Review by Choice Review
The authors, all recognized scholars in the field of Japanese politics, have each chosen a particular aspect of the Japanese system to examine its institutions and practices within the framework of democratic issues. The topically arranged book covers both political and social/economic aspects of democracy. Topics include law, political parties, bureaucracy, local government, protest, equality, education, corporate power, and others. In each of the independent chapters, the context for the study of democracy in Japan is provided by Japanese political traditions and culture, the experience of the American occupation, and postwar social change. Each contributor examines the historical development of democracy from at least WW II to the present. The book as a whole addresses the fundamental question of whether, and to what degree, democracy as practiced in a society very different from those in which Western notions and practices of liberal democracy began can--or should--conform to democratic practices and institutions in the West. In general, the authors do not rely on published sources, but largely on their own knowledge of aspects of Japan's democratic development. The chapters are not burdened with detail, yet are sophisticated and well written. Excellent for classroom use and for college and university libraries. S. Ogden Northeastern University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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