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Making Common Sense of Japan (Pitt Series in Policy and Institutional Studies) [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Steven R. Reed
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Kurzbeschreibung

Oktober 1993 Pitt Series in Policy and Institutional Studies

Common misconceptions about Japan begin with the notion that it is a "small" country (it's actually lager than Great Britain, Germany or Italy) and end with pronouncements that the Japanese think differently and have different values-they do things differently because that's the way they are.
Steven Reed takes on the task of demystifying Japanese culture and behavior. Through examples that are familiar to an American audience and his own personal encounters with the Japanese, he argues that the apparent oddity of Japanese behavior flows quite naturally from certain objective conditions that are different from those in the United States.
Mystical allegations about national character are less useful for understanding a foreign culture than a close look at specific situations and conditions. Two aspects of the Japanese economy have particularly baffled Americans: that Japanese workers have "permanent employment" and that the Japanese government cooperates with big business. Reed explains these phenomena in common sense terms. He shows how they developed historically, why they continue, and why they helped produce economic growth. He concludes that these practices are not as different from what happens in the United States as they may appear.


Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 144 Seiten
  • Verlag: University of Pittsburgh Press (Oktober 1993)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0822955105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822955108
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 21,3 x 14 x 1,3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 142.596 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

“Steven Reed has written a clever little book arguing against an understanding of Japan that relies on cultural specificity. . . . This is a good book that should be on the reading list of all undergraduate courses on Japan.”
—Japanese Studies



“This book is a 'must read' for anybody who teaches about or is interested in contemporary Japan.  The author provides a number of illuminating examples to demystify various stereotypes about Japanese culture, while revealing the naiveté of culture-driven arguments about Japanese political economy. . . .The book will also serve as excellent seminar reading, as it is certain to facilitate lively debate and discussion on contemporary Japan.”
—Pacific Affairs



“This intriguing volume is highly recommended for not only scholars, students, and business executives, but for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of the why and how of Japanese business activities.”
—Choice

Synopsis

After 10 years of teaching about Japan, in Japan and in the United States, Reed takes on the task of demystifying Japanese culture and behaviour. He argues that the apparent oddity of Japanese behaviour flows naturally from certain objective conditions that are different from those in the US.

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Format:Taschenbuch
Various movies, books, and other sources have contributed to an "eroticisation" of Japanese, its people and its culture. Steven R. Reed, in his book, Making Common Sense of Japan, sets out to dispel common myths about Japanese culture some Americans still cling to.
In the first chapter, he sets out his framework by which asking whether Japan is a unique nation, and his conclusion on this may startle Americans: only when the United States is eliminated from comparison Japan is not unique. In fact, he says, it has much in common with Western European countries, with similar sizes of population and land space and that they are industrialized democracies. It is America, not Japan that is unique, in that it has a large population, land mass, and huge crime rate.
The second chapter tackles the question of culture. Reed looks at why people act they way they do, and de-emphasizes rationality (this is a sticking point for rational-choice theorists, who would have a rather technical criticism of his analysis), and dispels the notion of a mystical explanation of culture. Reed's conceptualizes culture in terms of "common sense", which is simply the knowledge gained by experience. He says that too much about a country is attributed to its culture, and for this he gives the example of the use of umbrellas. Upon visiting Japan, he found it odd that many Japanese would open their umbrellas when there was a mist, and quickly attributed it to their culture (they are "wimps" or "conformist"). He found, that after walking for a short period during a mist, that umbrellas were actually quite practical, because he found that walking in a mist made the shoulders of his suit very wet.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Essential reading for those interested in studying Japan 5. Januar 2000
Von Richard Eriksson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Various movies, books, and other sources have contributed to an "eroticisation" of Japanese, its people and its culture. Steven R. Reed, in his book, Making Common Sense of Japan, sets out to dispel common myths about Japanese culture some Americans still cling to.
In the first chapter, he sets out his framework by which asking whether Japan is a unique nation, and his conclusion on this may startle Americans: only when the United States is eliminated from comparison Japan is not unique. In fact, he says, it has much in common with Western European countries, with similar sizes of population and land space and that they are industrialized democracies. It is America, not Japan that is unique, in that it has a large population, land mass, and huge crime rate.
The second chapter tackles the question of culture. Reed looks at why people act they way they do, and de-emphasizes rationality (this is a sticking point for rational-choice theorists, who would have a rather technical criticism of his analysis), and dispels the notion of a mystical explanation of culture. Reed's conceptualizes culture in terms of "common sense", which is simply the knowledge gained by experience. He says that too much about a country is attributed to its culture, and for this he gives the example of the use of umbrellas. Upon visiting Japan, he found it odd that many Japanese would open their umbrellas when there was a mist, and quickly attributed it to their culture (they are "wimps" or "conformist"). He found, that after walking for a short period during a mist, that umbrellas were actually quite practical, because he found that walking in a mist made the shoulders of his suit very wet.
The subsequent three chapters deal with (in order) a structural learning approach, an explanation for Japanese permanent employment, and an the the nature of co-operation between government and business. The first chapter is a bit complicated, but the following two are interesting, especially in his concluding remarks of each chapter. Japanese permanent was a compromise between business and labour after World War II, which meant that in return for less worker autonomy, the unions would gain higher job security. Whether the Japanese like it or not, it's been institutionalized, meaning the cost of changing the system is higher than maintaining it. With regard to business-government co-operation, he says that "bureaucrats are the referees, not the players". He argues that some ministries lack enough enforcement power to force companies to stop cheating in the market, but more often than not, a threat is often enough to get companies to fly right.
In the concluding chapter Reed argues for a "reconceptualization of the market." He goes on: "We need to recognize that markets are created by governments and can be manipulated by governments...We need to study markets as institutions, not icons." Reed also makes some remarks on what America can learn from Japan, using his two examples of permanent employment and business-government co-operation. He fails to mention what Japan could learn from America, but it's a minor quibble. Another quibble is that I would have liked for him to touch on more topics than the two, for instance the legal system. But I really enjoyed the book, if not just for the main text but for the extensive notes in the back of the book, where he talks about his experiences with his students will lecturing at university and other wisdom. This book is essential for anybody who wishes to learn about Japan as a country and the Japanese as a people.
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