ASIA212Varley

But to millions of fervid readers what seemed more

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Unformatted text preview: he Present Age 307 because of this spending and the freedom attained through national independence when the Occupation was ended in 1952 (in accordance with the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951), Japan was launched upon one of the most vigorous and sustained periods of economic growth of any country in modern history. With its gross national product expanding by about 10 percent annually from the mid-1950s, Japan became, by the late 1960s, the third largest economic power in the world. Despite the devastation of war and the chaos of defeat (or perhaps because of them), the postwar period brought an immediate, unprecedented expansion in literary output. Released from the severe restrictions of wartime controls, writers rushed to complete manuscripts and get them into print. Newspapers and magazines, traditionally among the most important media for the publication of literature in modern Japan, fought fiercely to acquire the most promising manuscripts and thereby to expand their circulations. Established writers such as Nagai Kafû, who had remained silent during the war in protest against the militarists, received fees for their stories that seemed astronomical. The alacrity with which some Japanese perceived the potentialities for a postwar publishing boom in all kinds of printed matter can be illustrated by the example of the head of Seibundò Company who, after listening at a provincial railway station to the emperor’s August 15 broadcast announcing the surrender and after purportedly shedding tears with others gathered at the station, got the idea on the train back to Tokyo that night of publishing a new Japanese-English dictionary. Completed and issued a month to the day after the emperor’s speech, the dictionary, helped by a flood of advance orders, surpassed the three-million mark in sales within a brief period of time. Such was the demand for reading material of every kind that printers and publishers sought frantically to obtain paper—then very scarce—wherever it could be found, and before l...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.

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