No one predicted that Japan would rise like a phoenix from the ashes of defeat to become an economic power second only to the United States in GNP. But beginning in the late 1950s Japan rose, and grew. By 1970 the ‘economic miracle’ had become a cliché and foreigners churned out publications with titles like Asia’s New Giant . 1 Prime Minister Ikeda Hayato’s announcement of an Income Doubling Plan in 1960 was meant to end the violent and divisive politics of the preceding decade with the promise of benefi ts for all Japanese. The following years of double-digit growth meant that by the early 1970s, according to government opinion polls, 90 per cent of Japanese classifi ed themselves as part of the ‘middle’ classes.