In my previous post about my recent Peter Drucker-related visit to Tokyo, I wrote about the generous people in Japan and the United States who helped me prepare for my first visit to Japan. I also did a lot of reading about the country in the months leading up to the visit, on the 14 hour airplane flight, and while I was in Tokyo.
Besides the Fodor’s guidebooks/website and tips-about-Tokyo web searching, I finally was able to make use of articles I’d been saving for years about Japan from The Economist and the Financial Times. It was a fitting touch that my hotel had free copies of the Financial Times Asia edition in the lobby. I also enjoyed reading the English-language daily The Japan Times, which appeared each morning on a small shelf outside the hotel room. I found a number of books to be valuable, especially Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Teaches Us About Living in the West, by T. R. Reid; the former Tokyo bureau chief of the Washington Post. I had earlier read The Japanese Today: Change and Continuity, by Edwin O. Reischauer and Marius B. Jansen. Drucker described Reischauer in 1979 as “the former American ambassador to Japan and the foremost authority on Japanese history and society.” His legacy lives on at The Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. Another helpful book was the clearly-written A Traveller’s History of Japan, (4th edition) by Richard Tames; the most recent of the above-mentioned titles, other than the Fodor’s guides.
However, some of the best reading material on Japan, for the purposes of my visit, came from Drucker himself. In my next post, I’ll sketch out some of the articles and sections of books by Drucker that helped me while in Tokyo, and provided valuable guidance as I prepared my presentations.