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Library Journal Review
The Showa era, which constitutes the reign of the Emperor Hirohito (1926-89), is obviously one of the most important (and tumultuous) epochs in Japanese history. This collection of essays by a number of renowned experts in the field, both American and Japanese, provides a sampling of recent scholarship on the subject. (The essays were originally published in the Summer 1990 issue of Daedalus .) From the excellent overviews of the period offered by Gluck and Masataka Kosaka to more specific essays on such topics as World War II, the Occupation, postwar economic recovery, and the cultural life of the period, Showa makes a unique and interesting collection. Although the essays are academic in character, the range of topics covered and their overall level of treatment render them accessible to a general readership. Recommended for academic and larger public library Asian studies collections.--Scott Wright, Univ. of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
The 16 Japanese and American scholars whose essays are collected here focus generally on three major lines of inquiry: Japan-U.S. relations during the 1926-1989 Hirohito era; Japan's path to war in the '30s and '40s; and the country's postwar achievement of ``macroeconomic might.'' Regarding the war, the unsurprising consensus among the Japanese contributors revolves around the ``system of irresponsibility'' in which no one is held ultimately accountable for starting the war. As to the economic success, several contributors cite the benefits of Japan's integration into the global economy during the American occupation, the remarkable political stability of the Japanese government since 1955 and a ``magic combination'' of government policy, labor-management relations, aggressive entrepreneurship and hard work. Finally, the question of Japan's acceptance of responsibilities as a global economic superpower is addressed: Should Japan share some of its wealth with the Third World? Should Japan contribute significantly to the counterattack against environmental pollution? Conclusions are rarely drawn in these pages, but the debate is lively and informative. The essays originally appeared in Daedalus and simultaneously in the Japanese quarterly Asteion. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
A collection of 17 essays by American and Japanese authors that attempt to analyze the momentous and dramatic evolution of Japan during the protracted reign of Emperor Hirohito, commonly referred to as the "Showa" era. During the prewar years, the Japanese embraced rampant militarism and imperial aggression; after suffering an ignominious defeat, modern Japan emerged as the predominant economic power of the latter half of the twentieth century. This apparent paradox constitutes the intriguing subject matter of the majority of the articles featured in this volume. Individual authors also explore the complex, interdependent nature of the schizophrenic relationship that exists between the U.S. and Japan. Origin~ally published as the summer 1990 issue of Daedalus (and now appearing for the first time in book form), this compendium offers a unique, bilateral perspective of Japan between the years 1926-89. ~--Margaret Flanagan
Kirkus Book Review
In this stimulating and comprehensive essay collection (originally published as the Summer 1990 issue of Daedalus, which Graubard edits), distinguished American and Japanese scholars debate the significance of the ``Showa'' era--the reign of Emperor Hirohito, from 1925 to 1989--in Japanese history. Ironically, ``Showa'' means ``enlightened peace''--a term, the authors (including nine Americans and seven Japanese) make clear, that could not be less appropriate for this period in which Japan fought a world war, suffered ignominious defeat and occupation for the first time in its history, and subsequently rose to become the world's preeminent economic power. Ushered in with a lengthy introduction by Gluck (History/Columbia), the 16 essays offer as their main themes the causes of the war, the reasons for postwar growth, and the paradoxes in Japanese-US relations. The authors who address the issue of war (e.g., Masataka Kosaka: International Politics/Kyoto Univ.) see the conflict primarily as a Japanese reaction to vast British, Soviet, and American empires around Japan, and partially as the product of domestic forces (the weak constitutional structure and politically impotent imperial system, which left a power vacuum filled by military leaders). Regarding postwar growth, authors (e.g., Herbert Passim: Sociology/Columbia) tend not to emphasize Japanese ingenuity but to stress the unique history of American involvement in the Japanese economy, as well as policies imposed by the postwar government to encourage production and discourage consumption. The American influence is a major theme here, and there is a consensus among the authors that the American- Japanese relationship will continue to be of major significance for the economic well-being of both countries. Primarily for its rare mix of American and Japanese perspectives, an important contribution to our understanding of both Japan and Japanese-American relations.