The Other Japan: Conflict, Compromise, and Resistance since 1945

The Other Japan: Conflict, Compromise, and Resistance since 1945

The Other Japan: Conflict, Compromise, and Resistance since 1945

The Other Japan: Conflict, Compromise, and Resistance since 1945

Synopsis

The analyses and literary portraits in this text elucidate the existing realities of Japan's postwar history. They address, in chronological fashion, major social, environmental, and feminist issues and conflicts that have attended to Japan's postwar economic miracle.

Excerpt

Japan in the nineties appears to the world to be tarnished, perhaps badly flawed. For a decade or more the treatment of Japan in news spots, articles, and books has become more critical, even harsh, with pundits, politicians, management gurus, and academics switching from urging upon the West wholesale borrowing of Japanese ways to pointing with alarm at the unfairness of Japanese capitalism's way of doing business abroad and at home. the reevaluation of Japan has been driven by changes in the global economic and political situation since the mid 1970s, the most obvious of which have been Japan's rise to global economic power in counterpoint to U.S. economic decline, the emergence of China as the coming capitalist miracle, the breakup of the U.S.S.R. and ending of the Cold War, and, most recently, Japanese economic stagnation in the nineties.

The Japan establishment in the United States has gone from patronizing Japan as an imitator, through acclaiming it as an economic and social miracle to be copied, to attacking it as an adversarial trader with an enigmatic culture alien to liberal values, to bemusement if not sly amusement over Japan's stagnation after the bursting of the "bubble economy" of the 1980s. One thread seems to run through most such broad characterizations--Japan is the "other." Politics, labor relations, the family, relations between the sexes, education, foreign policy--you name it and there is a prominent cultural interpretation of Japanese behavior that sets it apart from the rest of the world as the other, especially from the presumed universality of the "West." a parallel thread is that the "other" within Japan is seen as amounting to a few unfortunates left outside of the embrace of middle- class culture by race or circumstance.

For the writers of the chapters collected here, the "other" is far more concrete than the sweeping and all-inclusive cultural otherness so often used to explain Japan; and far more vital than the developmentalist view that there are always a few victims of progress. the other Japan of this volume stands for the really existing people who make up the majority, not merely a lower-class or deviant fringe alienated from an all-encompassing massive middle class. These are peo-

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