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The Japan That Can Say No: Why Japan Will Be First Among Equals Hardcover – January, 1991

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this brief, arresting and abrasively frank work, Japan Diet member and novelist Ishihara plumbs the causes of friction between his country and the U.S. Claiming that dropping the A-bomb on Japan rather than on Germany conveyed American racism, he warns that nuclear superiority will go to the superpower that acquires a microchip made only in Japan. And while conceding Japanese deficiencies--poor self-image, staunch clannishness--the author contends that U.S. trade deficits are due to a pursuit of immediate profits at the expense of long-range economic planning such as that practiced in his country. Calling for changed attitudes on both sides, Ishihara proposes a detailed agenda of "drastic steps" on the part of the U.S. to restore its world competitiveness and to foster an equal partnership with Japan--which he deems essential to both nations as a factor in post-Cold War global realignments. $75,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Japanese

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671726862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671726867
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.8 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,799,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on September 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
I read this book in the CIA-translated version as a Senate aide concerned about the rise of Japan, which included as co-author one of the leaders of Sony (Morita). While interesting for scholars, as I glanced thru this version - which is watered down but still white hot with anger - I was struck at how far off base the predictions of the man seem today. Afterall, when it was written, Japan was at the crest of the bubble economy, it appeared as if Japanese computer chips (and its electronic industries) would confer great power on the country (they could refuse to sell components that went into US missiles), and the US was in a now-unimaginable phase of self doubt. As such, the way things have turned out, after nearly 16 years of stagnation and the rise of high tech manufacturer-competitors elsewhere, reveal the author to have been so badly mistaken regarding the trajectory that Japan would take as to be laughable.

In a deeper sense, it points to the fact that Ishihara did not understand the economic forces at work at the time and so was full of utterly baseless nationalistic bravado. Japan's economic rise was based upon the post-war reconstruction boom, then a relatively protected economy that allowed huge undustrial combines to band together as cartels (gouging their won consumers to sell at low prices abroad to gain marketshare and crush competitiors), and lastly to a number of significant management innovations (TQM, just-in-time manufacturing, etc.) that are reflected in the fact that they make excellent cars.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jerald R Lovell on August 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book was a million-seller in Japan, and was translated into English in 1991. The author was a promininet Japanese politician. The book is dated, and history has not always borne out the author's views. Nonetheless, anyone attempting to understand modern Japan should read it. Some of the passages will be very surprising and disturbing.
Author Ishihara avoids the conventionally polite Japanese protocol and forcefully states that Japan is the equal of the United States, that Japan should have its own defense forces, (and strong ones), that Japanese computer technology is second to none and should be used as a negotiating tool, and Japan will be the most influential power in dealing with Asian nations.
Ishihara berates America for racism, and contends that the atomic bomb was not used on Germany because Germans were white, and Japanese were yellow. He asserts that nations colonized by Japan have been far more successful following liberation than those colonized by the United States.
The book exemplifies the growing trend toward national pride in Japan, and also forcefully addresses the feeling by many Japanese that their nation is misunderstood.
Plainly, the sentiments in the book foretell a troubled period in Japanese-American relations, and remind us that the Japanese have not forgotten Hiroshima any more than America has forgotten Pearl Harbor. Ishihara's call for a constructive dialogue between the two nations is well taken. Otherwise, the future looks cloudy at best.
Very highly recommended, even if slightly dated.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kitsuno on March 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The first test of the atomic bomb was 3 months AFTER Germany surrendered - so I was obviously confused as to how the author could claim that bombing Japan and not Germany could be construed as racism when the bomb didn't exist while Germany was at war. This, and the author's other severely flawed left wing craziness that has always been around but not subscribed to by normal Japanese keeps the diatribe both interesting and yet utterly wrong. It gets three stars for creating an entertaining fiction of "what could have been" if Japan hadn't become a permanent resident of a stagnant economic bog.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is okay. The edition you see is sawed in half due to one author refusing to be translated. I guess that is why the book seems kinda self indulgent and wordy. But it is a interesting read into the mindset of the modern Japanese nationalist.
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14 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
The reason you should read this book is to become familiar with Japan's hostilies towards the US, and maybe to learn a bit about the trade and military agreements between the two countries. Mostly, the book is too vague to convincingly defend Ishihara's points of view, which makes me think it was just written to get an edge during an election, merely echoing popular Japanese sentiments.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard E. Noble VINE VOICE on April 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Freedom is not free" is an expression we hear frequently these days. It is usually offered in defense of having a strong military and in support of our latest military overseas adventure or "intervention." This book written, I presume, in the 1980s and reprinted for American consumption without the author's permission in 1991 was written by Shintaro Ishihara. Mr. Ishihara is/was a prominent and outspoken Japanese politician and celebrity. His book provides instruction to us in the often neglected knowledge that "War is not free" either.

Most of us realize the cost of war to our nation. Our dead soldiers, the cost of the "bombs and the bullets," the rehabilitation and medical care for our damaged soldiers and the billions and trillions of taxpayers dollars for the Military Industrial Complex. But not often considered is the future cost of the hate and vindictiveness ingrained into the psyche of our enemies for generations to come.

Mr. Ishihara was just a child when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He lived under the American occupation of Japan and his bitterness towards the U.S. is raging yet in his adulthood.
He can still recount as if it were yesterday how "arrogant" American soldiers bumped him from the sidewalk and threw drinking ice into his face.

He confirms the popular world view that America is a racist nation that troops and tramps around the world bullying everybody.
We dropped the Atomic bombs on Japan and not on Germany because we hate Japanese and Asians, claims the author. Of course, his home country's nefarious endeavors in the tragedy of World War II, are dismissed with an offhanded recognition of "mistakes" that will require some "soul searching" on the part of the Japanese people.
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