JAPAN: Images and Realities by Richard Halloran

JAPAN: Images and Realities

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A fascinating, disturbing study by the Washington Post correspondent of the country which is now one of the four great powers; Japan's gross national product is the third largest in the world. The myth that Japan is becoming progressively Westernized, innocently reinforced as tourists whirl through Tokyo, is successfully deflated here. Throughout chapters dealing with the operation of the Japanese ""establishment"" in business, politics; journalism and foreign affairs, the author touches on customs and behavior which motivate Japanese life at all levels.""The Japanese at home live in an environment where no two people are equal. Everyone is superior or inferior,"" in an order of obligation and loyalty which is ""intensely personal and intuitive rather than contractual and rational."" Decision-making is more by delicate adjustment than by consensus in the Western mode. Therefore agreements are valid only as long as the situations which brought them about obtain; the Western concept of ""individualism"" has the connotation of ""selfishness"" since subordination of the individual for the harmony of all is a prime virtue. Mr. Halloran reviews Japanese foreign policy from the time Japan was ""opened"" to the West through the present which he feels is a turning point leading to either. (1) armed neutrality, (2) a working alliance with the U.S. toward which Japan has ambivalent, feelings or (3) a Gaullist role. The author uses a ""model"" statement by a hypothetical Japanese to underline generalities on the Japanese modus vivendi and a visit to Tokyo (including ghettos and litter) concludes. Specialists may object to some sweeping conclusions about 100 million people, but for the general public which tends to ignore the power and fierce anti-foreign nationalism, of Japan, this is essential reading.

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 1969
Publisher: Knopf