Written by an experienced teacher and scholar, this book offers university students a handy "how to" guide for interpreting Japanese society and conducting their own research. Stressing the importance of an interdisciplinary approach, Brian McVeigh lays out practical and understandable research approaches in a systematic fashion to demonstrate how, with the right conceptual tools and enough bibliographical sources, Japanese society can be productively analyzed from a distance. In concise chapters, these approaches are applied to a whole range of topics: from the aesthetics of street culture; the philosophical import of sci-fi anime; how the state distributes wealth; welfare policies; the impact of official policies on gender relations; updated spiritual traditions; why manners are so important; kinship structures; corporate culture; class; schooling; self-presentation; visual culture; to the subtleties of Japanese grammar. Examples from popular culture, daily life, and historical events are used to illustrate and highlight the color, dynamism, and diversity of Japanese society. Designed for both beginning and more advanced students, this book is intended not just for Japanese studies but for cross-cultural comparison and to demonstrate how social scientists craft their scholarship.