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The Rise of Modern Japan  By  cover art

The Rise of Modern Japan

By: Mark J. Ravina,The Great Courses
Narrated by: Mark J. Ravina
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Publisher's Summary

Devastated by war, Japan in 1945 faced ruin as a major power. Yet within a quarter century it bounced back to become the second largest economy in the world after the United States. How? And why did the country’s economy then crash catastrophically in the 1990s, indefinitely stalling its seemingly unstoppable climb to world dominance? In 12 engaging, half-hour lectures, The Rise of Modern Japan answers these questions and more, profiling the changing fate of Japan and the shifting mood of its people.

Noted Japan expert Professor Mark J. Ravina of the University of Texas at Austin covers the politics, economics, and culture of the island nation since World War II - a conflict that saw the end of Japan’s dream of regional conquest, which Professor Ravina calls Empire 1.0. The country’s postwar leaders radically changed course, renouncing a strong military to pursue Empire 2.0 - Japan as an economic colossus.

In fascinating detail, The Rise of Modern Japan shows how the United States, by design and by accident, built Japan into an economic rival, especially for high-value products such as cars and consumer electronics. If Americans misjudged their protégé, then the Japanese eventually misjudged their own markets, precipitating a stock and real estate collapse starting in the 1990s. Then in 2001, a massive earthquake and tsunami struck northern Japan, leading to widespread destruction and the Fukushima nuclear power disaster.

Professor Ravina uses the plots of popular Japanese movies and novels to illustrate how people coped with their jolting experiences: first defeat in war, followed by institutional revolution, unprecedented prosperity, crushing economic reversal, and natural and nuclear disaster. Despite also facing social instability and demographic challenges, the Japanese remained as focused, hardworking, and resilient as ever.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 The Great Courses (P)2021 The Teaching Company, LLC

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    4 out of 5 stars

A great introduction to modern Japan

I really enjoyed this book. The first part is a bit confusing especially for someone who don’t have the full context of World War II (i.e. me) but afterwards the author is really good at telling us how and why Japan has been so rapid at increasing its capacity to enhance its socioeconomic machine. I really enjoyed the book!

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Absolutely Fascinating

Fascinating history told in a thorough but concise way that I found to be extremely compelling. Dr. Ravina is clearly a brilliant scholar and he lectures in a highly captivating and engaging style. I would love to hear more from him!

1 person found this helpful

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More Mark J. Ravina and his take on Japan!!

an excellent scholar and orator dispensing insight about the most unique and interesting country: Japan.

1 person found this helpful

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Good general history

Informative and a good read for someone looking for a highleve overview of post war Japan

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Explains much not in the History books

I enjoyed listening to it, and explained much about WW2, and the problem of the Cold War.

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Great Course, Feels Abbreviated

This course is great but it feels at times like the lectures were plucked at random from a longer more thorough course, which I would have preferred since the material is so engaging. The fact that the professor doesn’t really ever introduce or conclude his lectures lends to this sense. Also, the intro music for each lecture is odd and a little off putting imo.

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Very informative

I learned a lot through the audiobook: very well structured and lively. The book starts with the years of American occupation and explains the events leading to it. Then explains the impact of the new constitution on the country, how Japan evolved till the crach of 1990, and how the more recent Fukushima disaster shaped the relationship between citizens and government. Culture and society is also studied with a detailed description of novels, movies, etc. The author makes a special emphasis on being objective and critical. I my view, the book is a must.

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Good starter history

It does a good job of painting a broad image of Japan from WWII up until today. It doesn't cover everything in detail but it is a good starter.

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poor Japanese accent

I was surprised that professor Mark Ravina had such a bad Japanese accent as he lived in Japan for so long. having myself lived there for 11 and 1/2 years and being fluent in the language, I sometimes found it distracting that he pronounced people and place names so wrong.

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ENTERTAINING

WELL WRITTEN AND FUN TO LISTEN TO. not dull or dry. Very qualified lecturer . Japanese names/word pronunciation
fluent. If I have any complaint is that the course seems too brief for the time period (7 decades of post WW2 history)

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  • Nicus
  • 10-13-22

Social and economic history of modern Japan

Very well narrated history of modern Japan, from an economic and social point of view, beyond the stereotypes. Also bonus point for the correct pronunciation of Japanese names

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  • Tim Jones
  • 10-08-22

Shite

I know all this. Why is Audible repackaging an absolute Lego simple Fisher-Price take on Japanese history. Pathetic. Avoid unless you enjoy being lectured on Japanese history by a poorly scripted, sophomore idiot American.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-27-22

Relevant, clear, very Enjoyable

The course is presented clearly with passion and a real feel for relevance in understanding post war Japan including recent issues.