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Alex Kerr’s Dogs and Demons and the Problems of Contemporary Japan: A Review Note

Therese Burton and Brian Dollery ()
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Therese Burton: University of New England

Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, 2003, vol. 14, issue 3, 303-310

Abstract: In his controversial new book Dogs and Demons: The Fall of Modern Japan , Alex Kerr (2001) maintains that modern Japan represents ‘a case of failed modernization’ due to a deep-seated ‘cultural malaise’ that arises ‘because of a severe mismatch between Japan’s bureaucratic systems and the realities of modern life’. Kerr argues this thesis by means of examples drawn from the arts, culture, economics, politics and other aspects of contemporary Japan. This review note attempts to provide a critical examination of Kerr’s economic arguments. We contend that he has radically overstated his case, ignored much existing critical literature on Nippon, and ‘exoticised’ Japanese society unnecessarily.

Keywords: Dogs and Demons; Japan; Nihonjinron (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003
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