The Emptiness of Japanese Affluence.
In this innovating novel, Gavan McCormack examines the dangers to Japan in three topics titled "Political Economy," "Identity," and "Memory." Much of the focus of the book is historical rather than social. McCormack does a great job of showing his purpose of constructive criticism on the issues of Japan. He clearly states his purpose of writing about the potential futures for Japan as an economic superpower in the rising world order, as well as the promising futures of the world with Japan as an example of the troubles with industrialization.
The novel starts off with the devastating incident of the Kobe earthquake. McCormack describes horrid stories from that disaster. The author makes the tragic incident a symbol of the crisis of the determined commitment in Japan towards economic expansion. He shows a relationship of how the disaster could stand as a test of Japan's capability to survive and prevail.
McCormack compares the influential outcome of the construction state, or the Doken Kokka, to the military manufacturing compound "sucking in the country's wealth, consuming it inefficiently, growing like a cancer, and bequeathing both fiscal crisis and environmental devastation." The author argues that in order for a country to provide its people with their needs and make them happy at the same time, it must increase its ability to produce more goods. This is his view of what modernization is the basis of and how Japan is one of the most conquering countries that excels in modernizing. .
According to McCormick, "Japan had shown a genius for multiplying productivity, but in the 1990s," it was still obvious that the great effort to solve the problem completely still existed. He then argues how this problem is mainly a political issue as well as a "moral and philosophical" matter. In this section of the novel, McCormack carefully portrays in detail how these issues meets Japan in its most sensitive area, the dilemma of "modern industrial civilization" altogether.