Synopses & Reviews
With the two-thousand-year history of the Japanese experience as his foundation, Edwin O. Reischauer brings us an incomparable description of Japan today in all its complexity and uniqueness, both material and spiritual. His description and analysis present us with the paradox that is present-day Japan: thoroughly international, depending for its livelihood almost entirely on foreign trade, its products coveted everywhere--yet not entirely liked or trusted, still feared for its past military adventurism and for its current economic aggressiveness.
Reischauer begins with the rich heritage of the island nation, identifying incidents and trends that have significantly affected Japan's modern development. Much of the geographic and historical material on Japan's earlier years is drawn from his renowned study The Japanese, but the present book deepens and broadens that earlier interpretation: our knowledge of Japan has increased enormously in the intervening decade and our attitudes have become more ambivalent, while Japan too has changed, often not so subtly.
Moving to contemporary Japanese society, Reischauer explores both the constants in Japanese life and the aspects that are rapidly changing. In the section on government and politics he gives pithy descriptions of the formal workings of the various organs of government and the decision-making process, as well as the most contentious issues in Japanese life-pollution, nuclear power, organized labor-and the elusive matter of political style.
In what will become classic statements on business management and organization, Reischauer sketches the early background of trade and commerce in Japan, contrasts the struggling prewar economy with today's assertive manufacturing, and brilliantly characterizes the remarkable postwar economic miracle of Japanese heavy industry, consumer product development, and money management. In a final section, "Japan and the World' he attempts to explain to skeptical Westerners that country's growing and painful dilemma between neutrality and alignment, between trade imbalance and "fair" practices, and the ever-vexing issue of that embodiment of Japanese specialness, a unique and difficult language that affects personal and national behavior.
For many years Americans headed for careers in Japan have been preparing themselves with the books of Edwin O. Reischauer. Few people know the subject better than he. Japan Times
Born and brought up in Japan and, in the 1960s, American ambassador to Tokyo, [Reischauer] is well placed to analyze the special qualities of a people who down the years have fluctuated between self-deprecation and an almost cosmic arrogance, and who now seem poised to achieve dominance over the global economy. John Burgess - Washington Post Book World
Praise for the first edition:
Edwin Reischauer displays a novelist's sensitivity in this thorough overview, managing to explain the paradoxes of Japan without diminishing the sense of mystery...The Japanese Today offers the broadest available overview of the world's third greatest economic power, sagaciously exploring politics, history, religion, and education. Los Angeles Times
[Reischauer] is one of few Westerners who knows so well the social, cultural, political, and economic developments of Japanese society. Badar A. Iqbal
Japan, like the rest of the world, has undergone enormous changes in the last few years. The impact of the end of the Cold War has combined with a world-wide recession to create a fluid situation in which long-held assumptions about politics and policies no longer hold. A classic, short history of Japan, this book has been brought up to date by Marius Jansen, now our most distinguished interpreter of Japanese history. Jansen gives a lucid account and analysis of the events that have rocked Japan since 1990, taking the story through the election of Murayama as Prime Minister.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 445-449) and index.
About the Author
Marius B. Jansen was Professor of Japanese History at Princeton University. He was the author of Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration.
Table of Contents
PART ONE The Setting
1. The Land
2. Agriculture and Natural Resources
PART TWO Historical Background
4 Early Japan
6. Centralized Feudalism
7. The Meiji Restoration
8. The Constitutional System
9. The Militarist Reaction
10. The Occupation Reforms
11. Post-Occupation Japan
PART THREE Society
12. Diversity and Change
13. The Group
16. The Individual
20. Mass Culture
PART FOUR Government and Politics
21 The Political Heritage
22. The Emperor
23. The Diet
24. Other Organs of Government
26. Political Parties
27. The Decision-Making Process
29 Political Style
PART FIVE Business
30. The Premodern Background
31. The Prewar Economy
32. The Postwar Economy
33. The Employment System
34. Business Organization
PART SIX Japan and the World
35. The Prewar Record
36. Neutrality versus Alignment
37. Trade and Economic Dependence
39. Uniqueness and Internationalism
40. Japan Today by Marius B. Jansen