Reference Source Review II

Bestor, Victoria Lyon, Theodore C. Bestor, & Akiko Yamagata. Routledge handbook of Japanese culture and society. Routledge, 2011. 325p. bibl index ill ISBN 0-415-43649-6, $225.00

Bestor, et.al. edit a well written compendium of essays about contemporary Japanese culture and society. Starting with Japanese society at the end of WWII, they touch upon politics, language, education, religion, agriculture and the law in Part I. In Part II, the contributors touch on aspects and facets of Japanese social class, identity, and status. Part III includes essays on Japanese animation (anime) comics (manga), film, media, music, food, and sports(for a more in-depth look at pop culture, see Gid, Kato, & Stronach (Eds.)(1989) Handbook of Japanese Pop Culture). With many examples from all these areas, the authors seek to create a reference source that explores the cultural aspects, positive and negative, of Japanese society for readers at all levels. The authors are all professionals in Japanese studies, culture, and society, and their contribution to the literature on Japan as a whole is important in light of the fact that they are become less homogenized and more Westernized. The handbook is current,  and the index is thorough, listing terms and illustrations. The glossary defines all Japanese terms used that might be unfamiliar to readers that are new to Japanese culture, and the illustrations detail population charts (Part I), a map of Japan, and references to specific topics (i.e. manga). There is also a list of current online resources for further study. It is both comprehensive and unique in that it deals with not just socioeconomic topics, but fantasy and pop culture as well. Summing up: Highly recommended, interdisciplinary collection for academic and general readers alike.—M.A. Pulliam, University of Kentucky

Hill, Lori Diane, & Felice J. Levine. World education research yearbook 2015. Routledge, 2015. 270p. index ill ISBN 1-138-79712-3, $125.00

Hill & Levine (2015) are the editors of this yearbook that chronicles issues in education from a global perspective. From topics as diverse as the impact that the Sesame Workshop (creators of Sesame Street) has had on global health education to methodological challenges in measuring student outcomes globally, this yearbook seeks to put in one place the latest trends in education research. This is the inaugural volume of this yearbook, with current information on the state of world education, and the references at the end of each chapter detail more reading for the researcher. The index is straightforward, with all illustrations and page numbers clearly highlighted. This comprehensive yearbook provides an in-depth look at the state of education in developing and developed nations, and what researchers have been doing to improve education in these countries. It is unique in the fact that it was compiled by the World Education Research Association (WERA), a newly formed (2007) association dedicated to “advancing education research as a scientific and scholarly field” (http://www.weraonline.org/?page=WhoWeAre). The accuracy of this yearbook is good, but with so much research in the field of education, there is the opportunity to publish this yearbook more than annually. The editors were very selective in what they chose to include, and it is my belief that they could have chosen a more coherent theme, i.e. just health education, than the options that were included. Summing up: Recommended, specifically for students, researchers, and faculty, not for general readers.—M.A. Pulliam, University of Kentucky

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