Modern Japanese History Robert Eskildsen

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Question # 4

After the end of World War II the Cold War was started and it lasted until the beginning of the 1990’s and it shaped Japan in a few ways. For starters it gave rise to a style of employment that is unique to Japan, it shaped the way society was dealing with becoming more modern, and the political system of Japan was going through some struggles during this time. The Japanese culture is something interesting to study and the phenomenon of the Salary man is an ongoing thing in current Japanese society that got started during the Cold War.

The Japanese seniority system and life time employment are two aspects of the Cold War because they were developed during that time and is still around today. “Protected by lifetime employment and with a pay scale that gave them steady increases in income every year as they advanced in seniority, most secured a stasut befitting their age throughout their careers. As soon as they reached a certain level in the hierarchy, elite salaried workers were also granted one of the perquisites of the corporate scene: The authority to use the “entertainment funds”” (Sakaya, Pg. 547). This means that no matter what at the time it would seem that men were guaranteed a job after they were finished with schooling. It was during this time that a lot of mass spending was ok because the economy was doing fine. It was not until towards the end of the 1980’s that the economic bubble burst and that is when the same things that were practiced from the Cold War started to show its flaws in modern Japanese Society.

The country as whole was being prosperous because there were a lot great and upcoming modernization but there were good and bad sides to everything. “As politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, union members, and the citizenry struggled to find solutions to the new challenges, change rippled through every sector of the Japanese economy. Some groups and industries suffered; other prospered and flourished. Despite the setbacks, the economy managed to outperform its competitors abroad, and Japan grew accustomed to the pleasures and problems associated with prosperity” (Alisson, Pg. 126). The fact that the country benefited from this new change in lifestyles it means that there were a lot great changes. The Cold War was a very tense time between Communist regime and Democratic side.

In the political scene of Japan it was not doing as well as the economy because there is always two sides that did not agree. “As the occupation ended, the national political map remained divided into two major camps, referred to as the time as “conservative” and “progressive”. They opposed each other bitterly, and their all-out clashes were the most important political events of the 1950. But these groups were also divided sharply within themselves” (Gordon, Pg. 270). No matter how great the country does economically it is usually politically that the country is divided. The Cold War lasted for about 40 years and it brought both good and bad aspects to Japan which was still becoming a modern country.

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