From the deathbed to the commuter railway station, from the marriage market to the fish market, from the baseball field to the grave, this volume explores the diversity of contemporary Japanese society by studying how people compose their families, their communities, and their own identities. Challenging fixed boundaries characteristic of institutional analysis, these essays comprise an anthropology of real people who age, who play, and whose lives speak to ours even over chasms of cultural differences and misunderstandings. The contributors are historians, sociologists, and anthropologists of Japan who engage these ideas in their research and who have been inspired over the years by the spirit of David Plath's anthropology of self.Part I includes essays by Susan Long, Kamiko Takeji, and Scott Clark which explore how the meaning of self is created through long-term engagement with convoys, those with whom one coauthors biographies. The second set of chapters investigates the process of creating circles of interaction, identity, and meaning beyond that inner circle. Keiko Ikeda considers the cocreation of individual and collective meanings among consociates of locality. The chapters by Paul Noguchi and by David McConnell and Jackson Bailey describe negotiations of identity among consociates within the workplace, while Theodore Bestor and William Kelly focus on constructions of regional and national identity. In Part III, chapters by Christie Kiefer, John Grossberg, Morioka Kiyomi, and Robert J. Smith bring us full circle to reconsideration of composing the self, but within the widest possible social universe that includes the aging, the dying, and the spirits of the dead.