by Robert A. Scalapino
Despite their many differences, the United States and Japan have one important thing in common: both are supreme examples of the miracle of the past century -- the miracle of basic social change so rapid and so pervasive as to seem unbelievable even in retrospect. When Commodore Perry's small fleet sailed into Tokyo Bay a little over one hundred years ago, Japan was a prime symbol of the forbidding and medieval East, the United States yet a minor power on the periphery of the Western world. And whatever the potentials for change already existent in these two societies, those potentials scarcely seemed to presage the phenomenal explosion of energy, productivity, and power that actually occurred.
It is important to remember that in a certain sense, America and Japan have grown up together in the modern world, albeit from very
Robert A. Scalapino is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He has also lectured at Waseda University and Keio University in Japan. His public and professional service includes consulting work with visiting Japanese study groups for the Governmental Affairs Institute, and extension work in the Far East for the Armed Forces Program. Dr. Scalapino has written a number of books and articles on Japan.