In This Review
Japan in the World

Japan in the World

Edited by Masao Miyoshi and H. D. Harootunian

Duke University Press, 1993, 365 pp.

This collection of essays sheds more light on some parts of American academia than it does on modern Japan. The distinguishing characteristics of the volume are academic pretentiousness, obtuse writing, and sweeping attacks on American "Japanologists," who (the editors inform us) have "put their expertise into the service of defending American industrial hegemony."

As for style, consider the following excerpt from an essay by Bruce Cumings entitled, "Archaeology, Descent, Emergence: Japan in British/American Hegemony, 1900-1950":

We may now formulate an equation, to satisfy the positivist penchant for quantitative certainty: let E stand for excavation, D for descent, EM for emergence and A for archaeology; thus: E + D + Em = A, our "archaeology of the present," a critical method for doing history that seeks something more than the usual "let the facts speak for themselves" empiricism, something more than mere "pearl diving," and something other than history as "progress toward a goal.

Is that all perfectly clear?