The debate about Japan's 'uniqueness' is central to Japanese studies. This book aims to illuminate that debate from a comparative and theoretical perspective. It also tests theories of ethnicity and cultural nationalism through the use of Japan as a case study.
Yoshino examines how ideas of national distinctiveness are `produced' and `consumed' in Japanese society through a study of intellectuals, teachers and businessmen. He finds that ideas of Japanese uniqueness, the nihonjinron, have been embraced more by those in business than in education. He looks at the Japanese perception of their own 'uniqueness' and at the ways in which ideas of cultural distinctiveness are formulated in different national and historical contexts.
This extremely readable book combines anthropology and sociology to present both a historical analysis of the roots of the Japanese sense of national identity and a discussion of the ways in which that sense is changing.