9780679745112 / 0679745114

Japan: A Reinterpretation


3.45 avg rating105 ratings by GoodReads

Publisher:Vintage, 1998



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About the book:

Current Affairs/Asian Studies

Winner of the Overseas Press Club Award
for the best book on Foreign Affairs
A New York Times Notable Book of the year

"A stimulating, provocative book . . . fresh and valuable."  
--The New York Times Book Review

In 1868, Japan abruptly transformed itself from a feudal society into a modern industrial state. In 1945, the Japanese switched just as swiftly from imperialism and emperor-worship to a democracy. Today, argues Patrick Smith, Japan is in the midst of equally sudden and important change.

In this award-winning book, Smith offers a groundbreaking framework for understanding the Japan of the next millennium. This time, Smith asserts, Japan's transformation is one of consciousness--a reconception by the Japanese of their country and themselves.  Drawing on the voices of Japanese artists, educators, leaders, and ordinary citizens, Smith reveals a "hidden history" that challenges the West's focus on Japan as a successfully modernized country. And it is through this unacknowledged history that he shows why the Japanese live in a dysfunctional system that marginalizes women, dissidents, and indigenous peoples; why the "corporate warrior" is a myth; and why the presence of 47,000 American troops persists as a holdover from a previous era.  The future of Japan, Smit suggests, lies in its citizens' ability to create new identities and possibilities for themselves--so creating a nation where individual rights matter as much as collective economic success. Authoritative, rich in detail, Japan: A Re
interpretation is our first post-Cold War account of the Japanese and a timely guide to a society whose transformation will have a profound impact on the rest of the world in the coming years.

"Excellent . . . a penetrating examination."
--International Herald Tribune

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