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The Enigma of Japanese Power: People and Politics in a Stateless Nation Paperback – June 10, 1990

4.0 out of 5 stars 37 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Few Americans have examined carefully the nation whose economy and industry is bound up with their own, whose future will inescapably shape theirs--Japan, that is. Dutch journalist Karel van Wolferen does the job, and very well indeed, depicting a Japan alternately awed and disgusted by the world beyond its shores, governed by a puppet emperor in the service of the zaikaijin, a gerontocracy of businessmen who control the national economy, just as they have done for generations. Their hierarchy is reinforced by the fear that, as in 1945, hostile powers will not only overpower the Japanese economy but denature the Japanese people, introducing foreign concepts of democracy and even the specter of an "impure race." Although Van Wolferen balances his account by highlighting what he regards as positive Japanese traits, including thrift, respect for elders, industriousness, and self-control, The Enigma of Japanese Power remains a controversial text in the nation it assays to describe with discomforting accuracy.

From Publishers Weekly

"Here at last is a first-rate book by a Westerner on the obfuscations and realities of Japanese politics," praised PW , complimenting van Wolferen's "almost stupefying thoroughness."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • Publisher : Vintage; Reprint edition (June 10, 1990)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 528 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0679728023
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0679728023
  • Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
  • Dimensions : 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 37 ratings

Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5
37 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2006
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6 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2010
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Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2013
9 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2000
11 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Reizo
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheapest version but didn't regret it / Compré la versión más barata pero no me arrepiento
Reviewed in Mexico on January 22, 2021
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cheapest version but didn't regret it / Compré la versión más barata pero no me arrepiento
Reviewed in Mexico on January 22, 2021
I bought it in Amazon Mexico. The book is yellowish because of its date (My copy was one of the first verions) but the pages are really well kept. Maybe original owner read it just once or never. I heard about this book by Kira Sensei, an spanish influencer about Japanese Lifestyle and how people have enhanced japanese culture to romantic levels. This book -he says- makes you clear your head and to think about Japanese culture as it is, or it was (Late 80's to Mid 90's) without any makeup. Costed me 100 MXN pesos in 2021 instead 530 MXN on newer versions. Maybe if it was in a public library I wouldn't buy, but it worth it. Google translate this into spanish if you're interested in this review. Thanks.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars its still an excellent incite into Japanese politics and business
Reviewed in Canada on February 6, 2017
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pinuccia biffi
5.0 out of 5 stars Karel von Wolferen
Reviewed in Italy on May 19, 2014
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Amazon カスタマー
5.0 out of 5 stars ギリシャ
Reviewed in Japan on October 28, 2017
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2 people found this helpful
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アトニ―
4.0 out of 5 stars 日本権力構造の謎
Reviewed in Japan on October 27, 2011
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9 people found this helpful
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