Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival


Meet the Author

Luncheon Presentation by David Pilling, Asia Editor, Financial Times & Author

Registration at 12.15 pm
Luncheon at 12.30 pm
Close at 2.00 pm


Throughout its history, Japan has weathered calamities from natural disasters such as the 2011 tsunami to crushing defeat in war and its more recent loss of economic vigor. But as Henry Kissinger noted, Japan’s strong sense of its national identity has allowed it to adapt and reinvent itself in extraordinary ways, changing from feudal shogunate to modern state, and from Asian aggressor to modern economic miracle almost overnight. Resilience though is not always positive. Japan drew on an insular, xenophobic tradition to resist colonialism, but became a would-be colonial power itself with tragic consequences for its neighbors and its own people. In the “lost decades”, resilience has held society together, but may have blunted a necessary sense of crisis. In “Bending Adversity”, David Pilling, author, Asia Editor of the Financial Times and former Tokyo bureau chief, argues that contemporary Japan remains more adaptive than is generally recognized. Drawing on a wide range of Japanese voices and his experiences living in Japan as a foreign correspondent for six years, “Bending Adversity” explores contemporary Japan in all its facets drawing economics, history, politics and reportage together in one volume. Mr. Pilling will discuss the origins and reasons for Japan's troubled relations with China, the subject of Abenomics and seek to answer the question: Is Japan really back?

David Pilling has been Asia Editor of the Financial Times since 2008 and oversees the FT’s coverage of the region. He directs the work of regional correspondents and leads the editing and commissioning team in Hong Kong. Mr. Pilling also writes an award-winning weekly column on Asian business, politics and economics, which appears worldwide. Mr. Pilling joined the FT in 1990, and moved to Japan in 2002 for a six-year stint as Tokyo Bureau Chief, where he charted the Koizumi years. He has won numerous reporting prizes, most recently for coverage of Japan and China. He was awarded the Best Commentator prize by the Society of Publishers in Asia in 2011 and 2012. He was also named Best Foreign Commentator for 2011 in the UK’s Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards for coverage of China, Japan and Pakistan.

Event Details

Tue 29 Apr 2014
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Buy Tickets
HK$470 Asia Society members/FT subscribers/Friends of Cambridge; HK$570 Non-members
Add to Calendar 20140429T043000 20140429T060000 UTC Asia Society: Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong