Inventing Japan: The Making of a Postwar Civilization

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9780139429217: Inventing Japan: The Making of a Postwar Civilization
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Debunks the myth that the success of modern Japan is a derivative of ancient samurai tradition and emperor worship, and states that the crucial first years after World War II shaped Japan's current economy and social structure

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This work, by a journalist with extensive first-hand experience in Japan, provides an analysis of that country's postwar development. Utilizing a variety of sources including personal interviews and observations, examples drawn from contemporary novels and films, etc., Chapman challenges the commonly held thesis that Japan's success in the postwar period was the result of cultural traits and values inherited from its past, arguing instead that it was a largely pragmatic approach to the particular "circumstances" of the postwar period that best explains these achievements. Beginning with the desperate economic conditions of the immediate postwar years and the country's reaction to the wide-ranging reforms of the occupation, Chapman moves forward to the present day (which finds Japan, in his view, facing an uncertain future). While he occasionally overstates his case, still Chapman offers an interesting and useful perspective on his subject. Generally recommended.
-Scott Wright, Univ. of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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