Hands across the Sea? U.S.-Japan Relations, 1961-1981

Hands across the Sea? U.S.-Japan Relations, 1961-1981

Hands across the Sea? U.S.-Japan Relations, 1961-1981

Hands across the Sea? U.S.-Japan Relations, 1961-1981

Synopsis

"In 1961, the U. S. economy and military were practically unassailable in the eyes of the world. Within twenty years however, America had faced defeat in Vietnam its economy had been shaken, and Japan had assumed the title of the world's economic superpower. The U. S. and Japan had reversed roles as surplus and debtor nations. In Hands across the Sea? Timothy Maga examines this role reversal and traces the volatile relationship between these two powerful allies. Maga's research took him through presidential archives and interviews with policy-makers in both the U. S. and Japan, where he found a relationship forever troubled by cultural misunderstanding, America's Cold War obsession, Japanese pride, and strangely conflicting goals. But, as Maga discovered, for different reasons both nations needed each other during this critical time. For better or for worse, they persisted." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

He is called henna gaijin (strange foreigner), but this 1990s immigrant to Japan welcomes the label. Speaking flawless Japanese, he has become a folk hero and overnight fascination to much of his adopted nation. He wears kimono at home, prefers traditional Japanese cooking, and is in love with the beauty and gentleness of Japanese culture. Lecturing the government about its unfortunate attraction to corruption, international bullying, and selfishness, this young man, known simply as Mizkoff, has dedicated his life to nippon no kokoro (the search for the Japanese spirit).

A creation of cartoonist Michio Hashimoto and editor Takashi Nagasaki at Big Comic Original Corporation, Mizkoff is a comic- book character. In contrast to the American literary scene, "Mizkoff" is a compliment to political commentary rather than an insult. The comic book plays a more important and respected role in Japanese life than in the United States. Mizkoff is the ultimate Japanologist, and Japan lost its soul to him during the heyday of the Japanese "economic miracle" of the 1960s and 1970s. From the tea ceremony to family values, the "real Japan," he believes, was sacrificed on an altar of greed and shameless ambition. From his two dozen or so pages every month, Mizkoff reminds his millions of readers that Japan has surrendered too much of its quiet culture to dreams of superpower wealth and influence. Growing unemployment and declining GNP or not, no one, he concludes, should bemoan the recent passing of Japan's mighty "bubble economy." Perhaps now, as the country struggles into the twenty-first century, Japan can recapture its honorable, peaceful past.

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