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Shutting Out the Sun
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About the Author

Michael Zielenziger is a visiting scholar at the Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley, and was the Tokyo-based bureau chief for Knight Ridder Newspapers for seven years. Before moving to Tokyo, he served as the Pacific Rim correspondent for San Jose Mercury News, and was a finalist for a 1995 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting for a series on China. Find him online at www.shuttingoutthesun.com.

Reviews

After its 1990 economic crisis, Japan entered a period of stagnation and has yet to recover. Although at first limited to finances, this depression slowly spread to the country's political system as well as its national consciousness. One extreme example of the problem is the more than one million young men who have given up on school or employment, spending their days in their cramped apartments. In this well-researched and well-organized book, journalist and scholar Zielenziger reveals how these men ("hikikomori") are both a symptom of and a metaphor for Japan's ennui. With compassion and vigor, he presents close-up portraits of the hikikomori, while grounding their stories in the political, economic and historic realities facing Japan today. Zielenziger also suggests that women who avoid marriage and children, men who drink too much and both men and women fetishizing brand names are additional signs of the mass confusion and discontent. Seven years as a Tokyo bureau chief for Knight Rider newspapers has given Zielenziger the necessary access to this closed culture, though his expos? is bound to be controversial. His inclusion of both small details and the big picture makes the book as intimate as it is revealing. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Offers a glimpse at an uneasy nation suspended between two worlds."--The Wall Street Journal "Full of surprises and fresh discoveries, Shutting Out the Sun convincingly explains why the great Japanese juggernaut has faltered -- and it does so with intelligence, insight and verve."--Richard Rhodes "Shutting Out the Sun puts a human face on a nation's plight and provides an intriguing point of entry into a consideration of Japan's crisis of confidence."--The Washington Post Book World "Well-researched. . . . Zielenziger gives observers of this reticent country good reason to be concerned."--San Francisco Chronicle

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