The Technological Transformation of Japan: From the Seventeenth to the Twenty-First Century

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Cambridge University Press, 1994/11/25 - 304 ページ
For the past four decades, Japan has been at the forefront of much of the latest technology, becoming an industrial superpower in the process. Yet Japan's status as a technological leader in many fields is the result of historical processes over centuries. From Japan's period of isolation, independent of the west, through to the industrialization of the Meiji Era to the hi-tech status the country has today, the story of Japan's technological development is a fascinating one. This landmark book is the first general English-language study of the history of technology in modern Japan. A survey of the major developments in Japanese technology and industrial policy the book also reinterprets the processes of technological change in Japanese society. Japan's rapid technological transformation is usually attributed to far-sighted government policies or to the innovative management techniques of large Japanese companies. This book gives an alternative explanation based an the concept of social networks of information. Tessa Morris-Suzuki argues that new ideas were conveyed quickly from large 'modern' enterprises to small traditional workshops and factories often in remote parts of the country. This transfer was possible because of the nature of social institutions which had begun to develop before the opening of Japan to the west and which were maintained after contact. The book also includes a number of case studies which look at the silk, ceramics, brewing and iron industries in pre-modern times and the steel, chemical and electrical machinery industries of more recent times. Impressive for its scope, insight and clarity, the book also considers the social costs of rapid technological change.It will be read not only by people interested in modern and pre-modern Japan, but by those who wish to learn from the 'Japanese phenomenon'.
 

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