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Modern Japan: All That Matters
Modern Japan: All That Matters
by Jonathan Clements
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A concise and enthralling history of contemporary Japan, 29 May 2015
From an outside perspective, the intricacies of Japanese business and politics can appear to be quite impenetrable. The history of the country's industry even more so.

Thankfully, the pages of Modern Japan offer up a concise history of the country that examines the rapid rise of its economy in the post-war period. Along the way, author Jonathan Clements charts the influence of the US occupation, the particular methods of Japanese business, territorial disputes and the changing trends of Japanese culture. It also explores the impact of disasters both man-made and natural on the country, from Hiroshima and Nagasaki through to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

Inevitably, Modern Japan maintains an early focus on the arrival of Matthew Perry and the 'Black Ships' in 1853. Exploring the policy of isolationism that Japan had previously adopted, the book reveals the opening up of the country that followed - and the catalyst for Japan to evolve into a global power.

The defeat of Japan in the final years of the war is also explored in depth and illustrates how the country transformed itself into an industrial and technological force before the inevitable crash of the post-boom years. Through all of this, the steady rise and influence of Japanese pop culture charts a course from the atomic fears that gave birth to Godzilla through to the growing popularity of TV and the distinctly Japanese appeal of anime and manga.

The book is also rounded off with a handy '100 Ideas' appendix of guides to further reading, useful Japanese phrases and a list of popular Japanese icons.

Despite being such a slim volume, Clements has managed to pack a wealth of detail into a publication which provides a rich foundation into modern Japanese culture.

Bad Machinery Vol. 1: Case of the Team Spirit
Bad Machinery Vol. 1: Case of the Team Spirit
Price: £5.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kid Detectives Go!, 18 Oct. 2013
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John Allison's post-Scary Go Round strip Bad Machinery features a team of would-be detectives keen to solve mysteries in their home town of Tackleford inbetween double maths and PE classes.

If there's one particular talent that Mr Allison excels at, it's the ability to craft interesting characters to inhabit his universe, thus we get Manga-haired but sensible Shauna, loud and silly Lottie, chocolate-obsessed but brilliant Mildred, quiet but good intentioned Jack, optimistic Sonny and angsty Linton.

The plot, which plunges the gang into the mysteries behind the local football club, will have the reader keen to turn every page for every revelation. The dialogue has a sharp, witty zing to it with plenty of smart one-liners that guarantee plenty of laughs.

The artwork has a simple, crisp style to it with a wonderful use of cartoon colour. Allison has also cleaned up much of the artwork here from the original web versions with additional panels to enhance the story.

If there's a minus point, it's that the Kindle edition has been rendered in a locked aspect format - the landscape-orientated original artwork has been locked into portrait mode which means each page loses its impact at a reduced size. A shame as the format seems perfect for tablets.

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