The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose
By (author) Kenneth B. Pyle
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Japan Rising by Kenneth B. Pyle
Book DescriptionAfter more than half a century of withdrawal from international politics Japan is back. What are the implications for the rest of the world? Japan is on the verge of a sea change. After more than fifty years of national pacifism and isolation including the "lost decade" of the 1990s, Japan is quietly, stealthily awakening. As she prepares to become a major player in the strategic struggles of the 21st century, critical questions arise about her motivations. What are the driving forces that influence how Japan will act in the international system? Are there recurrent patterns that will help explain how Japan will respond to the emerging environment in world politics? As Japan shows signs of vitality and international engagement, understanding the forces that drive her is more important than ever. In "Japan Rising", renowned expert Kenneth Pyle identifies the common threads that bind the divergent strategies of modern Japan, providing essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand how she arrived at this moment - and what to expect in the future.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781586484170
(236mm x 156mm x 38mm)
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 5-Apr-2007
Country of Publication: United States
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US Kirkus Review » The land of the rising sun is poised to rise again as a regional, and even world, power. So holds noted Japan specialist Pyle (History/Univ. of Washington).Cultural relativists reject the notion of national character, but Pyle suggests that there is something in the homogeneous nation's makeup that can be used to gauge the future. He approvingly quotes anthropologist Nakane Chie, who wrote, "We Japanese have no principles. . . . Except for a few leftists or rightists, we have no dogma and don't ourselves know where we are going." Pyle holds that this anyway-the-wind-blows pragmatism is a consequence of the leadership's recognition long ago that Japan is a resource-poor island nation with very powerful neighbors; he writes that it has had many consequences, among them the only partial fulfillment of the postwar MacArthur equivalent of de-Nazification, since the American government feared that a resentful Japan, forced to acknowledge its bad and definitely ideological behavior, would wander into the Soviet camp. The lack of ideological firmness, by Pyle's account, means that WWII was an aberration, "a sweeping rejection of the Japanese heritage" in the lust for national power. Chastened, Japan sat out most of the Cold War on the sidelines, Pyle writes, building economic strength in part by not having to shoulder the costs of defense. In the wake of 9/11, U.S. politicos have demanded that Japan pay those costs, which, ironically, may contribute to Japan's revival as a power. Pyle observes that this revival is contingent on many factors and can take many forms, depending on the scenario - that old pragmatism again. For instance, an Asia with a reunified Korea will look very much different from the present one, particularly if Korea plays China off Japan. How will Japan react? And how will Japan respond if America does not remain "deeply engaged in East Asia and committed to maintaining a balance of power"?The author does not doubt the revival itself. An interesting thesis, backed by a strong historical narrative. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Kenneth B. Pyle
Kenneth B Pyle is the Henry M Jackson Professor of History and Asian studies at the University of Washington. He is Founding President of the National Bureau of Asian Research, founding editor and chairman of the board of the Journal of Japanese Studies, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1991, Professor Pyle was decorated by the Emperor of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun.
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