Reinventing Japan

Reinventing Japan


SKU: 9781403984142


The merchant nation of Japan’s fall from grace in recent years has lead to a major realignment of state – society power relations with welcomed democratizing effects.  This book is about the emerging civic face of twenty-first century Japan.  It illustrates how new and emerging relationships between civil society groups and local government are becoming key elements of Japan’s changing structures of governance. It closely examines such issue areas as e-democracy, decentralization, foreign workers, NGOs and the role of women, which have converged to open the way for reinventing Japan.  It demonstrates how the expansion of associational life in Japan is surely heading for a more autonomous civil society.
Yasuo Takao is Senior Lecturer in political science at Curtin University of Technology.  His current research interest resides in the area of society-initiated transnationalism at the grassroots level in Japan.  His recent publications include: sole-authored books, National Integration and Local Power in Japan and Is Japan Really Remilitarizing?: The Politics of Norm Formation and Change, a sole-authored monograph, Building Transnational Civil Society: Can Japanese Local Government Bring it Together?, and numerous articles on local governance and transnationalism in international academic journals.

“This is politics from the grassroots level.  Takao’s nuanced focus on local government and voluntary associations forms the basis of a lively and provocative reinterpretation of Japanese society, including both its recent history and its future directions.  The book will be an indispensable resource for anyone wanting to understand the new shape of Japanese democracy and governance.”


— Sandra Wilson, Associate Professor Japanese Studies, Murdoch University, Australia



“Yasuo Takao presents a fascinating and original perspective on Japan’s alleged ‘lost decade.’ In reflecting upon the growing significance of civil society, social capital, and ‘glocalization,’ his study  presents a valuable corrective to many orthodox accounts of Japanese politics rooted in statist, economistic and territorialist analytical assumptions.”


–Anthony McGrew, Professor of International Relations and Head of the School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton, United Kingdom



“Yasuo Takao challenges existing understandings of state-civil society relations by focusing on local governments and local communities. Drawing on extensive fieldwork and a deep engagement with the political science literature, this book provides original and refreshing insights into the actions of citizens in local government, non-profit organisations, volunteer groups, women’s groups and the internet, and their contribution to the formation of a new ‘civic nation.’ “


–Vera Mackie, University of Melbourne, author of Feminism in Modern Japan, Citizenship, Embodiment and Sexuality. 


” Japanese society is clearly in transition and Yasuo Takao provides important evidence that Japanese citizens are becoming more involved in the political decisions affecting their lives. No longer willing to accept a “Japan, Inc.” controlled by big business and central government officials, people are forming new alliances to advance their interests and address local problems. For students of contemporary Japanese politics, this book’s optimistic view of the future of Japan’s democratic institutions will be a welcomed contribution.”


–John Sagers, Associate Professor of History, Linfield College

Introduction * National Identity and Democracy: Reactive Pacifism to Pro-active Pacifism * A Local Focus of the Nation State: Production to Consumption Priorities * The Rise of Voluntary Association: Exclusive Chien-Ketsuen to Inclusive Voluntarism * Democratic Decentralization: Participation in Local Community Decision-Making * Co-Governance by Local Government and Civil Society Groups: Balancing Equity and Efficiency for Trust in Public Institutions * “Digital” Local Communities: Disengagement to Participation * Women in Grassroots Politics: Voters to Politicians * Foreigners in Local Communities: Beneficiaries to Participants * Conclusion

Additional information

Weight 1 oz
Dimensions 1 × 6 × 9 in