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Marathon Japan Cover

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Marathon Japan

Distance Racing and Civic Culture

Thomas R. H. Havens

Japanese have been fervid long-distance runners for many centuries. Today, on a per capita basis, at least as many Japanese residents complete marathons each year as do those in the United States or any other country. Marathon Japan traces the development of distance racing beginning with the Stockholm Olympics of 1912, when the Japanese government used athletics as part of its project to win the respect of Western countries and achieve parity with the world powers. The marathon soon became the first Western- derived sports event in which Japanese proved consistently superior to athletes from other countries. During the 1920s and 1930s, Japanese runners regularly produced the fastest times in the world, and in the 1960s and late 1970s–1980s, Japanese men again dominated world marathoning. Japanese women likewise emerged as some of the world’s fastest in the 1990s and early 2000s. Meanwhile the general public took up distance running with enthusiasm, starting in the 1960s and continuing unabated today, symbolized most recently by massive open-entry marathons in Tokyo, Osaka, and other Japanese cities comparable in scale and challenge to major world races in Boston, New York, Chicago, London, and Berlin.

In this book, Thomas Havens analyzes the origins, development, and significance of Japan’s excellence in marathons and long-distance relays (ekiden), as well as the explosive growth of distance racing among ordinary citizens. He reveals the key role of commercial media companies in promoting sports, especially marathons and ekiden, and explains how running became a consumer commodity beginning in the 1970s as Japanese society matured into an age of capitalist affluence. What comes to light as well are the relentlessly nationalistic goals underlying government policies toward sports throughout the modern era. The public craze for distance racing, both watching and running, has created a shared citizenship of civic participation among young and old, male and female, and persons of every social background and level of education.

Marathon Japan will appeal to Japan specialists of cultural and social history, recreational runners in Japan and abroad, as well as anyone interested in the history of sports.

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Media and Politics in Japan

Susan J. & Ellis S. KraussPharr

Japan is one of the most media-saturated societies in the world. The circulations of its "big five" national newspapers dwarf those of any major American newspaper. Its public service broadcasting agency, NHK, is second only to the BBC in size. And it has a full range of commercial television stations, high-brow and low-brow magazines, and a large anti-mainstream media and mini-media. Japanese elites rate the mass media as the most influential group in Japanese society. But what role do they play in political life? Whose interests do the media serve? Are the media mainly servants of the state, or are they watchdogs on behalf of the public? And what effects do the media have on the political beliefs and behavior of ordinary Japanese people? These questions are the focus of this collection of essays by leading political scientists, sociologists, social psychologists, and journalists. Japan's unique kisha (press) club system, its powerful media business organizations, the uses of the media by Japan's wily bureaucrats, and the role of the media in everything from political scandals to shaping public opinion, are among the many subjects of this insightful and provocative book.

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The Men in My Country

Marilyn Abildskov

In the early 1990s, at the watershed age of thirty, Marilyn Abildskov decided she needed to start over. She accepted an offer to move from Utah to Matsumoto, Japan, to teach English to junior high school students. “All I knew is that I had to get away and when I stared at my name on the Japanese contract, the squiggles of katakana, my name typed in English sturdily beneath, I liked how it looked. As if it—as if I—were translated, transformed, emerging now as someone new.”

The Men in My Country is the story of an American woman living and loving in Japan. Satisfied at first to observe her exotic surroundings, the woman falls in love with the place, with the light, with the curve of a river, with the smell of bonfires during obon, with blue and white porcelain dishes, with pencil boxes, and with small origami birds. Later, struggling for a deeper connection—“I wanted the country under my skin”—Abildskov meets the three men who will be part of her transformation and the one man with whom she will fall deeply in love.

A travel memoir offering an artful depiction of a very real place, The Men in My Country also covers the terrain of a complex emotional journey, tracing a geography of the heart, showing how we move to be moved, how in losing ourselves in a foreign place we can become dangerously—and gloriously—undone.

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The Moneylenders of Late Medieval Kyoto

Suzanne Gay

The Moneylenders of Late Medieval Kyoto examines the large community of sake brewer-moneylenders in Japan's capital city, focusing on their rise to prominence from the mid-1300s to 1550. Their guild tie to overlords, notably the great monastery Enryakuji, was forged early in the medieval period, giving them a protected monopoly and allowing them to flourish. Demand for credit was strong in medieval Kyoto, and brewers profitably recirculated capital for loans. As the medieval period progressed, the brewer-lenders came into their own. While maintaining overlord ties, they engaged in activities that brought them into close contact with every segment of Kyoto's population. The more socially prominent brewers served as tax agents for religious institutions, the shogunate, and the imperial court, and were actively involved in a range of cultural pursuits including tea and linked verse. Although the merchants themselves left only the faintest record, Suzanne Gay has fully and convincingly depicted this important group of medieval commoners.

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Monumenta Nipponica

Vol. 60 (2005) through current issue

Monumenta Nipponica was founded in 1938 by Sophia University, Tokyo, to provide a common platform for scholars throughout the world to present their research on Japanese culture, history, literature, and society. One of the oldest and most highly regarded English-language journals in the Asian studies field, it is known not only for articles of original scholarship and timely book reviews, but also for authoritative translations of a wide range of Japanese historical and literary sources. Previously published four times a year, since 2008 the journal has appeared semiannually, in May and November.

