The issue of how Japanese society operates, and in particular why it has `succeeded', has generated a wide variety of explanatory models, including the Confucian ethic, classlessness, group consciousness, and `uniqueness' in areas as diverse as body images and language patterns.In Ideology and Practice in Modern Japan the contributors examine these models and the ways in which they have sometimes been used to create a sense of `Japaneseness', that obscures the fact that Japan is actually an extremely complex and heterogenous society. In particular, `practice' at the micro-level of society is explored to illuminate or express a broader ideology. The contributors investigate a wide variety of subjects - from attitudes to death to the role of education, from film making to gender segregation - to see what can be said about the phenomenon in particular, what it tells us about Japan in general, and what conclusions can be drawn for our understanding of society in the broadest sense.

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