Asia in focus: Japan





  • Introduction: The Roots of Japan’s Contemporary Government and Politics
  • Government and Politics in the Tokugawa Period: 1600–1868
  • Japan’s Imperial Period: 1868–1945
  • Postwar Government and Politics: The Creation of Japanese Democracy and Its Structure
  • The Real World of Japanese Politics: 1945–1985
  • The Real World of Japanese Politics: 1985 to the Present
  • Conclusion: Political Challenges and Evolving Government Structures


  • Economic Systems: The Roots of Success (1600–1868)
  • Industrialization and State-Guided Capitalism: 1868–1945
  • Japan Becomes a World Economic Power: 1945–1973
  • Response to Globalization: 1973 to the Present
  • Natural Resources Overview
  • Business and Industry: Manufacturing
  • The Two-Tiered Economy
  • Trade
  • Conclusion: Japan’s Economic Future


Religion and Thought

  • Introduction
  • Shinto: ‘‘The Way of the Kami’’
  • Buddhism
  • Confucianism: The Branches and Leaves of Japanese Civilization?
  • Christianity and the ‘‘New’’ Japanese Religions
  • Philosophy: Japan, Asia, and the West
  • Are the Japanese Religious?

Social Classes and Ethnicity

  • Introduction: Social Classes and Ethnicity in a Non-Western Society
  • The Group and the Vertical Society
  • Group Socialization: The School
  • Workplace Groups
  • Social Class and Mobility
  • Pressures to Conform
  • Ethnic and Minority Groups

Women and Marriage

  • Introduction
  • Women in Classical, Early Modern, and Imperial Japan
  • Women in Postwar Japan
  • 21st-Century Changes and Challenges for Women
  • Conclusion: Women and Social Issues

Japan’s Educational System

  • Introduction
  • Historical and Cultural Foundations of Learning
  • The Structure of Japanese Education
  • Administrators and Teachers
  • Entrance Examinations
  • Student Life and Behavior Patterns
  • Higher Education
  • Educational Reform


The Japanese Language

  • Introduction
  • Written Japanese
  • Spoken Japanese
  • Loanwords
  • Language and Japanese Culture
  • Learning Japanese Language

Etiquette in Japan

  • Introduction
  • Cultural Beliefs and Etiquette
  • Survival Etiquette
  • Conclusion: Japanese Tolerance and a Changing Japan

Japanese Literature

  • Introduction: Understanding People and Culture
  • Japan’s Literary Tradition: Pre-20th-Century Authors
  • Giants of 20th-Century Japanese Literature
  • Conclusion: Japanese Literature and the 21st Century

Japanese Art

  • Introduction
  • The Arts: Prehistoric to Heian (11,000 BCE–794 CE)
  • Art and Heian Japan (794–1185)
  • Medieval Arts (1185–1600)
  • Tokugawa Japan (1600–1868): ‘‘Classic’’ Japanese Arts and Western Contact
  • New Directions and Global Arts (1868–Present)
  • Conclusion: Japanization and Westernization

Japanese Music

  • Introduction: World Music
  • Music in Early and Medieval Japan
  • Music in Tokugawa Japan
  • Encounters with Western Music: 1868–1945
  • Post–1945 Japan: World Music Flourishes
  • Conclusion


  • A Cultural and Social History
  • Food as Art
  • Eating in Restaurants and Homes
  • Common Japanese Dishes
  • Common Beverages

Sports and Leisure in Japan

  • Asobi
  • Traditional Sports and Leisure: Past and Present
  • Contemporary Japan: Sports
  • Major Popular Culture Pursuits: ‘‘MASK’’ and More
  • Pachinko
  • Manga
  • Anime
  • Karaoke
  • Conclusion: Cell Phones


  • Introduction: Is Japan Facing Massive Changes?
  • Japan’s Foreign Policy and China: ‘‘A Middle Power?’’
  • Japan and the Korean Peninsula
  • Japan, the United States, and Contemporary International Challenges
  • Japan and the World
  • The Views of Two Foreigners
  • Can Japan Become a Genuine Multicultural Society?
  • Glossary
  • Facts and Figures
  • Holidays
  • Organizations
  • Annotated Bibliography of Recommended Works on Japan