Catalogue

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Molding Japanese minds : the state in everyday life /
Sheldon Garon.
imprint
Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 1997.
description
xvii, 313 p. : ill.
ISBN
0691044880 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 1997.
isbn
0691044880 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
1087906
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Sheldon Garon is Professor of History and East Asian Studies at Princeton University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1997-10:
Garon's book reflects the myth about Japan that many Americans hold today, i.e., that the Japanese achieve so many social and economic goals because of their mobilizing spirit. Garon, a historian, contends that the state's social management in modern Japan is an evolutionary process. In this rather short work the author uses case studies of four sociocultural institutions to chronicle the development of social management from the 19th century to the present: the welfare system, the formulation of a religious policy, gender, and sexuality. The reader might question his choice of these, and also ask why he did not analyze the Japanese value system as the basis of everyday conduct. In addition, Garon might have considered the role of politicians, of elite career civil service officers, and of the intelligentsia whose views dominate the mass media. Although interesting, the book is a typical outsider-looking-in assessment. A more serious question remains: Is this a case of "social management by the state," or do Japanese government policies, formulated primarily by elite bureaucrats, simply reflect the norms and consensus of a well-informed public acting with the welfare of the society in mind? Readers might also be interested in Yoshio Sugimoto's An Introduction to Japanese Society (1997). Graduate, faculty. M. Y. Rynn; University of Scranton
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An excellent book. . . Garon has chosen his subject well and. . . he handles it with balance and authority."-- Patrick Smith, The Nation
" Molding Japanese Minds is history at its best; with a thorough command of original sources and scholarship, both in Japanese and other languages, Garon demonstrates that social policy was not solely government-or bureaucracy-driven."-- Times Literary Supplement
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 1997
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Back Cover Copy
" Molding Japanese Minds shows how extensively and consistently the modern Japanese state has sought to manage social behavior. As with any superb work of history, one finishes this book with a renewed appreciation of the complexity of the human condition, for this is not a simple story of control from the top. Sheldon Garon's important contribution is to show us how social groups and individuals who were supposed to be on the receiving end of state policy often joined forces with political officials in ways that confound simple division between state and society."-- Andrew Gordon, Harvard University " Molding Japanese Minds provides the best discussion I have seen of the intricate relationship between Japanese state institutions ad civil society. It covers one hundred years of moral suasion campaigns by the Japanese government on matters of gender, sexuality, welfare, and religion, casting doubt throughout on the utility of any conventional dichotomy between 'state' and 'society.' It thereby helps us to think in more creative ways about the complex social evolution of modern Japan."-- T. J. Pempel, University of Washington "Sheldon Garon does exactly what needs to be done in the field of modern Japanese history: he focuses on the most important agency of the prewar Japanese developmental state, namely, the Ministry of Home Affairs. His case studies are marvelously done, magnificently researched, and very provocative."-- Chalmers Johnson, Japan Policy Research Institute
Main Description
How has the Japanese government persuaded its citizens to save substantial portions of their incomes? And to care for the elderly within the family? How did the public come to support legalized prostitution as in the national interest? What roles have women's groups played in Japan's "economic miracle"? What actually unites the Japanese to achieve so many economic and social goals that have eluded other polities? Here Sheldon Garon helps us to understand this mobilizing spirit as he taps into the intimate relationships everyday Japanese have with their government. To an extent inconceivable to most Westerners, state directives trickle into homes, religious groups, and even into individuals' sex lives, where they are frequently welcomed by the Japanese and reinforced by their neighbors. In a series of five compelling case studies, Garon demonstrates how average citizens have cooperated with government officials in the areas of welfare, prostitution, and household savings, and in controlling religious "cults" and promoting the political participation of women. The state's success in creating a nation of activists began before World War II, and has hinged on campaigns that mobilize the people behind various policies and encourage their involvement at the local level. For example, neighborhoods have been socially managed on a volunteer basis by small-business owners and housewives, who strive to rid their locales of indolence and to contain welfare costs. The story behind the state regulation of prostitution is a more turbulent one in which many lauded the flourishing brothels for preserving Japanese tradition and strengthening the "family system," while others condemned the sexual enslavement of young women. In each case, we see Japanese citizens working closely with the state to recreate "community" and shape the thought and behavior of fellow citizens. The policies often originate at the top, but in the hands of activists they take on added vigor. This phenomenon, which challenges the conventional dichotomy of the "state" versus the "people," is well worth exploring as Western governments consider how best to manage their own changing societies.
