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Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan (Routledge Contemporary Japan Series) [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Hood
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Digital List Price: $54.95 What's this?
Print List Price: $54.95
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  • Print ISBN-10: 0415320526
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0415320528
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Book Description

The image of the shinkansen – or ‘bullet train’ – passing Mount Fuji is one of the most renowned images of modern Japan. Yet, despite its international reputation for speed and punctuality, little is understood about what makes it work so well and what its impact is.

This is a comprehensive account of the history of the shinkansen, from its planning during the Pacific War, to its launch in 1964 and subsequent development. It goes on to analyze the reasons behind the bullet train’s success, and demonstrates how it went from being simply a high-speed rail network to attaining the status of iconic national symbol. It considers the shinkansen’s relationship with national and regional politics and economic development, its financial viability, the environmental challenges it must cope with, and the ways in which it reflects and influences important aspects of Japanese society. It concludes by considering whether the bullet train can be successful in other countries developing high-speed railways. Overall, this book provides a thorough examination of the phenomenon of the shinkansen, and its relationship with Japanese society.

Editorial Reviews


'This book comprehensively covers just about every conceivable aspect of the shinkansen, linking its development to social and economic changes in Japan...This highly readable book makes a significant contribution not just to Japanese studies but also to the field of transport studies.' - japansociety

About the Author

Christopher P. Hood is Director of the Cardiff Japanese Studies Centre, Cardiff University and Associate Fellow at Chatham House. He is the author of Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone’s Legacy (Routledge 2001), co-editor with G. Bownas and D. Powers of Doing Business with the Japanese (2003), and regularly handles media enquiries relating to Japan.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5106 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Routledge (April 18, 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OT7YEC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,146,233 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very knowledgeable author March 15, 2009
This book is written in British English, so for Americans who know English, it will be sort of enjoyable to point out the differences between us.

This book explains to non-Asians why the Shinkansen is so important to Japan, beyond simply as one mode in the cross-country transportation network.

I got this from my university's library and now I see that costs over one hundred dollars! That's amazing. But I think that's because this book won't sell many copies and the author does an amazing job making sure he tells you about the "new trunk line" better than anyone has before. At least any native English writer ever has. It's the only book UIC has on the subject.
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More About the Author

Having become interested in Japan while I was at Concord College, I went on to study Japanese Studies and Business Studies at the School of East Asian Studies (University of Sheffield). Then, after a year on the JET Programme, I returned to Sheffield to do a PhD. Since August 2000, I have been a lecturer at and the Director of the Cardiff Japanese Studies Centre, part of the Cardiff Business School at Cardiff University. For 10 years I was also an Associate Fellow at Chatham House.

My research interests primarily relate to Japan and fall into two areas. First, I am particularly interested in themes are relating to identity and symbolism. Second, I am interested in issues relating to the railways and aviation in Japan.

My doctoral research and first book, Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone's Legacy, were on education reforms in Japan and the influence of Prime Minister Nakasone.

My next project was on the shinkansen ('bullet train'), looking at the ways in which it both reflects aspects of Japanese society and the ways in which it has influenced Japanese society. This book, Shinkansen - From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan, was published originally in 2006, with a paperback version published in 2007.

My third book is about the Japan Air Lines flight JL123 crash in 1985. Although the book, Dealing with Disaster in Japan: Responses to the Flight JL123 Crash, published in 2011, discusses the reasons for the crash, it primarily looks at what can be learnt about Japanese, and to some extent global, society by looking at what happened following the crash.

In addition to continuing research related to the shinkansen and JL123, I am working on a textbook, Japan: The Basics (due to be published in 2014), part of Routledge's The Basics series. The Basics is a highly successful series of accessible guidebooks which provide an overview of the fundamental principles of a subject area in a jargon-free and undaunting format. They are intended for readers coming to a subject for the first time which usually means a combination of students, particularly undergraduates or High School students, and general readers.

I have also worked on a number of other projects. For example, I was the editor of The Politics of Modern Japan, a 4 volume collection of articles on Japanese politics, published in 2008. I was also co-editor, with Prof. G. Bownas and D. Powers, of Doing Business with the Japanese, published in 2003.

Further details on my webpage:


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