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New Policies for New Residents

Immigrants, Advocacy, and Governance in Japan and Beyond

by Deborah J. Milly

In recent decades, many countries have experienced both a rapid increase of in-migration of foreign nationals and a large-scale devolution of governance to the local level. The result has been new government policies to promote the social inclusion of recently arrived residents. In New Policies for New Residents, Deborah J. Milly focuses on the intersection of these trends in Japan. Despite the country's history of restrictive immigration policies, some Japanese favor a more accepting approach to immigrants. Policies supportive of foreign residents could help attract immigrants as the country adjusts to labor market conditions and a looming demographic crisis. As well, local citizen engagement is producing more inclusive approaches to community.

Milly compares the policy discussions and outcomes in Japan with those in South Korea and in two similarly challenged Mediterranean nations, Italy and Spain. All four are recent countries of immigration, and all undertook major policy innovations for immigrants by the 2000s. In Japan and Spain, local NGO-local government collaboration has influenced national policy through the advocacy of local governments. South Korea and Italy included NGO advocates as policy actors and partners at the national level far earlier as they responded to new immigration, producing policy changes that fueled local networks of governance and advocacy. In all these cases, Milly finds, nongovernmental advocacy groups have the power to shape local governance and affect national policy, though in different way.

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New Times in Modern Japan

Stefan Tanaka

New Times in Modern Japan concerns the transformation of time--the reckoning of time--during Japan's Meiji period, specifically from around 1870 to 1900. Time literally changed as the archipelago synchronized with the Western imperialists' reckoning of time. The solar calendar and clock became standard timekeeping devices, and society adapted to the abstractions inherent in modern notions of time. This set off a cascade of changes that completely reconfigured how humans interacted with each other and with their environment--a process whose analysis carries implications for other non-Western societies as well.

By examining topics ranging from geology, ghosts, childhood, art history, and architecture to nature as a whole, Stefan Tanaka explores how changing conceptions of time destabilized inherited knowledge and practices and ultimately facilitated the reconfiguration of the archipelago's heterogeneous communities into the liberal-capitalist nation-state, Japan. However, this revolutionary transformation--where, in the words of Lewis Mumford, "the clock, not the steam engine," is the key mechanism of the industrial age--has received little more than a footnote in the history of Japan.

This book's innovative focus on time not only shifts attention away from debates about the failure (or success) of "modernization" toward how individuals interact with the overlay of abstract concepts upon their lives; it also illuminates the roles of history as discourse and as practice in this reconfiguration of society. In doing so, it will influence discussions about modernity well beyond the borders of Japan.

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Noon at Five O'Clock

The Short Stories of Arthur Yap

Arthur Yap

The volume marks the recovery and first combined publication of the stories of Arthur Yap, one of Singapore's most accomplished and important writers. A hitherto neglected facet of Yap’s opus, his eight short stories are deceptive in their simplicity, housing within their sparse prose a complex engagement with Singapore society that he wrote in and within. With his signature minimalistic style, Yap simultaneously perplexes readers with stories of seemingly plotless ambiguity, yet draws them in with familiar characters playing out situations that still resonate in twenty-first century Singapore today. Angus Whitehead’s introduction highlights literary nuances in the stories and frames the stories within the wider backdrop of social change of Singapore at the time of Yap’s writing. The meticulous critical apparatus make this book of interest to not only the general reader but also students of Singapore and Southeast Asian literature in English.

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OKAGAMI, The Great Mirror

Fujiwara Michinaga (966-1027) and His Times

Helen Craig McCullough

Presented here in a new and complete translation is the Japanese classic Okagami, an historical talc that mirrors a man's life and the times in which he lived. Dating from the late eleventh or early twelfth century, it focuses on Fujiwara Michinaga, the leading political figure in the great family that dominated the court during most of the Helan period.

Originally published in 1980.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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The Okinawan Diaspora in Japan

Crossing the Borders Within

Steve Rabson

The experiences of Okinawans in mainland Japan, like those of migrant minorities elsewhere, derive from a legacy of colonialism, war, and alien rule. Okinawans have long coped with a society in which differences are often considered “strange” or “wrong,” and with a central government that has imposed a mono-cultural standard in education, publicly priding itself on the nation’s mythical “homogeneity.” They have felt strong pressures to assimilate by adopting mainland Japanese culture and concealing or discarding their own. Recently, however, a growing pride in roots has inspired more Okinawan migrants and their descendants to embrace their own history and culture and to speak out against inequities. Their experiences, like those of minorities in other countries, have opened them to an acute and illuminating perspective, given voice in personal testimony, literature, and song.

Although much has been written on Okinawan emigration abroad, this is the first book in English to consider the Okinawan diaspora in Japan. It is based on a wide variety of secondary and primary sources, including interviews conducted by the author in the greater Osaka area over a two-year period. The work begins with the experiences of women who worked in Osaka’s spinning factories in the early twentieth century, covers the years of the Pacific War and the prolonged U.S. military occupation of Okinawa, and finally treats the period following Okinawa’s reversion to Japan in 1972. Throughout, it examines the impact of government and corporate policies, along with popular attitudes, for a compelling account of the Okinawan diaspora in the context of contemporary Japan’s struggle to acknowledge its multiethnic society.

The Okinawan Diaspora in Japan will find a ready audience among students of contemporary Japanese history and East Asian societies, as well as general readers interested in Okinawans and other minorities living in Japan.

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