Katsuya Minamida and Izumi Tsuji (eds), Pop Culture and the Everyday in Japan (Paperback)
Manga, anime, J-pop and other forms of Japan's mass culture are increasingly popular around the world, a situation which requires structural, demographic and communicative research from sociological perspectives. In this study, a group of young Japanese sociologists scrutinizes the sociological foundations of the ways in which the Japanese people produce and consume cultural commodities and live their everyday lives surrounded by these products. The study includes an examination of: the dependency of Japan's youth on mobile phones; modes of television viewing; infatuations with animation characters; network-formation through rock festivals; family relations; local culture; fashion; work orientations; and the national consciousness as an aspect of their 'everyday culture'. The book presents the landscape of Japanese popular culture as depicted by the very sociologists who themselves live their cultural lives within Japan.
Sawako Shirahase (ed.), Demographic Change and Inequality in Japan (Paperback)
Japan is a rapidly aging society, with a declining birthrate and increasing lifespan. The nation's youth tend to marry late, and some never engage in this form of social contract. Further, the number of couples without children is on the rise, and the proportion of senior citizens in the age pyramid is growing at exceptional speed. Demographic change that reflects these transformations now impacts the country's system of social stratification and inequality. In this collective study, a group of leading Japanese sociologists scrutinizes hidden disparities behind the demographic shifts, asking important questions: In what ways has educational inequality been enhanced? How has household composition changed and which household types are disadvantaged? What is the relationship between class and health? How do the middle-aged unemployed experience inequality? And how does demographic change influence inheritance, pension acquisition and social welfare? Using a variety of quantitative data, the authors address these and other questions elucidating Japan's unprecedented experience from sober sociological perspectives.
Ikuo Amano, The Origins of Japanese Credentialism (Hardcover)
In this translation of a semi-classic study, readers of English have the opportunity to explore the manner in which both credentialism and the various levels of the modern education system have developed in Japan. Professor Ikuo Amano, the author of extensive works on Japanese education and examination systems, takes the reader through a detailed analysis of the process by which education and academic qualifications have become the crucial factors in determining social position. Using Japan as a concrete example of an industrial society thoroughly permeated by credentialism, Amano's book makes explicit the relationship between social selection and education, and in so doing points the way to why credentialism has come to dominate industrial societies. The book also includes a comparative consideration of the development of education, qualification and selection mechanisms in both Japan and Europe.
Masako Amano, In Pursuit of the Seikatsusha: A Genealogy of the Autonomous Citizen in Japan (Paperback)
This is a study of Japan's home-grown concept of seikatsusha that resembles 'citizen,' 'people,' 'consumer,' 'common man,' and 'the public,' though not exactly identical with any of them. The idea has occupied an important place in Japanese everyday life, academia and progressive movements. Masako Amano presents an extensive genealogy of the concept from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day. While examining the philosophy of such thinkers as Kiyoshi Miki, Nobuyuki Onuma and Shunsuke Tsurumi, the book scrutinizes the debate over seikatsusha, which has been undertaken by a variety of political and intellectual movements, including Shiso no kagaku (Science of thought), Beheiren (Citizens for Peace in Vietnam) and Seikatsu Club. The work points to the viability of the idea of seikatsusha in a sustainable welfare society in the twenty-first century, and is the first in English to fully investigate the concept within Japan's historical and structural context.
Mari Nakami, In Pursuit of Composite Beauty: Yanagi Soetsu, His Aesthetics and Aspirations for Peace
This book is a study of the life and thought of Yanagi Soetsu (1889-1961), known primarily as the founder of Japan's mingei (folk crafts) movement. He was a thinker who believed that world peace could not be achieved by 'painting the world in one single color.' At a time when Japan was invading Asia and enforcing its cultural assimilation policy in its colonies and occupied territories before and during World War II, Yanagi aspired to realize a world in which multiple races and cultures could coexist. He was able to form his pacifist view on the basis of the key concept of 'composite beauty,' --- an ideal of creating the world in which heterogeneous entities accept their differences and learn from each other. Tracing Yanagi's intellectual development, the study presents a positive reevaluation of the contemporary significance of his thought from the viewpoint of international relations.
