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Multiethnic Japan

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ISBN-13: 978-0674013582
ISBN-10: 0674013581
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This scholarly but highly interesting book explodes the popular myth that Japan is a monoethnic society. Even the Japanese themselves (Yamato) often have heard little or nothing of the Ainu, Okinawans, Burakumin, Koreans, and Chinese among them. And within these groups, the Burakumin form more of an underclass, or a lower caste, than an ethnic or cultural group, as the others do. In any case, this cultural diversity is more a matter of degree than of ignorance or misunderstanding as these groups form such a small minority of the population that ignorance and misunderstanding of them is not surprising. Lie carefully explains the reasons behind these misunderstandings while exploring the concept Japanese have of themselves. Lie's background as a Korean who lived in Japan gives poignancy to his findings; his position as professor of sociology at the University of Illinois makes his analytical work very thorough and engrossing. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.DKitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Multiethnic Japan represents a major scholarly work, one that is far more penetrating as well as more comprehensive than any other addressing the issue of 'Japaneseness' and the monoethnic ideology of Japan. (Hiroshi Ishida, University of Tokyo)

In recent years, the terms 'multicultural' and 'multiethnic' have acquired a dominant space in Japanese studies. Providing a brilliant critique of the sometimes unthoughtful use of these concepts, Multiethnic Japan makes a valuable contribution to Japanese studies in particular and sociology in general. (Sonia Ryang, Johns Hopkins University)

This...highly interesting book explodes the popular myth that Japan is a monoethnic society...Lie carefully explains the reasons behind these misunderstandings while exploring the concept Japanese have of themselves. Lie's background as a Korean who lived in Japan gives poignancy to his findings; his position as professor of sociology...makes his analytical work very thorough and engrossing. Highly recommended. (Library Journal 2001-03-01)

What has fascinated scholars of modern Japanese history is how this highly stratified society was moulded into such a uniform one in a relatively short time. While all nation-states have this aim, few have achieved their ends so well as the Japanese. It is this modern construction of sameness that John Lie wants to challenge in his book--and challenge it he does. In a passionately argued text, Lie examines the many sources of difference in Japanese society: from pre-Meiji outcasts and Korean artisans (as well as aristocracy) to postwar Chinese immigrants and the hafu (children of mixed descent): Japan is a society as diverse as any other. (Dolores Martinez Times Higher Education Supplement 2002-05-10)

John Lie presents a lively examination of modem Japanese attitudes on ethnicity in Multi-Ethnic Japan. He has an insider's view, having been in Japan and lived the experience. He has researched the facts, and made case studies. In addition, his book is very readable, and quotable...Lie's critical view provokes thought, and generates eventual change. (Bill Drucker Korean Quarterly)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674013581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674013582
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,704,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a 17 year resident of Japan, I thoroughly enjoyed Lie's book. He has written a highly readable account of how modern Japan has created a myth of monoethnicity that serves as a source of national identity. As a Korean who spent his youth in Japan before emigrating to the United States, Lie is well equipped to write on this subject. He has drawn on his own research and interviews with Japanese as well as the writings of important Japanese academics and cultural critics.
One disappointment is his dismissal of Ivan Hall's chapter on Academic Apartheid. Lie says he "found remarkable indulgence accorded to white academics and intellectuals" p. 173. The case of mistreatment of a foreign academic about which Hall goes into most detail is, ironically, not about a white academic, but a Korean. Lie has obviously not read Hall's chapter. However, if you ignore this slip, the book offers many insights into how contemporary Japan views itself vis-a-vis its own minorities and the world outside its borders.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Minko Ievgen on November 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
One of the best books on the state of multicultural societies I've ever read. Contains a profound look into the history of the concept of Japaneseness. Very recommended for those interested in modern Japan and its undercurrents.
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