From economic miracle to economic doldrums, from the birthplace of “Japan Cool” to a “Galapagos” in East Asia, from an aging society on a demographic precipice to a dynamic youth culture driving soft power, Japan in the twenty-first century is hard to place. Yet there is little – to take up the provocation of Masao Miyoshi – that is not interesting. In a series of essays and studies, I explore the key contours of Japan today by focusing on contemporary debates and critical junctures it now faces. Unravelling the image of Japan as home to a well-oiled, isolated, groupist society, I draw out the tensions and frictions transforming it.
Surak, Kristin. 2014. “Re-Selling Japan.” New Left Review (88): 139-49.
Surak, Kristin. 2015. “Japan’s Battle for Peace.” Jacobin. October 1.
Responding to business-as-unusual in the Japanese Diet, this op-ed analyzes the debates over the reinterpretation of the Japanese Constitution to allow the use of military defense beyond Japan and its immediate region.
Surak, Kristin. 2014. “Shinzo Abe’s New Mandate.” The Diplomat. December 21.
Focusing on the election of 2014, this piece analyzes the dynamics that returned Shinzo Abe to power despite widespread unpopularity.
Surak, Kristin. 2014. “The New Japanese Nationalism.” Jacobin. August 19.
This piece dissects the intersection of neo-liberalism, neo-nationalism, and societal change that has swept Shinzo Abe to power.