Shadow Shoguns: The Rise and Fall of Japan's Postwar Political Machine

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Simon & Schuster, 1997 - Political Science - 366 pages
Japan's formidable political machine - Tokyo's version of Tammany Hall - was founded in the 1970s by Kakuei Tanaka, a rough-hewn, fiery populist whose storybook rise from impoverished "snow country" roots to prime minister made him a beloved leader. After a string of financial scandals, including his arrest for taking bribes, led to his banishment from high office, Tanaka managed to acquire even greater power as Japan's acknowledged "shadow shogun" by building a broad-based political organization that squelched open democratic competition and co-opted rival politicians. Run by a dynasty of corrupt backroom fixers who handpicked prime ministers and treated them as personal puppets, Tanaka's machine became a main pillar of "Japan Inc.", the tight clique of political, bureaucratic, and business leaders that was both admired and feared around the world. The machine was a product - and a fitting emblem - of its time, when Japan's new democracy was still immature and the whole nation seemed united around the blind pursuit of rapid economic growth. Drawing on more than five years of reporting in Japan and more than one hundred interviews with leading Japanese political figures, Jacob M. Schlesinger's tale of power and corruption adds a major new dimension to our understanding of one of America's most important, and vexing, allies.

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SHADOW SHOGUNS: The Rise and Fall of Japan's Postwar Political Machine

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An American journalist's informed and eye-opening audit of Japan's de facto governance by unelected bosses during much of the postWW II era. Drawing on five years of experience as a Tokyo-based ... Read full review

Shadow shoguns: the rise and fall of Japan's postwar political machine

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This study, by a Wall Street Journal reporter who lived and worked in Japan from 1989 to 1994, offers a valuable perspective on Japanese politics in the postwar era and on the contemporary scene as ... Read full review


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Kakusan Versus the Elite

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About the author (1997)

Jacob M. Schlesinger writes on economics for the" Wall Street Journal; "from 1989 to 1994, he reported on technology, trade, and Japanese politics from the" Journal'"s Tokyo bureau.

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