Magazine article The American (Washington, DC)

From the Editor

Magazine article The American (Washington, DC)

From the Editor

Article excerpt

Dear Reader:

I will admit to being a hopeless Japanophile. I love samurai movies, sushi (see page 49), Hello Kitty, the floating-world prints of Hiroshige and Hokusai, the temples of Nara, and the bewildering urbanism of Tokyo. I'm also impressed by the way the Japanese run their biggest businesses, but, until very recently, not by the way they run their government or their economy. However, as Rowan Callick points out in his cover story (page 60), Japan is changing, and Ameriea, so obsessed with China, has not caught up with what's happening in the world's second-largest economy.

America has gone from worrying itself sick over Japan as a competitor to practically ignoring Japan's very existence. Certainly, China is growing a good deal faster than Japan--or than any other developed nation, for that matter. But for now, Japan's GDP is about twice as large, the income of its average citizen nearly 20 times greater, and its brands far better known and liked.

Japan's transformation, Rowan argues, should not be so surprising. While Japan is seen as an insular nation, the truth is that the country throughout its history has borrowed and adapted. Now, it's looking to the U.S. and to China for inspiration.

Speaking of American inspiration: why does a magazine that is called "The American" devote so much space to the rest of the world? Japan and Sweden (page 22) in this issue; Tibet, Hong Kong, Dubai, Kenya, Russia, Italy, Australia, and others in previous ones. One reason is that America's greatest export today is its way of doing business and economics. …

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