Historical Dictionary of Postwar Japan

By (author) William D. Hoover

Hardback - £94.00

Publication date:

18 March 2011

Length of book:

470 pages


Scarecrow Press

ISBN-13: 9780810854604

Japan has emerged as a major world player following its defeat in World War II. After recovering from the war, lifting itself onto the stage of the late 20th century world, and jettisoning its cheap, bizarre goods, Japan began to extend its influence into the wider world. The impact was first felt in the economic arena. Japan's production and marketing of high quality products allowed it to gain an important foothold in the world's economy. Japanese products became increasingly recognized for their high quality and reliability, and Japan became dominant in several major technological fields. Japan is a mix of the old and the modern. This book will attempt to introduce the successes and failures of postwar Japan to its readers.

Historical Dictionary of Postwar Japan covers the most important aspects of Japan from 1945 through the present. While it emphasizes Japan's politics and its economy, it also has many entries on foreign relations, social issues, and the arts. This is done through a chronology, an introductory essay, an extensive bibliography, and over 500 cross-referenced dictionary entries on important people, organizations, activities, and events. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about postwar Japan.
The fascinating and multifaceted history of Japan since WWII has found an expert summarizer in Hoover, professor emeritus at the University of Toledo (Ohio) after a 40-year teaching career there. This entry in Scarecrow’s Historical Dictionaries of Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East covers the high points of politics, economics, business and industry, education, science and technology, sports and entertainment, literature and the arts, the major cities, and relations with key countries.

Following a format similar to other titles in the series, Historical Dictionary of Postwar Japan will be of more intrinsic interest to a wide audience than most, which often deal with countries whose interactions with American culture are far less well-known (which is not to say well-understood).Abbreviations and acronyms as well as a map follow other front matter. The 38-page and chronology begins with Japan’s surrender on August 14, 1945, and ends with the loss of the Democratic Party of Japan’s majority on July 11, 2010. It is reassuring to encounter an unfamiliar term (e.g., Zaibatsu) and find a main entry explaining it in the 345-page dictionary section. It is also reassuring that virtually every subject that this reviewer looked for is there: the major authors, film directors, architects, and composers; the famous corporations; Hello Kitty and Pokemon; terms such as Bullet Train (Shinkansen), Bunraku, Burakumin, etc. English main entry terms are followed by romaji (transliteration of the Japanese hiragana or katakana) and by the hiragana or katakana symbols themselves. Fourteen appendixes chart everything from prime ministers, 1945–2010, to birth and death rates, 1950–2008. A 50-page bibliography, extensively subdivided by topic and limited largely to scholarly books, begins with a bibliographic essay. Highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries.