Japan's first decade of the twenty-first century was both disappointing and bewildering, producing wildly contrasting evaluations. Many have come to call this period the "second lost decade," characterized by policy paralysis and overall lackluster economic growth. For those studying Japan more closely, however, the same decades reveal nothing short of a broad transformation numerous core tenets of Japan's postwar political economy. How can we best capture this transformation? Each chapter in this volume examines a different aspect of Japan's political economy within a longer historical trajectory, from multiple angles, to depict a flexible but resilient system. We characterize Japan's process of change as syncretism--practices foreign, domestic, old and new were selectively adopted, mixed and matched, along the way creating a new and unique hybrid system.
Kenji E. Kushida is a senior fellow for Japan studies in Carnegie’s Asia Program, directing research on Japan, including a new Japan-Silicon Valley Innovation Initiative at Carnegie. He was formerly a research scholar with the Japan Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.
Kay Shimizu is an assistant professor in the department of political science at Columbia University. Her research concerns the political economy of development in Japan and China with a focus on financial reform, corporate governance, elections and grassroots politics.
Jean C. Oi is the William Haas Professor on Chinese Politics in the department of political science and a Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. She is the founding director of the Stanford China Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. Professor Oi also is the founding Lee Shau Kee Director of the Stanford Center at Peking University.