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


    This site comprises four pages.

      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  


      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  


      Hideo Aoki, Japans 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, Japans Underclass: Day Laborers and the Homeless Hardcover  


      Osamu Soda, Philosophy of Agricultural Science: A Japanese Perspective Paperback  

    Osamu Soda, one of the leading Japanese scholars in the philosophy of agricultural science, examines the relationship between human life, the natural environment, and agriculture. He argues that satisfying diverse human values requires a harmonious realization of three sometimes conflicting sets of values, and situates a reconceived agricultural science as the best means to realizing these ends. For Soda, this means rethinking the entrenched divisions between the natural, human and practical sciences to create an agricultural science that draws on the reductive empiricism of the natural sciences as well as the interpretative methodologies of the human sciences in its efforts to find applied solutions to real problems. It also entails rethinking the place of agriculture in the life-world, recognizing that its non-economic contributions to the community and environment are every bit as important as, if not more than, its economic values. Only through balancing diverse value objectives and synthesizing diverse research methodologies will modern societies avert further environmental damage and begin to rectify existing problems.


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