This ground-breaking book reveals that the way to understand the Japanese industrial experience is to focus on the resources that the nation brought to bear on the task of responding positively - and in a sustained manner - to the superior technologies and institutions of the industrialised world, from the late nineteenth century. Japan's economic history is one of technology transfer and institutional transformation under conditions of relative industrial backwardness. Ian Inkster argues that the history of the Japanese economy cannot be understood without a theory of cultural engineering - a process whereby the industrialising elite managed cultural attributes specific to Japan in order to modernise the economy. This book reveals that the manipulation of culture was of more importance than the character of the original cultural stock in explaining Japan's modern industrialisation.
Thus the features of private enterprise culture that are so often isolated as keys to the nation's historical competitiveness may have been only temporary reflections of this wider process of cultural engineering: a necessary input into the program of technology transfer and late development This book provides a highly reliable guide to the industrial economy and history which is accessible, and covers a wide ground; it will be of great interest those involved in Asian Studies, Japan studies, plus economists professionals in business and enterprise culture.
"Inkster has set forth some intriguing hypotheses that can stimulate further research.."-Pacific Affairs, Fall 2003