Deborah M. Aoki, Widows of Japan: An Anthropological Perspective
This book presents a wide-ranging study of widows in Japan filtered through the dramatic and complex intersection of women with death. These experiences are portrayed as intensely personal and yet foreshadowing momentous societal ramifications. The work represents years of research, numerous personal interviews conducted throughout the country, and reflects not only historical and current perspectives, but also the diverse voices of widows who participated in the research. Widows provide a point of focus for a multi-level analysis through the exploration of the inner-workings of the state, the family and the social relations of gender. The lives of widows are examined as they are shaped by kinship and gender ideologies, class, transformations in language and most dramatically war.
Chizuko Ueno, The Modern Family in Japan: Its Rise and Fall (Paperback)
This is an award-winning book that brings together Chizuko Ueno's groundbreaking essays on the rise and fall of the modern family in Japan. Combining historical, sociological, anthropological, and journalistic methodologies, Ueno, who is arguably the foremost feminist theoretician in Japan, delineates in vivid detail how the family has been changing in form and function in the last hundred years. In each chapter Ueno introduces the reader to a different facet of modern family life, ranging from children who fantasize being orphans to the elderly who confront 'pre-senescence.' The central focus is on the housewife: her history, her ever-changing responsibilities, her ways of surviving mid-life crisis. This is an indispensable book for students and scholars seeking to understand modern Japan.
Chizuko Ueno, The Modern Family in Japan: Its Rise and Fall (Hardcover)
Norito Kawakami, Yasuki Kobayashi and Hideki Hashimoto (eds), Health and Social Disparity: Japan and Beyond (Paperback)
Do the rich live longer than the poor? To what extent do class and occupational positions affect onefs health? How does social capital relate to illness? In what ways do social structures influence health literacy? How about other variables such as place of residence, house ownership, educational level, population density and marriage status? Eleven experts collectively grapple with these and other questions in the Japanese and international contexts through empirical studies and comparative analysis. From the perspective of social epidemiology, the contributors to this novel study examine the webs linking social distribution and social determinants of health and present provocative conclusions. All three editors of this volume are Professors in the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Tokyo.
Norito Kawakami et al. (eds), Health and Social Disparity: Japan and Beyond (Hardcover)
Hiroyuki Watanabe, Japan's Whaling: The Politics of Culture in Historical Perspective (Paperback)
Hiroyuki Watanabe, a young researcher based in Kyoto University, investigates how the numerous relationships between people and whales in Japan become reduced to the single relationship of killing whales for their meat. He argues that from the introduction of Norwegian whaling technology at the end of the nineteenth century, through the Russo-Japanese War and Japan's windfall acquisition of the Korea-based Russian whaling fleet, to the end of World War II, Japanese whaling was closely bound to Japanese imperialism. He questions the assertion that whaling is 'traditional Japanese culture' and demonstrates how the same whaling discourse that in the past drove some whale species to the brink of extinction, today continues to fuel the rhetoric of the Japanese whaling debate.
Hiroyuki Watanabe, Japan's Whaling: The Politics of Culture in Historical Perspective (Hardcover)
Leonie Stickland, Gender Gymnastics: Performing and Consuming Japan's Takarazuka Revue
The artifice of gender performance - sometimes playful, mostly conscientious - has enthralled and entertained audiences of Japan's all-female Takarazuka Revue for more than ninety years. The dashing male-role players in its musical theatre productions enjoy the adulation of a predominantly female audience for whom those handsome idols represent ideal masculinity, while those 'men' in turn are reflected and magnified by the overwrought femininity of their female-role counterparts.
