As a philospher, Shunsuke Tsurumi has underscored the importance of the "everyday life philosophy" of nameless, ordinary citizens and stressed the significance of exploring its potential no matter how amorphous and unsystematic it may be. Immediately after the end of World War II, he founded a journal "Shiso no Kagaku" (Science of Thought), a publication to which numerous non-academic writers have contributed their analyses of Japanese society and culture on the basis of their grass-roots experiences. Professor Tsurumi has written and edited many books, has contributed to many journals and magazines and has profoundly influenced Japan's post-war intellectual current for over half a century. In "A Cultural History of Post-war Japan", now reprinted, Professor Tsurumi continues his study of the intellectual and social history of modern Japan with a penetrating analysis of popular culture in the post-war years. Japanese "manga" (comics), "manzai" (dialogues), television, advertising and popular songs are the medium for a revealing examination of the many contradictory forces at work beneath the surface of an apparently uniform and universal culture.
Professor Tsurumi argues that the iconography of these popular forms has deep and significant implications for the development of Japanese national life in the post-growth years that lie ahead.