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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #87: March 27, 2003

Social Science Japan Journal

Journal Name: Social Science Japan Journal: October 2000, Vol. 3, No. 2
Print ISSN: 1369-1465, Online ISSN: 1468-2680


Post-war Japan and the law: mapping discourses of legalization and modernization (pp155-169)
S Hirowatari (Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, Japan)
The concept of 'legalization' denotes heavy reliance on law as a means of settling social disputes and, in the United States, Germany and many other countries, it carries connotations of excessive reliance on law. In Japan, however, the rate of utilization of law (or litigation) as a means of settling social disputes remains low, despite the democratization process that unfolded after the war and despite profound changes in social structure, such as urbanization and growing individualism. Consequently, it is the lingering unwillingness to make use of the law that tends to be found problematic. Post-war Japanese scholarship of law and society has regarded litigation rates as an index of social modernization. Hence legalization must be analyzed in relation to the related discourse of 'modernization'. This paper examines some of the important approaches to this relationship that have been proposed, namely those emphasizing democratization; the relationship between imported and indigenous law; the company-centered nature of Japanese society; and the processes by which legal decisions are justified. The objective is to elucidate the peculiar locus that the discourse of 'legalization' occupies in Japanese society.

'By other means': tourism and leisure as politics in pre-war Japan (pp171-186)
D Leheny (Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin, USA)
Although leisure and tourism may seem at first blush to be anything but political, states generally create and maintain policies that deal with the recreation of citizens. The Japanese government's active post-war approach to leisure is unusual and distinctive, owing its shape to pre-war policy decisions privileging for strategic purposes American and European conceptions of proper recreation, leisure and travel. Tracing the evolution of Japan's pre-war tourism and leisure policies, this paper argues that Japanese efforts to use international tourism as an instrument for economic growth forced the government to confront the question of what constitutes proper recreation. These debates remained unsettled in the pre-war period, in part because of the turn toward militant nationalism in the 1930s, which mandated the valorization of an idealized Japanese culture. Yet the emphasis on Western styles of leisure and tourism found important policy homes in the pre-war era, laying the foundation for the post-war institutionalization of efforts to make Japanese leisure lives conform to those witnessed in North America and Western Europe.

Meiji-era industrialization and provincial vitality: the significance of the first-enterprise boom of the 1880s (pp187-205)
N Nakamura (Faculty of Economics, Saitama University, Japan)
The purpose of this paper is to shed new light on the first enterprise boom of the 1880s, which marked the beginning of Japan's industrialization, with a special focus on developments in provincial areas. The paper seeks to identify important factors that triggered the boom and to examine its development in provincial areas by probing such aspects as the relationship between nationalism and the ideological thrust toward economic development, the process by which investment funds were procured, and the endowment and tapping of human resources. Major findings are as follows: (1) The ideology of national enrichment was influential not only in Japan's geopolitical center but also in the provinces, where it manifested itself as a combination of nationalist sentiment and aspirations for local development. (2) The most salient feature of provincial enterprise was the strong impetus of local initiative in the procurement of funding and human resources. Local bureaucrats and men of influence often took leading roles. (3) The successful launching of enterprises in provincial areas was facilitated by two factors: the provinces had already grown socially competent to pursue industrialization; and the development of rural industry since the Tokugawa period had made them fairly affluent.

Foreign country theme parks: a new theme or an old Japanese pattern? (pp207-220)
J Hendry (School of Social Sciences and Law, Oxford Brookes University, UK)
This paper addresses the subject of Japanese tema paku, or 'theme parks', which represent foreign countries, but it argues from the outset that these gaikoku mura ('foreign villages') are a more sophisticated form of cultural display than the English title would suggest. Drawing on a somewhat experimental anthropological approach, which is explained in the body of the paper, it seeks to identify common features in a variety of examples, and these are then examined both in a global perspective and in the context of local Japanese historical and cultural influences. It is argued that the parks are more comparable with museums and world fairs than with post-modern interpretations of Disneyland, but there are also precursors in Japanese gardens and other arts that make them an especially interesting site for further serious anthropological analysis.

Survey article. Japanese employment practices in transition: promotion policy and compensation systems in the 1990s (pp221-235)
A Holzhausen (Ostasiatisches Seminar, Freie Universitšt Berlin, Germany)
The decade-long slowdown of the Japanese economy has forced many Japanese firms out of their complacency. In their struggle to regain competitiveness, firms have begun, among other measures, to revise their employment practices. While concentrating on promotion policy and compensation schemes, this paper looks into the evidence of these attempts to alter employment practices. As far as the developments of the last 20 years since the first oil-shock are concerned, recent adjustments of promotion and compensation practices seem rather limited. Although the seniority rule is further losing its influence on promotion and wage decisions which are increasingly determined by qualification and competence instead of age and tenure, the core of the Japanese employment system, i.e. the long-term development of human capital inside the firm, is not yet subject to change.

Survey article. Criminal statistics in Japan: the White Paper on Crime, Hanzai Hakusho and Hanzai Tokeisho (pp237-249)
A Finch (Cumbria, UK)
This paper seeks to provide a brief introduction to three of the major sources of Japanese crime statistics. The focus is upon questions concerning the validity of the statistics, and the paper also seeks to provide a brief introduction to the definition of offences within the Japanese Penal Code. An almost uncritical acceptance of the validity of these statistics has been a feature of the majority of those English-language works that have dealt with the Japanese criminal justice system. However, the conclusion reached here is that the statistics are shaped by their legal context, by police recording practices, and by the form in which they are presented in the sourcebooks. Consequently, they must be deployed with caution and with due regard for their potential limitations and biases. Nevertheless, the Hanzai Tokeisho in particular are valuable in permitting a variety of analytical approaches that can both extend the understanding of crime and criminal justice in Japan and advance the debate surrounding Japanese 'uniqueness'.

Elections in Japan in 1999 (pp251-260)
SR Reed (Faculty of Policy Studies, Chuo University, Japan)
This article reports on the gubernatorial elections, by-elections, and party leadership elections held during the calendar year 1999. Many of the elections were fascinating but few offered any clear lessons about the future of Japanese democracy or even the outcome of the forthcoming general election. The key to many was the position taken by Komei and the behavior of its voters.

Review essay. The business of railroads (pp261-266)
WD Kinzley

Social Science Japan Journal (2000)
Copyright ©2000 Oxford University Press

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