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taketomo, Y. (1986). AMAE as Metalanguage: A Critique of Doi's Theory of Amae. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 14(4):525-544.

(1986). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 14(4):525-544

AMAE as Metalanguage: A Critique of Doi's Theory of Amae

Yasuhiko taketomo, Ph.D.

The concept of amae, with its much-discussed derivation from satisfaction of dependency needs, has proved a stumbling block in Western understanding of the Japanese “character.” From a psychoanalytic perspective, Caudill (1962) attempted to formulate the major emphasis in Japanese character formation he had observed from his anthropological fieldwork. As shown in Table 1, he underlined the gratification provided in early infancy and the subsequent longing this provoked. Throughout the formative years in Japanese culture, Caudill indicated, the orientation is more pregenital than genital, with a stress on interdependent relations rather than individualistic autonomy.

Here, however, Caudill encountered a problem. If the early years favored pregenital aims, how could one explain the fact that Japanese adults marry and have children with about the same psychological satisfaction as their Western counterparts? In answer to this question, Caudill hypothesized: (Cont. on p.

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