In this fresh and original analysis, Brian J. McVeigh confronts both the demonizers and apologists of Japan. He argues persuasively that far from being unique, Japanese nationalism becomes demystified once 'management' and 'mysticism'-the same processes and practices that operate in other national states-are taken into account. Stripping away Orientalist-inspired misconceptions, the author stresses the variety and relative intensity of nationalisms, ranging from economic, ethnic, and educational to cultural, gendered, and religious. He moves beyond state-centered ideologies to explore the linkages between official and popular nationalisms and the complex interplay of ethnocultural, ethnopolitical, and ethnoracial forms of identity. The ambiguity and everydayness of nationalism, McVeigh contends, explain its enduring power. He concludes that modern Japan is imbued with a deeply rooted legacy of 'renovationism' or 'reform nationalism' that accounts for its streamlined state structures, guarded economic nationalism, and highly scrutinized relationship with the rest of the world. Highlighting the pluralism of identity among Japanese, this book will be an invaluable corrective to recent works that glibly proclaim the emergence of 'globalization,' 'internationalization,' and 'convergence.'
McVeigh ... explicitly debunks the myths of Japanese uniqueness advanced both by romantics and by those who want to demonize Japan. -- Lucien Pye Foreign Affairs A timely study that deserves to be read by anyone interested in contemporary Japanese culture or politics. -- Kevin M. Doak, Georgetown University McVeigh's ingenious study contributes to our understanding of both Japan and nationalism. A very important book. -- Chalmers Johnson, Japan Policy Research Institute [A] fascinating study of nationalism in Japan... By the end [of the book], readers have a much more complex and nuanced sense of what it means to be Japanese, as well as what it might mean for a non-Japanese outsider to study Japan. Highly recommended. CHOICE |s|jJ A masterful, comprehensive analysis of nationalism in Japan, whose methodology should be an example for the study of nationalism anywhere. -- Harumi Befu, Stanford University Journal Of The Royal Anthropological Institute [A]n ambitious attempt to synthesize and critique this large body of scholarship [on Japanese diversity], to reveal the workings of the ideological fields that continue to sustain myths of Japanese exceptionalism. This is a theoretically rich book that crosses the boundaries of discipline and area studies. Journal of Japanese Studies McVeigh's important contribution is his demonstration that Japan is not unique in the way that its myths of identity have been managed and mystified at both official and nonofficial levels. Journal of Asian Studies