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new2bjj
24th December 08, 01:03 PM
Any of the older guys here remember this book? I remember it coming out in the early 90's, and Blade Runner envisioned the future LA as being so pwned by the Japanese that people would be speaking it there.

http://www.amazon.com/Japan-That-First-Among-Equals/dp/0671758535/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1230141372&sr=8-1

Considering all that has taken place, I find it rather amusing.

HappyOldGuy
24th December 08, 01:09 PM
I don't remember that particular book, but I certainly remember the japanophobic 80's. Rising Sun ftmfl.

Aphid Jones
24th December 08, 02:35 PM
Lol Nationalists

new2bjj
24th December 08, 04:39 PM
What was funny was around the time of the book, I worked for a Ricoh distributor. Anyway, we had a regional Ricoh guy that used to talk about all this right wing Rush Limbaugh crap, and how bad the Democrats were for America, etc. I asked him "If you're so pro America, why do you work for a Japanese company?" He tried to smirk his way out of it. Eventually my boss took him in to his office one day and told him to stop lecturing people on politics, do his job, or don't come into our office. We didn't see much of him from then on.

EuropIan
24th December 08, 04:46 PM
Nihonjinron

Wounded Ronin
24th December 08, 11:18 PM
LOL.

jubei33
25th December 08, 02:30 AM
read this book in the CIA-translated version as a Senate aide concerned about the rise of Japan, which included as co-author one of the leaders of Sony (Morita). While interesting for scholars, as I glanced thru this version - which is watered down but still white hot with anger - I was struck at how far off base the predictions of the man seem today. Afterall, when it was written, Japan was at the crest of the bubble economy, it appeared as if Japanese computer chips (and its electronic industries) would confer great power on the country (they could refuse to sell components that went into US missiles), and the US was in a now-unimaginable phase of self doubt. As such, the way things have turned out, after nearly 16 years of stagnation and the rise of high tech manufacturer-competitors elsewhere, reveal the author to have been so badly mistaken regarding the trajectory that Japan would take as to be laughable.

In a deeper sense, it points to the fact that Ishihara did not understand the economic forces at work at the time and so was full of utterly baseless nationalistic bravado. Japan's economic rise was based upon the post-war reconstruction boom, then a relatively protected economy that allowed huge undustrial combines to band together as cartels (gouging their won consumers to sell at low prices abroad to gain marketshare and crush competitiors), and lastly to a number of significant management innovations (TQM, just-in-time manufacturing, etc.) that are reflected in the fact that they make excellent cars. However, it was basically a follower economy making products that have become commoditized by cheaper manufacturers elsewhere in Asia - just as its innovations became widely emulated - and corrupted by the money generated in real estate speculation that eventually collapsed in a deflationary spiral. Meanwhile, its political reforms have been weak at best, and senselessly nationalistic at worst.

Ishihara understood none of this and casts no light on any of it of value. Instead, he drags out pre-WWII arguments about the innate superiority of the Japanese character and similar rather ugly arguments. He is also appalingly loose with the facts: for example, he claims that the US bombed Japan, but not Germany with the atom bomb for racist reasons (Japanese were yellow, Germans were not) - but if you know a minimum of history, which Isihara apparently doesn't, you would realise that at the time of the German defeat (April, 1945) the bomb was not yet completed (it was first test detonated the following July)! The book is full of this kind of sloppiness. What he does succeed at, however, is expressing the resentment that parochial Japanese nationalists felt at the time. In retrospect, his arrogance appears as breathtaking as it is ignorant. But his anger and resentment, and what they reflect of Japanese attitudes, is very real indeed. Seen this way, the book is one long crypto-racist rant.

Japan has a long way to go to understanding outsiders, the gaijin, such as why Korea and China find the official sanitising of its aggressive WWII history so offensive and outrageous. I mean, young Japanese students are taught that Japan was a victim of WWII and not just because of the atomic bomb - and their text books are being revamped to reinforce that!! If you read this, you can understand some of the reasons why, which is the greatest value of the book, more in spite of its content than because of what it reflects.

interesting comment

EuropIan
25th December 08, 09:36 AM
The Japanese are so good at making psudo scientific research about how unique the Japanese are, that the term nihonjinron was coined. Think of it as a japanese flavored orientalism.

This could be argued as an example of such.

polishillusion
25th December 08, 01:30 PM
The Japanese are so good at making psudo scientific research about how unique the Japanese are, that the term nihonjinron was coined. Think of it as a japanese flavored orientalism.

This could be argued as an example of such.

Have you ever tried to argue with a Japanese person about the existence of the 4 seasons outside of Japan? It's the equivalent to talking to a pot head who is blazed out of their mind.

EuropIan
25th December 08, 01:49 PM
No.

Equipoise
25th December 08, 08:59 PM
Have you ever tried to argue with a Japanese person about the existence of the 4 seasons outside of Japan? It's the equivalent to talking to a pot head who is blazed out of their mind.


Elaborate please.

polishillusion
25th December 08, 09:38 PM
Elaborate please.

http://patrickmccoy.typepad.com/lost_in_translation/2008/03/japan-has-four.html

Explains it better.