In This Review

Bamboozled! How America Loses the Intellectual Game With Japan and Its Implications for Our Future in Asia
Bamboozled! How America Loses the Intellectual Game With Japan and Its Implications for Our Future in Asia
By Ivan P. Hall
M. E. Sharpe, 2002, 324 pp.

Another book destined to arouse passions -- in this case, among Japanese nationalists and American liberals. Hall rejects outright the case that the United States should be gentle with Japan because of the latter's current economic problems. Instead, he sees this approach as just the most recent Japanese ploy for bamboozling Americans into believing that there will be disaster if Japan is forced to abandon its mercantilist policies. He argues that Japanese officials have skillfully intimidated U.S. policymakers by holding up the threat of anti-Americanism, from both the left and the right in Japan. Accordingly, because of mistaken views of Japanese cultural and political practices, Americans lack the nerve to call the Japanese bluff. And the Japanese money that has poured into American universities has made American scholars intellectually timid about exposing the Japanese game. The author's case is overdrawn, but he has opened the door to rethinking the dangers of suppressing tough-minded analyses for fear of offending the sensitivities of others, which are magnified by the American addiction to cultural relativism.