Since the end of the 1980s, scholarly work on Japan has attempted to escape the bounds of the previous discourse that continuously described it as ‘changing Japan’, a discourse which paradoxically also focused, in the main, on the hierarchical models of this so-called vertical society. While accepting the rapid rate of social change and enduring continuities within Japan, this new wave of work also looked at the micro-level by trying to place people within the framework of ‘the’ Japanese model.
The four volumes in this Routledge Major Work bring together the most useful new-wave essays written from the 1990s onwards, together with the several key and ‘classic’ articles written in earlier decades in order to build up a more nuanced portrait of modern Japanese culture and society.
The first part of Volume I looks at the macro level of politics and the economy. The second part moves from material focusing on the structure of society to the rise of civil society and the effect the recession in the 1990s has had on individuals.
The other three volumes have a similar two-part structure, with a key introductory article—or articles—to set the scene (in addition to the editor’s Introduction to the set as a whole). The focus moves from larger structures, to the life course of individuals in Volume II, through to key issues about Japanese culture in Volume III. Volume IV will address religion and the diversity of contemporary Japanese society.
This collection of essential journal articles and other extracts is an important research resource and will be welcomed by all scholars and students of modern Japan.
Volume 1: Postwar Japan: Setting the Scene Part 1: New Perspectives on the Past in the Present. Part 2: Japanese Democracy and the Rise of Civil Society Volume 2: Life Courses, Gender and the Self Part 1: Life Course. Part 2: Gender and the Self Volume 3: Japanese Culture Part 1: On the Traditional. Part 2: Mass Culture and Leisure Volume 4: Religion and Marginal Society Part 1: Religion. Part 2: Marginal Society: The Historically and ‘New’ Marginals