This book explores the myth, so abused by the mass media, that the Japanese are a grey, anonymous mass of efficient, obedient workers. The articles shed light on a Japan outside officialdom, a lively Japan of tumultuous and independent thought, inefficient and aesthetic, pleasure-loving, aggressive and wasteful, creative and anti-authoritarian. The book's truly international contributors examine the role in modern Japanese society of a range of leisure and play activities, from drinking to travel, football to karaoke, tattoos to rock fandom. They explore how things that seem like play in one context are deadly serious in another, and how the fun and enjoyment may be achieved in unexpected ways. They also draw attention to the importance of such activities in understanding the deeper structure and meaning pervading all areas of the society in which they take place. This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of Japanese Studies, Sociology, Anthropology and Cultural Studies.