For all the attention it has drawn, Japan remains a mystery to most westerners. Understanding has t always been helped by books that have focused too much on its exotic otherness, or made sweeping generalizations, or in recent years 'deconstructed' it and over-emphasized diversity and universality. Dimensions provides a much-needed balanced and comprehensive analysis, examining both diversity and uniformity, the particular and the universal, the rmal and the abrmal. Among other remarkable revelations, it presents for the first time a vital key to understanding the organization of Japan's society and the behaviour of its people. The Japanese are t driven by a universal morality based on Good and Evil, but by broad aesthetic concepts based on Pure and Impure. What is included in these categories will surprise many readers. Combined with the legacy of an authoritarian regime from the seventeenth century, they underlie many of the supposed paradoxes of modern Japan.
Kenneth G. Henshall is Professor of Japanese Studies in the department of Asian Studies at the University of Canterbury, UK