Japan - History
Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947
Hell to Pay
Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947
Hardcover      ISBN: 1682471659

Two years before the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki helped bring a quick end to hostilities in the summer of 1945, U.S. planners began work on Operation Downfall, codename for the Allied invasions of Kyushu and Honshu, in the Japanese home islands. While other books have examined Operation Downfall, D. M. Giangreco offers the most complete and exhaustively researched consideration of the plans and their implications. He explores related issues of the first operational use of the atomic bomb and the Soviet Union's entry into the war, including the controversy surrounding estimates of potential U.S. casualties.

Following years of intense research at numerous archives, Giangreco now paints a convincing and horrific picture of the veritable hell that awaited invader and defender. In the process, he demolishes the myths that Japan was trying to surrender during the summer of 1945 and that U.S. officials later wildly exaggerated casualty figures to justify using the atomic bombs to influence the Soviet Union. As Giangreco writes, "Both sides were rushing headlong toward a disastrous confrontation in the Home Islands in which poison gas and atomic weapons were to be employed as MacArthur's intelligence chief, Charles Willoughby, succinctly put it, 'a hard and bitter struggle with no quarter asked or given.'"

Hell to Pay examines the invasion of Japan in light of the large body of Japanese and American operational and tactical planning documents the author unearthed in familiar and obscure archives. It includes postwar interrogations and reports that senior Japanese commanders and their staffs were ordered to produce for General MacArthur's headquarters. This groundbreaking history counters the revisionist interpretations questioning the rationale for the use of the atomic bomb and shows that President Truman's decision was based on real estimates of the enormous human cost of a conventional invasion.

This revised edition of Hell to Pay expands on several areas covered in the previous book and deals with three new topics: U.S.-Soviet cooperation in the war against Imperial Japan; U.S., Soviet, and Japanese plans for the invasion and defense of the northernmost Home Island of Hokkaido; and Operation Blacklist, the three-phase insertion of American occupation forces into Japan. It also contains additional text, relevant archival material, supplemental photos, and new maps, making this the definitive edition of an important historical work.

Walking the Kiso Road: A Modern-Day Exploration of Old Japan
Walking the Kiso Road
A Modern-Day Exploration of Old Japan
Paperback      ISBN: 1611801257
Step back into old Japan in this fascinating travelogue of the famous Kiso Road, an ancient route used by samurai and warlords, which remains much the same today as it did hundreds of years ago.

Take a trip to old Japan with William Scott Wilson as he travels the ancient Kiso Road, a legendary route that remains much the same today as it was hundreds of years ago. The Kisoji, which runs through the Kiso Valley in the Japanese Alps, has been in use since at least 701 C.E. In the seventeenth century, it was the route that the daimyo (warlords) used for their biennial trips--along with their samurai and porters--to the new capital of Edo (now Tokyo). The natural beauty of the route is renowned--and famously inspired the landscapes of Hiroshige, as well as the work of many other artists and writers. Wilson, esteemed translator of samurai philosophy, has walked the road several times and is a delightful and expert guide to this popular tourist destination; he shares its rich history and lore, literary and artistic significance, cuisine and architecture, as well as his own experiences.
A Brief History of the Samurai
A Brief History of the Samurai
Paperback      ISBN: 1845299477

'Clements has a knack for writing suspenseful sure-footed conflict scenes: His recounting of the Korean invasion led by samurai and daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi reads like a thriller. If you're looking for a samurai primer, Clements' guide will keep you on the hook' Japan Times, reviewed as part of an Essential Reading for Japanophiles series

From a leading expert in Japanese history, this is one of the first full histories of the art and culture of the Samurai warrior. The Samurai emerged as a warrior caste in Medieval Japan and would have a powerful influence on the history and culture of the country from the next 500 years. Clements also looks at the Samurai wars that tore Japan apart in the 17th and 18th centuries and how the caste was finally demolished in the advent of the mechanized world.

