Non-Fiction Books:

Democracy in Post-War Japan

Maruyama Masao and the Search for Autonomy

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Democracy in Post-War Japan by Rikki Kersten
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It is often assumed that Japanese passively accepted the Western notion of democracy imposed during the post-war Occupation. Rikki Kersten argues that in fact democracy was the subject of fierce debate in Japan. War and Occupation promted critical re-evaluation of Japanese political identity; it also catalysed and appraisal of the workings of democracy. Rikki Kersten explores the debate through the writings of a man inthe thick of this intellectual ferment: Maruyama Masao. Maruyama, credited with the establishment of the discipline of political science in Japan, defined democracy through the notion personal autonomy - maintaning the distinction between the public and private realms - and social autonomy - allowing public engagement with the political sphere. The tensions between personal and social autonomy formed the kernel of post-War Japanese political culture. Following the Security Treaty crisis of 1960, and disappointed with the failure of autonomy to emerge as a significant force in Japanese political life, Maruyama retired from the democracy debate. He nonetheless remains an intensley controversial figure. Political thinkers even now make their mark by lauding or denouncing the work of Maruyama Masao. Democracy in Post-War JApan reveals the importance of the contribution made to democratic thought by Maruyama. It also sheds light on contemprary criticisms of Japan's politcal system.
Release date NZ
December 7th, 1995
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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