The decades of Western adulation for the Japanese 'economic miracle' failed to notice a key point: that in the pursuit of this miracle the Japanese had turned their country into a degraded, concrete shambles - a wilderness of bad planning, corruption and crowding. Now that the miracle is at an end and Japan seems set to remain in the economic doldrums it must become apparent to everyone that one of the world's greatest cultures has ruined itself almost beyond repair. Alex Kerr's wonderful book conveys vividly and furiously both the dazzling nature of Japanese culture and how the bureaucrats of a country he loves have poisoned and ruined it.
Alex Kerr is an American writer, antiques collector and Japanologist. Lost Japan is his most famous work. He was the first foreigner to be awarded the Shincho Gakugei Literature Prize for the best work of non-fiction published in Japan.