A Brief History of Japan: Samurai, Shogun and Zen: The Extraordinary Story of the Land of the Rising Sun
A Brief History of Japan: Samurai, Shogun and Zen
The Extraordinary Story of the Land of the Rising Sun
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 4805313897
This fascinating history tells the story of the people of Japan, from ancient teenage priest-queens to teeming hordes of salarymen, a nation that once sought to conquer China, yet also shut itself away for two centuries in self-imposed seclusion.

First revealed to Westerners in the chronicles of Marco Polo, Japan was a legendary faraway land defended by a fearsome Kamikaze storm and ruled by a divine sovereign. It was the terminus of the Silk Road, the furthest end of the known world, a fertile source of inspiration for European artists, and an enduring symbol of the mysterious East. In recent times, it has become a powerhouse of global industry, a nexus of popular culture, and a harbinger of post-industrial decline.

With intelligence and wit, author Jonathan Clements blends documentary and storytelling styles to connect the past, present and future of Japan, and in broad yet detailed strokes reveals a country of paradoxes: a modern nation steeped in ancient traditions; a democracy with an emperor as head of state; a famously safe society built on 108 volcanoes resting on the world's most active earthquake zone; a fast-paced urban and technologically advanced country whose land consists predominantly of mountains and forests.

Among the chapters in this Japanese history book are:
  • The Way of the Gods: Prehistoric and Mythical Japan
  • A Game of Thrones: Minamoto vs. Taira
  • Time Warp: 200 Years of Isolation
  • The Stench of Butter: Restoration and Modernization
  • The New Breed: The Japanese Miracle
Lonely Planet Lost Japan
Lonely Planet Lost Japan
Paperback      ISBN: 0864423705

Drawing on the author's personal experiences of Japan over a period of over 30 years, this book takes its readers on a backstage tour, exploring different facets of the author's involvement with the country. The Japanese edition of this book was awarded the 1994 Shincho Gakugei Literature Prize.

Everyday Life in Traditional Japan
Everyday Life in Traditional Japan
Paperback      ISBN: 0804813841

A documented survey of the customs and social conditions of the four traditional classes of Japanese society from 1600 to 1850

Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan Seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai
Samurai Revolution
The Dawn of Modern Japan Seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun's Last Samurai
Hardcover      ISBN: 4805312351
See the dawn of modern Japan through the lens of the power players who helped shape it -- as well as those who fought against it -- in this exploration of Samurai history.

Samurai Revolution tells the fascinating story of Japan's historic transformation at the end of the nineteenth century from a country of shoguns, feudal lords and samurai to a modern industrialized nation. The book covers the turbulent Meiji Period from 1868 to 1912, widely considered "the dawn of modern Japan," a time of Samurai history in which those who choose to cling to their traditional bushido way of life engaged in frequent and often deadly clashes with champions of modernization. Knowledge of this period is essential to understand how and why Japan evolved into the nation it is today.

The book opens with the fifteen-year fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which had ruled Japan for over 250 years, and the restoration of the Meiji emperor to a position of power at the expense of the feudal Daimyo lords. It chronicles the bloody first decade of the newly reestablished monarchy, in which the new government worked desperately to consolidate its power and introduce the innovations that would put Japan on equal footing with the Western powers threatening to dominate it. Finally, Samurai Revolution goes on to tell the story of the Satsuma Rebellion, a failed coup attempt that is widely viewed as the final demise of the samurai class in Japan.

This book is the first comprehensive history and analysis in English covering all the key figures in this exciting drama and is the result of over twenty-five years of studying this critical period in Japanese history. The book contains numerous original translations of crucial documents and correspondence of the time, as well as photographs and maps.

Samurai Revolution goes in-depth to reveal how one era ended and another began.
Ninja and Their Secret Fighting Art
Ninja and Their Secret Fighting Art
Paperback      ISBN: 0804816565
Look past the legends and learn about the REAL ninjas of feudal Japan with this entertaining, illustrated ninjutsu guide.

