The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of contemporary sociology in Japan. The sociological discipline in Japan has made remarkable progress since World War II. The rapid economic growth during the 1960s, which was prompted by Western influence, had an effect on the direction of the discipline's development. After providing a brief overview of historical events, I consider scholarly publications during the last 30 years to illuminate substantive trends in sociological research. As might be predicted, the changing substantive interests of Japanese sociologists have been in many ways a response to societal changes and needs. I also examine the trends in theory, methods, and empirical research. A content analysis of articles published in the major Japanese sociological journals shows the growing emphasis on theoretical scholarship and the decreasing emphasis on empirical research in recent years. The conclusion presents some considerations concerning the future direction of Japanese sociology.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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