THE JAPANESE MIRACLE and Peril by Willard Price


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A jaunty discourse on Japan's past and possible future, cast in a narrative which bobs and coasts without anchoring its anecdotes, facts or predictions. Dates are irritatingly lacking, e.g., for Price's unemployment figures, and he gives nothing past 1950's data on birth rates, although one of his main themes is the recurrent Japanese need for lebensraum. Price also indulges in extended description of such heretofore unknown exotica as Japanese bathing and eating customs, capped with cherry-blossom references. There is a good deal of compensatory liveliness: from circumstantial histories of Perry's open-door offensive and the romantic tale of the first American consul's geisha consort to factory conditions during the Japanese industrial revolution, how the ruling groups dusted off Shinto as an imperial ideology, and what poor soldiers young men trained in self-destruction turned out to be. Stories of infanticide and child traffic and the absurd autocracies of MacArthur's occupation are interpolated. In addition to the population/space problem, Price italicizes Japanese economic strength, which may soon overtake that of the U.S., he says: and ""perhaps forty years from now"" there will be war again. Hardly a book with serious intention or prospects, but not devoid of browsing appeal. It is Price's twenty-second, after many others on Japan.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1970
Publisher: John Day