Jan 3, 2008

Magazine covers on Japan's rise (1988-1990)

Indeed, from the mid-1980s until its slide into stagnation in the early 1990s, Japan was considered by many the measure of U.S. economic success or failure. "The United States," Congresswomen Helen Bentley was quoted as saying in a 1990 Fortune article, "is rapidly becoming a colony of Japan." A cursory glance back at the cover stories of major periodicals during that period is instructive: "Japan's Clout in the U.S." (Business Week, 1988); "Where Will Japan Strike Next" (Fortune, 1989); "Japan Invades Hollywood" (Newsweek, 1989); "Containing Japan" (Atlantic, 1989); "Yen For Power" (The New Republic, 1990). One could retrieve from the television network archives a wealth of stories about the ominous nouveau riche Japanese gobbling up real estate or whole industries that similarly captured the mood. Then there was the stream of books, some thoughtful and some simplistic "revisionist" analyses of Japan, along with a spate of hysterical agitation-propaganda: The Coming War With Japan, by neophyte academics and Michael Crichton's Rising Sun, the pulp novel and movie, already appear to be period pieces.

~ Michael J. Green and Mike M. Mochizuki, "The U.S.-Japan Security Alliance in the 21st Century (A Study Group Report)," Council on Foreign Relations Press, February 1998

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