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Undermining the Japanese Miracle
Work and Conflict in a Japanese Coal-mining Community


  • Date Published: June 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521114943

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About the Authors
  • This book, first published in 1995, is about the underside of Japan's economic miracle. It is an account of people who have been forgotten in Japan's push to industrialise in the post-war era: the coal-miners of Chikuho on Japan's southernmost island. The dirty and neglected character of Chikuho is in stark contrast with Japan's prevailing image as an international leader in technology and an affluent, socially cohesive country. As coal industries in industrialised nations around the world are closed down, regions like Chikuho embody the concept of underdevelopment within highly developed societies. Matthew Allen challenges the concepts of industrial harmony, economic foresight, cultural homogeneity and caring political management that dominate much of the literature on Japan. He describes how the people of the coalfields see themselves, providing insights into an aspect of Japanese society that is rarely encountered.

    • Provocative book, which challenges many prevailing views of Japanese society
    • Written so as to appeal to wide range of readers interested in modern Japan
    • Includes many compelling stories and anecdotes put into broader theoretical framework
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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521114943
    • length: 320 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • contains: 38 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of Plates
    List of Maps
    List of Figures
    List of abbreviations
    Notes on translation and anonymity
    1. Chikuho: a short description
    2. The Chikuho revivalists
    3. Idegawa
    4. A short history of coalmining: Chikuho in context
    5. The picture show man
    6. A culture in violence
    7. H-san mine: violence and repression
    8. The bathing master
    9. Labour conflict: the case of the K-san union action
    10. D-san and the students
    11. Mizuno
    12. The Y-san disaster
    13. Sono
    14. Welfare
    15. Welfare in Chikuho
    16. A Yakuza story
    Bibliographical Essay
    List of Informants

  • Author

    Matthew Allen, University of Sydney

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