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Japanese Society and History

By John McKinstry and Harold Kerbo

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60927-885-4, 274 pages


Japan has always seemed a puzzle to most westerners—so modern, so industrialized, yet somehow so different. Japanese Society and History seeks to initiate westerners to the learning process of making Japan seem a little less mysterious and a little more understandable. This book walks readers through some of the important features of Japanese society to help readers begin slowly forming a more complete picture of Japan. Japanese Society and History is a unique text and effective teaching tool designed for use in comparative sociology and political science courses, as well as courses in Asian Studies.

Japanese Society and History explores a variety a topics in Japanese society, including:

  • Geography
  • Language
  • History
  • Cultural Themes
  • Family Life
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Politics and Government
  • The Economy


John McKinstry has had an extensive teaching career at several universities, including the University of Southern California; Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka, Japan; Kyushu National University, also in Fukuoka; Waseda University and Sophia University, both in Tokyo; Higashi Nippon International University in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan; Tokyo Fukushi University; and recently, in 2006, the University of Sofia St. Kliment Orhidsky, Sofia, Bulgaria. For many years he has served as professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California. John McKinstry was awarded three Fulbright teaching awards: two in Japan (1983 and 2001) and one in Bulgaria (2006). In addition to his professorial duties, he served as Program Coordinator for the Vandenberg Air Force Base Workshop in Race Relations, 1970–72. He was also Resident Director of the California State University Program in Tokyo, Japan, 1995–96. John McKinstry currently serves as Curriculum Consultant at the Sunshine College of Business and Social Welfare in Tokyo, Japan, 1986–present. Together with Harold Kerbo, he is the author of Who Rules Japan?: The Inner Circles of Economic and Political Power, as well as Modern Japan: A Volume in the Comparative Societies Series.

Harold R. Kerbo has been a professor of sociology at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, since 1977. He has been a Fulbright professor in Japan, Thailand, and Austria and a visiting professor in Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Thailand, and Japan. From June 2006 to August 2007, Professor Kerbo was the recipient of an Abe Fellowship to conduct fieldwork on poverty and poverty programs in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. He has recently finished the first manuscript from this fieldwork, titled The Tragedy of Cambodian Poverty: From the Killing Fields to the 21st Century. Professor Kerbo has published several books and numerous articles on the subjects of social stratification, comparative societies, and economic development and world poverty. He is the author of a basic sociology text book, Sociology: Social Structure and Social Conflict, and, most importantly, the author of the nation's leading textbook on social stratification (Social Stratification and Inequality, now in its seventh edition and recently translated into Spanish). Professor Kerbo is creator and general editor of the McGraw Hill Comparative Societies Series, which includes books on eleven countries. The first volume, Modern Japan, by Harold Kerbo and John McKinstry, was published in 1998. He has also coauthored two other volumes, both of which were published in 2000: Modern Germany, with Professor Hermann Strasser at the University of Duisburg, Germany, and Modern Thailand, with Robert Slagter. Professor Kerbo is also the second author of the widely used text, Social Problems, now in its tenth edition (first author James Coleman, 2008). His latest book, World Poverty: Global Inequality and the Modern World System, was published 2006.