By Keiko Ikeda
The highschool reunion happens during the usa and cuts throughout modifications in age, locality, and ethnicity. This renowned occasion is often considered a light-hearted social celebration or an workout in nostalgia that has little different value within the lives of its individuals. Drawing on candid own narratives derived from reunions starting from the 5th to the 50th, this pathbreaking research demonstrates, even if, that for plenty of americans the highschool reunion is a wealthy and infrequently poignant adventure. Of specific curiosity is the truth that this ethnographic examine used to be performed via a jap anthropologist expert within the usa, who bargains a comparative standpoint on excessive colleges within the nations. excessive colleges serve very assorted social reasons in Japan and the USA, and the methods humans within the nations view their highschool years range consequently. the writer examines the yank highschool reunion as a dramatic scene within the development of self and which means in maturity. throughout the highschool reunion, american citizens are thrown right into a room choked with mirrors within which they're faced by way of various visions of themselves. There they see photos in their highschool selves filtered during the lighting and shadows forged through classmates’ stories and projected opposed to the backdrop created by way of the lives of these classmates immediately. via an research of the a number of reflections of self that emerge in the course of reunions, the writer indicates how reunions come up with the money for humans an get together on which to reevaluate their very own stories and arrive at a brand new realizing of self. the yankee highschool reunion therefore offers individuals with a sequence of self-perceptions from which they could build new narratives in their personal lives.
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Additional info for A Room Full of Mirrors: High School Reunions in Middle America
Keyes (1976: 34) writes, recalling his own high school experience, "Never again are we ranked so precisely by those around us, and on so many scales. Through the popularity polls of our classmates, and their inexperience at tact, daily feedback was conveyed about how we were coming across. " Cultural differences in the high school experiences of Americans and Japanese spring from the different emphases the two societies place on high school education. High school students in contemporary Japan are separated from adult responsibilities in the confinement of school, devoting themselves to struggling through "examination hell" in order to obtain authentic passage to adulthood and to learn the realities of the Japanese social hierarchy.
Although the phenomenon of reunions associated with all levels of educational experience is not an alien concept in Japanese society, the main features of reunions (to be discussed in Chapter 2) are not as prevalent or uniform as in the United States. 4 It occurs in all towns, large and small, and in various adult age groups throughout the United States, and the organization of this social gathering is strikingly uniform and stylized. " The high school reunion is rooted in popular American consciousness.
Page 8 In Japan, there are many schools to choose from (or to strive to enter), each with a unique character and academic ranking, defined by a school's capacity to produce graduates who can pass the entrance examinations of the better universities and colleges. Thomas Rohlen, an American anthropologist who studied four different types of high school in Japan, observed: Although the attention of Western scholars has focused primarily on the problem of college entrance in Japan ... , the time of high school entrance represents an even more crucial juncture in the total process of educational stratification.