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The Japan Society Review

The Japan Society Review is published on a bimonthly basis, both online and printed (members are entitled to receive a copy by post). Since the starting of the publication in 2006, each issue covers a selection of Japan-related books and films, as well as theatre and stage productions, tv series and exhibitions. Its purpose is to inform, entertain and encourage readers to explore the works for themselves.

The Japan Society Review is possible thanks to the work of volunteers who dedicated their time and expertise to help us to promote the learning and understanding of Japanese culture and society.

Philipp Franz von Siebold and The Opening of Japan: A Re-Evaluation

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Philipp Franz von Siebold and The Opening of Japan: A Re-Evaluation

Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi This new study challenges the conventional view that the key figures involved in the opening of Japan were the US Navy's Commodore Perry, and the diplomats Harris (US) and Alcock (UK). A close examination of new sources suggests otherwise and puts Von Siebold's agenda to 'save' Japan from being overtaken by the colonial and commercial ambitions of the West's great maritime nations in a new light.

Innovation and Business Partnering in Japan, Europe and the United States

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Innovation and Business Partnering in Japan, Europe and the United States

Review by J. Sean Curtin Innovation studies and partnering/collaborative alliances are rapidly growing areas of interest. Originally combining the two areas, this book examines the role of business partnering as a pathway to innovation for small and medium enterprises – SMEs. This text outlines global and regional trends, focusing in particular on the role of Poland and Eastern Europe as an emerging region for new innovative ideas, how innovation is promoted in the United States, and how it is facilitated in Japan. It assesses the reasons why American SMEs are significantly ahead of their European counterparts in the fields of research and development investment and innovation, and demonstrates how business partnering can assist in increasing research and development investment, profit, finding new suppliers and aiding growth. In addition, the book shows how business partners can cut the costs of doing research for innovation and analyzes the threat that poorly constructed and over-burdensome regulation and bureaucracy pose to innovation.

The Turbulent Decade: Confronting the Refugee Crises of the 1990s

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The Turbulent Decade: Confronting the Refugee Crises of the 1990s

Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi Sadako Ogata was United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) between 1991 and 2000. Her book should be read by all politicians and officials involved with issues of international peace. It is a searing account of a series of humanitarian disasters which sadly show that man's inhumanity to man has not altered despite the tragedies and slaughter of two World Wars.

Valuing Intellectual Property in Japan, Britain and the United States

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Valuing Intellectual Property in Japan, Britain and the United States

Review by Sean Curtin As over half the assets of many major companies are now intangible assets, there is an increasing need to assess more accurately the value of intellectual property (IP) from a wider interdisciplinary perspective. Re-evaluating risk and understanding the true value of intellectual property is a major problem, particularly important for business practitioners, including business analysts and investors, venture capitalists, accountants, insurance experts, intellectual property lawyers and also for those who hold intellectual property assets, such as media, publishing and pharmaceutical companies, and universities and other research bodies. Written by the foremost authorities in the field from Britain, Japan and the US, this book considers the latest developments and puts forward much new thinking. The book includes thorough coverage of developments in Japan, which is reviewing the value of IP at a much quicker pace than any other country and is registering ever-increasing numbers of patents in the course of inventing its way out of economic inertia.

The Magatama Doodle - One Man's Affair with Japan, 1950-2004

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The Magatama Doodle - One Man's Affair with Japan, 1950-2004

Review by Hazuki Saisho Part personal memoir, part professional flashback, part socio-cultural commentary, this title chronicles the author's experiences during his twenty-four years (1950-74) of living in Japan as a reluctant banker. It also touches on some of the significant changes that have taken place in Japanese society since the mid-Seventies.

Spitfires in Japan: From Farnborough to the Far East: A Memoir

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Spitfires in Japan: From Farnborough to the Far East: A Memoir

Review by Ian Nish This interesting book can be looked at from many different perspectives. Basically it is the autobiography of a serviceman, Cecil 'Boy' Bouchier (1895-1979) who, despite setbacks and disappointments, worked his way through the ranks to positions of power and prestige in the Royal Air Force. At another level it is a history of the RAF as a fighting force in the UK and the British Empire. It is therefore a commentary on the military history of Britain in the first half of the twentieth century.

Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822

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Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822

Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi Isaac Titsingh was intermittently head of the Japan factory (trading station) of the Dutch East India Company 1780-94. He was a career merchant, but unusual in having a classical education and training as a physician. His impact in Japan was enormous, but he left disappointed in the ability of the country to embrace change. After many years in Java, India and China, he came to London, and then settled in Paris where he devoted himself to compiling translations of prime Japanese texts. It is one of the most exciting anthologies of the period and reveals the almost unknown world of eighteenth-century Japan, discussing politics, history, poetry and rituals.

Who Was Responsible? From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor

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Who Was Responsible? From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor

Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi Tsuneo Watanabe, the editor-in-chief of the Yomiuri Shimbun, which has a circulation of over ten million, the largest of any Japanese newspaper, established in 2005 a committee of Japanese journalists. The committee was to produce a careful historical analysis with the aim of telling the Japanese people, a majority of whom were born after the war: "Who was responsible for starting the Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War, why they did so and why the nation kept fighting until many of its cities had been almost completely reduced to ashes." The committee worked for fourteen months studying a wide range of documents and sources. This book in English and two volumes in Japanese contain the findings of this committee.

The Book of SAKE, a Connoisseur's Guide

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The Book of SAKE, a Connoisseur's Guide

Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi Once found only in sushi bars and Japanese restaurants, Sake now lines the shelves of gourmet food shops, supermarkets and restaurants of all persuasions, listed alongside the customary wine selections. Sake brewmaster Philip Harper provides the ultimate introduction by the ultimate insider.

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

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Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

Review by Ben-Ami Shillony In this groundbreaking biography of the Japanese emperor Hirohito, Herbert P. Bix offers the first complete, unvarnished look at the enigmatic leader whose sixty-three-year reign ushered Japan into the modern world. Never before has the full life of this controversial figure been revealed with such clarity and vividness. Bix shows what it was like to be trained from birth for a lone position at the apex of the nation's political hierarchy and as a revered symbol of divine status. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize