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.
Edwin O. Reischauer was University Professor at Harvard University. Marius B. Jansen was Professor Emeritus of Japanese History and East Asian Studies, Princeton University, and author of Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration.
PART ONE The Setting 1. The Land 2. Agriculture and Natural Resources 3. Isolation PART TWO Historical Background 4 Early Japan 5. Feudalism 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 14. Relativism 15. Hierarchy 16. The Individual 17. Women 18. Education 19. Religion 20. Mass Culture PART FOUR Government and Politics 21 The Political Heritage 22. The Emperor 23. The Diet 24. Other Organs of Government 25. Elections 26. Political Parties 27. The Decision-Making Process 28. Issues 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 38. Language 39. Uniqueness and Internationalism 40. Japan Today by Marius B. Jansen Suggested Reading Index