like him. But then again, this would be a great opportunity to learn more about the hosting business. Should I just walk away or ask where he works at least? Up close, he looked different from other hosts, who wore gaudy accessories and had bleached hair. He was very polite. ‘Well, I am researching host clubs. I came here tonight…’ ‘Why don’t you come over and see my host club? It’s only 5,000 yen for the first visit.’ ‘Where do you work?’ I asked. ‘I work for club Orion.’ ‘I have heard of it! It’s a famous one, isn’t it?’ ‘Yes, it is a long-standing club and known for its fair business practices. You can trust us.’ I decided to follow him. His congeniality and openness about his life put me at ease immediately. His host name was Shin. Passing several clubs and bars on the way to Orion, Shin and I got to know each other. We learned that we both grew up outside of Tokyo and sought alternatives to conventional sex roles—salaryman and housewife—in Japanese society. With our growing rapport, the district’s night scene no longer felt alien to me. Opening Orion’s heavy door, I felt as if a theatre curtain had been lifted. As I walked in, a couple of hosts welcomed me with deep bows. Once I was seated, Shin swiftly sat down next to me. His three ‘helper hosts’ followed to assemble beside us. One carefully laid a lace napkin on my lap. Another started to make drinks. The other handed me a steaming hand towel and asked, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Akiko.’ ‘No wonder you are so pretty! There are statistics showing that women named Akiko tend to be beautiful.’ I doubted there were such statistics. The helper who was making drinks jumped in, ‘Haven’t you ever been told that you look like a TV announcer?’ ‘Um… no, not really,’ I said. ‘You know, the kind of announcer at a local station who is lovable … but not quite sophisticated!’ I could not help bursting into laughter. So did everyone at the table. ‘Cheers!’ They gave me a toast. At this point, I explained my intention to conduct participant observation and obtained informed consent for my research (see Slater et al, Ch. 16.2). As both a researcher and a client, I tried to observe the club scene and examine the hosts’ art of seduction as much as possible. I devoted my initial attention to the space’s theatrical effect and the minutiae of people’s flirtatious interactions. While making mental notes, I noticed my knee was slightly touching Shin’s. I straightened myself and slid my leg away. As I was drawn back into the conversation at our table, my trouser leg once again rubbed against his. Shortly after, Shin inched slightly closer and leaned over to me. ‘Are you having a good time?’ he murmured into my ear. His whisper left a ticklish sensation and the sweet fragrance of his cologne that entranced me. The subtle Akiko Takeyama 228 interaction dramatically transformed the club’s open space into an intimate fantasy world, wherein Shin’s move, accidental or not, seemed deliberate. This experience allowed me to see questions I would ask of women who engaged in this service, such as, did it matter whether every aspect of their experience was motivated by money or not? Thus, my own affective experience, and my later reflections on it, fed into the interviews and analysis in later stages of the research. Intimacy aroused because of—not despite—the presence of others who noted our secrecy but left us alone. In the imaginary world, my sensual experience and cognitive interpretation felt all-encompassing. While I tried to make a distinction between what is performed and what is not, that line became blurry. In this circumstance, nothing seemed clear-cut. There was no way to solicit the hosts’ real intentions behind their bodily and speech acts and test their truthfulness. Affective ethnography, unlike the more traditional approach that prizes objective knowledge, ponders what is unknowable—the territory that is somewhat like the experience of an eclipse blocking out the light of clear sight. The unknowable territory of ‘eclipse’, however, did not keep me from seeking further. Instead, it fuelled my pondering about the possibilities of my future research-and-adventure. This research experience is, by no means, universal. It is not even a typical one in my own career. The experience, especially a sensory one, is contingent on who you interact with, when, where and how. I would not have visited any club if Shin had not approached me that night. And even if I had ended up visiting one, I would have had a totally different experience with another host. These contingencies play an important role in the shaping of our sensory experience and the determining of its significance. There was a time, however, when there was little room for ethnographers to reflexively take into account their sensory experience. The premise in the discipline of Anthropology and Social Sciences at large was the production of objective and impartial knowledge. The positivist approaches not only suppress anything subjective, including sensory experience, but also erase it to safeguard objective truth. But, how could I really have elicited anything meaningful about commodified intimacy from clinical-style interviews and observation at a distance? Doing and writing affective ethnography was thus central. The sensory experience I shared above, after all, allowed me to understand commodified romance and theorise the commercialisation of hopes, dreams and future-oriented aspiration in Japan’s service-centred economy. Some might see the importance of affective ethnography but wonder how it is done. The answer is that there is no one right way. There are, however, some principles that affective ethnographers can draw from. Being open-minded and non-judgmental is first and foremost vital. Allow yourself to believe in your own sensory experiences as part of the fieldwork experience. You also need to be aware that you do not always know where you are headed before your actual interactions in the field, even if you have developed solid research questions. There are multiple possibilities that constantly appear and disappear while you decide which lead to follow. Affective ethnographers also need to be self-reflexively responsible for their projects. We recognise that ethnographers are human beings who are situated in a society and whose access to information is never entirely objective (Pink 2009). Instead of conveniently removing the researcher-self from what is written, affective ethnographers should be honest and self-reflexively critical about their positionality in the field. In other words, the affective ethnographer’s job Chapter 8 How to observe people and their environment 229 is not just to study others but also to question their own positionality and potential bias (see Ho, Ch. 8.2). They should also be aware of the privilege of producing ethnographic knowledge. To sum up, traditional ethnographers rarely discuss in print how they might have been, for example, attracted to some subjects of study or seduced into building a rapport with particular individuals (Kulick/Wilson 1995). However, it is time to rethink the research premise that affects are separable from human experience in the doing and writing of ethnography. Feminist scholars have long argued that the body, emotion and care have been largely associated with feminine traits and systematically excluded from scientific research (Haraway 1988; Jagger 1989). In this sense, affective ethnography is a feminist approach to challenge what has been traditionally dismissed in the masculinist enterprise of Social Sciences. It is not so much about seeking the truth. It is rather an alternative mode of knowing which affective ethnographers use to prise doors open and to shed light on things behind, beneath and beside observable realities. Akiko Takeyama 230 Reflections on fieldwork in post-bubble Japan: Gender, work and urban space Swee-Lin Ho Framing the fields I first lived in Japan in 2002 when my then employer, a multinational corporation, sent me to supervise the restructuring of an ailing subsidiary in Tokyo for a year. I was out most evenings drinking with colleagues to understand the local work culture, and to get to know one another better in informal settings when conversations were candid and spontaneous. The drinking often extended beyond the first round to a second, third or fourth, even on weeknights. I had initially thought the nocturnal merriment would be short-lived, since my stay coincided with the FIFA World Cup co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, but I gradually realised that social drinking after hours was very much a part of the daily routine for working adults in Japan. Everywhere I went—from Shinjuku, Shibuya and Akasaka, to Roppongi, Ginza and Shinagawa—bars and restaurants were thronging with office workers, both male and female. As the evening progressed, the group’s size shrank, venues changed, conversation topics shifted away from work and some late-night entertainment activities became more playful. When a night out ended long after public transport services had ended, some of my co-workers would grab several hours of sleep in a love hotel, which I realised were plentiful across Japan, and were hardly sleazy establishments for illicit sexual activities. Most certainly, I was quite flummoxed by my encounters. ‘Are drinking and late-night entertainment no longer socially unacceptable for women in Japan?’ I wondered. Many establishments had menus listing alcoholic beverages exclusively for ‘ladies,’ while advertisements pasted in drinking venues, commuter trains and public billboards portrayed women drinking traditionally masculine drinks such as beer, sake and whisky. There were also small bars, strip clubs and host clubs serving only a female clientele. What has effected these commercial changes? Having met many female corporate managers, lawyers and bankers, I also wondered if better work opportunities had enabled women to negotiate themselves out of their gender roles. I thus began to frame my research interest to focus on the lives of women, work and the urban night-time economy in post-bubble Japan. When I returned to Tokyo in 2003 as a graduate student, large numbers of housewives and female office workers of all ages swarming airports, stadiums and various venues to attend events and catch a glimpse of actors, male singers and popular music bands from South Korea confounded me. The Korean Wave reinforced my interest in understanding women’s lives and the public space, as well as the role played by commercial processes in enabling women to actively affirm themselves as subjects of their own desire, and not as mere objects of the male gaze and men’s pleasure. 8.3 231 Selecting sites and sampling subjects I have so far interviewed more than 500 Japanese men and women for various related studies on processes of change that affect women’s work patterns, family formations, consumption practices, leisure activities and various social relations, in the hope of broadening the scope of existing studies by dispelling some myths about the uniqueness or exoticness of Japanese society that many have depicted. My field sites are mostly places and spaces pertaining to the activities of my subjects of study, which encompassed the private sphere of the home, and the public spheres of work and play. For my first project, I had gathered a considerable amount of data from one year of employment in a Japanese company when I started studying women managers (Ho 2018). The daily notes I took from observing and interacting with co-workers helped me understand the corporate environment in which women managers work: corporate policies on hiring, promotion and remuneration; assignment of duties; lines of reporting; allocation of authority and power of decision-making. Other field sites included public places where my subjects spent their time eating, drinking and engaging in playful activities. To understand the various institutional structures that affect how women work, I also interviewed male workers, and gathered information about companies—small and large—before I requested interviews with corporate executives. I also conducted interviews with government employees to understand the implementation and management of state policies on labour, family and health, as well as with labour union representatives and legal advisors, non-governmental organisations, and several support groups dedicated to helping workers seek redress for unfair dismissal and various work-related problems. Studying female fans of the Korean Wave took me to concerts, fan meetings, product endorsement events, filming sites, airports and birthday parties in Japan and South Korea (Ho 2011). To examine the production, distribution and marketing processes driving the popularity of Korean popular music, television dramas and movies—my second project—I spent several years in South Korea interviewing actors, actresses, singers, instructors, directors, scriptwriters, promoters and distributors. I also made observations at training academies, auditions, filming locations, recording studios and broadcasting stations. To understand how Japanese women’s fan activities might affect their daily life, I followed my informants to neighbourhood and community events, and observed some women in their homes. Using the methodology of snowball sampling offers a useful chain of referrals by people who share or know of others with similar interests and experiences, but it could potentially narrow the research scope, since each chain of referrals tends to offer specific perspectives on a given practice. When studying women’s extramarital experiences—a third project (Ho 2012)—for example, one chain of referrals led me to ten women who were once full-time housewives, and explained their extramarital activities as provoked by their husband’s infidelity. As I searched for informants with different marital and extramarital experiences, I found some who agreed to be interviewed after months of private messaging through Internet chatrooms and blogs hosting discussions on the extramarital experiences of women. Several others came from a speed dating agency that arranged ‘extramarital adventures’ for men and women, who had responded to my interview request, which the agency had circulated. I met others through the owner of a cable television company that broadcast many channels of adult programmes, who also disseminated my request to its subscribers and helped me obtain several responses. Swee-Lin Ho 232 Similarly, for another research project on love hotels (Ho 2008), I spoke to people using these establishments as my main subjects, and others who could help me understand commercial and legal change. These comprised cleaners, receptionists and managers of love hotels; employees of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; and project consultants at advertising companies which had contributed to marketing assignments to change the image of love hotels. Ethics and positioning in the field Selecting sites and subjects for diversity is not easy, and that is only the start. Managing fieldwork over a long duration of time is far more challenging. Over the years, I have come to appreciate the importance of positioning in the field with an ethical code of practice by which my subjects would define me as an ethnographer. I had once thought about ethics in the field in terms of do’s and don’ts. Nearly two decades of fieldwork in Japan taught me that it is about the constant management and negotiation of the perceptions and positions of both the ethnographer and research subjects. I would like to think of this as the process of subject–object reorientation, which involves the delicate balancing of proximity and distance, to allow for more egalitarian, reciprocal and dynamic interactions between ethnographers and subjects. I might have the privilege of knowing a few women in each of the two friendship networks of women managers (Ho 2018), but having initial access by positioning myself as ‘one of them’— I was once a corporate executive myself—only gave me opportunities to meet with the women. Careful about protecting their respective circles and meticulous in selecting individuals to include, the women gradually shared more about their lives after several years of careful negotiation of my identity and character, as I made continual efforts to understand their needs, wants and concerns. Access is both a privilege and a responsibility. It is a form of trust given to an ethnographer to respect the behaviour and thoughts of research subjects (see McLaughlin, Ch. 6; Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16). Far from being an entitlement, access is an obligation to protect the confidentiality of the information gathered, and a responsibility to not adversely alter the lives and activities of informants. Researchers and informants often asked me about my studies of women’s late-night drinking, voyeuristic play in host clubs and various entertainment venues, sexual encounters, marital issues, intimate feelings and workplace difficulties, all of which are sensitive, morally contentious issues with serious implications on individuals’ lives. Breaching an informant’s trust could have serious repercussions for many parties. As the ethnographer’s subjectivity is an inherent part of our research (Madison 2005, p. 9), we risk discrediting our cultural and academic communities. It is also important to tread carefully between the polar ends of sympathy and apathy in interacting with informants. While documenting the changes to Japan’s urban night-time economy that promote drinking among women (Ho 2015), I often checked the interview questions I posed to informants working in drinking and entertainment venues, regardless of whether they worked as bartenders, waiters, waitresses, supervisors, managers, public relations corporate executives, hosts, hostesses, strippers or government officials responsible for urban zoning laws and licencing. For my research on love hotels too, I tried to understand the perspectives of cleaning workers, receptionists, janitors, and suppliers of drinks and products to vending Chapter 8 How to observe people and their environment 233 machines in love hotels. These individuals may represent the institutional structures whose practices are often portrayed negatively, but they are also workers with real lives, whose jobs could be equally susceptible to broader controlling processes that affect the lives of my main subjects. In conclusion: Going native is extremely difficult. The best that ethnographers can do is to minimise the tendency of othering our subjects so that they are not treated as mere objects of scrutiny. Negotiating shifts in position by becoming objects of inquiry for field subjects at times helps build trust and respect in our interactions with research subjects, who may at times be equally curious about and interested in our own experiences. Doing fieldwork in Japan—as cross-cultural studies elsewhere are doing—can be particularly trying due to the plethora of stereotypes many have formed about the people and their social practices. But one’s field experience will be meaningful, enriching and rewarding—as mine has been—if due care and respect are exercised in our engagement with and representation of our research subjects. Swee-Lin Ho 234 Further reading Bernard, H. Russell (2011): Research methods in Anthropology. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. Clifford, James/Marcus, George E. (1986): Writing culture: The poetics and politics of ethnography. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Hannerz, Ulf (ed.) (2010): Anthropology’s world: Life in a twenty-first-century discipline. London: Pluto Press. Madden, Raymond (2017): Being ethnographic: A guide to the theory and practice of ethnography. London: Sage. Madison, D. Soyini (2005): Critical ethnography: Method, ethics, and performance. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Pink, Sarah (2009): Doing sensory ethnography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Satō, Tomohisa (2013): Fieldwork 2.0: Gendai sekai wo firudowāku. Tōkyō: Fukyōsha. Smartt Gullian, Jessica (2016): Writing ethnography. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. References Amendt-Lyon, Nancy (2000): Authentizität, selektive. In: Stumm, Gerhard/Pritz, Alfred (eds.): Wörterbuch der Psychotherapie. Wien: Springer, pp. 55–56. American Anthropological Association (2012): Principles of professional responsibility (Code of Ethics). =652, [Accessed 24 June 2019]. Bergmann, Jörg R. (2006): Qualitative Methoden der Medienforschung: Einleitung und Rahmung. In: Ayaß, Ruth/Bergman, Jörg R. (eds.): Qualitative Methoden der Medienforschung. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, pp. 13–41. Bernard, H. Russell (2011): Research methods in Anthropology. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. Bourdieu, Pierre (2005): Verstehen. In: Bourdieu, Pierre (ed.) (2005): Das Elend der Welt: Studienausgabe. Zeugnisse und Diagnosen alltäglichen Leidens in der Gesellschaft. Konstanz: UVK, pp. 393–426. Clifford, James (1997): Routes: Travel and translation in the late twentieth century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Clifford, James/Marcus, George E. (1986): Writing culture: The poetics and politics of ethnography. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Dales, Laura/Yamamoto, Beverly Anne (2018): Relating to ‘unconventional’ women. In: Alexy, Allison/ Cook, Emma (eds.): Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of closeness and conflict. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 241–242. Ehn, Billy/Löfgren, Orvar (2012): Nichtstun: Eine Kulturanalyse des Ereignislosen und Flüchtigen. Hamburg: Hamburger Ed. Eriksen, Thomas Hylland (2009): What is Anthropology? London: Pluto Press. Freeman, Carla (2014): Entrepreneurial selves: Neoliberal respectability and the making of a Caribbean middle class. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Geertz, Clifford (1987): Dichte Beschreibung: Beiträge zum Verstehen kultureller Systeme. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp. Gusterson, Hugh (1997): Studying up revisited. In: Polar 20, No. 1, pp. 114–119. Hamer, Bent (dir.) (2003): Kitchen stories [film]. 96 min., IFCFilms. Hannerz, Ulf (1980): Exploring the city: Inquiries toward an urban Anthropology. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Hannerz, Ulf (1998): Other transnationals: Perspectives gained from studying sideways. In: Paideuma: Mitteilungen zur Kulturkunde 44, pp. 109–123. Hannerz, Ulf (2010): Field worries: Studying down, up, sideways, through, backward, forward, early or later, away and at home. In: Hannerz, Ulf (ed.): Anthropology’s world: Life in a twenty-first-century discipline. London: Pluto Press, pp. 59–86. Haraway, Donna J. (1988): Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. In: Feminist Studies 14, No. 3, pp. 575–599. Hendry, Joy (2003): From scrambled messages to an impromptu dip: Serendipity in finding a field location. In: Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 55–70. 