Recently I’ve been reading more than usually. I think mostly because I’ve gotten some good tips on books I actually like. I really like Haruki Murakami and I’m going to read Norwegian Wood as my next book.
When I was in Japan though I picked up a book that whose title is “100 books for Understanding Contemporary Japan”. I looked through this in Japan and picked out a list of the ones I actually wanted to read and after seeing that Dex had bought one of the books that was on my list I thought I’d post the list here! Since I haven’t read any of them, I’ll just post the title with an image and description from Amazon.
Constructing Civil Society in Japan: Voices of Environmental Movements
Writing in the tradition of Japanese environmental sociology, which emphasizes fieldwork and case studies, Hasegawa (sociology, Tohoku U., Sendai, Japan) reviews the environmental movements in contemporary Japan and the new public sphere as the vibrant civil society that the movement supports. Among his topics are motivating and mobilizing the movements, anti-pollution lawsuits, regional referendums, the dynamics of social movements and official policies as exemplified in green electricity, and transforming the Citizens’ Sector. He also sets out the principles and issues of environmental sociology.
Japan Remodeled: How Government and Industry Are Reforming Japanese Capitalism
Japan Remodeled is an important book. Japan’s economic system is undergoing major transformation exacerbated by 15 years of malaise. Steven Vogel provides a sophisticated, careful, rather cautionary analysis of Japan’s processes and patterns of public policy reform and corporate restructuring. He cogently argues Japan’s capitalism is being reshaped partially toward a liberal market system, but with distinctive institutions and values persisting.
Media and Politics in Japan
A collection of essays which examine the influence of media in Japan. These essays discuss the media’s influence in politics and public opinion, to name a few.
British Factory–Japanese Factory: The Origins of National Diversity in Industrial Relations
The Japanese way of work is notoriously ‘different.’ But is it Japan or Britain which is the odd man out? This is the first book to explore the real differences, not by contrasting Japanese employment relations with a hazy ideal image of ‘the West,” but through a point-by-point comparison of two Japanese factories with two British ones making similar products.
Evolution of Manufacturing Systems at Toyota
This is much more than a book about Toyota or a book about manufacturing….The book contains important contributions to the theory and practice of organizational learning that will be equally interesting to the practitioner and the academic.
Japan in the 21st Century: Environment, Economy, and Society
The ancient civilization of Japan, with its Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, is also closely associated with all that is new and modern. Looking outward, Japan sees what it has become since Hiroshima: the world’s second-largest economy, a source of fury and wonder, a power without arms. Looking inward, Japan sees old ways shaken and new ones developing at a hectic pace. Japan in the Twenty-first Century offers compelling insights into the current realities of the country and investigates the crucial political, economic, demographic, and environmental challenges that face the nation.
Note: This one seems almost the most interesting and informative.
Bushido: The Soul of Japan
Chivalry is a flower no less indigenous to the soil of Japan than its emblem, the cherry blossom; nor is it a dried-up specimen of an antique virtue preserved in the herbarium of our history. It is still a living object of power and beauty among us; and if it assumes no tangible shape or form, it not the less scents the moral atmosphere, and makes us aware that we are still under its potent spell. The conditions of society which brought it forth and nourished it have long disappeared; but as those far-off stars which once were and are not, still continue to shed their rays upon us, so the light of chivalry, which was a child of feudalism, still illuminates our moral path, surviving its mother institution.
Japanese Science: From the Inside
Samuel Coleman provides a profound and insightful critique of scientific organizations in Japan. The book is based on extensive fieldwork in a number of bioscience-related laboratories and research institutes. And, most importantly, rather than rushing towards his own judgements, Coleman provides ample space for the views and voices of Japanese researchers themselves.
Japan’s High Schools
Looks at five high schools in Japan, analyzes their organization, politics, and instruction techniques, and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the Japanese educational system.
Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle, Updated Edition: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation
This new edition of the groundbreaking popular book is a must-have for both seasoned and new fans of anime. Japanese animation is more popular than ever following the 2002 Academy Award given to Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. It confirmed that anime is more than just children’s cartoons, often portraying important social and cultural themes. With new chapters on Spirited Away and other recent releases, including Howl’s Moving Castle–Miyazaki’s latest hit film, already breaking records in Japan–this edition will be the authoritative source on anime for an exploding market of viewers who want to know more.
Dreamland Japan: Writings on Modern Manga
As Schodt points out, in the 13 years between publication of his 1983 Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics, and this volume, American consciousness of manga, Japanese comics, and its animation offshoot, anime, has grown considerably. The collective American eyebrow may still rise quizzically at the enormous popularity of comic books in Japan, where they are accorded nearly the same social status as novels and film, but the narrative strips, with their characteristic big-eyed characters, are increasingly popular in this country. The informally encyclopedic Dreamland Japan, the result of Schodt’s 16-plus years of studying manga, not only makes it easier to understand the art form but also says a good deal about Japanese culture.
And last but not least, the book that Dex had bought, which seems really cool:
The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider’s Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan
Otaku: Nerd; geek or fanboy. Originates from a polite second-person pronoun meaning “your home” in Japanese. Since the 1980s it’s been used to refer to people who are really into Japanese pop-culture, such as anime, manga, and videogames. A whole generation, previously marginalized with labels such as geek and nerd, are now calling themselves otaku with pride.