Comparing Asian Politics: India, China, and Japan

Comparing Asian Politics: India, China, and Japan

Comparing Asian Politics: India, China, and Japan

Comparing Asian Politics: India, China, and Japan


"By highlighting issues not typically raised in comparative politics texts, Charlton has provided us with a novel approach to Asian politics. Putting gender issues, environmental concerns, & ethnic divisions on center stage enables students to see ways in which Asian societies are maintaining their connection to the past while forging into the future. A singular & important new textbook for all who teach Asian & Pacific Rim courses." Jean C. Robinson Indiana University


All books begin with an author's conviction that there is something new to say or that something old can be said better. So it is with Comparing Asian Politics. Some twenty-five years of teaching Asian politics to undergraduates and arguing with friends and family members about the intrinsic interest and value of understanding political processes in Asia finally prompted what has been an ambitious and lengthy project--far too lengthy, judging by the comments of those around me.

The length of this project can be explained by common problems that beset most writers, including competing work and family obligations. One of the delightful, if insidious, reasons for the delay in completion has been the temptation to spend time exploring Asia in person rather than staying home to read, think, and write. For the opportunity to work in Japan in 1991 and 1993, I am especially grateful to the Center for Women's Studies, Tokyo Woman's Christian University; and for making possible my stay in India in 1992, I thank the American Institute for Indian Studies. Travel support to both Japan and India, as well as to China in 1995, was also provided by the College of Liberal Arts, Colorado State University.

One of the most important goals of this book is to provide nonspecialized readers with a balanced discussion of contemporary Asian politics that is sensitive to historical and cultural contexts. Insofar as this sensitivity has been realized, it is due in large part to the generations of scholars whose research has helped to inform this book. Any successes are also due to numerous colleagues, friends, hosts, and passing acquaintances in Asia. They have caused me to learn, to rethink what I was sure I understood, and to help me see their world through their lenses, not mine. They may have difficulty understanding how their patience and, occasionally, impatience touched me, but they should know that without them, this book would have been the poorer. I am deeply grateful to the following people: Marcia M. Allen, Karuna Ambarasen, Sonja Arntzen, Tsuyoshi Awaya, Surinder and Gunit Ghuman, Janet Gilligan and John Waples, the Ishibashi Family, Yasuko Muramatsu, Anup and Raji Nair, Yukiko Oda, and Irene Tong.

Scholar-writers need support networks, and I am no exception. The network includes colleagues, especially those in the Asian Studies Pro-

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