Japanese Education and Politics

I have conducted research on Yasuhiro Nakasone and education reform in Japan. This research was the theme of my doctoral research which I started in 1994 and completed in 1998, and was published in 2001 (Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone's Legacy - London: Routledge). It examines the reform policies initiated by Prime Minister Nakasone during the 1980s and argues that, not only has the system changed considerably as a result of Nakasone’s work, but it continues to do so. The analyses the key areas of the education reform debate, in particular internationalism, government control of education, increased liberalisation and various social problems, and considers the degree to which responses to them have been successful. Basing my research on a wide range of sources including interviews with Nakasone himself, Shintaro Ishihara (then Governor of Tokyo), and Ministry of Education officials, the study finds that reforms are being implemented according to Nakasone’s agenda, although they have taken time to come about. The study argues that this may in time lead to their proving more successful than previous attempts at reform. The book considers the major changes that have occurred and provides a fuller understanding of Nakasone, his ideologies and the ‘new Japanese’ who will be produced by the reformed system. It is essential reading for all students and scholars interested in the history of educational reform and its implications for Japanese society.

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I was also the editor of the 4 volume collection The Politics of Modern Japan. Whilst it is acknowledged that Japanese politics is important, outside of Japan, it is largely ignored by the media and overlooked by academics. Owing to the changing nature of Japan and its role within the world, more needs to be known of the dynamics of Japanese politics. This set brings together key articles on the most crucial issues facing Japanese politics today, and the relationship between Japanese politics and the main institutions including big business, the bureaucracy and the media.
Volume One has chapters that cover party politics and the way in which parties operate in Japanese society as a whole, taking into account changes and developments in recent years.
Volume Two has chapters concentrating on the changing role of the prime minister. This has been of particular interest due to the leadership of the dynamic Prime Minister Koizumi, who was Prime Minister when the majority of articles in this collection were written.
Volume Three is primarily concerned with Japanese politics on the international stage.
Volume Four returns to domestic politics and contains chapters which focus upon electoral politics.
Details about the book at the publisher's website.


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(C) Christopher P. Hood, 2003-18.

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