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Rezension bezieht sich auf: An Introduction to Japanese Society (Contemporary Japanese Society) (Taschenbuch)
An Introduction to Japanese Society is a book no serious student of Japan (or East Asia generally) can afford to pass up. It affords an unflinching and incisive look at the nature of Japanese democracy by a Japanese scholar who pulls no punches. While quite a few Western scholars have characterized the Japanese elementary school classroom, for example, as less authoritarian than its American counterpart, Sugimoto contends that authoritarianism is pronounced but subtly pervasive throughout Japanese society. Instead of accentuating top-down coercion by authorities, as Korean and Chinese societies do, Japanese authoritarianism is more subtle, relying heavily on indirect controls such as small group pressures, extensive surveillance, moralistic ideologies, positive reinforcements, mythologies of benevolent leadership, and pleasant rituals to mask underlying and potentially coercive power. As Sugimoto persuasively demonstrates, "Japanese friendly authoritarianism does not normally exhibit its coercive face." But when all else fails, it can and does exercise the full measure of its power. Sugimoto's book should inspire more Western scholars to take a closer look at the informal mechanisms of control in Japanese society. If Sugimoto is right, Japan has far to go before it becomes a full-fledged democracy.