Showa: The Japan of Hirohito

Carol Gluck, Editor, Stephen Graubard, Editor
Carol Gluck, Editor, Stephen Graubard, Editor W. W. Norton & Company $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-393-02984-0
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-393-31064-1
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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.)
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