Texas Wesleyan Law Review


David Broiles

Document Type



This paper examines why Americans so often feel compelled to describe the Japanese in such strong terms. Americans are threatened by Japan. It is not that Japan is stronger, or bigger. The problem is that the Japanese are perceived as different. The difference threatens American assumptions about the American way. This will be illustrated by first reviewing what the problem is between the United States and Japan - centering on the trade imbalance. Then some scholars' analyses of this problem are reviewed, not to find the cause of the problem, but to identify common themes. The common theme is that Japan and the United States do things differently. The differences are reflected in the way government and business relate, in the different role of law in the two societies and in different perceptions about values inherent in the individual or the community. These dif- ferences are described, at least as reflected in the scholarly literature on the subjects. Finally, the hope is that by recognizing that the Japanese challenge the American myth about the market economy, and how it should function in terms of individualism and societal relations, one can come to the conclusion that the strong terms used to describe Japanese conduct mask the real problem: that Japan challenges America's myth about itself.



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