Japan Inc. and the American Nightmare
In the 1980s, Americans confronted what came to be known in certain circles as the Japan Problem. The post-war Japanese economy had been growing at an exponential rate, widely regarded in American discourse as a miracle; the archipelago’s economic strength precipitated anxious whispers that Japan might soon overthrow America as the world’s so-called number one economy. The perception that Japanese companies were investing heavily in American real estate resurrected Hearstian fears of yet another “yellow peril.” The archipelago was subsequently demonized. The lexicon described this phenomenon (controversially) as Japan bashing.1 This chapter will examine the two dominant forms through which pejoratively titled Japan Inc. was articulated as a source of anxiety for the American audience, a schema that shares much with the phenomenon outlined in the previous chapter concerning Godzilla. Japan Inc., articulated through tropes of the supernatural, initially reified older global frameworks and then, in a dialectical shift, came to signify a deeply felt unease over the values of American-style capitalism. I will therefore seek to understand how important variations to the horror genre, and its cross-disciplinary applications, emerged around the increasingly complicated task of representing Japan Inc.
KeywordsEmphasis Mine American Capitalism Late Capitalism Young American Woman Japanese Capitalism
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- 1.For an in-depth analysis of this phenomenon, see Narrelle Morris’s Japan-Bashing: Anti-Japanism Since the 1980s (New York: Routledge, 2011).Google Scholar