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Japan: A Reinterpretation
ISBN 0006386164 / 9780006386162 / 0-00-638616-4
Publisher Harpercollins Canada
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For years westerners have viewed Japan as a nation of democratic, hard-working, unabashedly pro-Western people, a viewpoint promulgated mainly by a group of postwar scholars known as the Chrysanthemum Club. Journalist Patrick Smith takes a hard, fresh look at Japan and its relations with the West--particularly the United States--in Japan: A Reinterpretation. Smith asserts that the economic miracle we in the West have long admired was achieved at the expense of true political reform, creating a corporation instead of a democracy. Now that the miracle has collapsed, the Japanese are in a state of cultural, political, and social malaise.
Smith approaches Japan from many different directions: first by reinterpreting the country's postwar history as presented by the Chrysanthemum Club, then by delving into the lives of ordinary Japanese. From the overworked salarymen to the upper echelons of Japanese politicians, Patrick Smith paints a bold new picture of a nation suffering from overdevelopment. In addition, Japan: A Reinterpretation focuses on infrequently examined topics such as Japan's educators and writers. Though some of Smith's statements may seem a bit hyperbolic, his book is solidly researched and impeccably presented. [via]