By Michio Morishima
This booklet, via a wonderful jap economist now resident within the West, deals a brand new interpretation of the present good fortune of the japanese financial system. by means of putting the increase of Japan within the context of its historic improvement, Michio Morishima indicates how a strongly-held nationwide ethos has interacted with spiritual, social and technological rules imported from in different places to provide hugely particular cultural qualities. whereas Professor Morishima lines the roots of recent Japan again so far as the advent of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism from China within the 6th century, he concentrates his observations at the final one hundred twenty years within which Japan has had wide contacts with the West. He describes the fast upward push of Japan to the prestige of a chief energy following the Meiji Revolution after 1867, within which Japan broke with an extended background of isolationism, and which cleared the path for the adoption of Western expertise and the construction of a contemporary Western-style country kingdom; and a equally meteoric upward thrust from the devastation of the second one global warfare to Japan's current place. a number elements in Japan's financial good fortune are analysed: her attribute dualistic social constitution - similar to the divide among huge and medium/small agencies - the kin of presidency and large company, the bad reception of liberalism and individualism, and the power of the japanese nationalism. all through, Professor Morishima emphasises the significance of the function performed within the construction of jap capitalism by means of moral doctrines as reworked below jap stipulations, in particular the japanese Confucian culture of entire loyalty to the company and to the kingdom. This account, which makes transparent the level to which the industrial upward push of Japan is because of elements distinct to its ancient traditions, can be of curiosity to a large basic readership in addition to to scholars of Japan and its historical past.
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Extra info for Why Has Japan 'Succeeded'?: Western Technology and the Japanese Ethos
They could not view problems of foreign relations and national defence with a dispassionate and analytical eye. Instead, everything was judged from the subjective viewpoint of 'great duty' or 'just argument'. Thus the possibility for this right-wing ideology to lead the country astray was as great as at the time of the Second World War. In addition the opposing 'open the country' argument was nothing but the reverse of the 'expel the barbarians' one and did not have its own logical base. Just as there were hard and soft-liners among the 'expel the barbarians' supporters, there were a variety of versions of the 'open the country' argument.
Farmers and tradesmen were also called upon to be loyal to their bosses and faithful to their friends and customers. It should be noted that in the mid-Tokugawa period large landowners and large-scale shops emerged, while many people became tenant farmers, shop-boys and servants. They were soon taught that they should devote themselves to their masters in the same way as the samurai did to their lords. 14 25 These movements had serious effects upon the caste system, which was one of the main foundations of the Tokugawa regime.
See, for example, Iwao Seiichi, Sakoku (Seclusion), vol. 14 of Nihon no Rekishi (History of Japan) (Chuo* Koronsha*, 1974). Also, see Hayashi Yujiro, Watakushi no Seijuku Shakai Ron (A Personal View of the Mature Society) (Sangyo* Noritsu* Daigaku Shuppanbu, 1981). There are those who believe that the Shimabara Rebellion by Christians in 1637-38 was the immediate cause of the complete closure of the country in 1639, but the trend towards national isolation was very marked even before the rising.