Author copy:Japan in Transformation explores the conservative inertias and progressive yearnings that characterise contemporary Japan. The second half of the twentieth century was a tumultuous period that transformed the way Japanese view the world and act in it. This ideological transformation was driven by and reinforced institutional changes, economic development, political ferment and the dynamic tension between prevailing norms and shifting realities. While focusing on transformation, this book is sensitive to the incremental and cumulative nature of change and howthe past resonates powerfully in the present. Old verities linger and influence the patterns, pace and nature of ongoing changes. As Japan enters the twenty first century, it is in the midst of a third great transformation on a par with the Meiji Restoration (1868) and the US Occupation (1945-52) and it is not yet certain whether Japan will yet again emerge from considerable adversity with the same degree of success it enjoyed in the past. The various forces that are driving the metamorphosis of modern Japan are exposing the limits of the postwar model.
The logic of the economic and political arrangements that have prevailed are changing, with profound consequences for society. There is ambivalence about the rapidity of change and the erosion of tenets many Japanese feel have been important to their identity as people, cohesion as a community and success as a renovating democracy, taming militarism and rejoining the community of industrialized societies, but seems to have done a better job in containing and coping with these problems. This interpretive history focuses on the economic miracle, how Japan's troubled past in Asia is debated among Japanese and how it influences its contemporary regional relations, the changing role of women, the implications of Japan's demographic time bomb, the Third Transformation and the Lost Decade of the 1990s.