This volume resounds with the voices of those closest to Takarazuka: the girls and women who have danced, sung and acted in its limelight. Using exclusive interviews, historical records, autobiographies and years of close-hand observation, former Revue translator and voice actor Leonie Stickland extensively explores the aspirations, endeavours and experiences of Takarazuka's creators, performers and adoring fans, while simultaneously elucidating gender issues which have impacted upon the life-stages of women in Japan throughout the past century.
Masami Iwata and Akihiko Nishizawa (eds), Poverty and Social Welfare in Japan (Paperback)
Poverty in Japan has been concealed in the chorus of admiration recognizing the nation becoming the worldfs second largest economy in the latter half of the twentieth century. This collection of papers by ten specialists in poverty research unravels the ways in which the poor have been socially excluded in contemporary Japan and how this reality derives from the structure of inequality in social resources, life chances and power relations. These studies scrutinize the extent to which Japan's social welfare policies have disseminated and consolidated particular types of understanding about poverty and reveals their contradictions by highlighting the lives of the homeless, new-comer foreign migrants, residents in poor housing and many other socially excluded groups.
Masami Iwata and Akihoko Nishizawa (eds), Poverty and Social Welfare in Japan (Hardcover)
Reiko Kosugi, Escape from Work: Freelancing Youth and the Challenge to Corporate Japan (Paperback)
ESCAPE FROM WORK is about an important evolution which has been occurring in the Japanese labor market over the past decade. As Japanese came to enjoy higher levels of affluence in the late 1980s and early 1990s, attitudes towards work and life course began to change. At the same time, globalization and heightened competition have accelerated the casualization of work in Japan. Kosugi documents the increase in the number of causal workers in Japan over the past two decades and looks at their demographics. Based on rich interview data and extensive surveys, Kosugi brings together the findings of a large research project carried out in the early years of this century. The study explores ways in which the furitaa, young persons falling outside the normal pattern in making the transition from school to employment, might better be incorporated into Japan's world of regular, full-time employment. At the same time, Kosugi calls for a reappraisal of the rather negative way in which those in the labor market for casuals have been traditionally conceived, and recommends acceptance of that market as a means of providing viable career and lifestyle options for Japanese in the twenty-first century.
Reiko Kosugi, Escape from Work: Freelancing Youth and the Challenge to Corporate Japan (Hardcover)
Kojun Furukawa, Social Welfare in Japan: Principles and Applications (Hardcover)
SOCIAL WELFARE IN JAPAN is an important study of the historical development and fundamental characteristics of social welfare in Japan and beyond. Reviewing arguments about the welfare state and the conceptualization of the individual in society, Furukawa traces the emergence of social welfare as a domain of theory and practice that is at once interdisciplinary and unique. Focusing on the post-war era, Furukawa deftly interweaves discussions on the state of social welfare research, the nature of social welfare aid, policy, management and organization, and the historical antecedents to these factors.
Atsuko Suzuki (ed.), Gender and Career in Japan (Paperback)
Gender has long been a major determinant of individualsf work-career and life trajectory in Japanese society. The complexity of this social phenomenon has inspired the five contributors to this volume, edited by Atsuko Suzuki, to probe the nature and ramifications of changing gender norms in Japan from a multidisciplinary perspective incorporating sociology, social psychology and economics. As they seek to elucidate the mutual interrelationship between the macro and micro dimensions of society and the individual, the various contributors also challenge the unfairness inherent in the association between career and gender, and promote a deeper understanding of the issues involved, in anticipation of their resolution. The specificity and universality of Japanfs situation is further highlighted by comparison with its near neighbor, Korea.
Atsuko Suzuki (ed.), Gender and Career in Japan (Hardcover)
Ryoji Ihara, Toyota's Assembly Line: A View from the Factory Floor (Paperback)
Any dedicated Toyota driver and admirer of the Toyota Production System will be shocked to read of Ryoji Ihara's experience as a casual worker in a Toyota factory in Japan. As Toyota Motor Corporation continues its inexorable march to become the world's biggest and most profitable carmaker, workers on the factory floor are still making sacrifices under the appalling conditions.
