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Economics in Everyday Life
This collection of twenty-six essays furnishes concise explanations of everyday Japanese life in simplified economic terms. They begin with such questions as, Do Japanese live better than Americans? Why don't Japanese workers claim all their overtime? Why don't Japanese use personal checking accounts? Why do Japanese give and receive so many gifts? The essays are written in non-technical, accessible language intended for the undergraduate or advanced placement high school student taking an economics course or studying Japan in a social science course. The general reader will find the book a fascinating compendium of facts on Japanese culture and daily life.
For nearly three decades Japanese Culture has garnered high praise as an accurate and well-written introduction to Japanese history and culture. This widely used undergraduate text is now available in a new edition. Thoroughly updated, the fourth edition includes expanded sections on numerous topics, among which are samurai values, Zen Buddhism, the tea ceremony, Confucianism in the Tokugawa period, the story of the forty-seven ronin, Mito scholarship in the early nineteenth century, and mass culture and comics in contemporary times.
Migrant Artists and Self-reinvention on the World Stage
Spend time in New York City and, soon enough, you will encounter some of the Japanese nationals who live and work there—young English students, office workers, painters, and hairstylists. New York City is home to one of the largest overseas Japanese populations in the world. Among them are artists and designers who produce cutting-edge work in fields such as design, fashion, music, and art. Part of the so-called “creative class” and a growing segment of the neoliberal economy, they are usually middle-class and college-educated. They move to New York for anywhere from a few years to several decades in the hope of realizing dreams and aspirations unavailable to them in Japan. Yet the creative careers they desire are competitive, and many end up working illegally in precarious, low paying jobs. Though they often migrate without fixed plans for return, nearly all eventually do, and their migrant trajectories are punctuated by visits home. Japanese New York contributes to international migration studies, to the study of contemporary Japanese culture and society, and to the study of Japanese youth, while shedding light on what it means to be a creative migrant worker in the global city today.
The self serves as a universally available, effective, and indispensable filter for making sense of the chaos of the world. In her latest book, Takie Lebra attempts a new understanding of the Japanese self through her unique use of cultural logic. She begins by presenting and elaborating on two models ("opposition logic" and "contingency logic") to examine concepts of self, Japanese and otherwise. Guided by these, she delves into the three layers of the Japanese self, focusing first on the social layer as located in four "zones"—omote (front), uchi (interior), ura (back), and soto (exterior)—and its shifts from zone to zone. New light is shed on these familiar linguistic and spatial categories by introducing the dimension of civility. The book expands the discussion in relation to larger constructions of the inner and cosmological self. Unlike the social self, which views itself in relation to the "other," the inner layer involves a reflexivity in which self communicates with self. While the social self engages in dialogue or trialogue, the inner self communicates through monologue or soliloquy. The cosmological layer, which centers around transcendental beliefs and fantasies, is examined and the analysis supplemented with comments on aesthetics. Throughout, Lebra applies her methodology to dozens of Japanese examples and makes relevant comparisons with North American culture and notions of self. Finally, she provides a spirited analysis of critiques of Nihonjinron to reinforce the relevancy of Japanese studies. This volume is the culmination of decades of thinking on self and social relations by one of the most influential scholars in the field. It will prove highly instructive to Japanese and non-Japanese readers alike in a range of disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, and social psychology
In this first synthetic, comprehensive survey of Japanese sports in English, the authors are attentive to the complex and fascinating interaction of traditional and modern elements. In the course of tracing the emergence and development of sumo, the martial arts, and other traditional sports from their origins to the present, they demonstrate that some cherished "ancient" traditions were, in fact, invented less than a century ago. They also register their skepticism about the use of the samurai tradition to explain Japan's success in sports. Special attention is given to Meiji-era Japan's frequently ambivalent adoption and adaptation of European and American sports--a particularly telling example of Japan's love-hate relationship with the West. The book goes on the describe the history of physical education in the school system, the emergence of amateur and professional leagues, the involvement of business and the media in sports promotion, and Japan's participation in the Olympics.
