The image of the shinkansen - or 'bullet train' - passing Mount Fuji is one of the most rewned images of modern Japan. Yet, despite its international reputation for speed and punctuality, little is understood about what makes it work so well and what its impact is. This is a comprehensive account of the history of the shinkansen, from its planning during the Pacific War, to its launch in 1964 and subsequent development. It goes on to analyze the reasons behind the bullet train's success, and demonstrates how it went from being simply a high-speed rail network to attaining the status of iconic national symbol. It considers the shinkansen's relationship with national and regional politics and ecomic development, its financial viability, the environmental challenges it must cope with, and the ways in which it reflects and influences important aspects of Japanese society. It concludes by considering whether the bullet train can be successful in other countries developing high-speed railways. Overall, this book provides a thorough examination of the phemen of the shinkansen, and its relationship with Japanese society.
Christopher P. Hood is Director of the Cardiff Japanese Studies Centre, Cardiff University and Associate Fellow at Chatham House. He is the author of Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone's Legacy (Routledge 2001), co-editor with G. Bownas and D. Powers of Doing Business with the Japanese (2003), and regularly handles media enquiries relating to Japan.
Taylor & Francis Ltd
Date of Publication
Industrial Studies: General
Place of Publication
Country of Publication
28 black & white tables, 35 black & white halftones, 18 black & white line drawings