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
Unearthed exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

Unearthed exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

University of East Anglia, Norwich, 22 June to 29 August 2010 Review by Susan Meehan The ‘unearthed’ exhibition, held at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich during the summer of 2010, elicited far more questions than it answered, making for an extraordinarily thought-provoking and rewarding experience. At its heart was a collection of […]

20 Feb 11
New Architecture in Japan

New Architecture in Japan

by Yuki Sumner Naomi Pollock with David Littlefield, photography by Edmund Sumner, Merrell, London and New York 2010 272 pages including index, copiously illustrated in colour throughout, ISBN 978-8589-4450 Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi This survey of new architecture in Japan was introduced at a launching party at Daiwa House on 24 March 2011 with […]

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