The popular image of Japanese society is a steroetypical one - that of a people characterised by a coherent set of thought and behaviour patterns, applying to all Japanese and transcending time. Ross Mouer and Yoshio Sugimoto found this image quite incongruous during their research for this book in Japan. They ask whether this steroetype of the Japanese is not only generated by foreigners but by the Japanese themselves.
This is likely to be a controversial book as it does not contribute to the continuing mythologising of Japan and the Japanese. The book examines contemporary images of Japanese society by surveying an extensive sample of popular and academic literature on Japan. After tracing the development of "holistic" theories about the Japanese, commonly referred to as the "group model", attention is focused on the evaluation of that image. Empirical evidence contrary to this model is discussed and methodological lacunae are cited. A "sociology of Japanology" is also presented.
In pursuit of other visions of Japanese society, the authors argue that certain aspects of Japanese behaviour can be explained by considering Japanese society as the exact inverse of the portayal provided by the group model. The authors also present a multi-dimensional model of social stratification, arguing that much of the variation in Japanese behaviour can be understood within the framework as having universal equivalence.
'…important, innovative, influential study …' The Japan Times
'…such an important book … it deserves a very wide readership …' Asahi Evening News
'…salutary and level-headed book …' The Far East Economic Review
'This excellent book is required reading for both undergraduate and graduate students of Japanese Society' Choice
'Worthwhile and timely … serious observers of Japanese society will want to own (this book).' American Journal of Sociology
'… this book is a most valuable and thorough inventory … and should be classified as a must for any serious student of Japanese society.' Contemporary Sociology
1 Japanese Society: Stereotypes and Realities Part I Two Views: Competing Images of Japanese Society 2 The Greeat Tradition: Theories of Conformity and Concensus in Japanese Society 3 The Little Traditions: Theories of Conflict and Variation in Japanese Society 4 The Distribution of the Conservative and Radical Traditions in Japanese Studies Part II Skepticism: Three Reasons for Doubting the Validity of Nihonjinron 5 Some Empirical Findings at Odds With the Group Model 6 Some Methodological Misgivings About The Group Model 7 Toward a Sociology of Japanology Part III The Obverse: Tales of Another Japan 8 The Autonomous Individual 9 The Contractual Relationship 10 Social Control: Conformants or Falcons? Part IV Multiple Dimensions: Toward a Comparative Framework for The Study of Japanese Society 11 Social Stratification as a Point of Departure 12 A Multidimensional Stratification Framework for the Comparative Study of Japanese Society 13 The Stratification Framework in a Japanese Context 14 Testing the Stratification Model: Some Empirical Evidence Part V Relevance and New Directions: The Future of Japanese Studies 15 Internationalization and Japenese Society 16 The Future of Japanese Studies