Login Issue? Delete D-addicts cookie from your browser settings and login again.

What is the best one volume history of Japan?

Talk about the culture and entertainment from Nihon.
Post Reply
User avatar
hepcat05
Posts: 39
Joined: Jul 12th, '05, 20:10
Location: Maryland, USA

What is the best one volume history of Japan?

Post by hepcat05 » Dec 4th, '06, 18:09

I’d like to learn more about Japanese history and I figured people here would have some suggestions. As the title of he thread says, I’m hoping to find a one volume survey that can give me the basics. Depending on what I find interesting there, I’d look for other books that describe particular periods of Japanese history in more detail.

Yes, I could look at Wikipedia or Amazon.com for ideas, but I want to hear from people at d-addicts as well. There must be posters here who’ve taken Japanese history classes in school. What books were you assigned, and what did you think of them?

Thanks in advance!

User avatar
gubule
Posts: 35
Joined: Jan 6th, '06, 17:39
Location: Good old Europe
Contact:

Post by gubule » Dec 4th, '06, 21:44

Hi,

One of the first history book I read was " Histoire du Japon et des Japonais" by Edwin O. Reischauer. I think this is the translation of " Japan: The Story of a Nation" : http://www.amazon.com/Japan-Story-Natio ... F8&s=books
This book dedicated to premodern and postwar japan, is quiet short, well written and is clearly one of my favorite.

=> This text chronicles the evolution of premodern (early A.D. to 1850), modern (1850-1945), and postwar (1945-1989) Japanese civilization from imperial rule through the death of Emperor Hirohito. Professor Reischauer, a former U.S. ambassador to Japan, explores the roots and development of the military dictatorship that brought Japan into World War II, the dubious leadership of its emperor, and the effects of the postwar American occupation

Amazon reviews :
Japan: Story of a Nation is another in a long line of exceedingly well written books in Japanese history by Ambassador Reischauer. Tracing the roots of Japanese civilization from before the mythical creation of the Japanese state and the reign of Jimmu to contemporary culture, Reischauer has accomplished something few have been able to: make history fun and enjoyable. The matter-of-fact text reads almost like a saga and is mercifully free of academic mumbo-jumbo. Most interesting of all is his description of the Post War era in Japan, particularly the Occupation and Japan's role in the world. For serious students of Japanese history and culture Story of a Nation is the closest thing to a motivational book. Buy it, read it, and enjoy it.
For the student of Japanese History, this is a strong overview of Japan from ancient to modern. Well laid out, it covers broadly most of the important historical, cultural and political events over the last 2000 years and is a good starting point for new students of Japanese history. There is a convienent Chronology of events at the end of the book, and numerous maps and illustrations throughout to help connect facts to places and people. This history of Japan is not limited to information on the rulling classes of Japan, as it does attempt to describe villiage life and the role of the common people of Japan, especially in later periods, where there is probably more information available. A good third of the book is given over to post-war Japan, and it is interesting to note that it was published before the current economic problems Japan is facing (post bubble burst). My only complaint is a lack of foot-notes, but for the non-academic reader, this should be fine. Reischauer clearly understands his subject, presents both conservative and liberal interpretations/opinions of historical facts and trends, and is able to give a sense of connection to his readers that allows them to understand and relate to the history he is telling.
Hope it helps

Prince of Moles
Posts: 217
Joined: Dec 26th, '05, 02:50
Location: Beneath NYC

Post by Prince of Moles » Dec 5th, '06, 03:22

If you want a college level textbook you can try, A Brief History of Japanese Civilization by Conrad Schirokauer. It's been updated recently.

User avatar
hepcat05
Posts: 39
Joined: Jul 12th, '05, 20:10
Location: Maryland, USA

Post by hepcat05 » Jan 2nd, '07, 18:19

Thanks, I've decided to try Reischauer's book. I'm getting a used copy though because a new one is $57.81! :crazy: Textbook prices have obviously gotten even crazier since I graduated college.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest