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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and well written, 16 July 2013
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This review is from: Inventing Japan: 1853-1964 (Modern Library Chronicles) (Paperback)
It is only when one begins looking for books on early 20th century Japanese history that one realizes just how little is out there. Ian Buruma's "Inventing Japan" nicely fills that gap. It is very readable and packed to the brim with information. The first half of the 20th Century was a uniquely fascinating time in the history of japan; this book lays bare our preconceptions about Japanese people and society.

The west harbors a number of popular myths about Japanese people; one such assertion is that the Japanese are inherently docile and conformist as a result of centuries of indoctrination and subjugation. Upon reading this book it becomes clear that this particular preconception is false. For example, an extreme form of emperor worship was not instituted until 1940, the idea of the emperor as a religious head was taken from Christianity, Japan experienced major labor upheavals both before and after the war.

The chapter on democratization read "Americanization" is a fascinating account on the lengths the occupation forces went to in their quest to instill freedom and democracy, censorship was a part of this, which included the banning of films and books that contained descriptions of poverty in America.

A very interesting and informative work, for anyone new to and interested in this time period in Japanese history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great first step in learning about Japan, 3 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Inventing Japan: 1853-1964 (Modern Library Chronicles) (Paperback)
This is quite a short book but the information contained is very dense and there's no 'fluff' to pad it out. This book gives you a lot of insight into Japanese history and despite the title it does mention politics all the way up to the millenium. It has an extensive bibliography along with (very usefully) comments about each one so you can pick whatever time in history piqued your interest the most and read further. I found Ian Buruma's style to be very intimate too, often commenting on the thoughts and motives of many of the historical figures, making it a much more enjoyable and insightful read.
There's probably many books on Japanese history out there but if you start your journey into a richer understanding of the country here, you can't go far wrong.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant book in Buruma's journey into Japan's history, 25 April 2015
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This review is from: Inventing Japan: 1853-1964 (Modern Library Chronicles) (Paperback)
Another brilliant book in Buruma's journey into Japan's history,here reflecting on it's rise under an 'enlightened' Emperor towards it's fall under the shadow of a mushroom cloud to it's rebirth.A writer of great style and engaging manner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 28 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Inventing Japan: 1853-1964 (Modern Library Chronicles) (Paperback)
good book if you want to know more about Japanese history
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Inventing Japan: 1853-1964 (Modern Library Chronicles)
Inventing Japan: 1853-1964 (Modern Library Chronicles) by Ian Buruma (Paperback - 1 Nov. 2004)
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