An Introduction to Japanese Society is a book no serious student of Japan (or East Asia generally) can afford to pass up. It affords an unflinching and incisive look at the nature of Japanese democracy by a Japanese scholar who pulls no punches. While quite a few Western scholars have characterized the Japanese elementary school classroom, for example, as less authoritarian than its American counterpart, Sugimoto contends that authoritarianism is pronounced but subtly pervasive throughout Japanese society. Instead of accentuating top-down coercion by authorities, as Korean and Chinese societies do, Japanese authoritarianism is more subtle, relying heavily on indirect controls such as small group pressures, extensive surveillance, moralistic ideologies, positive reinforcements, mythologies of benevolent leadership, and pleasant rituals to mask underlying and potentially coercive power. As Sugimoto persuasively demonstrates, "Japanese friendly authoritarianism does not...
I'm not a Japan scholar, just a layperson very interested in Japanese culture. I bought this book hoping it would actually be, uh, an introduction to Japanese society (as the title seems to indicate). Instead, though, as the first review indicates, the author has some theses about present-day Japan that he's trying to prove. Fine with me, but then the title doesn't really seem accurate.
I was also hoping for a lot more about Japanese culture: literature, pop culture, gay rights, cinema, gender equality, etc. Instead, there are a lot of very dry chapters about the Japanese economy and the ethnic breakdown of Japan (though, in my opinion, not enough about the social implications of Japan's ethnic composition).
I found this book kind of dull, and the writing pretty dry. Maybe a great book for sociologists and economists of Japan (if they care more about the info than about whether the writing is stellar), but if you're just a random person looking to learn more...
This book is missing pages so it's very difficult near to impossible to complete assign homework. I'm very disappointed and hope I could receive a refund, since its useless without the page numbers.
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