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David Young was born in the United States and spent his childhood in Sierra Leone, West Africa. After obtaining a B.D. in religion and anthropology  from Yale University, an M.A. in Asian studies from the University of Hawaii, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Stanford University, he taught anthropology at the University of Alberta in Canada until he retired in 10900 and moved to Japan with his wife Michiko to continue his teaching career. David has conducted fieldwork in Mexico, China, Japan, and Canada, and has taught courses on Japan, anthropological aesthetics, psychological anthropology, and health and healing. Together with Michiko, he has conducted research on Japanese aesthetics for many years.

Michiko Young was born in China and raised in Japan. After graduating from Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, she married David and moved to the United States and then to Canada, where she worked for many years in the international affairs office at the University of Alberta.

The Youngs now live on the west coast of Canada. They have co-authored three books on Japanese art and aesthetics (see below).