Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan

1st Edition

Edited by Jeff Kingston


312 pages | 22 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415857451
pub: 2013-12-02
Hardback: 9780415857444
pub: 2013-12-10
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pub: 2013-12-17
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This book provides undergraduate and graduate students with an interdisciplinary compendium written by a number of leading specialists on contemporary Japan. Chapters reflect the standards of rigorous scholarly work, but also exceed them in their accessibility of language and engagement with concerns relevant to non-specialists. The probing analysis of key debates and issues confronting Japan make this ideal for college courses and an essential reference work on Japan/Asia for libraries.

This book encompasses a range of disciplines in the social sciences and thus will be useful for a variety of courses including Comparative Politics, Media Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Asian Studies, International Relations, Public Policy, Healthcare, Education, Judicial Reform, Gender and Minority Studies. The strength of this volume is in the collective efforts of accomplished experts providing in-depth analysis and up-to-date comprehensive coverage of Japan in the 21st century. Students will gain the analytical insights and information necessary to assess the challenges that confront the Japanese people, policymakers and private and public sector institutions.

Key issues covered in this volume include:

* Rapidly Aging society

* Changing Employment system

* Energy policy-Nuclear and Renewable

* Gender discrimination

* Immigration

* Ethnic minorities

* Trade policy

* Civil society

* Rural Japan

* Okinawa

* Post-3.11 Tsunami, earthquake, nuclear meltdown developments

* Internationalization

* Sino-Japanese relations

* East Asia’s divisive history


‘From immigration and demographics to Okinawa and the changing role of the Supreme Court, this collection of essays provides a fresh and comprehensive guide to a society that is changing more than widely recognised. Kingston has gathered a collection of essays that shun cliché in favour of rational discussion.’David Pilling, Asia Editor, Financial Times

‘In a post-earthquake, tsunami and radiation Japan, many of the assumptions we had about Japan, even those we had felt were chronically problematic, have been directly challenged. This volume is an important collection that allows us to explore that challenge, both in our understanding of what is distinct to a rapidly changing Japan in itself, but also as a way for us to engage in comparative research on a number of dynamics that are characteristic to post-industrial society in Asia and around the world. Hugely valuable for current research and a great teaching tool for advanced students.’David Slater, Sophia University Faculty of Liberal Arts, Japan

‘This highly accessible book captures – better than any other I know currently available in English –the key debates currently taking place in Japan as it searches for a new sense of identity following the triple disasters of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown which befell the country on 11 March 2011. It should go straight on the reading list of anyone teaching courses on contemporary Japan.’ – Roger Goodman, Nissan Professor of Modern Japanese Studies, University of Oxford, UK

‘This timely collection by cutting-edge scholars of East Asia covers many of the key issues in Japanese domestic society and international relations. The readable and informative essays take us beyond the mass media stereotypes, making it a valuable tool for students, teachers, journalists, and general readers seeking a deeper understanding of Japan today.’ Jordan Sand, Associate Professor of Japanese History, Georgetown University, USA

'Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan provides a reminder to the more optimistic analysts that much more reform work remains before the promised dawn breaks … this work offers an excellent summary for students, or even experts, of Japan’s host of pressing issues, spanning a wide range of domestic matters, energy policy, international and social affairs.' Anthony Fensom, Japan Times

'This very useful book is a timely collection of 22 accessible essays on a wide range of issues in contemporary Japan. Aimed at a "broad audience of readers," the essays by knowledgeable scholars of Japanese life and society include useful discussions of the "political environment"; social questions as varied as the crisis of population decline, school bullying, and minority issues; essays on the international dynamics of Japan's economic and political life; and energy questions in the wake of the nuclear crisis brought on by the 2011 earthquake and its aftermath. The essays are extremely readable, and go a long way to illuminate a society that has changed dramatically from the halcyon days of Japan's Pacific preeminence just a very few years ago. Many of the authors have lived and taught in Japan for years, and have been close observers of the changes that have occurred and are occurring still. General readers and specialists alike will learn much from these essays and their thoughtful engagement with contemporary Japan. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.'W. D. Kinzley, University of South Carolina, CHOICE Magazine, July 2014 Vol. 51 No. 11

"Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan makes an honest effort to tackle several issues in Japanese society that may be foreign to many non-Japanese. The strength of the text is that it articulates, in an easy-to-understand manner, the nature of contemporary Japanese society and the problems it faces today. Furthermore, the text is highly relevant to the changes occurring at this very moment, and will be so for the foreseeable future. It is undeniably one of the most thorough volumes ever written on the subject, with chapters authored by world-renown scholars such as David Aldrich, David McNeill, Kyle Cleveland, and Jeff Kingston himself. It is highly recommended to all students, scholars, and specialists alike who wish to better understand contemporary Japan, and perhaps utilize the information within to change the course of the nation." Douglas M. Mille, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

University of Washington - Journal of Global and International Studies

Table of Contents

Introduction Jeff Kingston

Part 1: Political Environment

1. Japanese Politics: Mainstream or Exotic? Arthur Stockwin

2. The Politics of Trade Policy Aurelia George Mulgan

3. Limiting Fundamental Rights Protection in Japan – The Role of the Supreme Court Lawrence Repeta

4. Civil Society: Past, Present, and Future Akihiro Ogawa

5. Japan’s Contemporary Media David McNeill

Part 2: Nuclear and Renewable Energy

6. Revisiting the Limits of Flexible and Adaptive Institutions: The Japanese Government’s Role in Nuclear Power Plant Siting Over the Post-War Period Daniel P. Aldrich

7. Who Controls Whom? Constraints, Challenges and Rival Policy Images in Japan’s Post-War Energy Restructuring Paul Scalise

8. Japan’s Nuclear Village: Power and Resilience Jeff Kingston

9. Japan’s Renewable Power Prospects Andrew DeWit

Part 3: International Dynamics

10. Bad War or Good War? History and Politics in Postwar Japan Sven Saaler

11. Territorial Disputes with Korea and China: Small Islets, Enduring Conflicts Mark Selden

12. An Inconvenient Truce: Domestic Politics and the Russo-Japanese Northern Territories Dispute Tina Burrett

13. Okinawa Today: Spotlight on Henoko Alexis Dudden

Part 4: Social Dilemmas

14. Demographic Dilemmas, Women and Immigration Jeff Kingston

15. Reproductive Rights in Japan: Where do women stand? Tin Tin Htun

16. Hiding in Plain Sight: Minority Issues in Japan Kyle Cleveland

17. Mental Health and Therapy in Japan: Conceptions, Practices, and Challenges Sachiko Horiguchi

18. Violence in Schools: Tensions Between ‘the Individual’ and ‘the Group’ in the Japanese Education System Robert Aspinall

19. Hidden Behind Tokyo: Observations on the Rest of Japan John Mock

Part 5: Reforming Japan?

20. Seeking to Change Japanese Society Through Legal Reform Matthew J. Wilson

21. Parochialism – Japan's Failure to Internationalize Robert Dujarric and Ayumi Takenaka

22. What’s Behind what Ails Japan David Leheny

About the Editor

Jeff Kingston is Professor of History and Director of Asian Studies at Temple University, Japan. He is the author of Japan's Quiet Transformation (2004) and Contemporary Japan (2011).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General