Aggression and Violence Essay

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Aggression and Violence

Expression of aggression: Japan

Although the aggressive impulse may be hard-wired into the human brain, the various ways in which cultures view what constitutes aggression can be quite subjective. In Japan, for example, direct confrontation is frowned upon, in contrast to the United States, which emphasizes the need to 'tell it like it is.' Even the agency of the aggression is viewed differently in collectivist vs. more individualistic societies. "American newspapers referred more to the individual involved in each [political or business] scandal, whereas Japanese newspapers referred more to the institution, implying a focus on the group rather than the individual as agent for the Japanese" (Friedman et al. 2007: 857).

Yet cross-cultural comparisons indicate: "European-Americans scored higher on delinquency and sexual behaviors relative to both Asian-American groups. As expected, both Asian-American groups scored higher on loss of face but also scored higher on acceptance of violence" (Hall et al. 2005: 835). In another study of Japanese and Spanish undergraduates "Japanese students reported more physical aggression than their Spanish counterparts, who reported more verbal aggression, hostility, and anger and more expressive representation of aggression" (Ramirez et al. 2001: 315). In a comparison of attitudes of Japanese vs.
Israeli mothers one study found: "aggression is perceived by Japanese mothers as a natural and necessary aspect of development, while Israeli mothers perceive the same behaviors as justified mainly as reactions to assault or provocation and as expressing negative emotional states" (Osterweil & Nagano-Nakamura 1992:263). This may be rooted in the violence that has affected so much of modern Israel, requiring physical displays of violence which may be seen as necessary but not necessarily natural or healthy.

Such research must be viewed within the Japanese context of what constitutes violence. What is seen as normal physical interactions in other cultures might be viewed as intrusive or even violent within a Japanese context: "Touching is unwelcome when speaking to a Japanese person, especially touching someone of the opposite sex. Japanese….....

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