Japan's image has experienced numerous transmutations. The book covers the metamorphosis from Japan's image of a feudal, exotic and romantic land inhabited by Madam Butterflies, to its sudden emergence as a geopolitical power following its defeat of Russia in 1905. More was to come. In the 1930s and 40s the image of the kamikaze vividly illustrated the fanaticism and barbarity associated with Japan in World War II. With the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Japan rejoined the international community as a friend and ally of the US. The next transmutation came in the 1980s when the Japanese economy appeared to be functioning on anabolic steroids and its continued ascent to take over the US was predicted. "Japanese management" became more than a science, almost a religion, among business schools and consultancies. Today there are two images: one is conveyed through manga, karaoke and the global fashion for sushi; the other is of an economically and demographically declining nation. Will this image correspond to Japan's swan song or are there more transmutations on the way? One constant in Japanese history and the image it has projected has been the country's constant ability to surprise.
1. The New Japan – Far East or Far West? 2. Western Encounters with Japan – Enchantments and Disenchantments 3.The Women of Japan – In Reality and Fantasy 4. Politics – Oriental Obscurantism to Occidental Enlightenment 5. Industriousness, Industry and Industrialisation 6. Yellow Hope – Yellow Peril Appendix. Notes. Bibliographical Note.