The Comprehensive Analysis of a Society and its People
The Japanese industrial expansion since World War II has been considerable and has been noted by other industrialized nations around the world. Japan began from a position far behind the West, with her infrastructure devastated, and since has achieved a position of economic preeminence, challenging the United States and other industrialized nations for world leadership in innovation and industrial production, especially in high-tech industries of great import on the international scene today and into the future. Japan is also a nation with a lower crime rate than that of the United States. Many in the U.S. have an excessively rosy picture of Japanese society, ignoring the problems while elevating the successes, but it is clear that the sort of comparison made by Ruth Benedict would be seen as valuable specifically for the way the author contrasts the two societies.
Benedict wrote her book in 1946, and at the time she was working for the Office of war Information to gather the data used in the book. Her analysis necessarily must be seen as a snapshot of Japanese society in defeat at the end of the war, though it is also interesting to consider the underlying nature of Japanese society as she saw it and to compare than with more contemporary accounts, such as that of Nakane. Benedict writes at a time of crisis and change. She started her research in 1944 while the war was still under way, and this mad field work impossible. Social scientis