Tafero’s Lesson Plan of the Day – Japanese History and Philosophy – Japanese Economics – 21

Lesson 21 – Contemporary Japan – Domestic Affairs in Economics and Society

  1. Although Japan prospered in the 1960’s it was one of the first victims of the energy crisis. Its refusal to use nuclear energy combined with increasing gas prices (which were not indigenous to Japan) caused some severe energy shortages and economic retrenching.
  2. The government fostered economic growth during this period and was usually on the side of business in any political issue.
  3. As prosperous as Japan was, however, many millions did not share in the economic boom. Intellectuals and white-collar workers were often left behind during the economic good times. Housing, Transportation and Social Services were also secondary considerations for the government.
  4. Japan has historically had an export economy and still has one to this day. It was necessary for Japan to have many exports in order to pay for its import of energy and other high-cost items.
  5. Japan still practiced discrimination to Koreans as late as 1990
  6. It also discriminated against Burakumin in Kyoto and Osaka . A Japanese prime minister once commented that blacks and Hispanics had diluted the American culture.
  7. Postwar Japan gave some rights to women, but Japan still was a sexist society. Marriages were still primarily arranged. It was the family first or the highway for the vast majority of Japanese women who looked longingly toward China to see women have an almost equal status with men under Mao Tse Tung.
  8. In the 60’s, Japanese youth rejected the right-wing business government of Japan and took a decided turn to the left and socialist principles. They combined with the underpaid intellectuals and educators to impact some change within Japanese government.
  9. The Japanese enjoyed many traditions such as tea ceremonies, bugel (martial arts), and religious ceremonies. Religion was a separate issue from tradition, however, because the majority of Japanese was not religious and attended the ceremonies strictly for the social aspects of the event.
  10. Some negative effects of modern affluence on Japan have been inflation for urban workers, 40% of the population crowded into 2% of the space in Japan , massive pollution problems and alienated Japanese youth as a result of the breakdown of the traditional Japanese family unit.

Critical Questions

  1. How has affluence affected modern Japan ?
  2. Why are tradition and religion separate issues in Japan ?
  3. How did post-war Japan affect its youth? (See McArthur’s Children)
  4. How did women fare is in post-war Japan ?
  5. How was discrimination displayed in post-war Japan ?
  6. How did imports and exports affect Japan ?
  7. Why did some elements remain outside of the economic boom in Japan ?
  8. How did Japan foster the Free Enterprise System?
  9. Why was Japan a victim of the energy crisis?




Additional Internet Research Links For This Lesson:


Post World War 2 Japanese Economics


Japanese Free Enterprise Systemhttp://www.hbs.edu/bhr/archives/abstracts/vol69index.html