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The first chapter in this dense collection of Anglophone academia asks, “How and when did modern Japan begin?” Editor James D. Babb, a lecturer in politics at the University of Newcastle, has collated a selection of texts that address this question, many of which grapple with the ostensibly inscrutable state of present-day Japan.

The tectonic shifts the country has experienced since the 1990s — more than two decades of economic stagnation alongside geographic, political and cultural tumult — are thrown into relief from researchers across the globe.

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