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Philosophy of Agricultural Science: A Japanese Perspective (Japanese Society Series) Paperback – March 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1876843304 ISBN-10: 1876843306

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Product Details

  • Series: Japanese Society Series
  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Trans Pacific Press (March 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1876843306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1876843304
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,632,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Readers interested in German and Japanese academic theories of agriculture and its place in society (and especially in Soda's theory of 'ba', place) will get the most from this book. If, like me, you're more interested in Japanese agriculture and Japanese society's attitudes toward it, you'll find some interesting sections but also a lot that is dense, abstract and rambling.

Some of Prof. Soda's remarks are quite forward-looking, including his comments about the destructive effects of economic growth, and his notion that Japan needs not a separate agricultural policy but an agricultural policy that's integrated into a regional policy. There is also some useful information about the structure of traditional Japanese farming villages. Most of this material is scattered through the first 8 chapters.

But the dominant influence on the book is German scholarship from the early and mid-20th Century, perhaps mirroring the most influential works at around the time of the author's own professional formation (he was born in 1939). In some cases this yields interesting results, especially concerning the differences between German and Japanese regional development (parts of Chap. 8). But for the most part it gives this 2006 book an outdated feeling, since more modern references aren't cited even to be dismissed. This lack is especially acute in the chapter on the diffusion of innovation (Chap. 9), about which there's a lot of recent literature in both English and French. For that matter, the chapter also lacks any evidence about the attitudes of Japanese farmers toward technology post-1964, so the neglect isn't necessarily due to xenophobia.
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