Many people in the West portray Japan as being fixed in its ways, and unable to change, and consequently risking national decline and international loss of prestige. However, in fact, Japan is at present in a significant transition period, comparable to the Meiji Restoration of 1868 or the period immediately after the Second World War. This transition period comes with a mixture of events and situations which are difficult to interpret both for foreign as well as domestic commentators and decision makers. In this book a range of senior experts from inside Japan outline the many considerable changes currently taking place in a wide range of fields, including the economy, business and technology, politics, governance and international relations, and a wide range of social issues - the media, the position of women, nationalism and national consciousness, and religion. Overall, the book provides a corrective to misplaced Western and Eastern views; it aims to redirect stereotyped thinking about contemporary Japan both inside as well as outside the country. In addition it gives a summary overview of contemporary Japan, its current changes and problems- in short the inside story of the second strongest national economy in the world which is in the process of fundamental re-engineering and which will continue to have a huge impact globally going forward.
Rien T. Segers is Director and Professor at the Center for Contemporary Japanese Studies, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He was previously Visiting Professor at the International Research Centre for Japanese Studies, Kyoto (2006-2007).
Part 1: Introduction 1. A New Japan in the Twenty-First Century: Introduction to a Changing Nation Rien T. Segers Part 2: Business and Technology 2. Japanese Banks: The Lost Decade and New Challenges Nobuyoshi Yamori and Narunto Nishigaki 3. Japan's Current and Future Technological Agendas Taizo Yakushiji Part 3: Politics, Governance and Foreign Policy 4. Japanese Contemporary Politics: Towards a New Interpretation Takashi Inoguchi 5. Japan as a Changing Civil Society: Public Philosophy and the Three-Sector Model Toshihisa Nagasaka 6. Major Developments in Japanese Foreign Policy since the Mid-1990's Kazuo Ogoura Part 4: Social Issues 7. Symptomatic Transformations. Japan, the Media and Cultural Globalization Koichi Iwabuchi 8. Re-Identified Japan: Cultural Turns in Television Commercials after the 1980's Shoji Yamada 9. Current Changes within the Japanese Higher Education System: Past and Future Yumiko Hada 10. The `Class A War Criminal' Syndrome: Changing Historical Consciousness in Present Day Japan Kei Ushimura 11. Beyond the Geisha-Stereotype: Changing Images of `New Women' in Japanese Popular Culture Junko Saeki Part 5: National Identity 12. Japanese Religion Adrift: A Re-Examination of `Religion' in Post-War Japan Tetsuo Yamaori 13. Japanese Religiosity amidst the Changing Chaos of Several Forms of Nationalism Yo Hamada 14. In Search of a New National Identity. An Analysis of the National Psyche of Postwar Japan Hisashi Owada Part 6: Conclusions 15. The Necessity for a Re-Interpretation of a Changing Japan Rien T. Segers