In the fifty years after World War II, Japan won economically what it couldn't take with armed might. Now Japan is the leading force behind Asia's financial crisis. And the bad economic news may be just a symptom of something worse. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the culture clash facing Japan.
Australian journalist Murray Sayle, who lives with his family in the countryside outside Tokyo, tells Jim Fleming that the astronomical cost of land in Japan makes it impossible for young people to start households and families of their own, and that the older people who have money won't spend it to promote economic growth. And all of this is happening in a culture resistant to outside influences and change. Sayle wrote a story called "The Social Contradictions of Japanese Capitalism" for the June, 1998 Atlantic Monthly. Also, James McPherson is a Pulitzer Prize winning author who teaches at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He travels often in Japan and has written a memoir, "Crabcakes," about his experiences there. He tells Steve Paulson that he enjoys the role of ritual and ceremony in Japanese life, and as a black man, sometimes feels more accepted in Japan than in his native land.SEGMENT 2:
Novelist Kyoko Mori spent the first half of her life in Japan. Now she teaches creative writing at St. Norbert's College in De Pere, Wisconsin. She talks with Jim Fleming about her latest book: "Polite Lies: On Being A Woman Caught between Cultures." Also, documentary film- maker and television producer Ruth Ozeki has worked in both Japan and the United States, and is the author of "My Year of Meats" - a book that takes a slice out of the meat industry. Ozeki talks about cultural changes with Jim Fleming.SEGMENT 3:
Arthur Golden is the author of the best-selling novel "Memoirs of a Geisha." He tells Judith Strasser that geishas were not prostitutes but that their profession was difficult and demanding. Golden researched his book by extensively interviewing an elderly geisha in Tokyo.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 98-08-02-A.
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