Non-Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review: Japan Through the Looking Glass

By Sandy Amazeen Dec 1, 2008, 2:06 GMT

Book Review: Japan Through the Looking Glass

"A well-informed analysis of Japanese culture and society."-The Independent"A disarming, engaging, and provocative book."-Andrew Barshay, University of California, BerkeleyThis entertaining book takes us on an exploration into Japanese society as Alan Macfarlane uncovers the multifaceted nature of a country and people who are even more extraordinary than they seem. Clear-sighted, persistent, affectionate, unsentimental, and honest-Macfarlane shows us Japan as it has never been seen before.Alan Macfarlane is a professor of ...more

Throughout history, travelers to Japan have felt a bit like Alice going through the looking glass as the country and culture baffle, beguile and sometimes frustrate visitors. With the assistance of two Japanese Professors and their families, Macfarlane sought to shed light on a land where truth is beauty, beauty is truth. The first impression many modern tourists have when they land in Tokyo is one of a chaotic big city, yet looks are deceiving as most soon discover.

Delving into everything from Japanese arts and their living treasures to the importance of rice, the role of religion and self, Macfarlane has done an admirable job of demystifying much of the Japanese culture. As with so many things, there is frequently more then meets the eye and Macfarlane peels away layers of misunderstanding leaving readers with a newfound appreciation for the history and complex heritage that is Japan. As must read for businesspeople and anyone planning a visit to this vibrant land.

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