I found this book fascinating, and recommended for anyone with a marginal interest in Japan.Smith provides a convincing case for debunking previous stereotypes of Japanese, held both by Westerners and the Japanese themselves.Interesting is the power of culture, and how for the Japanese accepted culture was essentially something or less synthesized and handed down from above, rather than coming from below Hence, Smith claims that Japan is a democracy in name only, with a single party ruling afte [...]
A very well written description of the inequities in postwar Japan, their sources in the distant and recent past, and their ramifications in the present The author writes from extensive personal experience and several interviews with political and cultural figures, as well as Japanese salarymen, schoolchildren, and anyone else with a perspective on Japan s cultural plight Smith s portrait of Japan is nuanced and multifaceted, but perhaps his most important theme is Japan s lack of autonomy or in [...]
It s an interesting read and I would like to say I liked it but like Patrick Smith himself interprets about Japan I think that his book gives me the idea that there is a lot I don t know about Japan inner core because it hides behind a mask of agenda.I know he was trying to peel away the Orientialism of Japan by explaining the history and the modern back story of Japan and it s citizens but he ends up sounding preachy and too mired in his viewpoint of how horrible the Japanese life must be witho [...]
While I think the arguments in this retrospective of the author s time in Japan are valid, I feel that they are still sadly, somewhat out of date I lived in Japan for three years 2011 2014 and while some interesting points the author brings up are still relevant, many changes have occurred within the country since this was last updated in the mid 90s The political sphere is sadly, or less the same, with countrymen being frustrated with their Tokyo counterparts and there is definitely animosity [...]
One of the best books I ve read on the Japanese history culture Though somewhat dated, part 1, especially its first 4 chapters, is fully worth reading today Smith explains, among other things, why the Japanese are so reluctant to share their true feelings and honest opinions in public by depicting the Edo period as akin to the Stalinist Soviet Union when common people were forced to spy on their neighbors Smith argues that the real fears that lasted for over 200 years still live on today as esse [...]
This book helped me prepare for my recent expedition to the land of the rising sun Patrick Smith, a former FT correspondent and New Yorker contributor, challenges the status quo, by deconstructing the Western, American perspective of Japan and the Japanese We Americans typically see Japan as a country of robots, hard workers, technology, and retired warmongers This book dives a little bit deeper, and unveils Japan for what it really is For this, the book is excellent.Unfortunately, Patrick Smith [...]
A comprehensive look at the history culture, and s of Japan through the ages, written by an American for a western audience Winner of the Kiriyama Prize, an international literary award given to books about the Pacific Rim and South Asia and the Cornelius Ryan award for the best nonfiction book on international affairs, both in 1997.To further the usefulness of the book there is an extensive chronology, notes, bibliography and index.
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Like another reviewer mentioned Smith can be overbearingly contrarian at times, and some of his opinions which he doesn t seem to differentiate from facts are suspect, but overall it s a very good if now 20 years old look at Japan from a critical angle.
had lived in japan five years when i read this book it was excellent in giving me a fuller understanding of the culture plus, an easy read.
Amazing look at contemporary problems in Japan His metaphor to Hokusai s wave is one of the best.
Anyone interested in Japan should read this book An engaging look at politics and history.