235 Ho, Swee-Lin (2008): Private love and public space: Love hotels and the transformation of intimacy in contemporary Japan. In: Asian Studies Review 32, No. 1, pp. 31–56. Ho, Swee-Lin (2011): Old texts, new desires: How Korean television drama Daejanggeum evokes reflexivity, renewal and resistance among Japanese women. In: The Review of Korean Studies 14, No. 2, pp. 91–113. Ho, Swee-Lin (2012): ‘Playing like men’: The extramarital experiences of women in contemporary Japan. In: Ethnos 77, No. 3, pp. 321–343. Ho, Swee-Lin (2015): ‘License to drink:’ White-collar female workers and Japan's urban night space. In: Ethnography 16, No. 1, pp. 25–50. Ho, Swee-Lin (2018): Friendship and work culture of women managers in Japan: Tokyo after ten. New York, NY: Routledge. Illius, Bruno (2012): Feldforschung. In: Beer, Bettina/Fischer, Hans (eds.): Ethnologie: Einführung und Überblick. Berlin: Reimer, pp. 75–100. Inda, Jonathan Xavier/Rosaldo, Renato (eds.) (2008): The Anthropology of globalization: A reader. Malden, MA: Blackwell. Jagger, Alison M. (1989): Love and knowledge: Emotion in feminist epistemology. In: Inquiry 32, No. 2, pp. 151–176. Kato, Fumitoshi (2009): Kyanpuron. Atarashii fīrudowāku. Tōkyō: Keio University Press. Klien, Susanne (2016a): Reinventing Ishinomaki, reinventing Japan? Evolving creative networks, alternative lifestyles and the search for quality in life in post-growth Japan. In: Japanese Studies 36, No. 1, pp. 39–60. Klien, Susanne (2016b): Shinto ritual practice in Miyagi prefecture after the Great East Japan Earthquake: The case of the Ogatsu Hoin Kagura. In: Asian Ethnology 75, No. 2, pp. 359–376. Klien, Susanne (2020): Accommodation and resistance in Hokkaido hiphop practitioners: An ethnographic analysis of generation resignation in post-growth Japan. In: Ethnography. DOI: 7/1466138120907339. Kottmann, Nora (2016): Heirat in Japan: Romantische und solidarische Beziehungswelten im Wandel. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. Kulick, Don/Wilson, Margaret (eds.) (1995): Taboo: Sex, identity and erotic subjectivity in anthropological fieldwork. London: Routledge. Madden, Raymond (2017): Being ethnographic: A guide to the theory and practice of ethnography. London: Sage. Madison, D. Soyini (2005): Critical ethnography: Method, ethics, and performance. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Malinowski, Bronisław (1922): Argonauts of the Western Pacific. London: Routledge & Kegan. Marcus, George E. (1995): Ethnography in/of the world system: The emergence of multi-sited ethnography. In: Annual Review of Anthropology 24, pp. 95–117. Marcus, George E. (2006): Reflexivity unbound: Shifting styles of critical self-awareness from the Malinowskian scene of fieldwork and writing to the emergence of multi-sited ethnography. In: Rao, Ursula/ Hutnyk, John (eds.): Celebrating transgression: Method & politics in anthropological studies of culture. New York, NY: Berghahn, pp. 13–22. Nader, Laura (1972): Up the anthropologist: Perspectives gained from studying up. In: Hymes, Dell (ed.): Reinventing Anthropology. New York, NY: Random House, pp. 284–311. Osawa, Stephanie (2018): Devianz aus der Sicht von ‘Tätern’: Normabweichendes Handeln in den Selbstdeutungen devianter Jugendlicher in Japan. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. Pink, Sarah (2009): Doing sensory ethnography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Rabinow, Paul (1977): Reflections on fieldwork in Morocco. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Rao, Ursula (2006): News from the field: The experience of transgression and the transformation of knowledge during research in an expert-site. In: Rao, Ursula/Hutnyk, John (eds.): Celebrating transgression: Method & politics in anthropological studies of culture. New York, NY: Berghahn, pp. 23–37. Reader, Ian (2003): Chance, fate and undisciplined meanderings: A pilgrimage through the fieldwork maze. In: Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 89–105. Robben, Antonius/Sluka, Jeffry A. (2012): Fieldwork in Cultural Anthropology: An introduction. In: Robben, Antonius/Sluka, Jeffry A. (eds.): Ethnographic fieldwork: An anthropological reader. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 1–47. Roth, Joshua Hotaka (2003): Responsibility and the limits of identification: Fieldwork among Japanese and Japanese Brazilian workers in Japan. In: Bestor, Theodore C./Steinhoff, Patricia G./Lyon-Bestor, Victoria (eds.): Doing fieldwork in Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, pp. 335–351. References 236 Rubiès, Joan Pau (2017): Ethnography and cultural translation in the early modern missions. In: Studies in Church History 53, pp. 272–310. Schlehe, Judith (2008): Formen qualitativer ethnographischer Interviews. In: Beer, Bettina (ed.): Methoden ethnologischer Feldforschung. Berlin: Reimer, pp. 119–142. Schliemann, Heinrich (1995): Reise durch China und Japan im Jahre 1865. Leipzig: Merve. Tagsold, Christian (2016): Japanese gardens unleashed. In: Die Gartenkunst 28, No. 1, pp. 293–300. Tagsold, Christian (2017): Spaces in translation: Japanese gardens and the West. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Takeyama, Akiko (2016): Staged seduction: Selling dreams in a Tokyo host club. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Ullmann, Katrin (2017): Generationscapes: Empirie und Theorie einer globalen Generation. Bielefeld: Transcript. Wacquant, Loïc (2006): Body & soul: Notebooks of an apprentice boxer. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Wacquant, Loïc (2010): Leben für den Ring. Boxen im amerikanischen Ghetto. Konstanz: UvK. Welz, Gisela (1998): Moving targets: Feldforschung unter Mobilitätsdruck. In: Zeitschrift für Volkskunde 94, pp. 177–194. Chapter 8 How to observe people and their environment 237 Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources: Archives, libraries and databases Theresia Berenike Peucker, Katja Schmidtpott and Cosima Wagner Introduction As a researcher, the hunt for primary and secondary sources will soon lead you to libraries and archives, both at your local institution as well as in Japan. In this chapter, the authors have joined forces to provide you with advice on gathering both physical and digital Japan-related sources in the digital age. This includes hints on developing a general and Japan-specific form of digital literacy when using libraries and archives. In addition, a selection of important reference tools for primary and secondary sources will help you to find appropriate sources for your research project. While all parts of this chapter will be of interest for first-time researchers studying Japan, the sections on digital literacy and archives will also be of relevance to more experienced researchers. The chapter is divided into three sections and begins with the first step in the search process: how to approach and operate research infrastructures, especially search engine-based catalogues. This is followed by a section on where to look for Japanrelated library reference tools and sources. The final section of the chapter is dedicated to Japanese public archives, many of which hold sources that are yet to be discovered, interpreted and published. General hints on how to approach and operate library catalogues The digital transformation of everyday life has profoundly changed the infrastructure framework within which research is conducted, especially in libraries and archives. Easy access to online catalogues and other sources may lead us to believe that we can find any information we need at the mere click of a button. However, despite the sheer number of resource discovery tools available to researchers, digital access to overseas Area Studies collections can still prove difficult (Asato 2013, p. xx; Pitman 2015, pp. 69–80). This is partly because the holdings of some collections are not visible in online catalogue records (‘hidden collections’), partly because of the way overseas publications in non-Latin scripts are handled in Latin-script-centric catalogues or discovery tools and partly because libraries license rather than own electronic resources, making them accessible to members of the libraries’ institution only (Pitman 1. 2. 238 2015, pp. 69–70). The latter also applies to access to resources in Japan, which on top of that are often heavily protected by copyright laws or not available in a digital format yet. Therefore, information literacy and digital literacy are the key to finding and accessing resources for a research project. Both types of literacy involve finding, understanding, critically evaluating and using information. While information literacy refers to reflectively discovering information and understanding how it is produced and valued (ACRL 2016, p. 3), digital literacy involves a good command of digital tools and information technologies through which information is discovered, accessed, analysed, (re)created and communicated (ALA 2013; Becker 2018). Here it is important for students and faculty alike to be aware of the marketplace concentration in digital services and the increasing reliance of libraries and other knowledge infrastructure providers on ‘closed system’ products, e.g. search algorithms for library catalogues and their transformation into discovery systems, which implies an increasing lack of transparency of how catalogue data is processed (Reimer 2020, p. 5). Therefore, developing digital literacy enables a deeper and critical understanding of these tools/information technologies as biased filters through which a search result is produced.1 How to deal with these conditions is the subject of the following sections, where we will look in detail at how bibliographic information is presented in catalogues in the digital age and at the diverse technologies available when searching for Japan-related sources (including how to conduct search queries in Japanese script). Where to start your search? Always begin your search for primary or secondary sources at your local academic library. Almost every institution will provide access to an online catalogue. Many library catalogues are interconnected and provide access to their combined bibliographical data through meta catalogues like the Karlsruher Virtueller Katalog (KIT n.d.).2 These can also search for bibliographic data worldwide, including from WorldCat (OCLC n.d.),3 and the Japan-centred ‘Scholarly and Academic Information Navigator’ CiNii catalogues (NII n.d.).4 If you are at the start of your research in a certain library, we strongly recommend you to contact the Japanese Studies librarian in charge of the collection that you are interested in. She or he might give you source-based bibliographic advice that could change your research design (Lyon-Bestor 2003, p. 370), especially regarding the barriers to accessing hidden collections. Also, check whether your institution has a subject guide for Japanese Studies.5 This is a collection of thematically 2.1 1 Investigating the bias of knowledge infrastructure discovery systems has only just begun. However, a thoughtprovoking paper by Sharon Block (2020) on how ‘seemingly racist or sexist topical labeling [...] impedes knowledge discovery’ in the well-known academic data base JSTOR highlights the importance of critical algorithm studies and encourages academic communities and digital providers to jointly create systems that reflect scholarship better (Block 2020, p. 56). 2 The KVK is provided by the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) in Germany at 3 The WorldCat is the world’s largest library catalogue and is provided by the OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. in the U.S. at 4 CiNii is a database aggregating bibliographical data of Japanese academic libraries provided by the National Institute of Informatics (NII) in Japan. You can search for academic articles at, books at https://ci. or dissertations at 5 Examples of Japan-related subject guides are the ‘Subject Guides Portal’ from the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Libraries Resources (NCC) at or the ‘Japan Studies Subject Guide’ of Leiden University Asian Library at es/japanese-studies. Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources 239 sorted resources (databases, catalogues, websites, etc.) carefully curated by the subject librarian. How to search the library catalogue Today, most library catalogues look like search engines and operate under a ‘discovery system’. Discovery system catalogues are intuitive, can process simple queries and the results are ranked by relevance algorithms (Böhner 2013, p. 49). The basic search mode tends to resemble a Google search box and is your first port of call when you are broadly exploring a topic. Before you start browsing, write down a list of key words that relate to your planned research. What is your overall research field, what are the subfields and what are the aspects of your topic (c.f. ULBM 2019)? These words should also include synonyms of your core concepts and superordinate and subordinate terms (ibid.). If you are planning to read literature in different languages, include the corresponding translations too. To ensure that you are using the correct terminology in a foreign language, you can consult Wikipedia, an online thesaurus,6 digital encyclopaedias7 or specialised dictionaries. Note that glossaries at the end of articles or books might help you enlarge your browsing terms. In doing so, remember that terms related to academic concepts can change depending on their historic, social and geographical contexts. When browsing catalogues by topic, note that libraries use classification systems for labelling the subject of a book. However, classification schemes outside Japan have often been criticised for their Anglo-American and European bias, paying less attention to coverage of other geographies (Pitman 2015, p. 74). In Japan, Japanese bibliographic data tends to be classified by the Nippon Decimal Classification (NDC) (Nihon jisshin bunruihō), and most libraries will use the NDC to systematically arrange their books on the shelves. Ask for a tailored handout of the classification scheme at the respective counter. This will help you to orientate yourself quickly when visiting a library. If you already have information about the specific primary or secondary source you are looking for, you should switch to the advanced search mode. To use it efficiently, you have to be familiar with the concept of bibliographical data, which includes categories like author/creator, title, year/place of publication, publisher, the series a publication might be part of and the edition. You can search for the majority of these categories (e.g. family name of an author) and combine them with other categories (e.g. title). How to search for Japanese language content in catalogues Libraries give instructions on their website about bibliographical searching and topical browsing. However, outside Japan you might face difficulties when searching for and retrieving bibliographical data in Japanese, Chinese and other non-Latin scripts as well as in transcriptions. 2.2 2.3 6 Examples of multilingual online thesauri for the academic community are Sowiport hosted by the German Social Science Infrastructure Services/Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS) at us and Skosmos developed by the National Library of Finland at The so-called Research Navi (Risāchi nabi) by the National Diet Library provides an online tool for creating a Japanese word field at 7 For a short overview of digital Japan-related encyclopedias, Weber/Krickel 2018, pp. D.73–14–D.73–15. Theresia Berenike Peucker, Katja Schmidtpott and Cosima Wagner 240 One reason for this is that the search algorithms in library catalogue software outside Japan are often not well adapted for non-Latin scripts. Furthermore, library catalogue search results increasingly come from a wide range of sources, including library-owned resources and licensed databases. With the net cast so wide, users can access more resources, but ‘might well not realise that they are not seeing all the potential hits that they might, because of the wide range of different standards used in these systems’ (Pitman 2015, p. 76). Hence, searching for foreign language material with varying transcription standards requires a skilled researcher, who can find all the resources a library holds (Pitman 2015, p. 77). It is advisable, in addition to searches in Japanese script, to always run searches in rōmaji (Hepburn/modified Hepburn system and kunrei romanisation) as well. In library catalogues based on an algorithmic discovery (search engine) technology, the results of your search will automatically be ranked by ‘relevance’. ‘Relevance’ is generally determined by the commercial producer of the software, often a third party, without making the rationale behind the programming of the ranking algorithms transparent to library staff and users. The ranking of hits will draw your attention to the data prominently displayed at the top of the list. This pre-selection of visible bibliographic data takes place unless you actively turn to other sorting categories like ‘newest/oldest first’. In addition, note that bibliographical data about book chapters and titles of journal articles might not be indexed in a library catalogue. In these cases, you have to check the availability of the superordinated entity like an edited volume or a journal. There are specialised Japan-centred bibliographic databases that focus on incorporating these data like the aforementioned CiNii books or CiNii articles. The Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS)8 contains journal articles and book chapters in English. JSTOR9 and Project Muse10 cover journal articles in English. However, be aware that full access to these databases requires a subscription from your institution. Use the following criteria to further evaluate your search results: 1. Does the journal match the academic discipline(s), e.g. Japanese Studies or Social Science you are referring to in your research? 2. Is the quality of the articles ensured by a peer review process? Some library catalogues identify these journals. 3. In regard to other publication formats, you might also take into account these points: • Is the author known in her field of research? • Do you know which institution she or he belongs to? • Is the publisher specialised in the topic of the book? • Look for reviews of the book and check the journals these reviews have been published in. • Check if the criteria for good academic practice (Balzert et al. 2008, pp. 9–47; see also Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16) have been fulfilled. This also means taking a look at the accuracy of the citations and at the references. 8 BAS is hosted by EBSCO at 9 JSTOR is part of the not-for-profit organisation ITHAKA at 10 Project MUSE is produced by Johns Hopkins University Press at Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources 241 Japan-related library reference tools If we were asked to recommend just one print and one digital meta reference tool for starting your Japan-related search for sources from outside Japan, we would refer you to the Handbook for Asian Studies specialists: A guide to research materials and collection building tools, edited by Noriko Asato (2013) as the print meta reference tool. This book not only lists the most common tools for addressing search queries, but also provides a short abstract about each reference tool. For a digital ‘community hub for the field of Japanese Studies’ (NCC 2020), we would refer you to the Guide to library and information resources (NCC 2017), a website published by the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources.11 Both of these resources will lead you to appropriate starting points for accessing print or digital sources for your research project and give you ideas about where to look further afield.12 But note when discovering special collections or sources not available through your university library, you do not (always) have to travel to Japan in order to get hold of these items. Many libraries take part in national and international inter-library loan systems (see Maclachlan, Ch. 4.1). So even if going abroad is out of reach, it is possible to get hold of the literature you need. Furthermore, many libraries also welcome acquisition requests or provide ‘patron driven acquisition’ (PDA) schemes in their catalogues. If you study Japanese Studies at a German university, you are eligible to use the CrossAsia portal ( managed by the East Asia department at Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (SBPK). The CrossAsia search provides access to original language bibliographic records in library catalogues from Asia and around the world and full-texts from licensed databases through its Integrated Text Repository (see Heckel, Ch. 11.3).13 In order to get access to all licensed content in CrossAsia you have to fill in an application form, get approval from your institute (stamp) and mail it to the CrossAsia librarian team (SBPK 2020). However, there are some resources that can only be accessed in Japan. In the following two sections, we will introduce you to the general systemic structure of libraries (section 3) as well as archives (section 4) in Japan and to ways to approach and make use of them for your research project. Libraries in Japan When one is in Japan, it is important to think about the structures and purposes of libraries, before searching their catalogues and visiting different libraries. According to the National Diet Library Law (Kokuritsu Kokkai Toshokanhō), the National Diet Library (NDL, Kokuritsu Kokkai Toshokan) is in charge of collecting and providing all Japanese publications and administering the national bibliography (Ōwa 2018, p. 11). Here the chances are high that any Japanese books and journals you are searching for will be found. Always prepare for your stay in Japan by searching the online bibliographic records of the NDL (https://ndlonline.ndl.go.j 2.4 3. 11 Check the comprehensive institutional index of international collections on Japan provided by the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources at 12 For an overview of access to digital sources for the field of Japanese history, Weber/Krickel (2018). 