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The stereotype of a stressed-out salaryman, vacantly sipping on his post-overtime can of beer, does little to confirm that Japanese society is deeply clued into notions of fun and play.

Author Michal Daliot-Bul — chair of the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Haifa, Israel — comprehensively draws on the breadth of existing Japanese academia and original research to dismiss any such stereotypical image of Japan’s leisure activities, as she traces the evolution of all things ludic from the premodern era to contemporary society.

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