Recently I have read the following book. A book summary is attached:
Book title: Hidaka, Rokuro. 1984. The Price of Affluence: dilemmas of contemporary Japan. Kodanshi International Ltd.
Chapter one: it was his reflection on the postwar period while Hidaka lectured on history of postwar thought at a college in Kyoto. One of the people he talked about was Miki Kiyoshi who was a political prisoner that died in a prison cell even when the War was already over. This incident was discovered by a foreign reporter (p.17). He also talks about the Tribunal (p.19). Some of the former prisoners of war in Japan were released and took leading position again after the War. He also talked about the Lockheed affair, a corruption scandal that shook Japan in the 1970s (p.21).
- one problem with the ‘increased comfort’ in Japan was tied to the increased in pollution and the Japanese economic expansion overseas (p.29).
- the author wonders whether or not Japan was slowly heading in the direction of another 15 August. There had been no sign that the conservative business and political leadership were re-examining their own ways (p.33).
Chapter two was about his personal experience. He was 28 years old when the War ended in 1945. He told his war time life and experience to his students and found 3 things about his student’s reaction. First they were moved by the things that he had felt strongly. Second, students came to appreciate the connection the meanings of various events. Third, their interest was aroused when he discusses the points of contact between military and political development on the global scale and the behavior of everyday life of normal people. They were interested in knowing how people spent their days during the War (pp.36-7).
- it must be admitted that ordinary people too, in their everyday life, sowed the seeds of war, and fertilized them (p.39).
Chapter 3 talks about the struggle inside the author himself. It was about his childhood spent in Qingdao in China (p.48).
- it was undeniable that presently Japan’s economic expansion in Asia and other countries contained elements of economic aggression and caused the destruction of local national industries. (p.61).
Chapter 4: the author holds the view that from 1945 to 1984, an important qualitative transformation had occurred (p.63). The change was that Japan had become one of the world’s leading economic powers, into a state of conflict and contradiction with the third world, especially with Asia (p.64).
- Japan should internationally abide by pacifism, and domestically it should build a democratic society to share the resources.
- using an opinion survey from 1930s to 1980s, the author noted in the 1958 there was a change which he called it the period of economism (p.67). It showed how deeply the desire for comfortable life had penetrated into our psyche (p.71).
- he believes that unrestrained self-indulgence would result in highly perilous state of affair (p.73). To put economic consideration before all else had three problems. It destroys relation between human and nature, it destroyed relation between human, and it created contraction between Japan and Asian countries (p.74).
Chapter 5 is about the danger of moving toward a controlled society. The discussion was about the book 1984 by George Orwell (p.79). He also used the Seventh Physical Training School in Romania to highlight the control of the country by a government (p.82).
- in Japan there was growing grounds for concern that strong feeling of nationalism might merge again in the 1980s, especially since he LDP overwhelming victory in elections (p.85).
- the book suggests ways to overcome the trend toward a controlled society: regulated administration shifting to dispersed, self-management type of socialist administration; and to change mass production into small scale production, from private automobile to public transport etc. (p.102).
Chapter 6 talks about youth. Now youth had lost all interest in correctness and wisdom and had become enslaved by gentleness. To adults, young people were no longer hostile being. Adults merely worried about their delinquency, their suicide and their neuroses (p.120).
Chapter 7 talks about the 19 April incident that happened in Korea in 1960 to overthrow President Syngman Rhee for democracy, and the 15 June incident of Security Treaty struggle happened in Japan at the same year. He asked why the 19 April incident had been passed on and survived to the present day while the 15 June had not survived (p.129).
Chapter 8 was about the Minamata incident (p.136). Later the chapter digresses to talk about schools in Japan. In Japan, the gap between schools in terms of status had reached an alarming level. High schools were considered superior to vocational high school. In higher education, there was hierarchical gap between ‘first rate’, ‘second rate’ and ‘third rate’ universities (p.150).
- in the concluding remark, the author us a story to end the discussion. He read this story in a book of German Gestalt psychology during his student years (p.163). He suggests that Japanese could be in danger again and fell into the ‘lake’ mentioned in the story book (p.167).