Japan: A Reinterpretation

Front Cover
Pantheon Books, 1997 - History - 385 pages
The Japanese are in the process of re-creating themselves--an endeavor they have undertaken at intervals throughout history, always prompted by a combination of domestic and global forces. In this landmark book, Patrick Smith asserts that a variety of forces--the achievement of material affluence, the Cold War's end, and the death of Emperor Hirohito--are now spurring Japan once again toward a fundamental redefinition of itself.
As Smith argues, this requires of the West an equally thorough reevaluation of the picture we have held of Japan over the past half-century. He reveals how economic overdevelopment conceals profound political, social, and psychological under-development. And by refocusing on "internal history" and the Japanese character, Smith offers a new framework for understanding Japan and the Japanese as they really are. The Japanese, he says, are now seeking to alter the very thing we believe distinguishes them: the relationship between the individual and society.
Timely, measured, and authoritative, this book illuminates a new Japan, a nation preparing to drop the mask it holds up to the West and to steer a course of its own in the world.
Jacket image: The Great Wave of Kanagawa, from 36 Views of Mount Fuji (detail) by Katsushika Hokusai. Private collection.

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JAPAN: A Reinterpretation

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A radically against-the-grain appraisal of Japan and the Japanese from a journalist who spent many years on the Asia beat. Drawing largely on his own experience and research, Smith (The Nippon ... Read full review

Japan: a reinterpretation

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Smith, a journalist (New York Times, International Herald Tribune), attacks the view of Japan held by most Americans. Articulated best by Edwin O. Reischauer (The Japanese, 1977; updated as The ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
Hidden History
41
Becoming Nihonjin
75
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Patrick Smith has worked as an editor and correspondent for more than twenty years (fourteen of them in Asia) with, among other publications, the New York Times, the Financial Times of London, the International Herald Tribune, and The New Yorker. He is the author of The Nippon Challenge: Japan's Pursuit of the Americas Cup. He lives in Norfolk, Connecticut.

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