Not many foreigners have the chance to live in a Japanese village, certainly not foreigners who are sufficiently at home to do so as unobtrusively and intimately as the author of this book. Ronald Dore went to Shinohata twenty years ago when he was studying the land reform which broke the power of Japan's landlords. He went back many times thereafter to stay with friends.
Now he has distilled his memories, field notes, diaries, and some recent forays with a tape recorder into a book which brings to life the village and its people, and vividly portrays the stunning transformation of Japanese village life. Shinohatais a story of extraordinary change from the traditional values and relationships to typically modern pursuits and aspirations that accompanied the post-war prosperity. Ronald Dore's gift for combining a sympathetic, and often humorous, response to unique individuals with the sociologist's ability to discern and analyze patterns make this an unusual and fascinating book.
About Ronald Dore
Ronald P. Dore is a Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex and a Fellow of the British Academy. A leading authority on contemporary Japan, he is the author of Land Reform in Japan, City Life in Japan, Aspects of Social Change in Modern Japan, Education in Tokugawa, Japan, British Factory/Japanese Factory, and The Diploma Disease.
“Ronald Dore gives the reader a richly informative and absolutely fascinating picture, not just of a Japanese village at one moment in time, but of this village changing rapidly over the two decades of his visits to it between 1955 and 1975 and actually, through the memories of its older residents, over a longer period of time starting with the early 1900s. He writes with the eye for detail and also the literary skill of a Victorian novelist, but at the same time with sympathy, reliability, and depth of understanding of England’s leading authority on Japan. . . . This book presents a marvelously intimate view into the flood of little changes that lie behind that great transformations that have swept Japan in recent times. . . . It makes as enlightening, fascinating, and often amusing reading for the casual reader as for the specialist and will, I have no doubt, become a ‘classic.’” —Edwin O. Reischauer