© 1999

Dimensions of Japanese Society

Gender, Margins and Mainstream


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Kenneth G. Henshall
    Pages 1-47
  3. Kenneth G. Henshall
    Pages 108-176
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 183-249

About this book


Japan remains one of the most intriguing yet least understood nations. In a much needed, balanced and comprehensive analysis, among other remarkable revelations, this book presents for the first time a vital key to understanding the organisation of Japan's society and the behaviour of its people. The Japanese are not driven by a universal morality based on Good and Evil, but by broad aesthetic concepts based on Pure and Impure. What they include as 'impure' will surprise many readers.


gender Nation organization society

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of East Asian StudiesUniversity of WaikatoNew Zealand

About the authors

Kenneth G. Henshall is Professor of Japanese Studies in the department of Asian Studies at the University of Canterbury, UK

Bibliographic information


'... a sophisticated, serious and well-researched analysis of the inner workings of Japanese society. The text is at once accessible and insightful, full of informative detail and strengthened by carefully crafted generalizations.' - Carin Holroyd, Bishop's University, Quebec

'A carefully written, thought-out book, judiciously balancing the mainstream with the marginal, the universal with the particular and historical trajectories with contemporary issues. Ken Henshall's unorthodox approach is aimed at dismantling stereotypes and is necessary for a society as mythologized and orientalized as Japan's. His accomplishment is no mean task, especially because he is discussing a civilization so often misunderstood, but by combining up-to-date statistics, history, and qualitative interpretation, he offers a portrait of a heterogeneous, complex, and dynamic society. He also lucidly illustrates, that like any society, Japan is open to social scientific methodology. This is a book recommended both for the beginning student of Japan and the specialist who requires a handy citation.' - Brian McVeigh, author of Life in a Japanese Women's College and The Nature of the Japanese State