Dogs & Demons
Tales from the Dark Side of Japan (Hill and Wang)
The Fall of Modern Japan (Penguin UK)
This book tells the tale of Japan's malaise since 1990. It combines a study of the financial world, the bureaucracy, and culture, to get at the roots of Japan's modern troubles.
When I completed writing Lost Japan in 1993, I was left with a kimochi (a feeling) that Japan's concrete shrouded mountains and seashores felt very wrong. But it was only a kimochi. Wasn't this what every advanced country did in order to grow economically? Aware that I needed to better understand what was going on, I set out to research — and, with help from my collaborator Bodhi Fishman, it took six years before Dogs and Demons finally came out. I found that my instincts were not skew, that Japan has in fact not done what other advanced nations have done, that, for example, the construction industry is a scale of magnitude larger than it is elsewhere.
This and other issues underlie what I — and many Japanese — see as profound cultural trouble. This book gives voice to these Japanese commentators who have so far not been heard above the chorus of Western praise for Japan's postwar successes.
Hill & Wang published Dogs and Demons in America in 2001; the international edition (usually available in Japan) is published by Penguin UK. In 2002, I did a Japanese translation, Inu to Oni, which was published by Kodansha.