Cartels of the Mind: Japan's Intellectual Closed Shop (英語) ハードカバー – 1997/11
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As Washington and Tokyo continue to clarify their relationship and roles, Japan continues to block the access of foreign professionals, Westerners and Asians alike. These market barriers serve neither the professed goals of Japan nor those of the United States. Despite repeated promises to open up, Japanese legal, media, academic and research organizations run an intellectual closed shop. Western lawyers are stymied in efforts to help firms enter the Japanese market. Foreign correspondants are systematically walled off from the most important resources. Resident Asian academics in search of stable and productive careers and education find the roads blocked. Non-Japanese scientists and engineers are kept out of state-of-the-art laboratories. Japan aspires to a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and a larger political voice, but its intellectual parsimony is simply not worthy of a world economic power, argues Ivan Hall. This book looks into the causes of these cultural and institutional barriers and examines ineffective past attempts to challenge them.
Ivan Hall has spent nearly three decades in Japan as a correspondent, cultural diplomat, and academic. He was the first associate director of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and spent nine years teaching as a professor in Japanese universities. He lives in Tokyo.
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Thank you very much, Bryce King II
In Cartels, Ivan Hall puts his professional career and reputation on the line for a noble purpose. There is no doubt that he was aware of the negative publicity he would receive in Japan for exposing this deeply engrained social corruption, but his work is larger than him. It was written for all of the foreigners who have had enough of Japan's insular ideology. For those of us who pour our time, energy, and heart into Japan as residents and who deserve nothing less than acknowledgment and treatment as similar people. Ivan Hall hits the nail on the head when he exposes Japanese kokusaika (internationalization) as an attempt not to open its culture up to people of other cultures, but to instead emphasize differences and block access to Japanese culture. Learn English, speak English to people who appear to be Westerners, and you have achieved kokusaika. Allowing Westerners to move to Japan, learn Japanese fluently, and behave like us, though, is unthinkable. Hogwash.
But by focusing on crucial areas in society -- especially fundumentals including education and law, Hall highlights the closedness on these and other domains usually ignored by the press. Those who have not lived in the country will gain insight into the systems outlined but readers who have lived /worked in Japan will be better able to capture the emotion of the book. I can see many muttering "that is what I've wanted to say!"
Still, from my perspective, Hall is overly pessimistic that the "cartels of the mind" will continue indefinately. The current of change running through Japan is gaining speed, and Hall should of acknowledged this development as well.