THE JAPANESE TODAY: Change and Continuity by Edwin O. Reischauer

THE JAPANESE TODAY: Change and Continuity

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A reworked and enlarged version of the scholar-diplomat's The Japanese, published a decade ago. Though, as Reischauer points out In his preface, Japan has become far more familiar to the general reader during the intervening years, there is much here that is obvious and textbookish. Dividing his material into six parts (The Setting; Historical Background; Society; Government and Politics; Business; Japan and the World), Reischauer is most successful when dealing with recent developments in Japanese society. But his insights into the Nipponese national character and the history and arts of the country seem shallow and shopworn (""The Japanese love group activities of all sorts""); ""Japan has none of the great regional and ethnic diversity of the United States""), though he does offer a suggested reading list for those seeking greater depth and originality. When discussing Japan's postwar economic burgeoning and its inherent strengths and weaknesses, how-ever, the author reveals his very real expertise in analyzing Japanese objectives and motivations. His strictures about the possibly far. reaching effects of the uniqueness of the Japanese language itself, for example, are freshly perceived and convincing. Enlivening anecdotes are kept to a minimum here, and the prose rolls over the reader in a veritable tsunami of words; one laments that a leading world authority on Japan and its people seems unable to make his knowledge of and love for his subject shine through the murkiness of his writing. Though contemporary sections may be of interest to scholars and businessmen seeking insights into Japan in the 80's, others will Fred the book a curious mixture of the familiar and the academic.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Harvard Univ. Press