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Reimagining Japan: The Quest for a Future That Works Hardcover – July 12, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC (July 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 142154086X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421540863
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Contributors to this volume include some of the world's most brilliant thinkers from fields as diverse as business, politics, academia, science and technology, journalism and art and design. Authors have been selected for their promience, but also for their knowledge of Japan and distinctiveness of their point of view. Many essays seek to identify, assess and prioritize Japan's major challenges for the next decade, while also suggesting solutions. But the collection also includes more literary, reflective essays, intended to provoke discussion and new ideas. This is a rare blend of truly global commentary and insight unlike anything ever published about Japan.

Copyright (c) 2011 McKinsey & Company

More About the Author

Mark L. Clifford is the executive director of the Hong Kong-based Asia Business Council. An honors history graduate of the University of California Berkeley and a Walter Bagehot Fellow at Columbia University, he has lived in Asia since 1987. Previously, Clifford was the editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), publisher and editor-in-chief of The Standard (Hong Kong) and held senior editorial positions at BusinessWeek and the Far Eastern Economic Review in Hong Kong and Seoul.

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Customer Reviews

Easy reading, with great information.
Due to the breadth of topics and well-known contributors, I thought this book would provide a good overview of the country, its history, politics and culture.
Andrea B.
I've actually purchased the Japanese version, the Kindle ver. as well as the hardcover English ver. because I love it so much.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Sutter on July 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you're expecting a book that addresses post-3/11 Japan explicitly, this is not the book for you. Like a seared piece of maguro, only the surfaces of the book -- the introduction, conclusion, and first and last chapters (each chapter being a collection of articles) -- have been significantly affected by those events. Most of the 79 articles pay them lip service, or ignore them altogether. As the editors explain, this book was already on its way to the printer when the earthquake hit.

As a book about the challenges facing Japan more generally, the book has a huge number, but relatively limited variety, of points of view. If you don't tire of hearing over and over that Japan should let in immigrants, encourage entrepreneurship, liberalize ___ (fill in the blank: trade, the labor market, regulation), reduce the corporate tax rate, hire more women, and reform its educational system, and don't mind indulging some CEOs as they pat themselves on the back, you may find it spellbinding. Otherwise, I'd generously estimate about 25%-30% of the contents to be interesting, either for offering a different perspective on Japan's challenges or for describing some features of Japanese culture (sumo, baseball, cuisine, a popular manga series, etc.) better than the Western media usually do.

As one might expect from a book edited by a huge management consulting company, the emphasis is on business and economics more than on most other aspects of Japanese life (esp. Chaps. 1-8).
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Scott Meredith on July 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The main challenges presented, over and again in almost every piece:

- graying/aging population
- low birthrate
- hidebound political system and political actors
- hidebound business practices
- lackadaisical, unambitious, unadventurous, inward-looking youth
- messed up national finances
- inward looking, risk-averse culture
- over reliance on manufacturing sector as opposed to service and other
- energy issues
- rise of China

The main residual Japanese strengths presented that may help overcome some of the above:

- still a rich country
- highly educated people
- social discipline
- some scattered entrepreneurial and/or young innovator types of inspiring case histories'presented
- some corporations successfully getting more globalized, more diversity in the management suite, etc.
- soft power, culture stuff attractive to the world
- some Japanese athletes doing well in international competitions
- rural depopulation may restore ecology, boost eco-tourism
- China may be best future target market for high end Japanese brands and luxury goods
- economic revival may possibly derive from basically good existing technology base in health care, green energy, etc.
- elites in Japan starting to realize more openness and innovation needed

That's about it. Essays mostly written by conventional people, leaders of companies, professors, thinktankers, etc.
The boldest and most fun essay is Alex Kerr's "Japan After People".
Some obligatory 3/11 tsunami stuff hastily layered on and the seams are showing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Howell on August 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reimagining Japan is a must read for those interested in learning about the opportunity facing Japan as it finds its own unique place in our ever changing world. The book was already on its way to the publisher at the time of the tragic events of 3-11 in Northern Japan, but the presses were halted and editors and contributors reviewed the content to address any new questions facing the nation. The format of the book is like a "college reader" with short essays from more than 80 thinkers from around the globe. The book is perfect for both the casual reader and the serious academic. The candid and often creative essays are from some of the great names in the study of Japan and Asia. Many of the arguments have been told again and again from the same contributors that I have followed for almost 40 years in my own study of Japan, but I was pleased to see some new and fresh names on the roster to lend a new perspective to some age old questions. What I found most amazing about the book is that the issues presented along with some possible solutions are not unique to Japan, but universal and applicable to nations around the globe.
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Format: Hardcover
McKinsey & Co, the management consultants, has commissioned a book consisting of around 80 short chapters. Edited volumes are seldom very good. Still I like this book. Taken together it gives many perspectives on current Japan from both Japanese and Westerners. Just don't expect any depth in this book. It brushes on the surface, but without being shallow in a negative sense. I think this book would be great if you are moving to Japan or if you want to get a quick understanding of current Japan. Three stars.
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