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Japan: Its History and Culture (Japan: Its History & Culture) [Paperback]

Scott W. Morton
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Sep 2004 Japan: Its History & Culture
This work offers a fascinating look at Japan's complex history. This revised fourth edition of the popular work, "Japan: Its History and Culture", stretches from the nation's earliest known civilization (about 30009 BCE) to the present. Delightfully written in a continuous narrative form, it traces the many aspects of Japanese art, religion, the imperial court, militarism, race, geography, and agriculture, and carefully analyzes the rich social, political, and economic life of Asia's wealthiest nation. This new edition also covers the fascinating new developments in Japan. Once a star of postwar industrial production and methods, Japan has encountered serious trouble with market forces in recent years.Social changes and departures from tradition are becoming more common in this conservative country, and the authors document and explain these changes. Seamlessly blending current events, politics, and cultural elements, the authors provide a riveting account of a nation often misunderstood by the West. More than a chronicle of names and date, this book also casts fascinating sidelights on significant personalities, works of literature, and historic events. A brief chronology offers a quick and easy means of reference. Richly anecdotal and vividly illustrated with a map and many photographs, this book presents a panoramic view of Japan, old and new. 'Comprehensive, thorough, and sensitive, it covers the whole of Japanese activity to the present day. At last there exists a full and balanced assessment of what Japan means' - "The London Times Literary Supplement".

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Japan: Its History and Culture  (Japan: Its History & Culture) + A Brief History of the Samurai: The True Story of the Warrior + A History of Japan
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Product details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional; 4 edition (1 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071412808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071412803
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

A fascinating look at Japan's complex history

This revised fourth edition of the popular work, Japan: Its History and Culture, stretches from the nation's earliest known civilization (about 30009 BCE) to the present. Delightfully written in a continuous narrative form, it traces the many aspects of Japanese art, religion, the imperial court, militarism, race, geography, and agriculture, and carefully analyzes the rich social, political, and economic life of Asia's wealthiest nation.

This new edition also covers the fascinating new developments in Japan. Once a star of postwar industrial production and methods, Japan has encountered serious trouble with market forces in recent years. Social changes and departures from tradition are becoming more common in this conservative country, and the authors document and explain these changes. Seamlessly blending current events, politics, and cultural elements, the authors provide a riveting account of a nation often misunderstood by the West.

More than a chronicle of names and date, this book also casts fascinating sidelights on significant personalities, works of literature, and historic events. A brief chronology offers a quick and easy means of reference. Richly anecdotal and vividly illustrated with a map and many photographs, this book presents a panoramic view of Japan, old and new.

"Comprehensive, thorough, and sensitive, it covers the whole of Japanese activity to the present day. At last there exists a full and balanced assessment of what Japan means." The London Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

W. Scott Morton (New York, NY) is a full professor emeritus inChinese and Japanese history and culture and in ancient historyat Seton Hall University, in New Jersey. J. Kenneth Olenik, Ph.D. (Upper Montclair, NJ) is a professor ofhistory at Montclair State University.

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First Sentence
The origins of the Japanese people are mixed and obscure. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book in two sections: the first section (most of the book) is a history of Japan through to the postwar period. This section was published as the first edition of the book in 1970. The second section, intended to bring the book up to date, was written in 2003 by a different author and gives an account of the culture, recent politics and economic life of Japan.

The book does what it claims to do: I read it to accompany a trip to Japan and it did give me a decent grounding in the history and politics that made my trip much more enjoyable. However, its structure - two sections written over thirty years apart - makes it clunky and at times frustrating.

The history is very much in the old fashioned "great man" style. It's an account of 14 centuries of emperors, shoguns and warloads and the battles between them. Ordinary people, women, even economic history are largely absent. The 1970s origin of this part of the book also shows in dreadful, low quality black and white photos.

The second world war and immediate post-war period is inadequately covered. The American author paints an almost entirely positive picture of American policy - the decision to use the atomic bomb to end the war and then the conduct of the American occupation of Japan. A more modern writer would, I am sure, take a much more nuanced view.

Further, there is no account in this book of Japan in the sixties, seventies and eighties - that period falls into the crack between the two separate sections of the book.

All in all, I would recommend this book - there doesnt seem to be any other short introduction to Japanese history and life out there- but be aware of the weaknesses before you buy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Bindi
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I knew very little about Japanese history and culture and I wanted to have some understanding of what I was about to see and experience in my first trip to the country. I wouldn't quite describe it as light reading, but it's an approachable introduction to the history and culture of a fascinating country for travellers who want a little more depth and understanding. I skim-read some of the detail in the more historical sections but might go back and read them more carefully now I've been there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars introduction 29 Jun 2012
By grahame
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very good,clear and informative introduction to Japan.A book for the novice.It left me wanting to learn more.I would recommend it for the first time visitor or first year university student.
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