1st Edition

Japan in the Heisei Era (1989–2019) Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Edited By Noriko Murai, Jeff Kingston, Tina Burrett Copyright 2022
    386 Pages 56 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    386 Pages 56 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Japan in the Heisei Era (1989–2019) provides a retrospective and multidisciplinary account of a society in flux. Featuring analyses from leading scholars around the globe, this textbook examines the evolving contexts of Japan throughout the Heisei era and how longstanding verities and values have been called into question. Asking what this holds for Japan’s future relations with the world and within its own communities, chapters delve beneath the layers of a complex and increasingly diverse society, exploring topics including simmering ethnonationalism, economic torpor, political stagnation, and cultural dynamics.

    Features of this textbook include:
    • Analysis of key social issues ranging from immigration, civil society, press freedom, politics, labour and the economy, to diversity, the marginalisation of women, Shinto, and Aum Shinrikyo
    • Evaluation of the legacy of Emperor Akihito on war memory, the imperial institution, art, regional relations, and constitutional revision
    • Multidisciplinary insights from both the social sciences and humanities
    • Rich illustrations for visual analysis of developments in contemporary Japanese literature, film, art, and pop culture

    Providing students with dynamic analyses of how contemporary Japanese society continues to transform, this textbook is essential reading for students of Japanese Studies, including Japanese culture, society, history, and politics.

    Part 1: Symbol Emperor

    1. The People's Imperial Couple

    Kenneth J. Ruoff

    2. Contemporary Goshin’ei: The Emperor, Art, and the Anus

    Maki Kaneko

    Part 2: Government and Politics

    3. The Rightward Shift of Japanese Politics: Interest, Reform, and Identity

    Koichi Nakano

    4. Prime Ministers, Power and Leadership in Heisei Japan

    Tina Burrett

    5. Heisei Okinawa: What Changed?

    Alexis Dudden

    6. The Fight for Open Government in the Heisei Era

    Lawrence Repeta

    Part 3: Civil Society

    7. Civil Society and Neoliberalism: Heisei’s Historic Convergence

    Simon Avenell

    8. Still Half Free: The Japanese Media in the Heisei Era

    David McNeill & Tanaka Akira

    Part 4: Economy and Work

    9. The Heisei Economy: Explaining the Lost Decades

    Richard Katz

    10. Precaritization of Work in Japan

    Machiko Osawa & Jeff Kingston

    11. Japan's Immigration in the Heisei Era: Population, Policy and the Ethno-nationalist Dilemma

    Gracia Liu-Farrer

    Part 5: Diversity

    12. Women’s Leadership and Gender Equality

    Mari Miura

    13. Preserving the Status Quo: Japan’s Laws and Policies on Ethnic and Sexual Minorities

    Tin Tin Htun

    14. From Tiramisù to #MeToo: Triangulations of Sex, Gender and Sexuality in Heisei Japan

    Jennifer Robertson

    Part 6: Religion

    15. Shinto During the Heisei Era

    Helen Hardacre

    16. The Life and Death of a Heisei Religious Movement: What the Aum Shinrikyō□Affair Revealed about Japanese Society 

    Mark R. Mullins

    Part 7: Cool Japan?

    17. Heisei High Architecture as Soft Power

    Alice Y. Tseng

    18. The Evangelion Boom: The Explosion of Fan Markets and Lifestyles in Heisei Japan

    Patrick W. Galbraith

    19. The Genealogy of Kawaii

    Noriko Murai

    Part 8: Multivoiced Narratives

    20. A False Peace: Literature in the Age of Heisei 

    Matthew C. Strecher

    21. Cinema’s Uneasy Social Critique: The Heisei Era Onscreen

    Kyoko Hirano

    Part 9: History and Memory

    22. Heisei Historiography: Academic History and Public Commemoration in Japan, 1990-2020

    Sven Saaler

    23. Implicated Photographs: Wartime Postmemory and the Photographic Unconsciousness in the Heisei Era 

    Ayelet Zohar

    24. The Loss of Nostalgia, not The Nostalgia of Loss: Or, What Happens in Heisei Stays in Heisei

    David Leheny

    25. The Tumultuous Finale: 2009-2019

    Jeff Kingston


    Noriko Murai is an Associate Professor of Art History at Sophia University, where she teaches modern and contemporary Japanese art and visual culture. Her publication in English includes Journeys East: Isabella Stewart Gardner and Asia (2009) and Inventing Asia: American Perspectives Around 1900 (2014).

    Jeff Kingston is a Professor of History and Director of Asian Studies at Temple University, Japan. He is the author and editor of a dozen books on contemporary Japan and Asia including Japan’s Quiet Transformation (2004), Contemporary Japan (2011), and Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan (2014).

    Tina Burrett is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Sophia University. She is the co-editor of Press Freedom in Contemporary Asia (2020) and the author of Television and Presidential Power in Putin’s Russia (2013).

    '...Japan in the Heisei Era is a terrific read. The quality of the contributions is very high; the writing is clear and engaging throughout; the balance between survey and detail is superb; and the book succeeds in providing the multidimensional but not all-encompassing overview of contemporary Japan it promises. Newcomers to and specialists in Japanese studies alike will learn much from it.'

    Derek Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo