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The Emptiness of Japanese Affluence (Japan in the Modern World) Revised Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0765607683
ISBN-10: 0765607689
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The author or editor of numerous books on Asia (e.g., Democracy in Contemporary Japan, M.E. Sharpe, 1986) and a professor at Australian National University, McCormack here scrutinizes the political economy, national identity, and war remembrances of Japan in an attempt to understand an apparently successful economic model with its own unique problems. The author has spent years studying and working in Japan, and it is evident that he knows the country well. Some of the more intriguing war legacies he relates are the "Shinjuku Bones Affair" (bones of prisoners tortured and killed at a military hospital during World War II are discovered years later) and the "left-behind children" of the Manchukuo area of China. Finally, we are left with a plea for zero population growth and more equitable economic distribution. Not a Japan-bashing book, McCormack's work is well documented, with extensive footnotes. Recommended for economics collections.?Lisa K. Miller Paradise Valley Community Coll. Lib., Phoenix
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"What an intellectually marvelous world we would have if university folk all wrote prose like McCormack. His well-tempered assessments are the product of a wisdom that comes from much direct experience with, and a profound interest in, his subject." - Karel van Wolfren in The Australian Review of Books

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Product Details

  • Series: Japan in the Modern World
  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Revised edition (June 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765607689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765607683
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,707,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bob Newman VINE VOICE on September 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
In the 1970s and '80s, Japan seemed to be unstoppable. Its economy grew endlessly and rapidly. Japanese individuals and corporations bought up iconic companies and sites all over the world. Tokyo property values skyrocketed beyond all imagination. It was the Japan that could say "More". But after all the media attention and wild predictions of Japan being No. 1, what was the reality ? Was all this a miracle ? Was Japan the best model for a number of developing nations wanting to go for broke ?

McCormack, fluent in Japanese and deeply interested in the society he'd chosen to study for life, delves deeply into the underside of the economic "miracle" and--surprise, surprise--finds out that Godzilla might have feet of clay. But if anyone thinks that mine is a snide comment, let me hasten to say that he proves that he has every reason to doubt. The book is divided into several sections. In the first, he argues that "Japanese expansion has outrun the social and political structures necessary to determine social priorities and needs and has begun to threaten the fragile ecosystem." That is, such a giant boom was not sustainable. He analyzes three areas: construction, leisure, and farming, noting the way the first two impact the third. The use of state-financed construction of public works (whether necessary or not) and the encouragement of vast "leisure" areas for a population rather deprived of actual leisure time (areas whose construction helped destroy the environment of a not very large country) have wreaked havoc on the Japanese environment and depleted farming land. Though not an expert on these matters, I very much appreciated that McCormack used JAPANESE sources for his arguments and did not indulge in "Japan-bashing" from afar.
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