Japan, anchored by its traditions, transformed by American post-war Occupation, and globally recognized for its technological innovations, manufacturing prowess and pop culture, faces powerful challenges from within and without. How Japan chooses to handle these problems and opportunities will determine its future for decades to come.

In this compact and lively book, Jeff Kingston - one of the most lucid analysts of Japan today - takes readers on a fascinating journey through this country's contemporary history, exploring the key developments and forces, both at home and abroad, that are shaping Japan in the twenty-first century. With an ageing population, a struggling economy and an unsettling regional context, Japan stands at a crossroads. Whether Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s transformative agenda of 'Abenomics' and 'proactive pacifism' towards a rising China and a belligerent North Korea can set Japan on the path to greater prosperity and security remains to be seen. But with his supermajority recently renewed, Japan’s ongoing transformation is very much in Abe’s hands.

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  • November 2018 (pb)
    November 2018 (hb)
  • 240 pages
  • 115 x 173 mm / 5 x 7 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $59.95
  • 9781509525447
  • Paperback $14.95
  • 9781509525454
  • Open eBook $14.95
  • 9781509525485
Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Bouncing Back?

Chapter 2 Japan, Inc.

Chapter 3  American Alliance

Chapter 4 Lost Decades and Disasters

Chapter 5 Dissent

Chapter 6 Abe's Japan

Further Reading


About the Author
Jeff Kingston has lived and taught in Japan since 1987 and is currently Professor of History and Director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan. He has written several books, including the popular textbook Contemporary Japan (2013, 2nd ed.). He also writes "Counterpoint", a weekly column for the Japan Times and is a frequent commentator in the international media.
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"Jeff Kingston's Japan cuts through much modern hype and manifold misconceptions to show in a cool but lively way how the country's current political, social, strategic and economic situation has evolved in the seven postwar decades and the real state of Japan today. There is no better way to understand where this always intriguing, vitally important and often pioneering country is heading than to read Kingston."
Bill Emmott, Chairman, Japan Society of the UK and author of The Fate of the West

"Much of the world seems to have forgotten Japan, being mesmerised by the spectacular rise of China. Jeff Kingston, however, a long-term resident of Japan, shows in this engagingly written book that the Land of the Rising Sun still matters deeply, and that, despite its many problems (not least demographic), Japan is making a comeback and in many fields rebounding in unexpected ways. The book is both informative and remarkably entertaining."
Arthur Stockwin, Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, Oxford

"Scholar Jeff Kingston has penned a new “compact and lively book” looking at Japan in the 21st century. Japan promises to be a must-read for anyone concerned about the future of this country."
The Japan Times

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