Japanese Exceptionalism

Japanese Exceptionalism, by George Friedman

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6 Replies to “Japanese Exceptionalism”

  1. Interesting analysis…not sure his causal chain is correct, and it relies a bit on stereotyping, but the thesis about transformation without major social upheaval is probably worth examining.

  2. *blink*

    OK, that’s got to be the first time I’ve ever seem someone consider the rebuilding of Japan, under US control, as Japan changing itself and on par with industrializing.

    I’m not the Japan fan in our house, but I’m pretty sure that the description of the shift from before they Westernized to just before WWII is inaccurate, because I seem to remember the Emperor was the guy who went to a lot of effort to get the technology spread out– which he could do, sort of like how we can spread information from Washington down to a town exactly because we’re a whole bunch of different groups with one nominal head.

    That said– holy heck, I’m not sure if the author is so incredibly familiar with the information that he’s leaving out big chunks to explain, or if he’s editing the evidence to fit a theory.

    1. Given how he wrote, the impression I got was he’s a deep expert on the material, so has left out huge chunks (forgetting that not everyone knows that the path from A to G includes B through F). If he were editing evidence, we’d see traces of B through F, just slightly obscured.

      1. Problem being that it assumes the conclusion– and any geek is familiar with the way that “everybody knows” can lead to some horribly incorrect conclusions if you don’t have to actually EXPLAIN every point when you’re making an argument!

        1. Agree that this is problematic, and, in this case, gets at some of why the argumentation feels off to me (that is, big chunks missing (relying on stereotyping, etc.)), even if it’s an interesting thesis. Doesn’t mean he’s proven his point–actually, means he’s got a lot more work to do to prove it.

  3. I don’t know enough about the particulars to have anything but a general opinion. What I take from the article is that extrapolating is unreliable, and may be especially unreliable in this case.

    More: Maybe the thing to do is consider not only what what Japan wants to do, but what Japan can do. If I were the China, I’d be cautious.

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