THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN by Pearl S. Buck

THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Pearl Buck, who has known the Japanese people for a long time, finds that they are basically unchanged despite the influence of the West, which has had a modifying effect. The emperor, maintained by MacArthur although divested of his divinity, remains the symbol and example of this sameness at the heart of things. Women may be modern in business, but they still are subordinate and submissive at home, while their men spend afterhours in the bars that have supplanted the geisha houses and brothels. Marriages are still arranged for the most part, although preferences are considered from a list of suitables: suicide is still considered the perfect solution for a debt unpaid, for perfection unachieved, although it is often the cure for more modern ennui and takes the modern course of the pill. Love of beauty is the Japanese secret passion, but those that come under the heading of ""human feeling"" are more openly expressed in a naturalistic manner. The Japanese are full of contradictions, at once death-oriented and meeting life with an exuberant will to pleasure. The paradox becomes complete with Miss Buck's final assurance that ""our most bitter enemy in Asia has become our best friend there."" Insightful human commentary on a generalized level.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster