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The Paradox of Harmony

Keiko Hirata and Mark Warschauer

View Inside Format: Cloth
Price: $32.00
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A well-rounded, well-informed critique of the Pacific island nation of Japan, its society, economy, demography, and politics

 Following a crushing defeat in World War II, Japan rose like a phoenix from the literal ashes to become a model of modernity and success, for decades Asia’s premier economic giant. Yet it remains a nation hobbled by rigid gender roles, protectionist policies, and a defensive, inflexible corporate system that has helped bring about political and economic stagnation. The unique social cohesion that enabled Japan to cope with adversity and develop swiftly has also encouraged isolationism, given rise to an arrogant and inflexible bureaucracy, and prevented the country from addressing difficult issues. Its culture of hard work—in fact, overwork—is legendary, but a declining population and restrictions on opportunity threaten the nation’s future.
Keiko Hirata and Mark Warschauer have combined thoroughly researched deep analysis with engaging anecdotal material in this enlightening portrait of modern-day Japan, creating an honest and accessible critique that addresses issues from the economy and politics to immigration, education, and the increasing alienation of Japanese youth.
Keiko Hirata is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, California State University, Northridge. Mark Warschauer is professor of education and informatics and associate dean of the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine.

'Keiko Hirata and Mark Warschauer offer a lucidly written contribution to our understanding of present-day Japan. Interweaving anecdotal gems into a narrative elucidating both the upside and the downside of harmony (wa), the chapters examine key issues in the economy, society and foreign relations, as well as the shorter- and longer-term implications of the triple disaster of Fukushima. Japan: The Paradox of Harmony will be of interest to all those aiming to learn more about the forces shaping the destiny of Japan today.' - Glenn D. Hook, author of Japan's International Relations: Politics, Economics and Security

“[A] strong attempt to create a comprehensive road map of current Japanese society. This book will be valuable for students and others who might be interested in better understanding Japanese society.”—Hye Won Um, Pacific Affairs

“The details are endlessly fascinating though little will come as a surprise to the readers with a half-knowledge of Japan, since the book underpins superficial understanding with select data and vivid anecdotes.”—Felix Girke, Common Knowledge
ISBN: 9780300186079
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
304 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4