Ninjutsu, the least understood of the Japanese martial arts, is an ancient fighting style emphasizing natural movement, responsiveness to adversaries, and absolute practicality. In feudal Japan, ninja were feared for their skill in espionage and, particularly, assassination. Masters of weaponry, stealth, and martial techniques, ninja were credited with supernatural powers because of the near-invincibility of their unique and deadly art.

In The Ninja and Their Secret Fighting Art, Black Belt Hall of Fame member, Stephen K. Hayes, reveals the secrets that lead to the perception of the ninja as warriors of almost sorcerous skill--the art of invisibility, special tools and weapons, and psychological training enabling the ninja to gain advantage in any situation.

Chapters include:
  • Perspective--Origin; Organization; Training; At the Height of Power; The Decline; Ninjutsu in the Modern World
  • Search for the Ninja
  • Unarmed Combat--The Ninja Fists; Fighting Postures; Other Factors
  • Weaponry--Chains and Cords; Sticks and Staffs; Canes with Concealed Weapons; The Ninja Sword; Throwing Blades
  • The Way of Invisibility--Sense Deception; Phantom Steps; Reconnaissance; Blending with the Night; Attacking the Eyes; The Art of Disguise
  • Shadow Warriors--Espionage; Commando Tactics
  • The Realm of the Spirit--Psychological Warfare; The Force of the Killer; The Great Harmony
3.11: Disaster and Change in Japan
3.11
Disaster and Change in Japan
Hardcover      ISBN: 0801452007

On March 11, 2011, Japan was struck by the shockwaves of a 9.0 magnitude undersea earthquake originating less than 50 miles off its eastern coastline. The most powerful earthquake to have hit Japan in recorded history, it produced a devastating tsunami with waves reaching heights of over 130 feet that in turn caused an unprecedented multireactor meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. This triple catastrophe claimed almost 20,000 lives, destroyed whole towns, and will ultimately cost hundreds of billions of dollars for reconstruction.In 3.11, Richard Samuels offers the first broad scholarly assessment of the disaster's impact on Japan's government and society. The events of March 2011 occurred after two decades of social and economic malaise--as well as considerable political and administrative dysfunction at both the national and local levels--and resulted in national soul-searching. Political reformers saw in the tragedy cause for hope: an opportunity for Japan to remake itself. Samuels explores Japan's post-earthquake actions in three key sectors: national security, energy policy, and local governance. For some reformers, 3.11 was a warning for Japan to overhaul its priorities and political processes. For others, it was a once-in-a-millennium event; they cautioned that while national policy could be improved, dramatic changes would be counterproductive. Still others declared that the catastrophe demonstrated the need to return to an idealized past and rebuild what has been lost to modernity and globalization.Samuels chronicles the battles among these perspectives and analyzes various attempts to mobilize popular support by political entrepreneurs who repeatedly invoked three powerfully affective themes: leadership, community, and vulnerability. Assessing reformers' successes and failures as they used the catastrophe to push their particular agendas--and by examining the earthquake and its aftermath alongside prior disasters in Japan, China, and the United States--Samuels outlines Japan's rhetoric of crisis and shows how it has come to define post-3.11 politics and public policy.

47: The True Story of the Vendetta of the 47 Ronin from Akô
47
The True Story of the Vendetta of the 47 Ronin from Akô
Paperback      ISBN: 0918172772

This is the story of a few men who valued justice more than life. They were members of the large Corps of Samurai in the feudal domain of Ak in western Japan. But when their lord committed the crime of drawing his sword within the castle of the Shogun, the law decreed that he should be sentenced to death, that his heir would not inherit the domain, and all of his vassals would become ronin, evicted from their homes and deprived of their income. All 308 samurai in Ak knew the law and accepted it. And if their lord had succeeded in killing the man he attacked in the castle that would have been the tragic end of this episode. But their lord was subdued and failed to kill his enemy; which meant that yet another law came into play: the Principle of Equal Punishment. 47: The True Story of the Vendetta of the 47 Ronin from Ak tells the harrowing tale of how all this was argued, what the consequences were, and what ultimately became of those forty-seven men who remained. 47 Ronin tells the tale in immense detail--with maps, graphics, and gorgeous illustrations.