Japanese Women in the Interwar Transnational Feminist Movement
This book traces the development of feminist consciousness in Japan from 1871 to 1941. Taeko Shibahara uncovers some fascinating histories as she examines how middle-class women navigated between domestic and international influences to form ideologies and strategies for reform. They negotiated a humanitarian space as Japan expanded its nationalist, militarist, imperialist, and patriarchal power.
Focusing on these women's political awakening and activism, Shibahara shows how Japanese feminists channeled and adapted ideas selected from international movements and from interactions with mainly American social activists.
Japanese Women and the Transnational Feminist Movement before World War II also connects the development of international contacts with the particular contributions of Ichikawa Fusae to the suffrage movement, Ishimoto Shidzue to the birth control movement, and Gauntlett Tsune to the peace movement by touching on issues of poverty, prostitution, and temperance. The result provides a window through which to view the Japanese women's rights movement with a broader perspective.
Issues in Culture and Democracy, 19001930
Scholars, Japanese and non-Japanese alike, have studied the greater Taisho era (1900-1930) within the framework of Taisho demokurashii (democracy). While this concept has proved useful, students of the period in more recent years have sought alternative ways of understanding the late Meiji-Taisho period. This collection of essays, each based on new research, offers original insights into various aspects of modern Japanese cultural history from "modernist" architecture to women as cultural symbols, popular songs to the rhetoric of empire-building, and more. The volume is organized around three general topics: geographical and cultural space; cosmopolitanism and national identity; and diversity, autonomy, and integration. Within these the authors have identified a number of thematic tensions that link the essays: high and low culture in cultural production and dissemination; national and ethnic identities; empire and ethnicity; the center and the periphery; naichi (homeland) and gaichi (overseas); urban and rural; public and private; migration and barriers. The volume opens up new avenues of exploration for the study of modern Japanese history and culture. If, as one of the authors contends, the imperative is " to understand more fully the historical forces that made Japan what it is today," these studies of Japan's "competing modernities" point the way to answers to some of the country's most challenging historical questions in this century.
Institutional Rigidity and Reluctant Change
At the beginning of the 1990s, a massive speculative asset bubble burst in Japan, leaving the nation's banks with an enormous burden of nonperforming loans. Banking crises have become increasingly common across the globe, but what was distinctive about the Japanese case was the unusually long delay before the government intervened to aggressively address the bad debt problem. The postponed response by Japanese authorities to the nation's banking crisis has had enormous political and economic consequences for Japan as well as for the rest of the world. This book helps us understand the nature of the Japanese government's response while also providing important insights into why Japan seems unable to get its financial system back on track 13 years later.
The book focuses on the role of policy networks in Japanese finance, showing with nuance and detail how Japan's Finance Ministry was embedded within the political and financial worlds, how that structure was similar to and different from that of its counterparts in other countries, and how the distinctive nature of Japan's institutional arrangements affected the capacity of the government to manage change.
The book focuses in particular on two intervening variables that bring about a functional shift in the Finance Ministry's policy networks: domestic political change under coalition government and a dramatic rise in information requirements for effective regulation. As a result of change in these variables, networks that once enhanced policymaking capacity in Japanese finance became "paralyzing networks"--with disastrous results.
Consuls, Treaty Ports and War in China, 18951938
In November 1937, Ishii Itaro, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Bureau of Asiatic Affairs, reflected bitterly on the decline of the ministry's influence in China and his own long and debilitating struggle to guide China policy. Ishii was the most notable member of a group of middle-level diplomats who, having served in China, strongly advocated that Japan adopt policies in harmony with China's rising nationalism and national interests. Japan's Imperial Diplomacy profiles this distinct strain of "China service diplomat," while providing a comprehensive look at the institutional history and internal dynamics of the Japanese Foreign Ministry and its handling of China affairs in the years leading up to and through World War II. Moving from a thorough examination of a wide range of primary sources, including the extensive archives of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, memoirs, diaries, and unpublished speeches, Japan's Imperial Diplomacy offers integrated interpretations of Japanese imperialism, diplomacy, and the bureaucratic restructuring of the 1930s that were fundamental to Japan's version of fascism and the move toward war. Specialists of China, Japan, comparative colonialism, and World War II diplomacy will find this well-conceived and carefully researched and organized work of first-rate importance to the understanding of modern Japanese history in general and Japanese imperialism in particular.