The series is edited by Emeritus Professor Yoshio Sugimoto, Department of Social Inquiry, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.


This site comprises four pages.

  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.


  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.


  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.

Translated by Tom Gill


  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.


  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 onefs 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, Japans 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, Japans Whaling: The Politics of Culture in Historical Perspective Hardcover  


  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 worldfs 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  


  Leonie Stickland, Gender Gymnastics: Performing and Consuming Japans 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.


  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.


  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.

Discussion paper


  Reiko Kosugi, Escape from Work: Freelancing Youth and the Challenge to Corporate Japan 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  


  Ryoji Ihara, Toyotas 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, Toyotas Assembly Line: A View from the Factory Floor Hardcover  


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