Any discussion of Japanese contemporary art inevitably leads to the pop-culture fantasies of Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara and the other artists of the Superflat movement. But Japan as a whole has changed dramatically after stumbling through a series of economic, social and ecological crises since the collapse of its "bubble" economy in the early 1990s. How did Murakami, Nara and Superflat become the dominant artistic vision of the Japan of today? What lies behind their imagery of a childish and decadent society unable to face up to reality? Written by a sociologist with an eye for sharp observation and clear reportage, Before and After Superflat offers the first comprehensive history in English of the Japanese art world from 1990 up to the tsunami of March 2011, and its struggle to find a voice amidst Japan's economic decline and China's economic ascent.