Who Rules Japan?: The Inner Circles of Economic and Political Power

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995 - Political Science - 217 pages

Fifty years ago, a new alliance of Japanese elites sparked the miraculous transformation of their country from a land decimated by war to an economic superpower that would become the envy of the world. These elites represented the best and brightest of Japan and they were willing to make great sacrifices for the prosperity of their people. Now, this same elitist system may be the nation's downfall. The new elites who replaced the pre-World War II zaibatsu elite have formed their own brand of upper class rule based on corporate control and domination of the state. Intent on solidifying their power through arranged marriages and interlocking families, many Japanese believe the new elite has become corrupt and self-serving. The resulting inequality has spurred growing anger among the non-elite classes. At a time when stability defines the new world order, Japan faces its greatest threat--the threat from within.

Bound to be controversial, Who Rules Japan? is a study that expertly connects the country's economic, cultural, historical, and political facets. Kerbo and McKinstry explain how this new type of upper class has gradually spurned the traditional ideals of democracy in favor of an elitist approach that exploits the masses and causes ominous unrest. As a result, Japan is now confronted with a critical turning point in its history. The elites must choose between consolidating their personal power by continuing to resist change or beginning to make necessary sacrifices for their nation at the expense of their own privilege and prestige. The course they take will determine Japan's fate and the shape of the world order into the next century. Unique in its approach, this book will be of interest to scholars, researchers, students, and the general reader--all those interested in understanding Japan's inner struggle.


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Who rules Japan?: the inner circles of economic and political power

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Kerbo and McKinstry (sociology, Cal State Polytechnic Univ., Pomona), address here the often-asked question "Who rules Japan?" by tracing how a group of Japanese elite rose to power after World War II ... Read full review


The Iron Triangle The Nature and Impact of Japanese Elites
Japan Some Key Aspects of Social Structure and Culture
From Bakufu to Keiretsu The Making of the Japanese Upper Class
The Corporate Elite A New Upper Class for Japan Inc
The Bureaucratic Elite The Guiding Hand and Training Ground for a New Upper Class
The Political Elite Junior Partner and Protectorate
Uniting for Power Intermarriage Keibatsu Business Groups and Social Clubs
The Tōdai Connection Elite Recruitment and Reproduction
Japans Mass Society People Control for Elite Power
Elites and the Future of Japan Some Final Thoughts

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About the author (1995)

HAROLD R. KERBO is Professor of Sociology of the Social Sciences Department and Director of the Pacific Rim Group at California Polytechnic State University. He is the author of the widely used textbook, Social Stratification and Inequality: Class Conflict in Historical Perspective, which is now in its third edition.

JOHN A. McKINSTRY is Professor of Sociology at California Polytechnic State University. He is the coauthor of Jinsei Annai: Glimpses of Japan Through a Popular Advice Column. Both Kerbo and McKinstry have lived in Japan for a number of years and have taught at several Japanese universities.

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