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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #102: June 26, 2003

The Journal of Japanese Studies

Journal Name: The Journal of Japanese Studies: Winter 2000, Vol. 26, No. 1


The Buraku in Modern Japanese Literature: Texts and Contexts
Other than Shimazaki Toson's Hakai (The broken commandment) and, more recently, the work of Nakagami Kenji, literature of the buraku is virtually unknown, even in Japan. This article offers an overview of the literature from the turn of the century to the postwar period, paying particular attention to 1) the tropological language that "marks" the burakumin Other, who does not differ physically from "mainstream" Japanese, 2) the impact of the Korean presence in Japan on buraku discourse, and 3) the example of one burakumin writer's attempt to transform what has primarily been a literature about burakumin into one by burakumin.

Luxury is the Enemy: Mobilizing Savings and Popularizing Thrift in Wartime Japan
To finance the costs of fighting World War II, the Japanese government mounted intrusive savings campaigns. Although the campaigns demanded drastic reductions in consumption, the populace overwhelmingly complied-this essay argues-because people often understood official exhortations to save in more self-interested terms. Many, particularly women, attached positive meanings to wartime saving that in the postwar decades helped shape Japanese housewives' penchant for high household saving. Wartime Japan did not necessarily reverse the emerging middle-class consumer culture of the 1920s. The regime was compelled to negotiate with people who wished to save for their families, as well as for the nation.

Let a Hundred Channels Contend: Technological Change, Political Opening, and Bureaucratic Priorities in Japanese Television Broadcasting
In the mid-1990s, the cozy oligopoly and restrictive regulatory system governing Japanese television broadcasting gave way to an influx of new channels and programmers, including Rupert Murdoch, Time-Warner, and other foreigners. The confluence of rapid technological change, interministerial competition, and partial political opening caused the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications to reorder its priorities. The ministry retained significant discretionary influence over the allocation of licenses, standard setting, and technology promotion, but crafted a more competitive and transparent regulatory process. The Japanese broadcasting case suggests that technological advances may prod even conservative ministries motivated largely by bureaucratic self-interest to incorporate market opening in their regulatory strategies.

Japan's New Politics: The Case of the NPO Law
The Special Nonprofit Organization Law that Japan passed in 1998 demands attention as a shift in state-civil society relations in a nation long characterized as a "strong state." Removing many impediments civil-society organizations faced, the law significantly expands the scope of groups that qualify for legal status and curtails stifling bureaucratic supervision. Changed electoral institutions altered incentives for politicians and produced this law. It is also part of broader changes-including an increase in Diet members' bills, a move toward a Freedom of Information Act, decentralization, and deregulation-in Japanese society and politics, all striking at centralized bureaucratic power.

Volume 26, Number 1 (Winter 2000)
©2000 Society for Japanese Studies

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