13 For more information, see CrossAsia in a nutshell at Theresia Berenike Peucker, Katja Schmidtpott and Cosima Wagner 242 p). As described in detail in the essay by Shinichi Aizawa and Daisuke Watanabe (see this chapter, Ch. 9.3), the NDL is also a hub for all government-related material (e.g. White Papers) and statistics. Its ‘Research Navi’ guide14 is a comprehensive starting point for an overview of the wealth of information on Japan available through the NDL (NDL 2009). NDL’s WARP (Web Archiving Project) database is an important resource when conducting research on institutions and their representations in the digital space in Japan. Here, the ‘websites of the national, prefectural, and municipal governments, including those of prefectures, designated cities, cities, and towns as well as committees for municipal mergers, independent administrative corporations, semi-governmental corporations or agencies, universities, events, online periodicals, and similar sites’ (NDL 2013) are archived regularly.15 Besides the NDL, the bibliographic databases of prefectural libraries (kenritsu toshokan) may also be worth consulting. They are part of the public library (kōkyō toshokan or kōritsu toshokan) sector (NTK 2020) and are charged with collecting resources that are closely related to the history of their prefecture. Catalogues of public libraries on a city, town and village level can likewise provide an insight into the collection building of the regional body they are operated by. In these libraries, expert staff can help you access sources concerning the region, its history and socio-political structures. Public libraries are social spaces and are actively promoted as a hub for actors from local civil society and for citizen scientists, so they might also be a good starting point for field research. If you are doing research on corporate bodies (e.g. firms, museums, NPO/NGO, labour unions) and their history, keep in mind that they too might have libraries or archives of varying size, possibly without providing accessible bibliographic data online (see this chapter, Schmidtpott/Schölz, Ch. 9.1). In contrast to public libraries, they are mainly for internal use and may hold rare primary and secondary sources. In fact, the collection of resources provided by a certain institution itself might be an interesting object of research (e.g. which types of literature are provided for inmates of a certain prison?). Do not forget to search the catalogues of those university libraries that are home to the experts you refer to in your research (see Zachmann, Ch. 4). Usually, their interests will be mirrored in the catalogue or special data archives (see this chapter, Aizawa/Watanabe, Ch. 9.3) of their home institution. Unfortunately, physical access to Japanese university libraries is also very likely to be restricted. Many institutions will require a letter of introduction.16 At the same time, open access publications are gaining momentum in Japan, as they are elsewhere, and you might look for sources in open access repositories of all universities via the directory of the Japan Consortium for Open Access Repository (JPCOAR).17 If you are uncertain which university library catalogue to head to, turn to the already mentioned meta catalogue and bibliographic database CiNii18 of the NII. 14 Available in English ( or Japanese ( 15 WARP website: see 16 Please refer to the draft for a ‘letter of introduction’ as well as a ‘library materials request form’ incl. an English translation provided by the NCC (2017). 17 For a list of member institutions, see 18 Note that a new ‘CiNii Research’ next generation discovery platform is under development at the NII Research Center for Open Science and Data Platform (RCOS), which will not only provide access to academic publications but also to research data (RCOS 2017). Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources 243 Archives in Japan Although libraries provide you with access to vast amounts of primary and secondary sources, there are still numerous ‘raw’ primary materials waiting to be uncovered in archives in Japan. Drawing on the example of transnational history, Sheldon Garon (see this chapter, Ch. 9.2) has described the joy of ‘serendipitous discoveries in archives’ in his essay and the importance of archival research not only for the purpose of deepening but also widening one’s research scope. In addition, Katja Schmidtpott and Tino Schölz (see this chapter, Ch. 9.1) recommend not only considering written artefacts that are preserved in private (and often secluded) archives for your research, but also openly accessible objects such as public memorials. Although you might be intimidated by the necessary language proficiency and research experience required for working in archives and with written/objective archival sources, we would strongly encourage you to consider archival material for your research projects on Japan. The following sections will give you a short overview of working with and in archives in Japan with special consideration of regional public archives and archives in museums, libraries and universities. Public archives in Japan can be subdivided into two groups: a small group of archives run by the central government19 and a larger group of regional public archives, which are run by regional bodies, namely the prefectures and municipalities. National archives are, in general, easily accessible and parts of their holdings have even been digitalised and are accessible online free of charge.20 Japanese archival researchers and historians generally complain that in Japan the public interest in the preservation of public records is comparatively weak. They base these complaints, for instance, on the fact that the first public archives in Japan, the Yamaguchi Prefectural Archives, were founded only in 1959 and that the National Archives of Japan (Kokuritsu Kōbunshokan), which were established in Tokyo in 1971, were the result of years of lobbying by Japanese historians and followed a recommendation by UNESCO (Takayama 2008, p. 51). The legal framework is also frequently found to be lacking. An extremely short Public Archives Law (kōbunshokanhō)21 was passed in 1987, but it comprises little more than the duty of the central government and the regional bodies to enact appropriate measures for preserving administrative documents and other materials of historical importance and making them available for use (Kokuritsu Kōbunshokan 2001, p. 96). In this respect, Japan was trailing in last place behind all other OECD countries (Matsuoka 2011, p. 16). Precise rules for the proper management of public records were finally laid out in the Public Records and Archives Management Act (kōbunsho kanrihō) of 2009. However, this legislation only applies to the 4. 19 These include the National Archives of Japan (Kokuritsu Kōbunshokan), the Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (Gaikō Shiryōkan), the National Institute for Defense Studies of the Ministry of Defense (Bōei Kenkyūsho Shiryō Etsuranshitsu) and the Archives and Mausolea Department of the Imperial Household Agency (Kunaichō Shoryōbu). 20 The databank of the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records (JACAR), which encompasses more than 30 million document pages from the National Archives of Japan, the Diplomatic Archives and the National Institute for Defense Studies, is likely to be already known to those familiar with the field. What is, however, probably less well-known is that JACAR is progressively starting to include holdings from other archives. Information about this can be found in the JACAR newsletter ( 21 See Theresia Berenike Peucker, Katja Schmidtpott and Cosima Wagner 244 National Archives of Japan, whereas the regional public archives are merely required to pay heed to its core intention. While the National Archives of Japan are well organised and easily accessible, quite often one may encounter gaps in their holdings. As a matter of fact, the extent of the holdings is rather modest when compared internationally: in 2008 they amounted to 48 km as opposed to the 300 km held by the German national archives, the 175 km held in Great Britain and the 930 km in the U.S. Substantial losses were caused by fires, by the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923, by bombings during World War II as well as the deliberate burning of files in the face of the impending defeat in 1945. In addition, however, there has been a tendency among public and private organisations to primarily keep filed materials that presented them favourably, whilst other materials were often destroyed (Takayama 2008, pp. 49–50). To those trying to fill the gaps that exist in the National Archives in Tokyo, Japanese colleagues recommend visiting the regional public archives. With a little luck, this is where one might find documents from the correspondence between the prefectural government and the central government bureaucracy, which may serve to reconstruct, to a large extent, some of what was lost. Regional public archives (chihō kōbunshokan) Most of the 86 regional public archives currently in existence were created after the Public Archives Law came into force in 1988. So far, 39 of Japan‘s 47 prefectures and 47 of its 1,700 municipalities have public archives.22 Public archives are primarily intended for the preservation of public records but, in reality, they often also gather a wide range of material from private sources, such as private individuals or civil society organisations (Matsuoka 2011, p. 109). Consequently, the regional public archives are of interest for a wide variety of different research areas. The Amagasaki Municipal Archives (Amagasaki Shiritsu Chiiki Kenkyū Shiryōkan),23 for instance, house extensive materials about the history of the city’s industrialisation, which contains, among others, many private documents and objects from workingclass families. After being expertly advised, visitors will be permitted to access these sources and to photograph them without any bureaucratic difficulties. Although public archives are open to the public at large, it might be wise to visit the archives in the company of Japanese researchers who are already familiar with the archive in question. They will be able to arrange meetings with staff in advance, which might be very helpful in terms of getting relevant information about the specific archive’s holdings. In general, you are recommended to contact archives prior to visiting them in order to make an appointment. In some archives, it might happen that you are only allowed to see anonymised material due to staff being anxious not to violate the provisions of the Personal Data Protection Act (kojin jōhō hogohō), which was introduced in Japan in 2003. Indeed, the law does not require public archives to hire qualified specialist staff. Article 4 of the Public Archives Law does make it obligatory to employ specialist staff, but the additional article No. 2 allows them to dispense with this requirement initially. The reason for this loos- 4.1 22 See公文書館#日本国内の公文書館一覧. Another list, which at 74 entries is less extensive but nonetheless just as up-to-date, having been compiled in 2018, can be found on the website of the National Archives of Japan at 23 See Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources 245 ening of the law may be that training for archivists has lagged behind that in Europe, the U.S. or China (Kokuritsu Kōbunshokan 2001, p. 22) and that, therefore, qualified specialists are comparatively rare. Since 2013, the Japan Society for Archival Science (Nihon Ākaibuzu Gakkai), whose aim is to pursue a more academic approach to training archivists, has been issuing accreditation for academically trained archivists. The professionalisation of archive staff can therefore be expected for the future. Archives and collections of other public institutions: Libraries, museums, universities For those of you who are researching the history of a city or region where there are no public archives, the recommendation is not to give up too quickly but instead to check out other local institutions. One thing that is important to know about Japanese archives is that many of them are not called archives since they are part of libraries, museums or universities, and it is not always visible from the outside that they exist at all. As there is no nationwide directory of all Japanese archives,24 one will have to rely upon hints and tips from Japanese colleagues to hunt down these archives. A first port of call should be the approximately 3,000 public libraries (Takayama 2008, p. 46). Many of these were founded before 1945 and even back then already functioned as places for the preservation of historical materials (Aoyama 2003, p. 16), which means that, in some cases, their tradition as archives goes back much further than that of the public archives. Museums, too, can house archives or collections and, like libraries, they are easily accessible to everyone. The Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture (Nagasaki Rekishi Bunka Hakubutsukan), for example, holds around 81,000 objects and documents dealing with the history of the foreign trade that was conducted via Nagasaki port.25 Its documents can be viewed there without any problems and can be photographed upon payment of a small fee. Other initiatives like the Knowledgebase of Historical Resources in Institutes (khirin)26 of the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka promote open science and aim at forming a crossinstitutional hub for Japanese history sources (written, visual and objective). Public archives, libraries and museums are often well connected to the local community. Thus, when chapter co-author Katja Schmidtpott was researching the history of Osaka’s armaments industry at the Peace Osaka museum (Pīsu Ōsaka), she received valuable pointers towards archive material held by private individuals and civil society organisations. In addition, you should not overlook local educational establishments. The Central Library of Kyushu University, for instance, has a huge collection of historical materials related to the history of coal mining in the region, but also many other sorts of manuscripts and records, some of which were collected by some of the university’s former history professors in other regions of Japan. 4.2 24 An incomplete list is constituted by the member list of the professional body Japan Society of Archives Institutions (Zenkoku Rekishi Shiryō Hozon Riyō Kikan Renraku Kyōgikai), which currently lists 139 institutions as members, amongst which can be found public archives, historical museums, libraries, university archives and company archives at (as of May 2018). An overview of the holdings and particularities of 30 selected public and private archives as well as data material (until 2007) regarding public archives and libraries can be found in Fujiwara (2008, pp. 223–283). 25 See 26 See the catalogue portal at Theresia Berenike Peucker, Katja Schmidtpott and Cosima Wagner 246 The collection is described online,27 as are other collections in other major universities, but unfortunately it is usually not possible to access them without being affiliated to the university in question, and sometimes even to the faculty of which the library is a part. Key issues Away from the central national archives in Tokyo, Japan offers a fertile landscape of public archives and collections where there is still much left for (foreign) historians to discover. Despite growing digitisation and the increasing availability of information online, it seems that in Japan there is still the need for a relatively strong degree of personal interaction in order to successfully conduct archival research. Good contacts with Japanese colleagues are important for gathering information about what institutions house what collections and, in many cases, also for gaining access to their holdings. Once an archive has been discovered and accessed, archivists or librarians often turn out to be extremely helpful and are happy to share their knowledge about where to look for further material. Last but not least, one must not rely on the assumption that all materials have already been gathered in archives or other institutions. This is one of the reasons why Japanese historians like to take their students on exploratory trips to historically interesting sites in order to search for, order and catalogue materials at family homes, businesses, temples and other local institutions. Final comment In times of the ubiquity of information available digitally, it might be regarded as untimely to give advice on how to access Japan-related sources in a written ‘static’ publication like this handbook. However, with our focus on how to and not only where to and our encouragement for you to discover sources that are not yet visible digitally, we hope to have contributed to your understanding of Japanese Studies as well as to your digital literacy and to have enabled you to track down changed URLs as well as new reference tools by yourself. In the future, we aim to enhance this book by developing a subject guide website. Your cooperation is highly appreciated: just send us a note with further recommendations from your search discoveries. Meanwhile, good luck with hunting sources in and outside Japan! 5. 27 See Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources 247 Clever approaches to tricky sources: How to extract information from business archives and war memorials Katja Schmidtpott and Tino Schölz Just as fieldwork serves as a tool for gathering data in Anthropology or Sociology, archival research is the equivalent tool for historians. However, archival research differs from fieldwork because it does not involve observation or questioning. But although historians deal with ‘lifeless’ materials in archives, it would be wrong to assume that the cultural context and a researcher’s cultural competence, which matter greatly in fieldwork, can be neglected when it comes to successful archival research in Japan. The degree of cultural competence one needs, however, depends on the subject area as different areas involve varying levels of social interaction. In the field of Social and Economic History as well as in Urban or Local History for instance, historians often face special challenges ‘regarding access and discovery of archival material’ (Gordon 2003, p. 262), which frequently can only be mastered by means of ‘personal connections and introductions’ (ibid., p. 265). While this is generally true for all sorts of archives apart from those maintained by the central government, it especially applies to business archives. What is more, historians of modern Japan—mostly political or intellectual historians—currently mainly deal with written or, to a lesser extent, (audio)visual sources; however, historical sources are not only to be found in archives. Depending on the nature of the project, public space can also serve as an archive. It contains myriads of openly accessible sources ready to be analysed and interpreted as witnesses of the past at any given time. Towns and villages, streets, squares and their respective names, castles and palaces, office buildings, schools and universities, dwellings and mansions, monuments, shrines and temples, etc. shape our image of the present and the past. This essay introduces the reader to different types of historical sources and archives. In the first part, Katja Schmidtpott discusses business archives and shows that they tend to be carefully secluded from the outside world and often difficult to access. In contrast, in his account on public space as an archive, Tino Schölz shows that the material public space provides is very often in plain sight. He encourages historians to use objects and other non-textual materials as sources. Based on his research on war memorials, he shows that this can lead to a multitude of new insights, although it might be exhausting in comparison to usual archival research. The authors argue that working with these distinct types of archives requires quite different skills. 9.1 248 Private archives: Business archives For many research projects in Economic and Social History, business archives can provide useful source material (Schmidtpott 2012). At first sight, Japanese businesses appear to have an extremely strong sense of tradition as almost every large and medium-sized company will have processed their history in the form of a company history (shashi). There are thousands of these shashi. Nonetheless, it would be misleading to conclude that there must be a similarly large number of company archives. As Andrew Gordon (2003, p. 264) pointed out, the ‘paradox of obsessive organizational history writing combined with poor archiving’ exists in Japan. As Schmidtpott has been told repeatedly by fellow historians, it is not unusual for a company to dispose of historical documents after a shashi has been published, mainly because its storage space is limited. She encountered this problem herself when visiting the library of a public housing corporation in 1999, where most of their historical material had been discarded to clear the shelves for newer publications. Digitisation may solve this problem, but it is doubtful whether companies in general consider this worthwhile. This is because one of the major functions of shashi is to serve as in-house reference material for employees. So once the shashi has been written, companies feel no need to keep the raw materials any longer. Therefore, until the turn of the millennium, only relatively few Japanese companies maintained an archive and usually did not employ professional archivists. Since the 2000s, the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation (Shibusawa Eiichi Kinen Zaidan) and the Business Archives Association of Japan (Kigyō Shiryō Kyōgikai) have been working towards raising awareness among Japanese companies about the importance of professionally run business archives for corporate accountability. Since then there has been a small but noticeable rise in the number of business archives and in the levels of specialised, trained archivist staff employed there (Matsuzaki 2017). The first task for historians who want to work with business archives is to check which companies own an archive. This is not the easiest of undertakings as there is no nationwide directory of business archives. As the result of an initial stock take, the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation published a list of business archives in 2008 (Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation). Likewise, the members’ list of the Business Archives Association can be used as a pointer towards which companies may have archives. Also, if there is an industry museum, the business it relates to will possibly have an archive. Special tourist guidebooks contain lists of such industry museums (Nichigai Asoshētsu Henshūbu 2003; Takeda 2008). Their advantage is that they are open to the public and that, ideally, one might strike up a conversation with the curator, who would be able to provide information about its holdings. This is what happened to Schmidtpott in the Seiko Museum in Tokyo, for example. There are, however, also companies that do possess all three: shashi, a museum and an archive, but do not allow anyone access to their records so as to keep full control over the interpretation of their history. Thus, Schmidtpott failed utterly in her attempts to gain access to one of the largest, internationally active Japanese industrial companies, which had already issued a number of company histories, had its own archive that was renowned as exemplary amongst experts, and also had a state-of-the-art museum that attracts large numbers of visitors. When asked, Japanese colleagues confirmed that the business archive rejected any attempts at contact. Even later on, when Schmidtpott was introduced personally to a staff member of that archive purely by chance, her subsequent enquiries remained unanswered. Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources 249 To sum up, accessibility probably poses the largest problem with regard to business archives in Japan. Researchers need an introduction from a Japanese historian who is already in contact with the archive in question (Matsuzaki 2007, p. 8). It’s important to note that companies can freely create their own rules for their archives. During her research, Schmidtpott asked the employees of a big consumer products manufacturer’s archive how they decide which material to preserve. They answered frankly that they keep materials that testified to the successful development of new products, while they throw away materials on accidents or failures. Consequently, the range of possible research topics seems to be quite limited. Public space as an archive: War memorials In contrast to the rather closed-off business archives, war memorials are located in public spaces. Various memorial sites have been erected and used in Japan from the 1860s to the present to mourn and pay tribute to the war dead. They include shrines such as the famous Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, the national defence shrines (gokoku jinja) in the provinces and cities, several thousand monuments in almost every community, military cemeteries, individual and collective graves in regular cemeteries, or museums that exhibit personal possessions of the victims. There were also thousands of trees planted and even small lakes created. For a project on the history of public commemoration of the war dead in modern Japan, Schölz (2016) analysed these memorial sites. In selecting his field, he considered regional diversity as well as differences between the victors and losers of the civil wars of the Bakumatsu (1853– 1867) and early Meiji periods (1868–1877). When focusing on monuments, it is important to actually visit and ‘document’ them. Schölz tried to systematically answer the following questions, which address both practical considerations and theoretical and methodological problems. First of all, the route to locations itself is sometimes very revealing: Is the site placed in the middle of a town or isolated in a forest or on a mountain that is difficult to reach? Is it visible from a distance? Is the path signposted? Do employees in the local tourist office or taxi drivers know the site? When arriving at the destination, the next task is to carefully ‘document’ it: How big is the memorial site? Where is it located within the public space? What does it look like? Who built it, when and why? Who paid for it? Is it located in a battlefield where people actually died? What is the visual message of the object? Are there inscriptions; if so, by whom? Who is remembered; who is not? Are war victims mentioned by name or not? What additional information about the lives and deaths of the fallen is given? Is there a hierarchy of the dead expressed? Which symbols are (not) used? Do gravestones have a Shintoist or Buddhist shape? Which trees or flowers are part of the site, for instance, cherry trees as symbols of the ‘Japanese spirit’ and the death of the warrior? Two things are important with regard to the documentation: firstly, especially at the beginning of a project, researchers do not know what will be important in the end. Therefore, it is wise to include as much information as possible and sort it out later. It is advisable to visit memorial sites as early as possible in the research process and to take enough time, as historians can never be sure how much work lies ahead. A good camera with several batteries and memory cards is indispensable, and a GPS function is very helpful in order to locate photos quickly on maps. And one should also calculate enough time in order to systematically catalogue notes, Katja Schmidtpott and Tino Schölz 250 photos and sketches as soon as possible. Especially during short research stays, researchers usually tend to visit as many places as possible, but without good organisation quickly drown in their material—less is more. Secondly, one problem Japan researchers often encounter is that they may not perceive certain cultural codes, like iconographic motifs, symbols or references, and may place them in their own cultural context and therefore misinterpret them. Historians should beware of hasty interpretations and they should not be afraid to ask Japanese colleagues specialising in the field under study even the most trivial questions (see Liu-Farrer, Ch. 4.3; McLaughlin, Ch. 6). The same is true of talking to and asking people at the memorial sites for information. Schölz experienced that many Japanese are happy to help—even if they just tell foreign researchers whom to contact for further information. After the documentation of the memorial sites’ current state, the next step historians have to take is an analysis of the context in which the object was built and the historical change in both its appearance and its use. Thus, it is essential to consult further sources. Usually, the researcher can find them in archives: There may be references to the intention and the financing of the monument in the private archives of donors, for example. Materials produced by the artist can provide numerous references to the context in which a monument was designed, possibly also to alternative plans that were not realised. Public archives, mostly prefectural archives (see this chapter, Peucker/Schmidtpott/Wagner, Ch. 9), often hold sources about the approval of a monument’s construction and possibly required changes to its appearance. Laws and ordinances provide an indication of the legal dimension of building monuments in public. Newspaper archives, image databases or albums can help researchers to understand an object’s historical form and its use, including inauguration ceremonies or rituals performed. Edited collections of primary sources and local histories as secondary sources may provide further insights in this respect. Historical maps may help researchers to locate former sites if monuments have been relocated or to understand the situation of a public space that has changed over time. And finally, in some cases, court records, although they are rather difficult to access, can also provide information about conflicts that took place about sites of remembrance. Summary Depending on the research project, it is sometimes necessary to explore different kinds of sources located at various places. In doing so, one will not always be successful. Many visits to an archive or a local library end in disappointment, because the researcher cannot find anything, or existing sources do not reveal anything of value. But it is always worth a try, because one can also come across information that changes and expands our knowledge of the object under study. The historian should never forget that sources are of immense importance but, at the same time, only the basis of a good study; even more important are smart questions, meaningful approaches and hypotheses, and above all clever interpretations and answers. Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources 251 Writing transnational history through archival sources Sheldon Garon One of the most exciting fields today is transnational or global history. Historians increasingly explain developments within Japan by going beyond national history to explore the country’s important connections with the rest of the world. Transnational history spotlights the movement of ideas, institutions, peoples and practices across borders and oceans. The challenge for scholars of Japan is how to research topics that require the use of not only Japanese archives, but also those of other countries (Garon 2017). Discovering the transnational in the sources I offer my own experiences as a researcher, having devoted the past two decades to writing transnational history centred on Japan. My book Beyond our means: Why America spends while the world saves (Garon 2012) is a transnational history of saving and consumption. Despite the subtitle, one-third of the book deals with Japan. This study became a global history— including America and several European and Asian countries—primarily because of serendipitous discoveries in the archives. I had originally intended to write a national history of the Japanese state’s efforts to promote popular saving. However, as I read reports by Japanese officials and reformers, I realised that they were fundamentally involved in the global exchange of knowledge. Like their Western counterparts, the Japanese vigorously investigated best practices in other nation-states that similarly sought to cultivate hardworking, thrifty populaces towards the end of the nineteenth century. The Home Ministry’s journal Shimin (The Subject, 1906–44) frequently presented models of local savings associations in Europe while popularising Victorian ideas of thrift. One official’s enthusiastic report of Britain’s Post Office Savings Bank led, for example, to the establishment of Japan’s famous postal savings system in 1875. The archives also reveal the impact of transnational models on Japan’s savings-promotion programmes in the course of the twentieth century. The Ministry of Finance’s archives of pre-1945 and postwar financial history (Shōwa zaiseishi shiryō and Sengo zaiseishi shiryō) were particularly useful. During the First World War, the Ministry of Finance and Home Ministry dispatched teams of bureaucrats to Europe and America to survey war savings campaigns and other home-front programmes. They were especially impressed by the British government’s National War Savings Committee, which mobilised local savings associations and women’s groups. Based on a report by its resident official in London in 1924, the Ministry of Finance explicitly emulated Britain’s National Savings campaign structure in its own Campaign to Encourage Diligence and Thrift. After Japan embarked on war with China in 1937, officials again drew on the British model to establish a war savings campaign that continued through the Pacific War. 9.2 252 Following Japan’s defeat in 1945, according to Ministry of Finance documents, the state once again investigated European national savings campaigns. Officials observed that Japan was not alone in mounting savings and austerity drives to recover from wartime devastation. The Soviet, French, Belgian and Dutch governments were all haranguing their people to save more and spend less. The Japanese people, asserted the ministry’s leadership, should emulate the postwar British, who accepted lives of austerity to save for their country’s economic recovery. In 1952, the government created the Central Council for Savings Promotion. Housed within the Bank of Japan (BOJ), the Central Council coordinated savings campaigns with local councils and civic groups for the next several decades. A former vice-minister’s introduction permitted me to access the Central Council’s working archive. Materials in the Bank of Japan library supplemented its newsletters and documents. The BOJ journal Chochiku jihō (Savings Times) regularly reported on innovative savings promotion practices in Europe during the 1950s and 1960s. The working archives also told the little-known story of Japanese efforts to promote savings-led development in Asia in the 1980s and 1990s, as illustrated by the BOJ’s frequent seminars with the region’s central bankers. Reading Japanese sources for their transnational connections places Japan in a more global framework. But one could go further—and I did—to use Japanese archives as a springboard to explore the global circulation of knowledge among other societies. Since the Meiji era, Japanese have been among the world’s most energetic transnational actors and learners (Konishi 2013). Their detailed investigations of other nations’ institutions permit the historian of Japan to see global currents more readily than scholars of Western Europe and the United States. Midway through my research, I decided to follow my Japanese sources to their sources and write a truly global history of saving since 1800. I first followed Japanese savings-promotion officials to Britain, where I mined the National Archives to reconstruct the story of the statesponsored National Savings Movement from the First World War to the 1970s. I similarly uncovered the history of the U.S. Treasury Department’s savings campaigns during the two world wars. The history of saving had not been studied comprehensively in either country. I was, moreover, able to connect Anglo-American developments with those occurring in Japan and elsewhere. My Japanese actors next led me to the obscure, but immensely useful archive of the World Savings Banks Institute (WSBI), a Brussels-based consortium of savings banks and postal savings banks. The collection contains historical materials from many nations around the world from the 1920s to the present. Most are written in English, German or French. I stumbled across the WSBI’s predecessor, the International Thrift Institute, after reading of the dispatch of a Japanese official to the organisation’s First International Thrift Congress in Milan in 1924. The WSBI archivist in turn arranged my research visits to affiliated savings banks associations in France, Italy, Sweden and Germany. Increasingly, my visits to the Bank of Japan have made me aware that Japan has been a maker, as well as a taker, of transnational knowledge. The Central Council for Savings Promotion inspired the establishment of a similar council in the Bank of Korea in 1969. Japan’s enormous postal savings system also served as a model for postal savings banks in Singapore and Malaysia. In 2001, I visited the archives of the Korean and Malaysian central banks, plus Singapore’s National Archives. The Bank Negara Malaysia’s staff were particularly helpful. They Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources 253 were in the midst of emulating the Bank of Japan’s savings campaigns, and were quite interested in my knowledge. Designing a transnational study I am currently writing another transnational history, this time about home fronts in Japan, Germany and Britain during the Second World War (Garon 2020). Whereas my book on saving became a global history only after I had discovered connections in the Japanese archives, my current project rests on a transnational-historical design from the start. Home fronts did not develop in isolation. Rather the very concept and practices of the home front were transnationally constructed from the First World War through the Second World War. Officials and experts in each nation investigated others’ mobilisation of civilians in the areas of food security, civilian defence against air raids and the maintenance of morale. At the same time, strategies of how to destroy home fronts through bombing and blockades circulated throughout the world. In each country, I selected archives that would best reveal these connections. I began with the user-friendly U.K. National Archives. Commencing in 1918, Air Ministry files detail the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) growing commitment to strategic bombing that targeted cities and strove to break civilian morale. The interwar RAF refined its strategy based in part on surveys of air strategists in Italy, France, Germany and the United States. Moreover, in 1938–39, the British Committee of Imperial Defence issued several secret reports on the ‘air lessons’ derived from the Japanese bombing of Chinese cities and air raids in the Spanish Civil War. Transnational knowledge similarly informed Britain’s efforts to defend its own cities from air attacks. By the early 1930s, the government’s Air Raid Precautions Committee recognised that Britain lagged far behind the Soviets, Germans and other Europeans in preparations for civilian defence. Learning from others, Britain entered the Second World War with a comparable nationwide system of neighbourhood air wardens, first-aid workers and ‘fire watchers’. The archives also spotlight the widely accepted transnational lesson of the First World War— that the British blockade of Germany’s food supply had broken civilian morale and forced the German government to surrender in 1918. In the Second World War, as key documents make clear, the high command attempted, unsuccessfully, to bring about another ‘1918’ against Germany through bombing and blockades. German archives were more of a challenge. I had only recently learned to read German. Rather than replicate the histories of National Socialism written by German scholars, I focused on the under-researched issue of transnational connections between the Nazi home front and those of other nations. For the exchange of knowledge with Japan, I read the records and clippings of the Deutsch-Japanische Gesellschaft in the Bundesarchiv Berlin. Another rich source for transnational learning was Die Sirene (1933–44), the magazine of the multi-millionmember German Air Defence League (Reichsluftschutzbund). As Nazi officials devised their air defence structures, articles featured civilian defence organisations and air raid drills in Japan, Poland, Sweden and elsewhere. Die Sirene in turn inspired Japanese authorities to publish their own illustrated magazine, Kokumin bōkū (Civilian Defence, 1939–44). I compared the magazines in their depictions of everyday practices in both countries, notably the mobilisation of neighbourhood women to extinguish incendiary bombs. The best collection turned out to be the political archive (Politisches Archiv) of the German Foreign Office. From 1927 to Sheldon Garon 254 1941, the Foreign Office instructed its embassies to gather information on others’ civilian defence while arranging visits by Japanese and other foreign delegations to Germany’s air defence facilities. The several folders on air defence (Luftschutz) also contain the German Air Ministry’s bimonthly reports on civilian defence in more than twenty countries, including Japan. For the American bombing of Japan, I relied on the Air Force Historical Research Agency archive in Alabama. We assume that racism played a huge role in the U.S. firebombing campaign against Japanese cities. Yet the planning documents show that the incendiary attacks were instead modelled on what the Americans learned from British ‘area bombing’ of German cities. In Japan, as in Germany, some of the best transnational evidence comes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs archive. It holds numerous reports of the German and British home fronts from Japanese diplomats and military attachés in Europe. They are supplemented by the microfilmed MAGIC Documents, the daily translations of U.S.-intercepted Japanese diplomatic cables. The National Institute for Defense Studies (Bōei Kenkyūjo) possesses the influential reports of Japanese military missions that went to Germany to study air defence. The most comprehensive collection of Japanese home-front magazines and books is found in the National Shōwa Memorial Museum (Shōwakan). These materials showcase the impact of foreign models on Japan’s food rationing system and civilian defence practices. Some advice To researchers who wish to conduct a transnational study, I encourage you to be ambitious. Transnational archival research may appear intimidating, but there are steps you can take to realise its potential. First, leverage your languages. Most scholars of Japan know at least one European (or Asian) language in addition to English. A little French or German can lead to many discoveries. Second, be prepared to spot the transnational connections in your documents that others have overlooked. Finally, think about how your transnational perspectives could contribute both to debunking myths of Japanese ‘uniqueness’ and enriching the field of Global History itself. Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources 255 Accessing quantitative data for qualitative research: White Papers, official statistics and micro datasets Shinichi Aizawa and Daisuke Watanabe This handbook mainly discusses qualitative research methods. However, researchers use quantitative information in qualitative research, too. Both authors of this essay applied qualitative research methods in their doctoral research. Shinichi Aizawa analysed social transformation and discourses about school education in postwar Japan, and Daisuke Watanabe studied participation and activity processes in club activities for people after retirement. By contextualising qualitative research results with quantitative information, our findings became more persuasive. We consider both qualitative and quantitative data to be valuable, depending on the research question you would like to answer. Because comparing qualitative results with quantitative data can increase the relevance of one’s findings, this essay introduces ways to access White Papers (hakusho) and quantitative data on Japan, mainly official government statistics on e-Stat, and micro datasets. We begin this introduction with White Papers, because they are a good starting point for researchers who want to understand Japanese society, both concerning numbers and qualitative contexts. White Papers in Japan: Characteristics and access In Japan, White Papers are officially defined as ‘government publication materials edited by central government agencies, which are prepared to inform the nation of the status of politics, economics, societies and government measures’ (NDL 2019) by the administrative vice-ministers’ conference in 1963. Generally, White Papers are annual government reports. Nowadays, the Japanese government publishes three types of White Papers: 1. statutory White Papers which are submitted by the Cabinet to the Diet upon Cabinet decisions based on laws, 2. White Papers distributed at Cabinet meetings and 3. other White Papers. Notably, White Papers of the first and second type are decided at Cabinet meetings and introduce a series of current policies and policy planning. White Papers are official documents and often written in a formal style that is as dry as dust. In historical or Political Science research, Japanese scholars analyse documents such as the minutes of various councils’ meetings, resources of parliaments or interview data. Just like the latter, White Papers are very useful documents in understanding how policymakers recognise social issues, laws and social institutions. White Papers contain longitudinal data and are structured in a similar manner. Most White Papers are published every year over a longer period of time. Therefore, long-term comparison of White Papers is relatively easy. All White Papers are openly available online, but most White Papers are available in Japanese only. Often, only a summary of the respective White Paper is translated into English (see Table 9.3 256 9.1). The e-Gov website run by the Government of Japan and the National Diet Library collects and presents information on White Papers. Older White Papers that were only published in Japanese have recently been digitalised and made available by the National Diet Library (see Schmidtpott/Schölz, Ch. 9.1; Zachmann, Ch. 4). List of main White Papers in Japan Governing agency Title [since] (Japanese / English) Cabinet Office (CAO) Annual Report on the Japanese Economy and Public Finance [2001–/2001–] (**) White Paper on Nuclear Energy [1956–/2016–] (**) White Paper on Disaster Management [1974–/2016–] (*) White Paper on Children and Young People [1956-/2012–] (**) Declining Birth Rate White Paper [2004–/2008–] (2008–2015*; 2016–**) Annual Report on the Ageing Society [1996–/2002–] (**) Annual Report on Government Measures for Persons with Disabilities [1996–/2003] (**) White Paper on Traffic Safety in Japan [1971–/1997–] (*) White Paper on Gender Equality [1996–/1996–] (**) Ministry of Justice (MOJ) White Paper on Crime [1960–/2000–] (*) Immigration Control [2003–/2005–] (*) Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) White Paper on Science and Technology [1958–/1963–] (*) White Paper on Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology [1959–/ 2003–] (**) Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) Annual Health, Labour and Welfare Report [1956–/2007–] (*) White Paper on the Labour Economy [1948–/2003–2005, 2012–] (**) Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) White Paper on Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan [2001–/2001–] (*) White Paper on Land [1990–/NA] National Police Agency (NPA) White Paper on Police [1973–/2016–] (2016–2017*; 2018–**) Measures for Crime Victims [2006–/2008–] (**) Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) White Paper on Tourism [1997–/2007–] (2007–2017*; 2018–**) * English version is available (as of Oct. 2020). ** English summary version is available (as of Oct. 2020). Each ministry and agency assigns a team, whose head is the director general of the respective agency, to collect data and to write a White Paper about topics that fall under its jurisdiction every year. All White Papers utilise various official social survey data, such as 53 fundamental statistics, which include the population census, surveys on employment status and data of administrative records on public health insurance, number of crimes, immigration and other social surveys. Most White Papers visualise statistical data in graphs and tables in order to make Table 9.1: Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources 257 them more comprehensive. However, most White Papers in Japan do not reference academic articles. Writing White Papers is teamwork. All teams who write White Papers are strictly managed in a similar manner as in lawmaking processes. Although strictly managed, White Paper writing teams have some freedom to address middle- and long-term policy directions. Therefore, researchers should pay attention to changing terms, vocabulary and expressions. White Papers which are adopted in Cabinet meetings have a considerable influence on policymaking and political discourses. For example, the White Paper on gender equality (Danjo byōdō sankaku hakusho) referred positively to separate surnames for married couples in 2011, when the DPJ was the ruling party. After 2013, this was changed into the expression ‘give careful consideration’ to the separation of surnames for married couples under the Abe Cabinet, which is known as a very conservative government. Thus, we can grasp social change by analysing expressions or vocabulary in White Papers. Particularly, we should try to analyse not only what is written but what is not written in White Papers. We also should take into account photographs and other figures in order to not focus only on texts. Most statutory White Papers and White Papers distributed by the Cabinet Office have two parts. One part is a selected yearly theme, and another part features categorised information on laws, policies and empirical data. The part on the selected yearly theme is very useful when comparing past and current White Papers. By tracing yearly themes, we can reveal dynamics in Japanese society and politics. For example, the themes in the Annual health, labour and welfare report (Kōsei rōdō hakusho), which has been published from 1956 onwards, have changed over time. Before 1973, the themes were related to the establishment of a universal health insurance and pension system and the development of social welfare institutions. From the 1973 oil shock to the beginning of the new millennium, the Ministry focused on policies related to an ageing society and pursued realising a ‘Japanese-style welfare system’ (nihongata fukushi shakai). Finally, after 2000, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) struggled to introduce measures to address the declining birth rate and the so-called super-aged society. White Papers from this period onwards emphasized new roles and activities for older people and local communities in a super-aged society (Watanabe 2009) as well as on work-life balance recommendations for the working population. To sum up, analysing the changing topics and terms in White Papers can become useful resources in understanding discourses on Japanese society. Official macro statistics via e-Stat After reading White Papers, you may become interested in official statistics. Of course, you can access World Bank data, OECD data and UN data, too. It is often insightful to compare Japan with other countries. However, we think that it is even better to check each national dataset in addition, because these international comparative datasets may sometimes use nonreliable sources. Japanese official statistics are all collected on the above-mentioned website e- Stat (see Hommerich/Kottmann, Ch.10). You can access official statistics from various fields on this website. However, we advise you to use the Japanese rather than the English website, because there are great differences with regard to the quantity and diversity of the available data. Currently, you can access 1,534,675 datasets through the Japanese website, but only Shinichi Aizawa and Daisuke Watanabe 258 395,464 datasets in English. In other words, the English website provides less than 30% of the datasets available on the Japanese website. Furthermore, the English website lacks many statistics; for instance, there is no English access to the Basic survey on Japanese schools (Gakkō kihon chōsa), which provides the most reliable official statistics about Japanese school education (as of the end of October 2020). Therefore, we strongly recommend using this website in Japanese. If you can break through a wall in Japanese, you can collect official statistics easily. I will present one example of how to access, calculate and make a table in the field of education from this website. First, you can choose a year, a school level and a certain kind of statistic. Together with my colleague Kagawa Mei, I created a table based on these School basic statistics from e-Stat (Aizawa 2018). It shows not only the numbers of high school enrolments in general, but also the differences between public and private schools. The website of e-Stat makes various tabulations possible. Although e-Stat is convenient, we recommend you to check printed materials at the beginning of your research in order to understand the numbers in the Japanese social context and to select the most suitable tables for your research. Materials related to official macro statistics are not only available in the National Diet Library (NDL; Kokuritsu Kokkai Toshokan) but also in the library of the Statistics Bureau (Tōkeikyoku) in Tokyo. Naturally, you can access some materials in the university libraries and public libraries in Japan. You can also purchase them from the official gazette cooperation of Japan. The reason why we recommend you to check paper materials at the initial stage of your research is that you should first familiarise yourself with the topic by grasping a sense of relevant and realistic numbers. For instance, do you know how many students advanced from upper secondary schools to colleges in 2019 in Japan? You do not need to know the accurate number (the answer is 578,382) and may not know the approximate number, but it is helpful to make yourself familiar with some rough numbers about this topic. For example, the birth rate of Japanese babies is around one million in the twenty-first century, but it is decreasing and has not exceeded one million since 2016. Japan’s advancement rate to upper secondary education is over 95%, and 55% of the graduates from the upper secondary level advance to tertiary education. The last number, 578,382, is connected to this social, institutional and demographic situation in Japan. You will be able to imagine Japanese society with approximate numbers if you become familiar with numbers relevant in your field of research. Accessing micro datasets from data archives If you are interested in statistical analysis in Japan, you can also access datasets from data archives and execute secondary analysis using these data sets. Emma Smith’s book about secondary analysis is a valuable resource that refers to access to quantitative data in Japan (Smith 2008, p. 199). The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) also features datasets about Japan, for example from the Japan General Social Survey (JGSS). The Social Science Japan Data Archive (SSJ Data Archive) is the most famous data archive among Japanese researchers in Japan, although some universities and research institutes like Rikkyo University and Keio University have their own data archives. As of the end of October 2020, SSJ Data Archive has provided 1,424 datasets, and there is no difference between Japanese Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources 259 and English websites when it comes to access to datasets on the matter of quantity of datasets, although some datasets include instructive information only in Japanese. You can get access to this data archive’s datasets online after registration (see Hommerich/Kottmann, Ch. 10). Aizawa has worked with data from data archives and has also made his own data available through the SSJ Data Archive. In his research, Aizawa (2016) analysed the effects of social origins and schooling on advancement to schools comparing Japan and Taiwan. The dataset that Aizawa (2016) used for the Japanese case from the SSM 2005 (Social stratification and social mobility survey, provided by the University of Tokyo) is accessible to all researchers now via the SSJ Data Archive. This data archive collects not only new survey data sets but also collects and digitally restores older datasets. Aizawa and Yutaka Koyama (2016) carried out data restoration and secondary analysis. The two authors of this essay continue to restore historical datasets. We also published a book in Japanese about time use in collective housing in 1965 (Watanabe et al. 2019). These data on time use have also been digitally restored and will be accessible to researchers via SSJ Data Archive. Therefore, secondary analysis via data archives expands frontiers not only in contemporary statistical fields but also in the historical analysis of Japan. Final remarks Not only should researchers in Japanese Studies combine various methodologies across qualitative, quantitative, historical and comparative methods, but so should those in all Area Studies. The division between quantitative and qualitative work remains all over the academic world. However, quantitative information on societies has qualitative contexts, although some highly mathematical Social Sciences ignore this context. Therefore, researchers in Japanese Studies should contextualise both quantitative and qualitative information on a cross-national or global level. Shinichi Aizawa and Daisuke Watanabe 260 Further reading Armstrong, Catherine (2015): Using non-textual sources: A historian’s guide. London: Bloomsbury Academic. Asato, Noriko (ed.) (2013): Handbook for Asian Studies specialists: A guide to research materials and collection building tools. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. Becker, Bernd W. (2018): Information literacy in the digital age: Myths and principles of digital literacy. In: School of Information Student Research Journal 7, No. 2, pp. 1–8. Pitman, Lesley (2015): Supporting research in Area Studies: A guide for academic libraries. Amsterdam: Chandos Publishing. Reidsma, Matthew (2019): Masked by trust: Bias in library discovery. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press. Smith, Emma (2008): Using secondary data in educational and social research. Berkshire: Open University Press. References ACRL (Association of College & Research Libraries) (2016): Framework for information literacy for higher education. pdf, [Accessed 17 May 2020]. Aizawa, Shinichi (2016): A comparative sociological study of Japanese and Taiwanese upper secondary education. In: Educational Studies in Japan 10, pp. 33–48. Aizawa, Shinichi (2018): Universal participation in school education as a historical process in modern Japan. In: Yonezawa, Akiyoshi/Kitamura, Yuto/Yamamoto, Beverly/Tokunaga, Tomoko (eds.): Japanese education in a global age: Sociological reflections and future directions. Singapore: Springer, pp. 35–52. Aizawa, Shinichi/Koyama, Yutaka (2016): Japanese historical challenge of social inclusion: From the digitally restored household survey data on receiving social security in 1952. In: International Journal of Pedagogy, Innovation and New Technologies (IJPINT) 3, No. 2, pp. 74–84. ALA (American Library Association) (2013): Digital literacy, libraries, and public policy: Report of the Office for Information Technology Policy’s Digital Literacy Task Force. wpcontent/uploads/2013/01/2012_OITP_digilitreport_1_22_13.pdf, [Accessed 17 May 2020]. Aoyama, Hideyuki (2003): Joshō: Nihon ni okeru ākaibaru saiensu no keisei to kadai. 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Matsuzaki, Yuko (2017): Communicating the value of business archives to business archives: The Shibusawa BA project and corporate archives in Japan. Presentation at the 2017 ICA SBA conference ‘The Future Roles of Business Archives’, Stockholm. icasba_stockholm.html, [Accessed 11 March 2019]. NCC (The North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources) (2017): NCC’s Online Guide to Research Access for Japanese Museums, Libraries, and Archives (MLA): General affiliation procedure for Japanese institutions., [Accessed 14 February 2020]. NCC (The North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources) (2020): About the NCC., [Accessed 22 August 2020]. NDL (National Diet Library) (2009): Research navi: English guide. p, [Accessed 15 May 2020]. NDL (National Diet Library) (2013): Web archiving project (WARP): FAQ. ARP_qanda_en.html#01_02, [Accessed 15 May 2020]. NDL (National Diet Library) (2019): White Papers. p, [Accessed 21 August 2020]. 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Chapter 9 How to access written and visual sources 263 Chapter 10 How to combine methods: Mixed methods designs Carola Hommerich and Nora Kottmann Introduction ‘In quantitative research, you do not see people’s faces; in qualitative research you tend to see nothing but their faces’ (Kobayashi/Hommerich 2018, p. 321). To overcome such drawbacks of purely quantitative or qualitative research designs, a methodological approach that integrates both has received increasing attention over the past few years. By combining qualitative and quantitative data, mixed methods research2 enables researchers to use the strengths of both approaches while minimising—and compensating for—their respective limitations. Integrating different methods can, therefore, be a strategy for supplementing or complementing the findings of one approach with the other, thereby gaining a more comprehensive, multifaceted understanding of social problems or phenomena (Creswell/Creswell 2018, p. 316; Venkatesh et al. 2016, p. 442). This means that ‘mixed methods research can […] answer research questions that the other methodologies cannot’ (Tashakkori/Teddlie 2003b, p. 15). Since the late 1980s, this approach has gained significant attention in the Social Sciences as well as in Area Studies. While mixing methods might seem simple, there are complex rules, models and hurdles involved, which researchers need to consider. We wrote this chapter with Japan researchers in mind (mostly those who are in the early stages of their careers), who have a qualitative background and are unfamiliar with mixed methods research but interested in combining qualitative and quantitative data. While we also mention some topics that might be more relevant for experienced scholars (like conducting your own survey), the chapter mainly aims to provide an overview of basic ideas and key terms in mixed methods research as well as basic guidelines on why and how to use mixed methods designs. After a brief introduction, we outline three core models that researchers can adapt to their individual needs and offer concrete advice on how to select a research design, how to collect and analyse data, and how to present results in a written report. Finally, we address possible obstacles that early career researchers might face and share practical advice on how to avoid them. Given that this handbook focuses primarily on qualitative methods, we have included a few additional paragraphs on quantitative methods and share information on further reading and relevant online sources. Throughout the whole chapter, we refer to and give advice on topics that are specific when doing research on (and possibly in) Japan. 1. 1 Translated from Japanese by the authors. 2 In line with John Creswell, Abbas Tashakkori and Charles Teddlie we here use the term ‘mixed methods research’. Other terms that are often used interchangeably are ‘multi-method research’, ‘mixed research’ or ‘mixed methodology’ (see this chapter, Pekkanen/Pekkanen, Ch. 10.1). 264 What are mixed methods designs? This relatively new methodological approach is defined as follows: A mixed methods design requires the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data in response to an underlying research question or to test theory-driven hypotheses (Johnson et al. 2007, p. 119). The combination of quantitative and qualitative methods—two traditionally strongly separated approaches—was initially received with enthusiasm as well as scepticism (for an overview of early discussions Brannen 1992). Recalling its early stages, Michael Fetters (2016, p. 3) acknowledges that previously researchers had also combined the two methods in the fields of Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology and Natural and Health Science. However, it was in the late 1980s that a ‘new intellectual and practice environment’ led to the ‘birth of modern mixed methods research’ (ibid., p. 4). Since then this approach has significantly increased in popularity to become the ‘third methodological movement in social science research’ (Tashakkori/ Teddlie 2010, p. ix). This can be seen in the vast body of literature published across various academic disciplines (Hesse-Biber/Johnson 2015; Johnson/Christensen 2016; Tashakkori/ Teddlie, 2003a), in the emergence of influential journals (see text box below), and recent private as well as public funding opportunities (Dahlberg et al. 2010). Journals promoting mixed methods research This is a selection of journals featuring and promoting mixed methods research (also Creswell/Creswell 2018, p. 314): • International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches: • Journal of Mixed Methods Research: • Quality and Quantity: There are various reasons for using mixed methods designs, from theoretically induced decisions to pragmatism and opportunity structures. The most commonly cited reason for using a mixed methods approach is methodological triangulation (see text box below; see also this chapter, Imai, Ch. 10.3).3 Denzin (1978) identifies methodological triangulation as one way of achieving a more comprehensive understanding of a research object. Differentiating between within-method and between-method triangulations, he recommends the latter, as the ‘bias inherent in any particular data source, investigators, and particular method will be cancelled out when used in conjunction with other data sources, investigators, and methods’ (ibid., p. 14). The use of different methods can help a researcher acquire a more comprehensive awareness of their research problem; for example, using qualitative data to interpret quantitative results (i.e. complementarity) or using results from one method to develop the other method (i.e. development) (Hesse-Biber 2010, p. 5). However, the appropriateness or necessity of a mixed methods design depends on the research question and previous research on the topic (see this chapter, Pekkanen/Pekkanen, Ch. 10.1). 2. 