David Mytton

Book Review (4/5) – Japanese Society: Tradition, Self, and the Social Order (Robert John Smith)

Published (updated: ) in Book Reviews.

Originally published on Goodreads.

Quite difficult to read due to the long chapters and dense text, I nonetheless found this a detailed analysis of many of the aspects of Japanese society I have experienced on my own visits to the country. 

Japan is unusual in its incredibly low rate of crime and high levels of workaholism. This book goes a long way to explain why these seemingly unlinked phenomena are actually a result of the group based origins of the structure of society. This has been maintained for so long due to the length of time Japan remained isolated from the rest of the world. I think this also explains the lack of any major startup ecosystem or entrepreneurialism – despite the many high-tech companies that originated in Japan, there seem to be very few new startups to follow the likes of Sony, Toshiba or Nintendo.

Written some time ago, this book would go well with Lost Japan which explains how society has been changing in the modern era.