Main Description
How has the Japanese government persuaded its citizens to save substantial portions of their incomes? And to care for the elderly within the family? How did the public come to support legalized prostitution as in the national interest? What roles have women's groups played in Japan's "economic miracle"? What actually unites the Japanese to achieve so many economic and social goals that have eluded other polities? Here Sheldon Garon helps us to understand this mobilizing spirit as he taps into the intimate relationships everyday Japanese have with their government. To an extent inconceivable to most Westerners, state directives trickle into homes, religious groups, and even into individuals' sex lives, where they are frequently welcomed by the Japanese and reinforced by their neighbors. In a series of five compelling case studies, Garon demonstrates how average citizens have cooperated with government officials in the areas of welfare, prostitution, and household savings, and in controlling religious "cults" and promoting the political participation of women.The state's success in creating a nation of activists began before World War II, and has hinged on campaigns that mobilize the people behind various policies and encourage their involvement at the local level. For example, neighborhoods have been socially managed on a volunteer basis by small-business owners and housewives, who strive to rid their locales of indolence and to contain welfare costs. The story behind the state regulation of prostitution is a more turbulent one in which many lauded the flourishing brothels for preserving Japanese tradition and strengthening the "family system," while others condemned the sexual enslavement of young women.In each case, we see Japanese citizens working closely with the state to recreate "community" and shape the thought and behavior of fellow citizens. The policies often originate at the top, but in the hands of activists they take on added vigor. This phenomenon, which challenges the conventional dichotomy of the "state" versus the "people," is well worth exploring as Western governments consider how best to manage their own changing societies.
Unpaid Annotation
Why do the Japanese not eagerly embrace deregulation and consumer sovereignty? How has the Japanese government persuaded its citizens to save substantial portions of their incomes? What roles have women's groups played in Japan's economic miracle? What actually unites the Japanese to achieve so many economic and social goals that have eluded other polities? Here Sheldon Garon helps us to understand this mobilizing spirit as he taps into the intimate relationships everyday Japanese have with their government. In a series of five compelling case studies, Garon demonstrates how average citizens have cooperated with government officials in the areas of welfare, prostitution, and household savings, and in controlling religious cults and promoting the political participation of women. In each case, we see Japanese citizens working closely with the state to re-create community and shape the thought and behavior of fellow citizens. Molding Japanese Minds is history at its best; with a thorough command of original sources and scholarship, both in Japanese and other languages, Garon demonstrates that social policy was not solely government- or bureaucracy- driven. DLDrew Gerstle, The Times Literary Supplement As with any superb work of history, one finishes this book with a renewed appreciation of the complexity of the human condition, for this is not a simple story of control from the top. DLAndrew Gordon, Harvard University
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Abbreviations
Preface
Social Management: An Introductionp. 3
State and Society Before 1945p. 23
The Evolution of "Japanese-Style" Welfarep. 25
Defining Orthodoxy and Heterodoxyp. 60
The World's Oldest Debate? Regulating Prostitution and Illicit Sexualityp. 88
Integrating Women into Public Life: Women's Groups and the Statep. 115
Social Management in Postwar Japanp. 147
Re-creating the Channels of Moral Suasionp. 149
Sexual Politics and the Feminization of Social Managementp. 178
Managing Spiritual Life and Material Well-beingp. 206
Epiloguep. 231
Notesp. 239
Bibliographyp. 273
Interviewsp. 298
Indexp. 299
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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