3 Other forms of triangulation include data, investigator and theory triangulation (Denzin 1978). Chapter 10 How to combine methods 265 Methodological triangulation Methodological triangulation usually refers to the ‘use of more than one method for gathering data’ (Hammond/Wellington 2013, p. 145). In mixed methods research, data collection abides by the established rigorous procedures for each approach, which implies profound knowledge of both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Throughout the research process, the two forms of data must be integrated (Tashakkori/Creswell 2007, p. 3). This can be done in several ways: by merging the data, by building on one data point when collecting the other or by embedding qualitative and quantitative data within an overarching framework in the analysis process. When writing up a coherent research plan, it is important to decide right at the outset which data-integration method will be used. Research related to Japanese society has also seen several applications of mixed methods designs, as for example in ‘Mixed-method analysis of Japanese depression’ (Arnault/Fetters 2011), an investigation of the ‘Fukushima effect’ in Germany (Hartwig/Tkach-Kawasaki 2019), or in research on friendships and intimacy (see this chapter, Dales, Ch. 10.2; Kobayashi/Kawabata 2019), labour markets and employment regulations (see this chapter, Imai, Ch. 10.3), or political parties and governmental industrial policies (see this chapter, Pekkanen/Pekkanen, Ch. 10.1). Before guiding you through the steps necessary for a successful mixed methods project, we will briefly outline the respective rationales of qualitative and quantitative research methods and then introduce three core models of mixed methods research. Overcoming the qualitative–quantitative divide: A pragmatic approach The large divide between qualitative and quantitative research approaches has its roots in the underlying paradigms on which research questions and designs are based. Qualitative research is in most cases grounded in a constructivist worldview (Creswell/Creswell 2018, p. 7), which means that great emphasis is placed on individuals’ subjective comprehension of their world. Here, theory is not necessarily the starting point, but often rather a result of the research process (theory building), generated based on individual constructions of realities that the researcher has collected from the participants. Quantitative research, on the other hand, usually conforms to a post-positivist worldview, assuming that societies operate based on general laws (often also called theories), which need to be empirically verified. To this end, the quantitative researcher collects data on the ‘objective reality that exists “out there” in the world’ (Creswell/ Creswell 2018, p. 7), which either supports or rejects the initially assumed theory (see Goodman, Ch. 1). The stark distinction that exists between the comprehension and application of a theory is also found in the case of research methods: qualitative researchers tend to collect in-depth information on a limited number of cases (i.e. in ethnography), while quantitative researchers gather a limited amount of information on a large number of cases (i.e. in a population survey, also 3. Carola Hommerich and Nora Kottmann 266 Ragin/Amoroso 2011, p. 28). In this way, qualitative research emphasises the commonalities found among a small—but intensely studied—number of cases, or looks for patterns or typologies to differentiate between when comparing a moderate number of cases (ibid., p. 36). Quantitative researchers, however, usually examine differences across large numbers of cases. Most often the intention is to explain these differences as a consequence of the mutual impact of certain impactor variables and to extrapolate the results from a sample to a population. Mixed methods research—often called a ‘pragmatic approach’—combines these two research traditions to procure the largest possible amount of information to answer a specific research question. Considering the still strong animosities between the two fields, this is a challenging but rewarding task, as we will lay out in more detail below. As this handbook does not focus on quantitative research, we insert several text boxes below, labelled Basics in quantitative methods, in which we focus on a selection of core questions often asked by newcomers and offer basic definitions. For more detailed information, we recommend Charles Ragin and Lisa Amoroso (2011, pp. 163–187) or John Creswell and J. David Creswell (2018, pp. 147–177) as two accessible introductions to this vast methodological field. Combining qualitative and quantitative data: Three core designs In mixed methods research various classification systems and typologies exist (Hesse-Biber 2010, pp. 68–72; Tashakkori/Teddlie 2003b, pp. 25–33). According to Creswell and Creswell (2018, p. 217), three basic models can be identified that differ considerably in 1. terms of emphasis on quantitative and qualitative data sets; 2. the timing of the overall research process (simultaneous/ sequential collection, combination, analysis, etc.) and 3. the relationship between theory and empiricism (developing or testing theory). Here, we introduce these three core designs—convergent, explanatory sequential and exploratory mixed methods design—with their basic features, respective processes of data collection, data analysis, integration and interpretation. Please note that in practice the designs might not be as neatly separated as presented here. The convergent mixed methods design is the most common and least complex design (for examples, Hatta et al. 2018; see also this chapter, Imai, Ch. 10.3). In a single-phase approach, the collection as well as the primary analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data takes place separately, followed by an analytical comparison aimed at identifying the convergence or divergence of findings. The key assumption underlying this approach is that both types of data —meaningful statistical results in the case of the former and extensive in-depth data in the case of the latter—provide different types of information which complement each other. Before the collection of data, the researcher needs to consider four points: 1. (ideally the same or parallel) variables (see Basics in quantitative methods I), constructs, and concepts in both forms of data; 2. sample sizes (usually less so for qualitative than quantitative data) (see Basics in quantitative methods II); 3. the handling of potential inequality in sample size and 4. whether or not to include participants in the qualitative survey in the quantitative sample. Data collection is followed by data analysis and interpretation in three phases. After coding (see Meagher, Ch. 12) the qualitative data (i.e. phase I), the analysis of the quantitative data takes place (i.e. phase II). Phase III consists of integrating the two data sets by merging the results in the form 4. Chapter 10 How to combine methods 267 of either a side-by-side comparison—through data transformation of the qualitative data into quantitative data—or as a joint display in a table or a graph. Finally, the discussion and interpretation of the comparison aim to understand whether there is convergence or divergence between the two sources of information (Creswell/Creswell 2018, pp. 217–221). The explanatory sequential mixed methods design focuses on quantitative data and involves a distinctively separated two-phase data collection process. Here, the main idea is that qualitative data collected after quantitative data helps the researcher to understand quantitative results in greater detail and explains possible contradictions or surprising survey responses. The data-collection process occurs in two distinct phases: after quantitative sampling in the first phase, the purposeful sampling of qualitative data builds on the quantitative results (see Basics in quantitative methods II). Challenges here include the identification of results to follow up on and the selection of sources of qualitative data, for example, whether informants for the qualitative part should be recruited from the quantitative sample or not. Data analysis takes place separately because quantitative results are used to plan the qualitative data collection. Here, the integration of both kinds of data occurs in the form of basing one approach on the results of the other. The qualitative data are then used to further analyse the quantitative part (Creswell/Creswell 2018, pp. 221–223). In contrast, in the three-phase design of the exploratory mixed methods model the researcher first collects and analyses qualitative data (the ‘exploring phase’), then, based on this, develops hypotheses to be tested, and finally creates a measurement instrument to empirically test these hypotheses: the social anthropologist Laura Dales (see this chapter, Ch. 10.2), for example, initially only planned and conducted a qualitative study, but was then encouraged to add a quantitative perspective in order to contextualise her qualitative findings. Similarly to the previous model, data is collected during the first and third phases, but interrupted by integration of the data in phase II to inform the design of the—in this case—quantitative survey. Challenges here resemble those faced in the other designs and include the question of whom to choose for the qualitative study and whether to include these participants in the quantitative sample. After collecting the quantitative data, both data sets are analysed separately. This means that the final interpretation of the data can include a report on the qualitative findings and the hypotheses drawn from them, the development of the measurement instrument and the results of the quantitative test. For this strategy, there is no inherent need to compare the findings, as the basic intent is to ‘determine if the qualitative themes in the first phase can be generalised to a larger sample’ (Creswell/Creswell 2018, pp. 224–226). In addition to the above-mentioned core designs, variations and (individual) adaptations of these core designs exist, as do several more complex designs that involve more steps and/or procedures (also Creswell et al. 2003; Creswell/Creswell 2018, pp. 226–236). Without going into details here, we recommend the researcher to familiarise themselves with the core designs and adapt them wherever appropriate or necessary (see this chapter, Pekkanen/Pekkanen, Ch. 10.1). In any case, it is necessary for the researcher to explain the choice of her design, the underlying theoretical and practical assumptions and the implications regarding the subsequent data collection, data analysis and interpretation. Especially when writing a proposal, we recommend including a chart or table that outlines the basic features of the chosen design (for useful abbreviations, Teddlie/Tashakkori 2009, p. 27). Carola Hommerich and Nora Kottmann 268 Th re e co re m ix ed m et ho ds d es ig ns D es ig ns b as ed o n C re sw el l/C re sw el l 2 01 8, p . 2 18 Fi gu re 1 0. 1: Chapter 10 How to combine methods 269 Practical advice In the following chapter, we offer concrete advice on how to get started, how to collect your data, how to analyse your data, how to present your findings and how to overcome common hurdles. Getting started with your research Your starting point should always be a thorough review of the available literature on your chosen topic (see Zachmann, Ch. 4). Only then can you decide whether or not you wish to employ a mixed methods research design—this choice should be grounded in your research question. When the application of either method alone is unlikely to help you thoroughly understand your research problem, a mixed methods approach can be helpful. For example, you might want to discover how widely distributed a certain phenomenon is among a certain population (i.e. how many people feel they belong to the Japanese ‘middle class’), but at the same time you want to understand what this phenomenon means for or how it is understood by individuals in more detail (i.e. which criteria individuals associate with being ‘middle class’). A mixed methods approach permits you to perform both and, thus, allows you to obtain results that can be extrapolated to a broader population (e.g. more than 75% of the Japanese population think they belong to the ‘middle class’), while acquiring detailed information on how the respondents interpret this phenomenon (i.e. the criteria for ‘middle class’ membership vary widely among individuals). In this way, you will probably obtain better results than when applying only one approach. If you have concluded that you can best answer your research question by applying a mix of the two methods, you have to specify the questions to be answered in the qualitative or quantitative part of your study. Moreover, you need to decide the order in which the two parts should be executed, as described in the three core models outlined above. At this point, you should contemplate the role that theory will play in each part of your study. For the qualitative part, a theory is likely to be more akin to an underlying guideline, an ‘orienting lens’ or perspective (Creswell/Creswell 2018, p. 62) that influences the selection of your topic and your questions (see Okano, Ch. 3). Most probably, especially in grounded theory approaches (see Meagher, Ch. 12), developing a theory inductively from the collected data will be the overall goal rather than the starting point. In contrast, in quantitative research, theories are applied more rigidly, providing a clear structure as to what is to be investigated (see this chapter, Imai, Ch. 10.3). Theories are understood as underlying rules that specify the strength and direction of relationships among different variables (see Basics in quantitative methods I), thereby explaining social phenomena. Explicit hypotheses are deduced from these theoretical assumptions, which are to be tested with empirical data. When presenting specific hypotheses to be tested in the quantitative part of your project, you should, therefore, include the theoretical rationale of how and why you expect a certain variable to impact another (Creswell/Creswell 2018, p. 53; for a practical example, Hommerich/Tiefenbach 2018, p. 1098). The application of a mixed methods approach enables you to use theory deductively as well as inductively, to empirically test its assumptions, and at the same time, further develop it. We 5. 5.1 Carola Hommerich and Nora Kottmann 270 recommend using an overarching theoretical framework for both parts of your study (for a practical example, Inglehart’s theory of value change, Hommerich 2009), and to point out how each part utilises the theoretical perspective in its own way. When doing so, lay out your methodological strategy: Which relationships will be tested with what kind of data? What are the specific contributions of the quantitative and qualitative parts? Basics in quantitative methods I: Variables and quantitative data A variable, plainly described, is something that can take on different values. In the Social Sciences, the term ‘variable’ refers to attributes or characteristics that can be measured, and which vary among individuals or institutions (Creswell/Creswell 2018, p. 50). Quantitative data is any type of data that can be counted or expressed numerically. In the Social Sciences, this means that variables such as social characteristics (i.e. age, gender, education, occupation, income, etc.), forms of behaviour (i.e. time spent on housework per day, participation in volunteer activities, etc.) or social attitudes (i.e. view of governmental redistribution, tolerance for minorities, etc.) are transformed into numbers when they are measured. Quantitative data can have different measurement levels: nominal, where a certain value is assigned to a certain characteristic, but there is no order to the values (i.e. 1 = married, 2 = not married); ordinal, where an order is assigned to different features, but the distance between the numbers has no meaning (i.e. 1 = very much agree, 2 = somewhat agree, 3 = neither agree nor disagree, 4 = somewhat disagree, 5 = very much disagree); interval, where features are equally spaced along a scale, but no zero exists (i.e. Celsius temperature); or ratio, where the differences between different categories are equally spaced and an absolute zero exists (i.e. height, weight or annual household income). The most common method of acquiring quantitative data in the Social Sciences is via survey research.4 Surveys can be cross-sectional, carried out at one point in time only, or longitudinal, which means that a survey is repeated several times (see Okano, Ch. 3). Quantitative surveys can help find answers to descriptive questions (i.e. what percentage of the population works overtime?), questions about the relationship among different variables (i.e. is there a positive relationship/correlation between family background and educational achievement?), or—in the case of a longitudinal study—to test causal relationships5 (i.e. does an increase in female labour force participation cause decreased fertility rates?). In the latter case, the variable that causes the impact is the independent variable (e.g. x = female labour force), while the variable that is impacted is called the dependent variable (y = fertility rate). When you are investigating causal claims (i.e. the increase in female labour force participation has decreased the fertility rate), it is important not to overlook an unmeasured phenomenon that affects both the dependent and the independent variables, being the main cause of the phenomenon investigated. This third variable is called the confounding variable (e.g. z = family-friendly/unfriendly policies). 4 Experimental designs, where certain variables are manipulated to test how this impacts outcome are more common in psychological studies. Despite being less common in the Social Sciences, they do exist, i.e. to test different survey methods against each other. 5 Many researchers also make assumptions about causality when working with cross-sectional data. In these cases, their assumptions are grounded in theory, not in the empirical data. Chapter 10 How to combine methods 271 In the next step, you need to consider whether you possess the resources required to accomplish your project (see checklist below). This includes financial resources, human resources, and time. It is important to consider if you have the necessary skills to execute both the quantitative and the qualitative parts of your intended study. If not, is there anyone who you can cooperate with? How much money will you need to complete your study in the intended format? If the expenditure exceeds the budget, are there other sources of funding for which you could apply? What is the expected time frame of your study? This might depend on a funding scheme and/or on your career stage. Is it realistic to finish the survey within this time frame? Last but not least, as with any other research proposal, you need to consider ethical issues (see Reiher/Wagner, Ch. 16). Are there any possible conflicts of interest for you to consider? Is it possible that by studying a certain population and writing about them, you might harm your respondents? Are there questions you intend to ask that might cause respondents to experience psychological stress? How will you ensure that the data you are collecting (both in a quantitative and qualitative format) is stored safely and cannot be accessed by third parties? It has become common practice at most universities to have research proposals that involve human participants reviewed by the universities’ Research Ethics Committee.6 However, this is only the first of many ethical considerations you will have to deal with throughout your project. For example, you will need to be aware of possible problems regarding the anonymity and privacy of your respondents and the safety of the collected data. Checklist for conducting mixed methods research Before starting to collect data, ensure you have considered the following questions: • What is the overarching research question? • What is the rationale behind choosing a mixed methods approach? • What specific research questions will be investigated in the quantitative and qualitative parts? • How is your theory applied in the two methodological parts? • What information surplus do you expect from the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods? • What kind of data do you intend to use? • Do you have the resources (skills, budget, time, etc.) to execute this project? • Are there ethical issues to be considered? If you find problems with any of these questions, reconsider and, if necessary, adjust your research design. Once you have started collecting data, it will be too late for bigger changes. Therefore, it is important not to rush into anything. Instead of being overly ambitious, it is advisable to be realistic and pragmatic. 6 Guidelines about this differ widely across universities, also depending on the career stage of the researcher. Therefore, check whether you are expected to submit your proposal for review or not. Carola Hommerich and Nora Kottmann 272 How to collect data The research design that you choose (convergent, explanatory sequential or exploratory sequential) determines the time and sequence of data collection. Again, the manner of data collection will differ between the qualitative and the quantitative parts of your study. As data collection methods for qualitative research are described in detail in chapters 5 to 8 of this book, we focus mainly on core questions to think about for the quantitative part of your study. Carrying out a quantitative survey is time-intensive and expensive. Therefore, time and funds at your disposal determine if you will be able to conduct your own survey. Free online survey tools, which are widely available nowadays, may tempt you to quickly write down some questions, upload them and circulate your online survey via social networking sites (SNS), but we strongly advise against this. When considering a quantitative investigation of your research question, you should think carefully about the following points: 1. Who is my target population? 2. How can I reach my target population? 3. Which questions do I need to pose in order to get answers to my research question? 4. Have these or similar questions been asked before? If yes: 5. When and where was this survey conducted? 6. Does this include a sample of my target population? 7. Is this data available for secondary analysis? If you find a survey that is representative of your target population (see Basics of quantitative methods II), includes most of your questions and was carried out not too long ago in order to give relevant results for the phenomenon you are looking at, we recommend that you try to access this data for secondary analysis (see text box below; see also Aizawa/Watanabe, Ch. 9.3). This will not only save you time and money but will also be highly likely to yield more reliable results than you would obtain from a convenience sample recruited through friends or SNS. The Social Science Data Archive (SSDA) at the University of Tokyo is the richest repository of existing surveys on Japan, open to use for secondary analysis. Surveys can be accessed online, applications for data usage can be submitted online and data can also be downloaded from outside Japan. Microdata from the Japanese government can be accessed through so-called ‘on sites’—you need to physically visit the office to register—or online through the miripo-portal of the Statistics Bureau of Japan (SBJ). A more detailed overview, which includes additional data sources for Japan, can be found on a website directed at students by the Japanese Association for Social Research (JASR). Cross-national surveys, such as the World Values Survey (WVS) or the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), also include data on Japan, which can be compared with data on other countries or used on its own. Data is available for download through their websites. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also provides a rich pool of data on Japan in a cross-national context. While data is not easily available for secondary analysis, the OECD provides population statistics you will need to outline your research population or the societal context of your study. 