How does a novel A Personal Matter reflect the western impact on the then Japanese society?  

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The premise of the question is interesting.  It seems as if it is drawing an arbitrary line between Japan and "the West."  I think that part of the complexity is that after the Second World War, Japan was one of the first nations to experience what we now call "Globalization."  The notion that what was "the West" and what was "the East" decreases with the exchange of ideas and practices can be seen in the case with Japan after World War II.  Understanding this, it seems that the question makes this distinction to be a binary one- Japan represents one entity, and "the West" represents another.  I suppose that examining the issue of personal freedom and autonomy would be one area where stereotypical definitions of "the West" and "the East" could be present.  Bird sees the child as an object that is going to detract from his ability to take his dream of personal freedom and experiencing the world.  This is something associated with "western values."  In addition to this, the belief that individuals can "walk away" from any situation in defense of their own identity and sense of self could be perceived as another "western value."  Again, it should be stressed that as the reader, one has their own understanding of what is seen as "West" and "East," and in this process, one engages in a reading of the text in this manner.  I think that values which used to be considered "Western" or "Eastern" are becoming more blurred with an increase of globalized ideas and information.

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A Personal Matter

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