RITES OF PASSAGE2Death: Rites of Passage in American and Japanese Culture.“Ethnocentrism stands in fundamental conflict with the goals of anthropology: the recognition of the common humanity of all human beings and the understanding of the causes of cultural differences” (Crapo, 2013, Sec 1.4). One cause of ethnocentrism is that it easy for members of one culture to misjudge another culture based on an etic analysis of that culture. An etic analysis is the observation and information gathered from an outside perspective. An etic description of a culture is often described by an outside member of that culture based on the values and ideas of the observer’s culture. This kind of description often sounds unfamiliar to theculture in which it was meant to describe. However, using cultural relativism helps us to look at different cultures from an emic, or insider’s point of view, which allows us to better understand that culture. According to Crapo, Arnold Van Gennep was an Anthropologist that observed that all cultures have ritual ceremonies that represent the transition into the different stages of life of its members. These events are known as rites of passages. Rites of passages are important to the stages it represents and can also be used to show the values and religious beliefs of the members that participate in them, and the culture in which they are a part of. (Crapo, 2014). Within this paper I will give an etic description of rites of passage, surrounding old age and death from my own American culture. By doing so I will show one how easy it is to misunderstand the purpose of a cultures customs. I will also give an emic description of Japanese rites of passage, also surrounding old age and death. As a result one will have a better understanding of the value of cultural relativism.