1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Well researched and startling, but a little one-sided,
This review is from: Dogs and Demons: The Fall of Modern Japan (Paperback)
This book is a fascinating and horrifying look under the surface of modern Japan. The author analyses many (government and business) policies and explains their hugely negative environmental, social and cultural consequences. According to the book, much Japanese countryside is being replaced by roads leading nowhere and unnecessary structures protecting uninhabited land. Kerr also explains how unwarranted construction projects are effectively just a form of welfare, and bureaucratic corruption creates unneeded projects for the sake of personal gain. And that's just in the first chapter (!) - Kerr keeps that pace the whole way through, ripping into policies left right and centre.
The criticism of one-sidedness is carefully defended against in the foreword, though it's still frustrating that the author keeps passing judgement without weighing positives and negatives. Of course, this only makes it more readable - the book is difficult to put down once Kerr gets onto the particularly controversial material.
Having a knowledge of Japan primarily influenced by animé, films and Basho, it was interesting to see how Dogs and Demons contrasted with what I thought I knew. Natural descriptions in The Narrow Road To The Deep North suddenly seem more fantastical than the science-fiction futurism of Akira's Neo-Tokyo.
A highly informative book, well worth the time of anyone interested in Japan.