Japan is arguably today's most successful industrial economy, combining almost unprecedented affluence with social stability and apparent harmony. Japanese goods and cultural products--from animated movies and computer games to cars, semiconductors, and management techniques--are consumed around the world. In many ways, Japan is an icon of the modern world, and yet it remains something of an enigma to many, who see it as a confusing montage of the alien and the familiar, the ancient and modern. This Very Short Introduction explodes the myths and explores the reality of modern Japan, offering a concise, engaging, and accessible look at the history, economy, politics, and culture of this fascinating nation. It examines what the term "modern" means to the Japanese, debunks the notion that Japan went through a period of total isolation from the world, and explores the continuity between pre- and post-war Japan. Anyone curious about this intriguing country will find a wealth of insight and information in these pages.
`A wonderfully engaging narrative of a complicated history, which from the beginning to end sheds light on the meaning of modernity in Japan as it changed over time. An exemplary text.'
Carol Gluck, Columbia University
`With remarkable clarity and breadth of coverage, Goto-Jones introduces the major topics and themes of the modern history of Japan, giving particularly thoughtful attention to the complex and tortured efforts of figures seeking to define and defend a properly Japanese modernity, and those striving to come to grips with the trauma and shadow of World War II.'
Andrew Gordon, Harvard University
`Lively, lucid, and full of insight, this is an outstanding exploration of Japan's troubled modern past.'
Stephen S. Large, Wolfson College, Cambridge University
Introduction: What is Modern Japan?
1: Japan's Encounter with the Modern World
2: Overcoming Modernity in Imperial Japan
3: Overcome by the Modern: the US Occupation
4: Japan's Miraculous Modern Economy
5: Towards a Post-Modern Society
6: Normalcy and Japan's Place in the Modern World