Shutting Out the Sun

Shutting Out the Sun

How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
Rate this:

nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;The world's second-wealthiest country, Japan once seemed poised to overtake America as the leading global economic powerhouse. But the country failed to recover from the staggering economic collapse of the early 1990s. Today it confronts an array of disturbing social trends, notably a population of more than one million hikikomori : the young men who shut themselves in their rooms, withdrawing from society. There is also a growing numbers of "parasite singles": single women who refuse to leave home, marry, or bear children.

nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;In this trenchant investigation, Michael Zielenziger argues that Japan's tradition-steeped society, its aversion to change, and its distrust of individuality are stifling economic revival, political reform, and social evolution. Shutting Out the Sun is a bold explanation of Japan's stagnation and its implications for the rest of the world.

Publisher: New York :, Vintage Books,, 2007.
Edition: First Vintage Departures edition.
Copyright Date: ©2006
ISBN: 9781400077793
Branch Call Number: 952 ZI
Characteristics: x, 340 pages ; 21 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 18, 2017

Keep in mind that this was written in 2007, before the 2008 financial meltdown in the US, so there is hubris in his opinions of the Japanese financial systems.

The book starts out with a troubling social phenomenon, but that only lasts for a few chapters. It then veers off into a criticism of Japanese society as a whole. While the information is interesting, the fact that the author is neither an anthropologist or historian should caution the reader to take his conclusions with a large grain of salt. An opportunity to compare how Japan treats people who don't conform to their society with how the Amish treat those who elect to leave their community (i.e. shunning) was not explored. Claiming that Japanese Americans turned their backs on Japan when they left the country totally overlooks the racism and WWII internment experience that forced these people to make a choice they would not have ordinarily made.

I still found the majority of the book interesting, in spite of the bias shown by the author.

Mar 20, 2013

Hertz is right. The author seems to really disapprove of everything Japanese, and uses both the U.S. economy and South Korea's acceptance of western christian culture as icons of perfection. He gives so little attention to the hikikomori that I pretty much felt baited and switched,

Feb 15, 2012

Overall a worthy read, though the author does seem to take a curious stance toward his subject: Japanese society. In the all-too-short focus on the actual Hikikomori as individual cases, he is able to identify and sympathize with their condition, along with a perfunctory discussion of lone would-be rehabilitation providers and their methods.
The rest of this book adopts a more clinical approach, with scathing overviews of the ongoing faults within the structure of society. Corporate life, family life, lack of self identity in favor of the group.
Uses South Korea as a convenient tool to bash Japan's current situation and national state of denial.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at APL

To Top