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The liberation of Japan?

The past ten years of economic stagnation in Japan has been a period of creative destruction. As the "iron triangle" of big business, elite bureaucracy and conservative politics has crumbled-so have the stifling hierarchies of Japanese life.

By William Horsley   May 2001

I was recently taken to play pool in a large billiards hall in a Tokyo suburb by my two Japanese nephews, “the two Tetsus.” Both are working for Japanese companies, having graduated from Japanese universities, but they had lived abroad for most of their schooling-Tetsuro, or “big Tetsu,” in Australia and Tetsusaburo, or “small Tetsu,” in the US. Until recently, returnees from abroad were a source of embarrassment and often failed to reintegrate into Japanese society because they had lost their place in the tight hierarchies which used to define a person’s status. But Japan is now a very different…

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