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The politics of Japan are less widely reported than its economics. Most people are aware of the economic 'miracle' following the Second World War, whereby Japan became the second largest economy in the world after the United States, and the economic stagnation of the early 1990s is also well known. But it is difficult to make sense of these phenomena without a knowledge of the political system and the ways in which it works in practice. Containing an introductory essay, an essay on theories of Japanese politics and over 250 A-Z entries, the Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Japan remedies this imbalance, and answers the need for an accessible work of reference bringing together information and authoritative analysis on all aspects of the politics of Japan and the Japanese political system.
Including a fully annotated bibliography to guide the user to further reading, the entries are thoroughly cross-referenced and indexed, and are supplemented with maps and tables, to ensure that the Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Japan is essential reading for all scholars and students of the politics and international relations of Japan.
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J.A.A. Stockwin, formerly Nissan Professor of Modern Japanese Studies and former Director of the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford, Emeritus Fellow, St Antony's College.From Booklist:
"There is no country with which Japan's relationship has been more important than the United States since 1945," states Stockwin, Nissan Professor of Modern Japanese Studies at Oxford University, at the beginning of his entry on U.S.-Japan relations. That alone should warrant a closer look at a book whose title suggests analysis of a relatively narrow sector of a world power over a relatively short period of its existence. This book began, notes Stockwin, as an answer to the demands of his students for a factual database of the "increasingly confused, and confusing" subject of Japanese politics since the end of World War II.
Stockwin has written all of the clear, alphabetically arranged entries as well as a general introductory essay and another on theories of Japanese politics. Some 250 entries cover prime ministers, party leaders, and other politicians; political parties and other political entities; political crises and scandals; interest groups; the constitution and related issues; and areas of government policy. Each is followed by a list for further reading, gathered in fuller form in separate bibliographies of English-language and Japanese-language sources. A comprehensive index with extensive cross-referencing fails to cite Emperor Hirohito, for whom there is also no main entry; one will have to know to look at the entry for Emperor (Tenno) and politics. Nor is Herbert P. Bix's award-winning Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (HarperCollins, 2000) listed in the bibliography, although it is cited (not by title) within the entry Emperor (Tenno) and politics. The Constitution of 1946, although ably summarized in the appropriate entry, is perhaps short enough to have been included in its entirety as an appendix. These quibbles aside, Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Japan is highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries, especially where there is keen interest in Japan or world politics. Encyclopedia of Contemporary Japanese Culture (Routledge, 2002) is highly recommended for a comprehensive view of Japan covering the same time period. RBB
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