Japan a Reinterpretation

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9780002550642: Japan a Reinterpretation

The Japanese are in the process of re-creating themselves--an endeavor they have undertaken at intervals throughout history, always prompted by a combination of domestic and global forces. In this landmark book, Patrick Smith asserts that a variety of forces--the achievement of material affluence, the Cold War's end, and the death of Emperor Hirohito--are now spurring Japan once again toward a fundamental redefinition of itself.  

As Smith argues, this requires of the West an equally thorough reevaluation of the picture we have held of Japan over the past half-century. He reveals how economic overdevelopment conceals profound political, social, and psychological under-development. And by refocusing on "internal history"  and the Japanese character, Smith offers a new framework for understanding Japan and the Japanese as they really are. The Japanese, he says, are now seeking to alter the very thing we believe distinguishes them: the relationship between the individual and society.

Timely, measured, and authoritative, this book illuminates a new Japan, a nation preparing to drop the mask it holds up to the West and to steer a course of its own in the world.

Jacket image: The Great Wave of Kanagawa, from 36 Views of Mount Fuji (detail) by Katsushika Hokusai. Private collection.

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Review:

For years westerners have viewed Japan as a nation of democratic, hard-working, unabashedly pro-Western people, a viewpoint promulgated mainly by a group of postwar scholars known as the Chrysanthemum Club. Journalist Patrick Smith takes a hard, fresh look at Japan and its relations with the West--particularly the United States--in Japan: A Reinterpretation. Smith asserts that the economic miracle we in the West have long admired was achieved at the expense of true political reform, creating a corporation instead of a democracy. Now that the miracle has collapsed, the Japanese are in a state of cultural, political, and social malaise.

Smith approaches Japan from many different directions: first by reinterpreting the country's postwar history as presented by the Chrysanthemum Club, then by delving into the lives of ordinary Japanese. From the overworked salarymen to the upper echelons of Japanese politicians, Patrick Smith paints a bold new picture of a nation suffering from overdevelopment. In addition, Japan: A Reinterpretation focuses on infrequently examined topics such as Japan's educators and writers. Though some of Smith's statements may seem a bit hyperbolic, his book is solidly researched and impeccably presented.

About the Author:

Patrick Smith has worked as an editor and correspondent for more than twenty years (fourteen of them in Asia) with, among other publications, the New York Times, the Financial Times of London, the International Herald Tribune, and The New Yorker. He is the author of The Nippon Challenge: Japan's Pursuit of the Americas Cup. He lives in Norfolk, Connecticut.

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Smith, Patrick
Published by Fairmount Books Ltd Remainders (1997)
ISBN 10: 0002550644 ISBN 13: 9780002550642
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
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Irish Booksellers
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Book Description Fairmount Books Ltd Remainders, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 2550644

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