Quote Japan

Interesting, odd, outrageous or informative quotes about Japan

Shutting Out the Sun self-contradictions

-He states that Japan is a country whose strong military means it can resist all outside pressure (pg 267) then three pages later says “Japan can survive in its course of renewed isolation only if we Americans agree to act as the Guardian…”

– ” (pg 270) “These efficient exporters make an enormous contribution to Japan’s economy, yet represent only 10 percent of Japan’s annual GDP” pg 270. Surely their percentage of GDP is supposed to be their share and hence contribution to the economy. If he is using a different figure, I can’t see why it wouldn’t be easy enough to state which one

 -He explains the liberalisation of the South Korean economy as due to the influence of Christian, despite earlier saying that their economic models were very close until 1997 and that Christianity in Korea started in the 1880’s (Chapters 12 and 13)

– “Like other women, I would have to choose between my career or my baby, and the reality is most women now are choosing careers”28 year old Japanese career woman Kiyoko, quoted in Shutting Out the Sun pg 162 So that means well over 50% of women are choosing not to have children, and specifically in order to continue their careers (rather than for financial and other reasons). Funny, then, that he mentions several times elsewhere in the book the near impossibility of a woman having a career in a Japanese company, and that none of the stats he quotes backs that up.

– He explains suicide in Japan as being due to the changes in modern values and due to traditional Japanese culture (pg 197-8)

– He identifies young people as the proof that Japan has lost its way, then has to admit that “suicide among youths twenty and under has actually declined sharply” (pg 199)

– He says “the Internet suicide trend… is perhaps the most disturbing new phenomena” but then admits that young people are not are large or growing problem, the biggest problem being unemployment and other economic problems

– He says rural voters have 3 times the influence of urban voters, but the example he gives,which you would assume is an extreme one, works out at less than 3

– He explains Japan by its Confucianism, by its twisting of Confucianism, and by its lack of Confucianism (compared to China)

– He says that the Japanese have “little religious faith” (pg 147) after elsewhere explaining the Japanese mentality as mainly coming from the fact they believe (he uses the present tense) in many gods

– “Nearly 90 percent of Japanese women in their late twenties and 60 percent in their late thirties are estimated to be parasaito; according to the Health Ministry’s estimate, 2.5 million women aged twenty-five to thirty-nine live with their parents, nearly 20 percent of all women in this age range” pg 161

How can he give two completely incompatible sets of statistics in the same paragraph without comment?? As he defines parasaito as someone who lives with their parents,the only way those figures can all be true is if the women aged 25 to 27 vastly outnumbers the other groups and all live independantly- plainly not the case. Even the first stat on its own screams made up figure- if 90% of that whole age group live with their parents, the figure for some of the ages must be even higher, leaving under 10% who live in company dormitories (a big thing in Japan), live on their own, live abroad, or are married. I very much doubt if even the number of married women in their late twenties on its own is under 10%. What was the editor of this book doing, apart from telling the writer to pad it out more??

– He claims that the problem of hikikomori is caused by the break down in community, and that it is caused by a particular Japanese fear of what the neighbours will think

– He says one problem is that the fathers are never there, then writes without comment a doctor’s theory that the unloving families were created by fathers returning from WWII

– He blames individual cases of hikikomori or the whole problem factors such as Confucianism, small houses, urbanisation, pressure to conform, pressure to achieve academically, bullying, low birth rate, violence by teachers, rote memorisation, entrance exams. He then says hikikomori doesn’t exist in South Korea, where all of the above are problems and most more so than Japan

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