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The Emptiness of Affluence in Japan

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Against the powerful image of Japan as a rising economic superpower, or even, in Ezra Vogel's influential formulation a deade ago, "Japan as number 1", this book explores the fragility, hubris and human and environmental costs of Japan's desperate drive for hyperdevelopment. As this economic superpower finds itself drifting, rudderless, through the decade, four seminal events seem to emblemise the enveloping crisis: the Kobe Earthquake, which the author shows to be no mere act of nature, but an event whose ...
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Overview

Against the powerful image of Japan as a rising economic superpower, or even, in Ezra Vogel's influential formulation a deade ago, "Japan as number 1", this book explores the fragility, hubris and human and environmental costs of Japan's desperate drive for hyperdevelopment. As this economic superpower finds itself drifting, rudderless, through the decade, four seminal events seem to emblemise the enveloping crisis: the Kobe Earthquake, which the author shows to be no mere act of nature, but an event whose consequences are intimately bound up with desperate hypergrowth; The Ayum Rikyo poison gas attack, which struck at Japan's sense of security in its deepest senses (psychological and moral, as well as physical); the collapse of the LDP single-party rule after nearly 40 years, plunging Japan's superstable political system into crises manifested by implausible coalition with little more than a thirst to rule in common; and Japan's inability to come to terms with war respnsibility ever after 50 years, best symbolised by the Comfort Women issue and the government's hapless attempt to come up with an appropriate formula for recognising, apologising and making amends for wartime aggression and crimes. Gavan McCormack addresses these issues - which are political, economic, social cultural and moral in the most profound sense - directly in this book.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The author or editor of numerous books on Asia (e.g., Democracy in Contemporary Japan, M.E. Sharpe, 1986) and a professor at Australian National University, McCormack here scrutinizes the political economy, national identity, and war remembrances of Japan in an attempt to understand an apparently successful economic model with its own unique problems. The author has spent years studying and working in Japan, and it is evident that he knows the country well. Some of the more intriguing war legacies he relates are the "Shinjuku Bones Affair" (bones of prisoners tortured and killed at a military hospital during World War II are discovered years later) and the "left-behind children" of the Manchukuo area of China. Finally, we are left with a plea for zero population growth and more equitable economic distribution. Not a Japan-bashing book, McCormack's work is well documented, with extensive footnotes. Recommended for economics collections.Lisa K. Miller Paradise Valley Community Coll. Lib., Phoenix
Booknews
This analysis shows that even at its height, Japan's economic success was blighted at its core due to its unsustainability, and argues that the US model of capitalism, now presented as the global model, is no alternative to the practices that produced Japanese affluence. It addresses political, economic, fiscal, and historical topics, and provides access to the views of Japanese who have resisted the terms of the consensus society. For anyone interested in the implications of extraordinary economic success across the spectrum of social life. McCormack teaches Japanese history in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword to the Revised Edition
Introduction to the Revised Edition
Photographs, Figures, Tables
Note on Japanese Names
Yen-Dollar Exchange Rate
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Tilting Toward the Millennium: Kobe and Beyond 3
Pt. 1 Political Economy
1 The Construction State: The Pathology of the Doken Kokka 25
2 The Leisure State: Work, Rest, and Consumption 78
3 The Farm State: GATTing Japan 113
Pt. 2 Identity
4 The Regional State: Asia and the Dilemmas of National Identity 153
5 The Peace State: Dilemmas of Power 185
Pt. 3 Memory
6 Remembering and Forgetting: The War, 1945-95 225
Concluding Remarks: Japan at Century's End 287
Index 299
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