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Forty years ago, in 1979, two events occurred that would forever change the global perception of Japan: Sony launched the Walkman portable audio player and Harvard professor Ezra Vogel published “Japan As Number One — Lessons for America.” The rest, as they say, is history.

The rise of “small and resource-poor Japan” to seemingly unstoppable economic dominance throughout the 1980s unfolded just as prophesied by Vogel, with the Walkman becoming the most obvious symbol that, yes, Japan was No. 1.

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