Issue 30

Japan Book Review Issue 30 – (Volume 5 Number 6 – December 2010)

In this issue we focus on contemporary themes with book reviews examining the state of present day gender equality, Japanese politics, social issues, foreign policy and modern architecture. We also have a retrospective report on the exhibition of prehistoric Japanese miniature clay figurines held at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich during the summer of 2010.

The New Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater Choice, Greater Inequality

This thought provoking book analyzes the social inequality experienced by women in today’s Japan. The position of Japanese women is compared with that of men, producing a not especially positive set of results. Despite the 1985 Equal Employment Opportunity Law women still significantly lag behind men in all major areas while working women still do most domestic chores and child care.

Koizumi and Japanese Politics: Reform Strategies and Leadership Style

This impressive study meticulously dissects the highly successful and long lived administration of Junichiro Koizumi (April 2001 to September 2006). Since his departure, no Japanese prime minister has lasted longer than a year. Why was Koizumi able to deliver strong leadership and make significant reforms? Koizumi’s policies, institutional reforms and flamboyant political style are all scrutinized in depth.

Rapid Changes in Diplomacy (外交激変)

This Japanese language book looks at the dynamics of foreign policy from Foreign Ministry insider Shunji Yanai’s perspective. He is a former Ambassador to the United States who during his 41 year-long career found himself at the centre of many key diplomatic moments including (to name a few) the negotiations on the return of Okinawa, the first Gulf War, Japan’s participation in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (PKO), Tokyo’s failure to attain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and the Iraqi invasion.

Living Japan, Essays on Everyday Life in Contemporary Society

This work comprises seventy short essays which explore various aspects of the everyday life of ordinary Japanese people. Its vivid firsthand accounts from a Japanese viewpoint provide some fascinating insights into Japan and its people.

Unearthed exhibition

The highly popular ‘unearthed’ exhibition was held at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich during summer 2010. At its heart was a collection of over 100 prehistoric miniature clay figurines hailing from Japan and several other countries. Susan Meehan shares her thoughts on the Japanese figurines, called ‘dogū’ (土偶) or clay spirits, which were mainly from the Jōmon (縄文時代) era (about14,000 to 300BC).

New Architecture in Japan

This work is an introductory survey of new architecture in Japan featuring buildings by well known Japanese architects such as Tadao Ando as well as projects by new young architects and by international practices. Using some excellent photography, it looks at new architectural ideas and themes in Japan covering a wide variety of public and private buildings.

Editor: Sean Curtin
Managing Editor: John Toppon

New reviews: www.japansociety.org.uk/reviews.html
Archive reviews: http://www.japansociety.org.uk/reviews_archive.html

Contents

(1) The New Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater Choice, Greater Inequality
(2) Koizumi and Japanese Politics: Reform Strategies and Leadership Style
(3) Rapid Changes in Diplomacy (外交激変)
(4) Living Japan, Essays on Everyday Life in Contemporary Society
(5) Unearthed exhibition
(6)New Architecture in Japan

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21 Feb 11
The New Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater Choice, Greater Inequality, Toshiaki Tachibanaki (橘木 俊詔)

The New Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater Choice, Greater Inequality, Toshiaki Tachibanaki (橘木 俊詔)

translated by Mary E. Foster I-House Press, Tokyo, 2010 290 pages including index, references and tables ISBN 978-4-903452-18-0 Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi “Japan suffers today from a high inequality in income distribution and a lack of equal opportunity. Simply put, Japan is a class society.” These are the thought-provoking first words of this sociological […]

Koizumi and Japanese Politics: Reform Strategies and Leadership Style, By Yu Uchiyama (内山 融)

Koizumi and Japanese Politics: Reform Strategies and Leadership Style, By Yu Uchiyama (内山 融)

Translated by Carl Freire Routledge, 2010 214 pages, ISBN: 978-0-415-55688-0 (Hardback), £75.00 Review by Sean Curtin In this impressive study Yu Uchiyama meticulously dissects the highly successful and by Japanese standards long lived administration of Junichiro Koizumi (26 April 2001 – 26 September 2006). Since stepping down from office, no Japanese prime minister has lasted […]

Rapid Changes in Diplomacy (外交激変), by Shunji Yanai (柳井俊二)

Rapid Changes in Diplomacy (外交激変), by Shunji Yanai (柳井俊二)

interviewed by Makoto Iokibe, Motoshige Ito and Katsuyuki Yakushiji Asahi Shimbun-sha, 2007, 278 pages ISBN-13: 978-4022502650 , 1700 yen Review by Fumiko Halloran As a senior official in the Japanese government Mr. Shunji Yanai is a rare breed. He is candid, does not mince his words, is bold and sometimes controversial, and somehow gets away […]

Living Japan, Essays on Everyday Life in Contemporary Society

Living Japan, Essays on Everyday Life in Contemporary Society

edited by Harumi Kimura Global Oriental, 2009 pages 251 including index, ISBN 978-1-905246-86-1 Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi The seventy short essays in this book deal with aspects of the everyday life of ordinary Japanese people. Even those of us who have lived in Japan for a few years will find in this book some […]

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