Ihara's book is both a fearless expose and a meticulous academic study firmly situated within the context of the sociology of labor. Drawing on recent theoretical debates in Japan and internationally, the author challenges widely held views on the respective roles of skill, supervision and quality control in the car industry. Specialists in car industry research unable to access Japanese language sources should welcome this English translation of Ryoji Ihara's book, now with an additional chapter update.
Yet, belying its academic intent, the work is written in a relaxed, entertaining style that should appeal to any reader with an interest in car making, the sociology of work or Japanese society in general.
Ryoji Ihara, Toyota's Assembly Line: A View from the Factory Floor (Hardcover)
Akira Furukawa, Village Life in Modern Japan (Paperback)
From an environmentalist perspective, Furukawa examines the life world of villagers in modern Japan. This life world centers on their wisdom in daily life; with a focus on their religious life, preparation for natural disasters, irrigation systems, maintenance methods of forests and changing village structures. With extensive ethnographic illustrations, the author explores the potential of indigenous philosophy rooted in rural life and a new form of communalism in Japan.
Village Life in Modern Japan argues that the mainstream of environmentalism today remains trapped within the modernist paradigm that has led to the present global environmental malaise. Through a variety of case studies, Furukawa outlines the case for 'life-environmentalism' and shows that slogans such as 'think global, act local' remain problematic unless we also 'think local, act local'. The study is grounded in an ethnographic approach that recognizes that local, everyday-life knowledge offers our only hope of rectifying the global environmental crises.
Akira Furukawa, Village Life in Modern Japan (Hardcover)
Masahiro Ogino, Scams and Sweeteners: A Sociology of Fraud (Paperback)
Masahiro Ogino presents his sociological reflections on fraudulent acts, which are preformed in the space that is not governed by social norms. In this ambitious study, he attempts to develop a theory of what he calls a 'society of zero sociability' on the basis of Japanese, French, German, Swiss, Italian and American cases. He argues that 'there is no clear delineation between friendship and respect, and gift-giving and scams, in degree-zero society. There is no differentiation between a premeditated scam and the intention to give a gift, and one could easily become the other, so that a situation may seem like a scam but could easily seem like an example of gift giving. There is a need for sociological theory focusing on [this] primordial world.'
Masahiro Ogino, Scams and Sweeteners: A Sociology of Fraud (Hardcover)
Takashi Inoguchi, Japanese Politics: An Introduction (Paperback)
'This is both a path-breaking study of Japanese politics and a significant contribution to the general advancement of political science. Inoguchi skillfully weaves together an analysis of contemporary Japanese politics and the history of Japanese political and economic developments. He also illuminates a wide range of current scholarly debates about Japanese politics, political economy, and political culture.' Lucian W. Pye, M.I.T.
'Using both historical and international perspectives, the author provides a stimulating analysis of modern Japan. Broad in its dimensions, challenging in many of its propositions, this work warrants careful attention from students and specialists alike.' Robert A. Scalapino, University of California at Berkeley
Takashi Inoguchi, Japanese Politics: An Introduction (Hardcover)
Hideo Aoki, Japan's Underclass: Day Laborers and the Homeless (Paperback)
Condemned by economic forces and the prejudices of others to remain forever in the underclass, the homeless and day laborers in present-day affluent Japan struggle to survive in its cities. This study provides a poignant portrait of the conditions endured by these people. Whether they can find work at all and the nature of any available work determines their fate. In this book we read of men who die on the streets, the efforts of volunteers, officialdom's lack of understanding and of passers-by pointing at these men to show their children where failure will lead. This research shows how it is not personal failure, but a variety of economic and life circumstances that has propelled these men into the underclass.
Hideo Aoki, Japan's Underclass: Day Laborers and the Homeless (Hardcover)
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