With the ever growing contact between Japan and the rest of the world comes an increasingly important need to understand a society that is fascinating but still often confusing to the outsider. In this brand new fourth edition of Understanding Japanese Society Joy Hendry brings the reader up to date both with recent changes as Japan hit the world headlines under the triple 2011 disasters, and with underlying continuities in ways of thinking that have matured over a long history of dealing with foreign influences and an unpredictable environment. 

This welcome new edition of Hendry’s bestselling introductory textbook provides a clear, accessible and readable introduction to Japanese society which does not require any previous knowledge of the country. Fully updated, revised and expanded, the fourth edition contains new material on:

  • the effects of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters of 2011
  • a renewed interest in politics and popular participation
  • increased frequency of local spiritual support as unemployment continues to grow, and marriage gets later and later 
  • the effects of a dramatic drop in the birth rate on Japan’s education system
  • the continuing global success of Japanese animation, manga and computer games despite a turn away from international travel
  • the cool new Ainu, the attraction of healing Okinawa, and changes among other Japanese minorities
  • a new role for Japanese fathers in child-rearing

This book will be invaluable to all students studying Japan. It will also enlighten those travellers and business people wishing to gain an understanding of the Japanese people.

chapter |4 pages


chapter 2|18 pages

The house and family system

chapter 3|16 pages

Socialisation and classification

chapter 4|17 pages

Community and neighbourhood

chapter 5|17 pages

The education system

chapter 6|24 pages

Status, hierarchy and ethnic diversity

chapter 7|19 pages

Religious influences

chapter 8|18 pages

Ritual and the life cycle

chapter 9|17 pages

Opportunities for working life

chapter 10|19 pages

Arts, entertainment and leisure

chapter 11|19 pages

Government and the craft of politics

chapter 12|16 pages

The legal system and social control