5.2 Chapter 10 How to combine methods 273 Data archives and resources (selection) • Social Science Data Archive, University of Tokyo: • Statistics Bureau of Japan (SBJ): The Japanese Association for Social Research (JASR) provides a detailed list of data archives and other data sources (in Japanese only): Cross-national surveys: • World Values Survey (WVS): • International Social Survey Program (ISSP): Nevertheless, there will be occasions when the variables you need will not be included in previous surveys—or at least not in the combination that you need for your analysis. Or your target population will be so specific and/or difficult to access that it will be challenging to find existing survey data that include this population. In these cases, you should consider conducting an original survey. Your choice of a specific method of data collection (i.e. face-to-face interviews, computer-assisted personal interviews, drop-off surveys, postal surveys, online surveys; De Leeuw/Berzelak 2016) is highly likely to be influenced by the size of your budget. Nevertheless, you should carefully consider whether a certain method will give you access to the population you want to survey. While an online survey is usually the cheapest option, it is also a risky endeavour in terms of representativeness and reliability (Bryman 2016, p. 191). If your target population is likely to use the Internet and large parts of the population can be accessed, for example, through a mailing list or an online platform, using an online survey tool and distributing the survey yourself can be meaningful. Still, this procedure will not deliver data that will be representative of your population, as you have no information on the original target population, or because of the bias caused by the route of questionnaire distribution. If the population is less specific, but likely to use the Internet, a more expensive alternative would be to use registered monitors of a research company. Research companies in Japan (selection) There are numerous research companies in Japan, and the market is expanding. Here, we list some companies often used by social researchers. We recommend comparing several research companies in terms of weighing up the procedures and prices they offer, before making a final decision. • Shin Jōhō Center: • Nippon Research Center: • Chūō Chōsa: • RJC Research: • Cross Marketing: Most companies offer quota sampling procedures, which allow control of the distribution of certain attributes (e.g. gender, age, education, income, etc.) in the sample. However, if your target population is unlikely to use the Internet—for example, if you want information on elderly people in rural Japan—then this is not a recommendable approach. If your budget allows, you should opt for a random sample of your population, as this will give you the best Carola Hommerich and Nora Kottmann 274 possible representation of your target population (see Basics in quantitative methods II; for an example, Hommerich/Tiefenbach 2018, p. 1100). Basics in quantitative methods II: Sampling in quantitative research ‘How big should a sample be to be representative?’, is a common question asked by newcomers in the field of quantitative research methods. Several misconceptions exist regarding the relationship between the sample size and representativeness of a study. We introduce the three most common misconceptions, based on Fowler (2014, pp. 37– 41), who we highly recommend for more details. The first common mistake is 1. to make assumptions about the ‘necessary’ sample size based on the ‘usual’ sample size of other studies (i.e. samples of around 1,500 respondents in national surveys, or the like). Whether or not a sample is adequate depends on the population to be researched and the questions to be answered. Other inappropriate but common approaches are 2. that a certain fraction of the target population should be included in the sample, and 3. that a researcher should decide the margin of error she can tolerate for specific estimates. As most quantitative studies make use of not just one but numerous estimates, it is rather unusual for the researcher to be able to specify an acceptable margin of error for each estimate in advance. Instead, the sample size should be decided depending on the analysis plan. Which subgroups within your general population are you interested in (i.e. comparing different levels of education, for males and females separately, etc.)? To be able to perform the intended statistical analyses, you have to make sure you achieve the minimum sample size that can be tolerated for the smallest sub-group included in your analysis plan (for more details, Fowler 2014, p. 39). When drawing a sample, you should first set a sample frame that defines the target population (e.g. residents of Japan between 20 and 64 years of age). Next, you need to select a sample design, which is the actual procedure to sample the individuals. In order to make inferences about the population from the sample, a probability sample is required. This kind of sampling is only possible when you have a list of all members of your target population. In Japan, the population registry is often used for this purpose. The most basic form of a probability sample is a simple random sample, in which each individual in the population has an equal chance of being selected. A variation of this is the systematic sampling procedure in which a random starting point is set and respondents are selected according to a certain strategy (i.e. select every Xth number from the list; ring the doorbell of every Xth house and ask to interview the person with the most recent birthday, etc.). To ensure that your sample is representative of certain characteristics of the target population, stratified random sampling procedures can be applied. For example, when you have a large target population and want to ensure regional representativeness, you can use a multistage (or stratified) sampling procedure that identifies clusters (e.g. by region) within which individuals are sampled randomly (Fowler 2014, p. 14) Chapter 10 How to combine methods 275 Non-probability sampling procedures such as convenience sampling are less desirable because respondents are chosen based on their accessibility, which means inclusion in the sample is biased. A similar procedure is snowball sampling, where respondents introduce the researcher to additional respondents, or survey questionnaires are circulated via SNS among a group of friends. A quota sample—often claimed to come close to random sampling procedures in terms of predictive power—is another form of nonprobability sampling. The goal of quota sampling is to produce a sample that closely reflects the original population in terms of the distribution of different characteristics (i.e. gender, age, education, income, region, etc.). For a more detailed introduction to sampling procedures, see Bryman (2016, p. 170). Be aware that regardless of the sampling procedure, a sample can only be representative of the sample frame, i.e. the people who had an actual chance of being included in the sample. This means that if you work with a random sample of registered residents of Japan who were between 20 and 64 years of age at the time of the survey, your results will only be representative of that population. You cannot draw any conclusions for residents of Japan who are below 20 or above 64 years of age. Before you conduct a quantitative survey, it is most important to take ample time to think about what questions need to be included in the questionnaire, in order to find answers to your research question. These questions need to be specific enough for you to be able to make assumptions about what respondents imagined when answering them. Where standard questions about issues you want to research exist which have been used and checked for reliability in other surveys, we recommend using them, rather than inventing new questions for which you have no information on whether respondents will understand them in the way you intend. When using questions which have been used in another language before, refer to Dorothée Behr and Kuniaki Shishido (2016) for more information on what points to consider when translating research questions (see also Basics in quantitative methods III). Keep your hypotheses in mind when writing up a questionnaire. Will you receive all the information you need by posing these questions? This should include a clear outline of the analytical strategy and consideration of the level of measurement variables needed for the type of statistical procedures you want to execute (Creswell/Creswell 2018, p. 155; p. 159 for some introductory examples). Carola Hommerich and Nora Kottmann 276 Basics in quantitative methods III: Translation issues When you are conducting research in Japan (or any foreign context) or in a comparative setting, it is necessary to translate questionnaires, interview questions, forms of consent, or—at a later stage of the research—interview transcripts or questionnaire responses.7 As the translation of a questionnaire and/or an interview guide is an essential prerequisite for valid and reliable findings—as well as their comparability—it is crucial to put sufficient effort into it, including time and money. A meaningful translation takes into account not only language issues, but also the cultural context, ways of thinking and communication styles (for concrete examples in the East Asian context, Behr/Shishido 2016, pp. 278–284). This is not a one-person job, but a team effort. Different experts should contribute to and review the translation at various stages; for example, in the form of an ‘expert review’ (which should be supplemented by a questionnaire pre-test; Willis 2016). Experts can be professional translators/linguists, methodological experts and/or topical experts (Behr/Shishido 2016, pp. 270–272). When you are translating a source questionnaire into Japanese or designing an original questionnaire in Japanese as a non-native researcher, the help of Japanese natives is indispensable (Huber 2018, pp. 23, 25, 31; Schrauf 2016, pp. 94–96). When you are planning to carry out your own survey, it is just as important to review existing surveys that are thematically related and to stick to the established terminology. This requires thorough knowledge of the relevant surveys in your field of interest. In order to create such a questionnaire, you either need to be trained in quantitative data analysis (see text box above) or need a research partner with the necessary training. Once a survey has been conducted, it is too late to make adjustments. Therefore, carry out a pilot survey with a small number of respondents similar to those who will eventually take the survey (Bryman 2016, p. 260). Pre-testing in this way will enable you to simplify the complicated questions before carrying out the actual survey. How to analyse your data In qualitative research, data analysis tends to happen concurrently with data collection because both are intertwined and influence each other in a processual way (for an overview of qualitative data analysis and individual methods, see Ch. 11–14). The analysis of quantitative data, however, starts after data collection. You should always begin with becoming familiar with your data set. This is true for the data you collected yourself as well as for the data you have acquired for secondary analysis. While we emphasise the importance of the sampling strategy, it must be remembered that sampling design and sample size are not the only possible sources of error. It is, for example, just as important to check for patterns of non-response or response bias after data has been collected. This is needed to identify your sample population and determine whether it is representative of your target population. After this process of data cleaning, you will start the actual analysis. Before moving on to more complex multivariate analyses, remember to report the descriptive statistics of your sample. Writing up the results of 5.3 7 In this context, a distinction should be made between the translation of an already existing questionnaire, which has already been tested in an empirical setting, and the creation of a new questionnaire in a foreign language. Chapter 10 How to combine methods 277 your quantitative analysis should begin with a brief outline of which statistical procedures you applied and for what purpose. Always indicate which inferential statistical tests are used to test your hypotheses. Basics in quantitative methods IV: Analysing quantitative data For researchers who did not undergo training in quantitative research methods as part of their university education, several institutions offer intensive courses in quantitative methods and data analysis. The GESIS Spring and Summer Seminars, for example, have a long tradition of offering courses to newcomers as well as advanced learners. Similarly, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) organises an annual summer school with a wide selection of courses. Data is analysed with software designed for this purpose. Some of the commonly used software packages such as IBM SPSS Statistics or Stata are relatively expensive, unless the licence is shared, as is the case at some universities. A free open-source alternative is the programming language R, which is increasingly also taught at universities. GESIS Spring and Summer Seminars: ICPSR Annual Summer School: An important step in the mixed methods approach is the integration of the results of the two parts of the project. This integration happens according to the order in which the two parts were executed, as described above in the outline of the three core approaches. In sequential designs, the second part of the study builds on the first part; this is one way of connecting the two analytical parts. When you are reporting the final results, however, the contributions of each part need to be emphasised. The extent of integration depends on the closeness of the two data sets. In an explanatory sequential research design in which in-depth interviews (phase II) were conducted with a selection of respondents from a larger quantitative survey (phase I), the results of the two parts can be discussed in close reference to each other. In other designs, the data sets might be more difficult to connect, but you might be able to draw conclusions at a theoretical level based on both parts of the project. Checklist The final results should emphasise the specific contribution of each part of your study. A crucial point, however, is the integration of both parts. How did each part inform the other? What is the information surplus achieved by applying a mixed methods approach? How to present and report your findings While writing will be a part of the entire research process—from formulating an initial proposal (Creswell/Creswell 2018, pp. 75–80; see also above) to writing an abstract, to constantly keeping track of the research process (see McMorran, Ch. 15)—presenting and reporting the 5.4 Carola Hommerich and Nora Kottmann 278 final findings will most likely occur at the end of the research process. Obviously, general conventions apply when presenting and reporting the findings, depending on the audience and the dissemination form (see Farrer/Liu-Farrer, Ch. 17). However, there are some specific points regarding mixed methods research. Generally speaking, the crucial point is to outline the reasons for choosing a mixed methods research design and to ‘address the integration challenge in order to reap the rewards of the integration equation of 1 + 1 = 3’ (Fetters/Freshwater 2015, p. 204); in short: ‘to persuade readers of its merits’ (Sandelowski 2009, p. 321). There are several ways of doing it, depending on the intended audience. Therefore, we recommend a careful selection of the journal and its audience: Are readers likely to be familiar with mixed methods research? If so, are they specifically interested in methodological questions? If not, are they used to either quantitative or qualitative research or are they sceptical towards quantitative or qualitative narratives (which do differ significantly)? Especially with regard to an audience not familiar with mixed methods research, we recommend providing a rationale for choosing a mixed methods design, to sufficiently outline underlying assumptions and to avoid technical terms and jargon. Instead, it might be best to use succinct and clear language, to adapt to the scientific conventions of your specific audience, and to present your data in such a way that your audience can easily relate to it (more narratively in the case of a qualitatively trained audience, more formally in the case of a quantitatively trained audience; Sandelowski 2010, pp. 329–331).8 The structure of an article (or a book), in turn, is independent of the readership and should follow a common structure of academic publications (Fetters/Freshwater 2015, pp. 205–207; see Farrer/Liu-Farrer, Ch. 17). However, the presentation, analysis and discussion of the empirical findings depend on and follow the research design. After outlining the design, that is, convergent, explanatory sequential or exploratory mixed methods design (see above), you should describe the methods—and their specifics with regard to sampling, collection and analysis—in the same order in which they were executed (Fetters/Freshwater 2015, p. 208). That is to say, depending on the design, the presentation of the data will either occur in different sections for qualitative and quantitative data or through integration (known as ‘weaving’). Alternative approaches are data transformation and the use of a joint display (which we recommend using in any case). By doing so, you can create a coherent narrative your audience can relate to (Sandelowski 2010). When finally presenting your results, you again need to stick to the order of the design and present the results consistently with the research process. As mixed methods designs can be extremely complex, it is helpful to visualise the research process and your findings using diagrams, graphs, lists, charts or tables. This not only helps you as a researcher/author to organise and present your research/writing, but also helps your audience to follow your argument (Sandelowski 2010, pp. 335–338). In this context, the use of common abbreviations can also be helpful. It might also be necessary to add an appendix that contains additional information on the empirical data, a survey questionnaire, interview transcripts, statistics or selected calculations (e.g. Hommerich 2009, pp. 241–271). Finally, at the level of content, we recommend openly and transparently discussing setbacks and problems encountered, any unexpected (supposedly ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’) findings and the limitations of the 8 The American Psychological Association, for example, recommends in its Mixed Methods Design Reporting Standards (JARS-Mixed) to ‘refrain from using words that are either qualitative (e.g. ‘explore’, ‘understand’) or quantitative (e.g. ‘determinants’, ‘correlates’)’ (American Psychological Association 2020, p. 1). Chapter 10 How to combine methods 279 findings—as Dales shares in her essay (see this chapter, Ch. 10.2). This kind of transparency augments the validity and reliability of your findings and promotes further research. Checklist While writing starts at the very beginning of the research process, the presentation and publication of the final results take place at the end of the process. When publishing your findings, follow the common structure of an academic publication, but 1. specifically consider your audience and ‘speak’ to it (Are they familiar with mixed methods research? Are they used to quantitative/qualitative narratives/logics? What is the focus of the journal?); 2. follow the overall structure and logic of your design and create a coherent narrative to which your audience can relate; 3. visualise your research by way of diagrams, charts, etc. (findings); 4. use generally accepted abbreviations and add an appendix with necessary additional information; and 5. openly discuss setbacks and limitations. Stumbling blocks and how to avoid them Due to the characteristics of mixed methods research, there are specific challenges at different levels that researchers should be aware of. Here, we summarise some common obstacles, although this list is not exhaustive. The focus, however, should always be on overcoming these obstacles in order to enjoy the advantages of this research approach. Complexity, time and financial resources: As outlined above, mixed methods research designs can be extremely complex due to the collection, analysis and combination of two completely different data sets. Visualising the different steps in the research design and a detailed (realistic) time schedule can help manage this complexity and save you from getting lost in the details. Since research with mixed methods is extremely time-consuming, it is essential to be aware of possible time constraints regardless of whether they are professional (teaching responsibilities, administrative work, etc.) or personal (family, friends, care work, hobbies, etc.) (see McMorran, Ch. 15). Financial resources, e.g. for conducting an original survey or securing professional assistance for the analysis of quantitative data or the transcription of qualitative interviews, also need to be considered: you should consider respective funding options or collaborating with experts. Translation issues: Serious challenges include ‘translation issues’, which might appear ‘within as well as between qualitative and quantitative phases’ (Schrauf 2016, p. 98). While we discuss the challenges of language translation above (see Basics of quantitative methods III), a different type of translation is likely to become necessary when moving back and forth between the two methodological fields of qualitative and quantitative research. We recommend being aware of the respective conventions and traditions of each scientific community and adapting to them. Skills, infrastructure and other resources: Finally, on a pragmatic level, we emphasise the need for you to honestly and realistically evaluate your own (and possibly your research team’s) knowledge and abilities with regard to mixed methods research in a Japanese context: Are you (and/or your collaborators) familiar with both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, and will you be you able to perform it in Japanese? Dales (see this chapter, Ch. 10.2), 5.5 Carola Hommerich and Nora Kottmann 280 for example, was first ‘ambivalent’ about ‘adding a quantitative lens’ to her primarily qualitative work and then faced serious problems when trying to analyse her data since she did not undergo the necessary training.9 With regard to infrastructure, it is important to first identify everything that you (and/or your team) will need to collect, combine and analyse the data sets. Next, you need to realistically evaluate whether you have all the resources you need in terms of manpower, software and hardware: How can you offset the abilities, knowledge and infrastructure you lack? Where can you find help and—most importantly—with whom can (and will) you collaborate at which stage of the research? Overall, we recommend discussing the research design and all questions and ideas with experienced peers and/or colleagues; using professional services, if necessary and affordable (e.g. for data collection, transcription, quality control, etc.) and undergoing training in necessary research methods. Checklist While mixing methods might sound simple, there are some serious challenges researchers should be aware of. Do not underestimate 1. the complexity of the research process; 2. time constraints; 3. financial burden; 4. translation issues (between languages and methodologies); and 5. conventions of specific scientific communities. Realistically evaluate your own abilities and methodological knowledge, the available infrastructure, and the need for/possibility of collaboration. Never hesitate to reach out for help and never lose your enthusiasm for your research question! Summary: Prospects and challenges As discussed above, mixed methods research is a complex field of growing importance. Various developments in terms of sampling, data collection and analytical procedures as well as philosophical foundations have evolved and developed, and specific funding opportunities have been established. ‘These developments signal optimism’ and—according to some proponents of the mixed methods approach—‘the strengths and power of mixed methods research […] has only just begun to emerge’ (Fetters 2016, p. 8). This seems to be especially true in the context of increasing transnationalisation and digitalisation, which expand the possibilities of (and necessity for) data collection and interdisciplinary collaboration. However, despite this enthusiasm, advocates of quantitative and qualitative research remain sceptical towards this research approach. Researchers formally trained and experienced in one of the methodological traditions often find it difficult to learn and apply the other approach. In addition, when collaborating, researchers might find it challenging to integrate the viewpoints of qualitative and quantitative scholars. Therefore, when deciding on using a mixed methods design, you need to 6. 9 These might be common hurdles among (young) researchers in Japanese Studies around the globe, as training in quantitative methodology is generally not a part of curricula in Japanese Studies. Robert and Sadia Pekkanen (see this chapter, Ch. 10.1), on the other hand, work in the realm of Political Science, and observe ‘that training in qualitative methods […] has been demoted in the Social Sciences’ and thus call for more training at universities. Against the background of these inequalities, Creswell et al. (2010, pp. 619–637) provide some practical tips on how to teach mixed methods research. Chapter 10 How to combine methods 281 be aware of your abilities and experience(s) and your discipline’s conventions. It might be useful to be well-prepared for criticism from both sides. In summary, as outlined above, mixed methods research is complex, time-consuming, moneyintensive and challenging on multiple levels—especially for junior researchers with little experience, funding and/or institutional backing. Nevertheless, mixed methods research provides a great opportunity to achieve a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of a research objective, fostering (interdisciplinary) collaborations and broadening the researcher’s horizons through the application of (in most cases) new or unfamiliar research approaches (qualitative or quantitative, respectively). Carola Hommerich and Nora Kottmann 282 Reflections on multi-method research Robert J. Pekkanen and Saadia M. Pekkanen The common wisdom today is that we need to combine quantitative and qualitative methods in order to shed more light on causal research questions in the Social Sciences. This thinking is increasingly pervasive in Political Science and has made substantial inroads into Area Studies, including the field of Japan. In this essay, we draw on our scholarly and pedagogical experiences in approaching the three questions set out for us in this volume. We discuss how multimethod research (MMR) has influenced our own work, what we see as some of the problems it poses and what we see as takeaways for others. First, what do we understand by multi-method research? Typically, in Political Science, with causal inference in mind, this means combining statistical or formal models (the quantitative part, with a big number of observations or Large-N) that give an aggregate overview of findings with other methods such as historically attuned case studies (the qualitative part, with a smaller number of observations or Small-N) that draw attention to causal processes, mechanisms and sequences (Gerring 2012, pp. 362–366). MMR is widely thought of as disciplinary best practice for the purposes of correcting the weaknesses of any one method and providing external validity to the findings (Ahmed/Sil 2012). Selecting MMR represents a methodological choice. We have also deployed MMR in our own Japan-focused research, finding the ‘triangulation’ among different methods and data sources a useful way of answering the questions we set ourselves. In past projects, one of our authors has chosen qualitative methods (Pekkanen 2006), quantitative methods (Pekkanen/Nyblade/ Krauss 2006) and MMR (Krauss/Pekkanen 2011). The other has chosen both a strict MMR approach (Pekkanen 2003) and a purely qualitative one in a collaborative work (Pekkanen/ Kallender-Umezu 2010). Below we discuss our methodological choices in three books: two in which MMR was pursued, and one in which qualitative methods were chosen and not MMR. The research for The rise and fall of Japan’s LDP involved a study of what happened to central institutions of the LDP after electoral reform. These were: personal support organisations for politicians (kōenkai), factions and the party’s policymaking body, the Policy Affairs Research Council (PARC). The authors used MMR to investigate all of these, but LDP party factions provide perhaps the readiest example. The central research question of the book was how electoral reform affected institutions, and the argument revolved around historical institutionalist concepts of sequencing, institutional complementarity and path dependence. For factions in particular, the question was how factions had changed after the electoral reform of 1994 from a single non-transferable vote in multi-member districts (SNTV MMD) to the current mixed-member majoritarian system. One aspect that particularly interested the authors was how factional membership aligned with personnel decisions by the LDP. The most widely known example of this is that for decades cabinet positions were allocated roughly in proportion to factional size, in a kind of intra-LDP version of Gamson’s Law. So, one question the book was particularly keen to investigate was the role factions played in personnel decisions— 10.1 283 meaning assigning LDP Diet Members to positions in PARC (party), Diet committees (legislature) or government (cabinet and sub-cabinet). The authors adopted a multi-methods strategy to answer this question. The reasons for choosing a multi-method analysis were that the authors wanted to both understand the process and to have an overview of the outcomes. Either element by itself would have been a piece of the whole but insufficient for the research objectives of the authors. In other words, multi-methods were deliberately chosen as they represented the only viable path to achieving the research objectives of the authors. The qualitative methods research tools employed were documentary analysis and interviews. Documentary analysis meant a thorough review of the secondary literature on factions in Japanese and English, as well as a review of some primary sources, primarily LDP party documents. Documentary analysis was particularly valuable in the analysis of the development of factions over time. As the research question was framed as change over time, these were essential. Equally important were the elite interviews. One of us has argued elsewhere (Bleich/ Pekkanen 2013) for the importance of rigorous reporting standards being applied to interviews. In this case, the interviews were essential for an understanding of the process; the authors wanted to understand how factional affiliation could matter in deciding which Diet Member would be assigned to which committee. This type of information is not available from looking at the final committee assignments, but adheres to the deliberation process. To gather information on the nature of the decision-making process, interviews were a required method. In interviews with Diet Members, the authors asked about the decision-making process, both the how and the why. The authors wanted to know the process of how decisions were made, specifically who met with whom and how often. They learned that factional representatives negotiated the distribution of Diet and PARC posts. The authors also wanted to know what kinds of arguments were advanced in these meetings, and what kinds of arguments were considered convincing in advantaging one potential Diet Member appointee over another. As a result of employing these qualitative methods, the authors were able to create a model of how post allocation works within the LDP. All of this information could not be ascertained from public documents, nor could the process be inferred from looking at statistical analyses of committee assignments. Rather, interviews were required to obtain this information. To complement the authors’ qualitative methods employed for an understanding of the process, the authors also used quantitative methods to analyse the importance of factions in committee assignments. The key question here was whether factional affiliation or the lack thereof had any impact on the likelihood that a Diet Member would be given particular posts in the party, legislature or government. The authors found evidence that factional affiliation increased the chances of legislators receiving posts. This kind of analysis—weighing up how much a particular factor mattered compared to other factors—is particularly amenable to quantitative methods. We also used measures of proportionality to assess how factionally balanced Cabinets were before and after electoral reform, finding that proportionality did decrease markedly but remained relatively high. The authors were able to construct their arguments about the continuing importance of factions despite electoral reform by combining their qualitative and quantitative analysis. Interviews and documentary analysis showed that factions still mattered in the process, and quanti- Robert J. Pekkanen and Saadia M. Pekkanen 284 tative analysis provided evidence that factional affiliation mattered in the results. The result of the combination of these two different research methods was a much stronger evidentiary basis for the arguments in The rise and fall of Japan’s LDP. Our other author relied heavily on MMR in one project but not another. This is because not every research question is amenable to the MMR approach. A lot depends on existing sets of theoretical literature, which can orient one’s thinking, the clarity of the question that can be posed and from which neat rival hypotheses can be derived, the availability of data that often comes one’s way fortuitously in the field, the pressures of time and resources and vagaries that invariably go with fieldwork, the methodological competences one possesses, and the epistemological orientation that resonates with the researcher in the final analysis. In Picking winners? From technology catch-up to the space race in Japan, the author combined a statistical analysis with structured focused comparisons and case studies from dissertation work. The book provided a look at the underpinnings of the developmental state model, drawing on the frameworks of the literature on strategic trade policy and endogenous trade policy. The general question it asked was how do governments choose industries to favour? If winners were to be picked, by what selection criteria could governments choose some industries over others? What did the case of postwar Japan teach us about these larger roiling theoretical issues of concern? MMR was the right choice for this book project because the author was concerned with doing justice to Japanese institutional peculiarities but also with extracting generalisations that could go beyond Japan. There was an element of luck that came out of the author’s professional networks. One thing that expedited the research was the availability of a time-series cross-sectional dataset to which the author could add, and that was key to providing an aggregate overview of the entire manufacturing sector fairly early; it facilitated the setting up of a test of rival economic and political logic to industrial selection, carried out through a variety of hard trade and industrial policies. This was the first glimmer that economic logic had held sway, and that bureaucrats had been at the helm of Japan’s industrial strategising for a good bit of time; the choice-theoretic logic that put politicians at the centre of industrial selection mattered of course, but not as consistently. That macro overview was necessary but not sufficient to establish more credible evidence on this finding, and was followed by structured data analysis that helped confirm roughly the same pattern of industrial selection. These aggregate windows helped set up the case studies, in which the author drew on interviews, and primary and secondary sources to extract the criteria for selection that were consistently dominant. These helped to illuminate the set of factors that actually mattered to policymakers on the ground and it grounded assessments of the theoretical criteria that were assumed to drive things. One thing that came out of this study for the author (Pekkanen 2003, p. 203) was that even a simple question can become very complicated very fast in the real world. The layers of methods helped tremendously in clarifying the answer from different perspectives; moreover, triangulating between them kept the author aware of the complexities of approximating the ‘truth’ (encouraging reflexivity) and cautioned against any extreme depictions of Japanese industrial strategy. In setting up the next book project, however, it was clear at the outset that the MMR approach would be wholly unsuited to the enterprise. The book sought to focus on Japanese space policy in a thematic and chronological manner, seeking to illuminate the changes in the legal and institutional context, the technology trajectories, and the motivations and manoeu- Chapter 10 How to combine methods 285 vrings of corporations that were central to both. There were few other works available to build on. The author was able to join forces with a leading space journalist, leading to a book that drew on academic and real-world backgrounds. Our primary objective when we set out (Pekkanen/Kallender-Umezu 2010, p. 223) was to document specific developments in Japanese space assets across public and private actors, and to analyse what we saw as the market-tomilitary trajectories in Japanese space technology and policy. To that end, decade by decade and across all sets of space technologies, we process-traced the space activities of the Japanese public and especially corporate actors. Until our work, these were all thought of as scattered dots—the corporations, rockets, satellites and emerging technologies—and we focused on showing through detailed case study-based chapters how they were connected and what that implied about Japan’s broader militarisation controversies. We concluded then that Japan was on track to become a bigger military space power; and almost ten years later our predictions have been borne out. In retrospect, it is difficult to conceive of this project being carried out in any other way than through qualitative approaches. One was a practical constraint, as there was little to no previous work on the topic. Another was that the research goal was not to test but to illuminate some aspect of the unfolding realities on the ground. In the space book, given its centrality to real-world developments and policy, we recognised that there was also a heavy premium on getting things right. We therefore relied on piecing together and corroborating findings through a variety of qualitative methods and techniques, such as case studies based on primary and secondary sources, process tracing, interviews and participant observation. Our observations were drawn out across different cases and time, and it took some time to see how the dots were connected and what they suggested about Japan. MMR is certainly useful but it is affected by a deepening inequality in the training of social scientists. One significant problem in advocating this approach is that training in qualitative methods, noted for their usefulness to societies and policymakers, has been demoted in the Social Sciences (Desch 2019). If we are not formally training students and younger scholars in qualitative methods, how can we credibly talk about MMR? These realities also have the unfortunate effect of making qualitative methods, which can stand on their own, seem to be mere appendages to big data analysis. One way to address this gap is to strengthen training with respect to qualitative methodology in the Social Sciences, and one of us has taken steps in this respect as founding director of the Qualitative Multi-Methods Research Initiative (QUAL) at the University of Washington (2019) in Seattle. As takeaways for researchers, we suggest that methods should be chosen to best address the research question; there is no reason to always choose MMR as, in some cases, either qualitative or quantitative methods alone will be appropriate. We have found MMR particularly valuable when we wish to analyse both processes and outcomes. But when the nature of the observations across time and cases is unclear to the researchers, and when the data often (as in the field) have to be generated from first principles, qualitative methods are best suited to illuminating the processes at play and keeping the research accountable to the realities and people on the ground. Quantitative methods are best in other cases, for example when weighing up the differential contributions of multiple factors. Robert J. Pekkanen and Saadia M. Pekkanen 286 Texts, voices and numbers: Using mixed methods to sketch social phenomena Laura Dales Researching friendship As a graduate student, I was trained in the ‘non-discipline’ of Asian Studies, under the good guidance of an anthropologist. As a result of this background, the social research I have conducted in Japan has tended towards the anthropological, with attention to Gender Studies and Cultural Studies along the way. My research has involved two main methods: the collection of subjective, reflective perceptions and experience elicited through semi-structured interviews and ad hoc discussions, and the observation and analysis of contextualised behaviour in particular field sites over extended periods. Using these methods, I have explored individuals’ perceptions, experiences and expectations of (inter alia) feminism, agency, singlehood, marriage, friendship, extramarital relationships, career, loneliness, belonging and happiness. When embarking on my most recent research project, I decided to build on this practice, with time and energy allowed by funding from the Australia Research Council for a project entitled Beyond the family: Relationships of intimacy in contemporary Japan (ARC DECRA (DE120101702)). This project primarily aimed to examine what role friendships and intimate relationships play in Japanese society, as singlehood becomes more common, fertility declines and the population ages. More specifically, I sought to use case studies of individual experiences with an eye to: 1. Mapping the roles and ramifications of non-family networks of support, in the context of broad demographic shifts (ageing, delay of marriage, low fertility). 2. Investigating gendered and generational differences in experiences and expectations of friendship and extra-familial intimacy. 3. Clarifying the effects of marriage on friendships and the effects of friendships on marriage (that is, marital plans, prospects and relations). 4. Analysing the discourse of intimate extra-familial relationships in recent popular media, notably magazines and popular non-fiction literature. In this project, as in my earlier work, I primarily used interviews and participant observation: spending several months over the course of four years in a café that presented itself as a hub of queer community and interpersonal relationships. I interviewed 68 people, either singly or in selfselected ‘friend’ groups of up to six people. Through both interviews and participant observation, I endeavoured to elicit and convey the ways that individuals see and move through their world, with attention to details that offer specific explanation or contextualisation of these perceptions and modes of behaviour. Of course, there are limitations to this approach in terms of the picture that can be captured. For example, when an unmarried woman observes in dialogue that a friendship has become complicated since her counterpart married or had children, I take this observation as both a reflection of her lived experience, and a response to the particular discussion on friendships and marriage which I am eliciting. That is to say, it features centrally in my interview/fieldwork notes—because 10.2 287 this is a central thematic interest of my research—but it may not feature as a prominent daily concern in my interviewee’s life. Thus, it may only be raised by interviewees incidentally, or in specific response to the questions I posit. Furthermore, the details of the friendship—for example, the nature of its complication or how the interviewee has dealt with this complication—may be specific to the particular instance, and in that sense cannot be extrapolated to a larger population. Triangulating with contemporary literature To determine whether the individual might be understood as representative of a greater group, I compare the details of individual reflections with those elicited in discussions with others, both like (in the case above, unmarried women) and unlike (e.g. married women/men). This is not triangulation in a narrow sense, because the data is similar: interviews and discussions. Rather it is contextualisation that provides a richer sense of the ways that individuals fit into groups. For example, what are the key themes among the responses of married women interviewees, and are these similar or different to responses given by unmarried women? Is there meaning in that similarity/difference? But where there are only few interviewees in a category, this might yet remain insufficient as an indicator of significance or prevalence. If one recognises this, triangulation can be helpful. Triangulation, in my understanding, involves the comparison of different kinds of data, to check or verify the accuracy or uniformity of data, but also to provide deeper insights into the context of the study (Taylor et al. 2015, p. 94). I use contemporary literatur