The debate surrounding the "uniqueness" of Japan is central to the field of Japanese studies. "Cultural Nationalism in Contemporary Japan" examines this debate from a comparative and theoretical perspective, and tests more general theories of ethnicity and cultural nationalism.
Kosaku Yoshino a Japanese scholar with a background in Western approaches to nationalism and Japanese sociology brings these fields together in an original way. Drawing from a wide range of interviews with a wide range of intellectuals, teachers and entrepreneurs to examine theories and assumptions about national identity and cultural nationalism. He explores how ideas of cultural uniqueness known as "nihonjinron" are "produced" and "consumed" in contemporary Japan, and draws the conclusion that the agents of Japanese Japanese cultural nationalism are no longer teachers and intellectuals, but businessmen.
"Cultural Nationalism in Contemporary Japan" also examines the Japanese people's perception of their own uniqueness and explores the ways in which ideas of cultural distinctiveness are formulated in different national and historical contexts. The book integrates anthropological, political, and sociological material, and will appeal both to students and researchers in these areas and to the general reader interested in contemporary Japan.
"Dr. Yoshino has made a careful sociological study of the "Nihonjinron."
..."Yoshino rouses us from our exhaustion with "Nihonjinron and demonstrates that much remains to be done toward analyzing the rhetorical conventions, substantive varieties, amd institutional structures of late Showa cultural nationalism."
-"Journal of Japanese Studies
"Yoshino's admirably lucid, unpretentious, methodical, and judicious study of the highly emotionally charged subject of Japanese cultural nationalism would benefit not only sociologists of various persuasions but also a wide spectrum of students of contemporary Japanese history and culture.."
-"The Journal of Asian Studies
..."the style and presentation of ideas in this volume were thought provoking. Thumbing back through the pages, I see that the margins are generously marked with my questions [and] comments...which happens in books I find meaningful to read."
-Scott Clark, "Pacific Affairs