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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose (Century Foundation Books) Paperback – April 29, 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"(A) fine new book... (Kenneth Pyle) has excellent credentials for his chosen task... the book he has written to fulfill it is outstanding." Economist "Kenneth B Pyle's Japan Rising is a good argument for the value of history to an understanding of contemporary international relations." TLS"

About the Author

Kenneth B. Pyle is the Henry M. Jackson Professor of History and Asian Studies at the University of Washington. He is Founding President of The National Bureau of Asian Research, founding editor and chairman of the board of the Journal of Japanese Studies, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Professor Pyle was decorated by the Emperor of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun in 1999.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; Reprint edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586485679
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586485672
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #741,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Kenneth Pyle's history of Japan's shifting foreign policies over the last hundred and fifty years is built on three premisses. The first, in accordance with the realist paradigm in international relations theory, is that Japan conducts its foreign relations in a way that maximizes the nation's interest, and that its national advantage can be determined in a straightforward and unambiguous manner. This distinguishes the author from other scholars who insist on socially-constructed goals or collective disciplines that can sometimes be at variance with a country's most advantageous course of action.

The second principle is that Japanese political leaders are a pragmatic lot who tend to "move with the tide" and adapt to changing circumstances. Whenever fundamental changes have taken place in the international environment, the Japanese leaders have proven skillful at adapting their policies to these changes and using them opportunistically to further the nation's interests and ambition. A corollary is that Japan takes its external environment as a given: it doesn't try to shape or transform it through the application of universalistic principles or home-bred ideologies. To use a metaphor from economics, Japan is a price-taker, not a market-maker.

The third precept is the "Primat der Aussenpolitik": Japanese institutions were shaped more by external factors than by internal political struggles or social conflicts. Repeatedly through the course of the 150 years of its modern history, each time the structure of the international system underwent fundamental change, Japan adapted its foreign policies to that changed order and restructured its internal organization to take advantage of it.
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Format: Hardcover
Kenneth Pyle does a remarkable job in helping his readers better assess the future behavior of a resurgent Japan in fast-changing Asia. U.S. policymakers have been repeatedly wrong-footed in gauging Japan's foreign policy since the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry and his ships on Japan's shores in 1853 (pp. 10, 67). Think for instance about the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor as an act of economic desperation over the American oil embargo, despite the odds against military victory (pp. 10 - 11, 64 - 65, 135 - 36, 204, 354). Another example is the Yoshida doctrine, Japan's unique Cold War policy that relied on U.S. security guarantees while pursuing mercantile realism, to which American policymakers remained oblivious for a long time (pp. 13, 45 - 46, 212, 225 - 77, 291).

Part of the challenge in understanding Japan is that the country is simultaneously a state and a unique civilization (pp. 13, 49 - 50). Furthermore, Japan has vacillated between infuriating ethnocentrism and remarkable receptivity to foreign influences during its history without ultimately sacrificing its unique culture (pp. 18 - 19, 22 - 23, 58 - 62, 76, 100 - 05, 116 - 36, 176, 239, 245). Finally, Japan has often not done enough to factor in the legitimate concerns of other countries in its "opaque" decision-making process, resulting in some needless frictions (pp. 15 - 16, 229, 250 - 52, 306 - 09, 354).

To his credit, Pyle clearly shows that the Japanese tend to shun radical change in their interaction with the outside world unless the circumstances deprive them of any other option. The difficulty of making change and the rapidity with which irresistible changes occur have often confused foreigners because of the apparent, inherent contradiction in this policy (pp. 52, 76).
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Format: Hardcover
This book examines the changes in Japanese culture and society over the past 160 years, essentially from the time Commodore Perry opened up her ports to the end of the 20th century. The author writes the book with one central idea in mind; how have the changes come internally from Japan, versus coming as a reaction to some outside influence. For most of Japan's history as covered in this book, every change in Japan was copied directly from foreigners, or came about as a reaction to some foreign influence. This tendency to identify itself in relation to foreign influences has led to cultural insecurity on the part of the Japanese people at all levels of society. This insecurity, and its manifestations, are also explored in depth by this book. The author examines all of these themes in regards to topics like Japan's relations with the US and China, the treatment of foreigners within Japan versus the treatment of Japanese in other countries, the nuclear option, foreign aid, and of course, Japan's industrial might and trade with other countries. All in all, the author covers a wide breadth of material. There were several items that I found lacking with the book. First, the author often refers to Japan's bureaucracy in discussions of Japanese politics and political change. Yet he never characterizes them very well; i.e. who do they include, how big of the population are they, how is their status defined legally, how does one join this bureaucracy, etc.... Another miss from this book was a good quantifiable breakdown of Japanese society. For examples, what percentage of Japanese actually vote; what percentage of Japanese actually work in life-long occupations in companies, versus in self-employed businesses, etc... A book of this topic deserves to put some numbers behind its statements. Because of these misses, I give this book a 4/5 stars, when it could have gotten 5/5 stars.
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