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Modernization: Westernization vs. nationalism: A historical overview of the japanese case

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Chapter Summary

The concept of modernization in the Japanese context was associated with an orientation towards “Westernization.” After the end of World War II, enlightenment-based social thought was revived and profoundly influenced public opinion, as well as the social and human sciences. The pre-War pattern of modernization was seriously reflected on and criticized. The claim for the “Japanese Model,” or the “Japanese Way of Modernization,” was basically connected with a social transformation toward egalitarian tendencies in Japanese society. The oil crisis affected the Japanese industry and economy twice in the mid-1970s, and increasing competition in domestic as well as international markets, resulted in significant changes in the “Japanese Model”. The seniority-based egalitarianism with a collectivistic value orientation has been further undermined in the name of the company’s survival, while the achievement- oriented assessment on individual performance has become more widely established with restructuring.

Keywords: egalitarianism; international markets; Japanese society; modernization; social transformation; westernization



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