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1 Hawthorne World History- Japan

This title in other editions

Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation (Vintage Departures)

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Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation (Vintage Departures) Cover

ISBN13: 9781400077793
ISBN10: 1400077796
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

   The world's second-wealthiest country, Japan once seemed poised to overtake America as the leading global economic powerhouse. But the country failed to recover from the staggering economic collapse of the early 1990s. Today it confronts an array of disturbing social trends, notably a population of more than one million hikikomori: the young men who shut themselves in their rooms, withdrawing from society. There is also a growing numbers of “parasite singles”: single women who refuse to leave home, marry, or bear children.

   In this trenchant investigation, Michael Zielenziger argues that Japan's tradition-steeped society, its aversion to change, and its distrust of individuality are stifling economic revival, political reform, and social evolution. Shutting Out the Sun is a bold explanation of Japan's stagnation and its implications for the rest of the world.

Synopsis:

   The world's second-wealthiest country, Japan once seemed poised to overtake America as the leading global economic powerhouse. But the country failed to recover from the staggering economic collapse of the early 1990s. Today it confronts an array of disturbing social trends, notably a population of more than one million hikikomori: the young men who shut themselves in their rooms, withdrawing from society. There is also a growing numbers of “parasite singles”: single women who refuse to leave home, marry, or bear children.

   In this trenchant investigation, Michael Zielenziger argues that Japan's tradition-steeped society, its aversion to change, and its distrust of individuality are stifling economic revival, political reform, and social evolution. Shutting Out the Sun is a bold explanation of Japan's stagnation and its implications for the rest of the world.

About the Author

Michael Zielenziger is a visiting scholar at the Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley, and was the Tokyo-based bureau chief for Knight Ridder Newspapers for seven years. Before moving to Tokyo, he served as the Pacific Rim correspondent for San Jose Mercury News, and was a finalist for a 1995 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting for a series on China. Find him online at www.shuttingoutthesun.com.

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Shoshana, December 21, 2007 (view all comments by Shoshana)
Fascinating and generally accessible, though not always as well integrated as it could be, this look at Japan's modernization argues that several culture-bound psychological syndromes present in Japan today are consequences of Japan's economic, political, and cultural course. This is an interesting topic and Zielenziger does a reasonable job of describing the features and treatment of hikikomori (withdrawal to one's room, often by a young male), parasaito (young adult women who live with their families and spend their money on luxuries), and to a certain extent, futoko (children and adolescents who refuse to go to school because of bullying), all of which I might characterize as disorders of quality of engagement with others. Zielenziger's more abstract historical and cultural chapters are much drier than those in which he describes people and specific situations, but he demonstrates why this more removed information is necessary for an appreciation of the context of these syndromes. One might assume from his description that everyone in Japan works in an office shuffling papers, or in technical manufacturing, but other than that the material seems relatively complete and coherent. A comparison with South Korea provides an interesting comparison and underscores the possible differences between a society's taking on outside cultural practices and acquiring the cultural beliefs that inform those practices.

As a psychologist, I'd have liked more about hikikomori, parasaito, and futoko, particularly about their historical rise, sociopsychological disorders that have diminished during the push for modernity, and empirical data (of which there is little). A Japanese pediatrician recently told me at a conference that hikikomori is considered a bio-psycho-social disorder in Japan that warrants, among other diagnoses, the label "depression" as defined in DSM, but I did not see this perspective reflected here. Read with Yukio Mishima's Confessions of a Mask for a more intimate and visceral description of school bullying and ways in which social conformity is enforced.

Zielenziger includes a glossary, good notes, and an index. I mention these only because I will bemoan their absence when I finish reading and review Pankaj Mishra's Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet, and Beyond.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400077793
Author:
Zielenziger, Michael
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Author:
Michael Zielenziger
Subject:
Asia - Japan
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Economic Conditions
Subject:
Japan
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Departures
Publication Date:
20070931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
7.94x6.14x.79 in. .57 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Asia » Japan » Contemporary 1945 to Present
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » Japan
Reference » Science Reference » Technology

Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation (Vintage Departures) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 352 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9781400077793 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,    The world's second-wealthiest country, Japan once seemed poised to overtake America as the leading global economic powerhouse. But the country failed to recover from the staggering economic collapse of the early 1990s. Today it confronts an array of disturbing social trends, notably a population of more than one million hikikomori: the young men who shut themselves in their rooms, withdrawing from society. There is also a growing numbers of “parasite singles”: single women who refuse to leave home, marry, or bear children.

   In this trenchant investigation, Michael Zielenziger argues that Japan's tradition-steeped society, its aversion to change, and its distrust of individuality are stifling economic revival, political reform, and social evolution. Shutting Out the Sun is a bold explanation of Japan's stagnation and its implications for the rest of the world.

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