AMC’s popular series “Mad Men” recently featured the “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture,” authored by anthropologist Ruth Benedict in 1946. The work is considered to be an influential study of Japan and an aid in understanding the behavior of the Japanese during World War II. In the episode, Japanese executives of the Honda motorcycle company come in seeking a presentation from the advertising agency Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Pryce. After a partner in the agency (Sterling) offends the Honda representatives by making an awkward reference to Hiroshima, Draper reads Benedict’s book in order to get a better grasp of Japanese culture.
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