BY PRADYUMNA P. KARAN
CARTOGRAPHY BY DICK GILBREATH
LEXINGTON: UNIVERSITY PRESS OF KENTUCKY, 2005
401 PAGES, ISBN 13: 978-0-8131-9118-8, PAPERBACK
REVIEWED BY RONALD KALAFSKY
Japan is home to one of the world’s largest economies—in fact, the second or third largest, depending on the use of purchasing power parity. It is a center of technology, manufacturing, finance, and, increasingly, an exporter of culture through media such as anime and manga. Yet interestingly, relatively little has been written about Japan in the past fifteen years for use in academic environments. Remarkably lacking have been wide-ranging geographical texts on this country. With regard to recent studies of Asia, much attention has been deservedly paid to the rapid ascendance of China’s economy and its accompanying rise in political influence within many regional and global spheres. It should be mentioned that the popular media and academic research exhaustively covered Japan in the not-too-distant past, especially during the booming 1980s. Still, given the global impact of Japan, this country remains important for instruction and research within a number of disciplines. In Japan in the 21st Century: Environment, Economy, and Society, Pradyumna Karan provides a comprehensive overview of Japan across a number of facets, including the physical, political, economic, and cultural realms.