Professor Joy Hendry is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University. Joy conducted much of her early research in Japan. Initially studying family and marriage in a rural community of Kyushu, she later moved to studying rearing practices for children before pre-school both in Kyushu and in a seaside community near Tokyo, and then to examining self-presentation and politeness in language. She later began a project studying diplomacy, with the involvement of British and Japanese diplomats and the British Foreign Office. She has also worked in several other countries, including Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, and Tanzania, where she worked on applying a comparative approach to her work in Japan.

Joy studied for a Diploma, B.Litt and D.Phil Social Anthropology at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, completing her studies in 1979. She taught at Oxford Brookes (and formerly Oxford Poly) from 1980 until 2010, with periods away at Keio University in Japan, Stirling University in Scotland, the CNRS in Paris, the University of Melbourne, McMaster University in Canada, the Institute for Japanese Studies, University of Vienna, and the University of Freiburg. Since becoming professor emerita in 2010, she has been the McGeorge Fellow at the University of Melbourne, and de Carle Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Otago.

Four maps that tell a story of village life

Fieldwork aid developed in Kyushu, Japan.

The screenshots above are taken from a film about Joy’s research. In this clip she explains the meaning behind the maps. See the whole film on Youtube: ‘Understanding Japanese Culture – 45 years researching a village in rural Japan’, produced by Leaf of Life Films.

“These four maps, made when doing fieldwork in a village in Japan, not only helped me to orientate myself within the village, but also to illustrate various ways in which villagers support each other and maintain their public places. The basic map numbers houses as a record of who lived where, and over time, a quick way to denote the families who lived in each house. It also shows where all the public places were located.

A separate map indicates the occupations that each house held. Map 3 divides the village into neighbourhood groups and sub-groups that take turns to clean and look after the shrines and their surroundings and organise the regular festivals. Houses in these groups also take it in turn to collect taxes, and to deliver a weekly notice board from the city hall to the next house in the scheme indicated by red arrows. The notice board is handed to the next house once seen and insures that people are in touch with each other at least once a week, as well as delivering news and public notices.

The final map indicates smaller groups that take responsibility, collectively, for helping with any kind of special occasion such as birth, death, illness or fire, ensuring that everyday life continues while the family concerned concentrates on the demands of the occasion. Together the maps illustrate much of village life.”