Don’t be put off by the overly busy — and, yes, overly kawaii — cover of “Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential.”

It may not look like it, but it is an exemplary work of pop scholarship, one in which the authors are able to call on a wide and sound knowledge of art, film, sociology and Japan, as well as good old shoe-leather journalism, to help us understand “how,” as the subtitle puts it, “teenage girls made a nation cool.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
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