The Japanese are in the process of re-creating themselves--an
endeavor they have undertaken at intervals throughout history,
always prompted by a combination of domestic and global forces. In
this landmark book, Patrick Smith asserts that a variety of
forces--the achievement of material affluence, the Cold War's end,
and the death of Emperor Hirohito--are now spurring Japan once
again toward a fundamental redefinition of itself.
As Smith argues, this requires of the West an equally thorough
reevaluation of the picture we have held of Japan over the past
half-century. He reveals how economic overdevelopment conceals
profound political, social, and psychological under-development.
And by refocusing on "internal history" and the Japanese character,
Smith offers a new framework for understanding Japan and the
Japanese as they really are. The Japanese, he says, are now seeking
to alter the very thing we believe distinguishes them: the
relationship between the individual and society.
Timely, measured, and authoritative, this book illuminates a new
Japan, a nation preparing to drop the mask it holds up to the West
and to steer a course of its own in the world.
Jacket image: The Great Wave of Kanagawa, from 36 Views of Mount
Fuji (detail) by Katsushika Hokusai. Private collection.
"From the Hardcover edition."
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