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Blank, H.R. (1956). The Nagoya Journal of Medical Science. (Nagoya University School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.) XVII, 1954. A Comparison of the Personality Differences in Two Generations of Japanese Americans by Means of the Rorschach Test. George DeVos. Pp. 153-265.. Psychoanal Q., 25:298-299.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Nagoya Journal of Medical Science. (Nagoya University School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.) XVII, 1954. A Comparison of the Personality Differences in Two Generations of Japanese Americans by Means of the Rorschach Test. George DeVos. Pp. 153-265.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:298-299

The Nagoya Journal of Medical Science. (Nagoya University School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.) XVII, 1954. A Comparison of the Personality Differences in Two Generations of Japanese Americans by Means of the Rorschach Test. George DeVos. Pp. 153-265.

H. Robert Blank

The author, a member of the Interdisciplinary Research Group which studied the Japanese Americans relocated in the Chicago area, investigated by the Rorschach test immigrant Japanese Americans, called 'Issei' or 'first generation', American-born Japanese Americans called 'Nisei' or 'second generation', and a group of American-born Japanese Americans who were sent back to Japan during childhood, called 'Kibei' or 'Return to America'. He compared these groups with normal, neurotic, and schizophrenic Americans.

The psychoanalyst will find most interesting DeVos's conclusions concerning traditional Japanese culture and Japanese American acculturation. In the Issei he finds a 'lack of personality differentiation and … lack of freedom in the associative process', in accordance with the observation of Benedict and others that Japanese culture imposed rigidly defined social roles and that individual needs and personal values tended to be subordinated to expectancies of the group and the family. The characteristic records of the Issei show rigidity, a minimum of initiative, rare direct expression of negative feelings, and a striving to succeed in the face of personal defeat; many individuals show associative blocking and a depressive sense of defeat. Yet adjustment to relocation was surprisingly smooth. The continued striving to succeed seemed to be 'cast within the limitations of a constricted ego, but an ego that is directed toward endurance and the maintenance of habits of hard work. The intrapsychic difficulties probably show up more in personal and family life than in the overt social or economic sphere.

'One cannot convey through statistics the feeling gained in watching certain

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individuals look at a card for up to five minutes before being able to produce a response… One usually finds such behavior only in depressed or catatonic patients… The evidence for the prevalence of hypochondriacal trends with sadomasochistic implications was incontrovertible. The body as an object seems in numerous individuals to absorb affect which could not be turned outward into interpersonal relationships of either a positive or destructive nature.'

The Kibei and Issei did not in general differ much from one another, whereas the Nisei showed a marked similarity to the American normal comparison group. Resemblance of the Kibei to the Issei, especially in their rigidity, the author takes 'to be strong evidence for the contention that at least in the case of the Japanese Americans later childhood experiences were highly influential in the formation of the personality picture found reflected in the Rorschach. The early permissiveness stressed in the available cultural data may make the later childhood period more important in Japanese Americans than in other groups.'

The Nisei Rorschachs reveal a flexibility comparable to that of the American normal group. The Nisei show a higher maladjustment score than the American normal group, but not as high as the Issei and Kibei. Some data suggested that 'the conflicts in the Nisei seem to be concerned with the problems of achieving greater self-differentiation rather than accepting the personal submergence emphasized by the older Japanese ideals and the necessity thereby of assuming more rigid and constructive controls'.

This study is unsatisfactory because it cannot take into account American ambivalence toward minorities, which requires elucidation in psychological, sociological, and economic terms.

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Article Citation

Blank, H.R. (1956). The Nagoya Journal of Medical Science. (Nagoya University School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.) XVII, 1954.. Psychoanal. Q., 25:298-299

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