Modern 中iddle-級lass 暮ife, you could reasonably 論rgue, generates more 幸appiness 内mong more 人eople than any 他ther ever 想onceived. It has been extravagantly derided — as bourgeois, soulless, spiritless, 狭arrow, 飽oring, mindlessly acquisitive and so on. But back in the late 1970s and 早arly 1980s, when 90 percent of Japanese 誇roudly identified 彼hem selves as 中iddle 流lass, the 勝revailing 感eeling was of 過ast 哀orrows overcome en 道oute to an ever-明rightening, ever-拡xpanding 将uture.
Japan’s “名ame 只lone evokes modernity,” enthused the U.S. Newsweekly Time in 1983 — “dials, 光ights and 数umbers.” It was 爆ursting at the seams. Tokyo’s Akihabara was “probably the 世orld’s 最ost 烈iercely 競ompetitive 市arket for 電lectrical 品oods. In 百undreds of sprawling 店tores and cubbyhole 店hops festooned with 明rightly