IJS Week 08

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Week 8: Class – “middle class Japan”, wealth and poverty

Statistical Handbook of Japan:

Read Chapter 10, “Commerce” and Chapter 11, “Trade, International Balance of Payments, and International Cooperation”

Other Materials:

Japanese society encompasses the imperial household, those in dire poverty, and everything in between. Contrasting the imperial household and the destitute shows the range of class and wealth in Japan. We will watch some in class, please watch others in your own time.

Imperial Household:

Watch this short video about the imperial enthronement:

For more details about the Imperial Family, see the website of the Imperial Household Agency.

Read also this Washington Post article about the state of the nobility: “The last retreat of Japan’s nobility”

Japan and Poverty

Access this page in the OECD website. It shows Japan’s “Poverty rate” in international comparison. It also gives the internationally recognized definitions of poverty. Note where “rich country” Japan sits in the rankings of international poverty (actually it’s more an indicator of inequality …).

Since 2006, there has been much discussion of Japan’s “working poor”. Watch these news clips about the “working poor”.

YouTube Documentary: “Homelessness in Japan” (Parts 1-5)

Consider this five-part video series to be a complete “guest lecture” for our course, with much of the analysis by Professor Tom Gill of Meiji Gakuin University.

Academic Articles (for the Active Learning Hours Portfolio):

Yoshio Sugimoto, “Class and Work in Cultural Capitalism”

Tom Gill, “Failed manhood on the streets of urban Japan”

M Kawazoe, “Action Against Poverty: Japan’s Working Poor Under Attack”


Yuriko Koike, “Why inequality is different in Japan”

Reuters, “Japan’s working poor left behind by Abenomics”

Guardian, “The three degree world”