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Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survivalby David Pilling
Synopses & Reviews
and#147;[A]n excellent book...and#8221; and#151;The Economist
Financial Times Asia editor David Pilling presents a fresh vision of Japan, drawing on his own deep experience, as well as observations from a cross section of Japanese citizenry, including novelist Haruki Murakami, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, industrialists and bankers, activists and artists, teenagers and octogenarians. Through their voices, Pilling's Bending Adversity captures the dynamism and diversity of contemporary Japan.
Pillingand#8217;s exploration begins with the 2011 triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. His deep reporting reveals both Japanand#8217;s vulnerabilities and its resilience and pushes him to understand the countryand#8217;s past through cycles of crisis and reconstruction. Japanand#8217;s survivalist mentality has carried it through tremendous hardship, but is also the source of great destruction: It was the nineteenth-century struggle to ward off colonial intent that resulted in Japanand#8217;s own imperial endeavor, culminating in the devastation of World War II. Even the postwar economic miracleand#151;the manufacturing and commerce explosion that brought unprecedented economic growth and earned Japan international clout might have been a less pure victory than it seemed. In Bending Adversity Pilling questions what was lost in the countryand#8217;s blind, aborted climb to #1. With the same rigor, he revisits 1990and#151;the year the economic bubble burst, and the beginning of Japanand#8217;s and#147;lost decadesand#8221;and#151;to ask if the turning point might be viewed differently. While financial struggle and national debt are a reality, post-growth Japan has also successfully maintained a stable standard of living and social cohesion. And while life has become less certain, opportunitiesand#151;in particular for the young and for womenand#151;have diversified.and#160;
Still, Japan is in many ways a country in recovery, working to find a way forward after the events of 2011 and decades of slow growth. Bending Adversity closes with a reflection on what the 2012 reelection of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and his radical antideflation policy, might mean for Japan and its future. Informed throughout by the insights shared by Pillingand#8217;s many interview subjects, Bending Adversity rigorously engages with the social, spiritual, financial, and political life of Japan to create a more nuanced representation of the oft-misunderstood island nation and its people.
The Financial Times
and#147;David Pilling quotes a visiting MP from northern England, dazzled by Tokyoand#8217;s lights and awed by its bustling prosperity: and#145;If this is a recession, I want one.and#8217; Not the least of the merits of Pillingand#8217;s hugely enjoyable and perceptive book on Japan is that he places the denunciations of two allegedly and#147;lost decadesand#8221; in the context of what the country is really like and its actual achievements.and#8221;
The Telegraph (UK)
and#147;Pilling, the Asia editor of the Financial Times, is perfectly placed to be our guide, and his insights are a real rarity when very few Western journalists communicate the essence of the worldand#8217;s third-largest economy in anything but the most superficial ways. Here, there is a terrific selection of interview subjects mixed with great reportage and fact selection... he does get people to say wonderful things. The novelist Haruki Murakami tells him: and#147;When we were rich, I hated this countryand#8221;... well-written... valuable.and#8221;
"Aand#160;probing and insightfuland#160;portrait of contemporary Japan."
A powerful and unflinching account of the enduring impact of nuclear war, told through the stories of those who survived
On August 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, theUnited States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, a small port city on Japanand#8217;s southernmost island. An estimated 74,000 people died within the first five months, and another 75,000 were injured.
Published on the seventieth anniversary of the bombing,and#160;Nagasakiand#160;takes readers from the morning of the bombing to the city today, telling the first-hand experiences of five survivors, all of whom were teenagers at the time of the devastation. Susan
Southard has spent years interviewingand#160;hibakushaand#160;(and#147;bomb-affected peopleand#8221;) and researching the physical, emotional, and social challenges of post-atomic life. She weaves together dramatic eyewitness accounts with searing analysis of the policies of censorship and denial that colored much of what was reported about the bombing both in the United States and Japan.
A gripping narrative of human resilience,and#160;Nagasakiand#160;will help shape publicand#160;discussion and debate over one of the most controversial wartime acts in history.
About the Author
David Pilling is the Asia editor of the Financial Times. He was previously the Tokyo bureau chief for the FT from January 2002 to August 2008. Pillingand#8217;s reporting from Japan and his weekly column on Asia have won several prizes, including from the Society of Publishers in Asia Awards and the UKand#8217;s Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards. He lives in Hong Kong.
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