What is Japan like? Who are the Japanese people? Their characteristics collide: democracy and hierarchy, formality and chaos, overfed wrestlers and bonsai trees, traditional skill and daring modernity, permissiveness and restrictiveness. In form, Japan is a parliamentary democracy. Yet a single party, the Liberal Democrats, was in power for all but three of the past fifty years. Again, in form, Japan is a capitalist, free enterprise society. Yet bureaucrats, businessmen, and politicians seem to collude with one another for the greater glory of Japan. Is this real democracy? A real free enterprise society?