Japanese History
Featured Items
Secrets of the Japanese Art of Warfare: From the School of Certain Victory
Secrets of the Japanese Art of Warfare
From the School of Certain Victory
Hardcover      ISBN: 0804847835
This samurai strategy books is the first widely available English translation of Yamamoto Kansuke's classic treatise on strategy and tactics.

Secrets of the Japanese Art of Warfare is Thomas Cleary's translation of the seminal writings attributed to Yamamoto Kansuke on Japanese martial arts and military service. A mysterious man of humble origins, Yamamoto distinguished himself in the service of the redoubtable Takeda Shingen. Yamamoto was a career soldier and founder of the so-called "school of certain victory," from which the famous Miyamoto Musashi (The Book of Five Rings) emerged. His school developed the art of discerning situational combat advantage so that a warrior was able to commit to action only when success was virtually assured.

Translated and accompanied with helpful insights by Thomas Cleary, one of the foremost translators of the martial wisdom of Asia, this book is for all persons engaged in military, law enforcement, or emergency response, as well as for martial artists, athletes, business executives, diplomats and politicians.
Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan
Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan
Paperback      ISBN: 0060931302

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

In this groundbreaking biography of the Japanese emperor Hirohito, Herbert P. Bix offers the first complete, unvarnished look at the enigmatic leader whose sixty-three-year reign ushered Japan into the modern world. Never before has the full life of this controversial figure been revealed with such clarity and vividness. Bix shows what it was like to be trained from birth for a lone position at the apex of the nation's political hierarchy and as a revered symbol of divine status. Influenced by an unusual combination of the Japanese imperial tradition and a modern scientific worldview, the young emperor gradually evolves into his preeminent role, aligning himself with the growing ultranationalist movement, perpetuating a cult of religious emperor worship, resisting attempts to curb his power, and all the while burnishing his image as a reluctant, passive monarch. Here we see Hirohito as he truly was: a man of strong will and real authority.

Supported by a vast array of previously untapped primary documents, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan is perhaps most illuminating in lifting the veil on the mythology surrounding the emperor's impact on the world stage. Focusing closely on Hirohito's interactions with his advisers and successive Japanese governments, Bix sheds new light on the causes of the China War in 1937 and the start of the Asia-Pacific War in 1941. And while conventional wisdom has had it that the nation's increasing foreign aggression was driven and maintained not by the emperor but by an elite group of Japanese militarists, the reality, as witnessed here, is quite different. Bix documents in detail the strong, decisive role Hirohito played in wartime operations, from the takeover of Manchuria in 1931 through the attack on Pearl Harbor and ultimately the fateful decision in 1945 to accede to an unconditional surrender. In fact, the emperor stubbornly prolonged the war effort and then used the horrifying bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, together with the Soviet entrance into the war, as his exit strategy from a no-win situation. From the moment of capitulation, we see how American and Japanese leaders moved to justify the retention of Hirohito as emperor by whitewashing his wartime role and reshaping the historical consciousness of the Japanese people. The key to this strategy was Hirohito's alliance with General MacArthur, who helped him maintain his stature and shed his militaristic image, while MacArthur used the emperor as a figurehead to assist him in converting Japan into a peaceful nation. Their partnership ensured that the emperor's image would loom large over the postwar years and later decades, as Japan began to make its way in the modern age and struggled -- as it still does -- to come to terms with its past.

Until the very end of a career that embodied the conflicting aims of Japan's development as a nation, Hirohito remained preoccupied with politics and with his place in history. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan provides the definitive account of his rich life and legacy. Meticulously researched and utterly engaging, this book is proof that the history of twentieth-century Japan cannot be understood apart from the life of its most remarkable and enduring leader.

A Lateral View: Essays on Culture and Style in Contemporary Japan
A Lateral View
Essays on Culture and Style in Contemporary Japan
Paperback      ISBN: 0962813745

A masterfully written collection of short essays by the recognized Western expert on Japanese culture and film and the man Time magazine calls "the dean of art critics in Japan." Spanning more than thirty years, Richie interprets his adopted home's creative accomplishments during its rise to economic and cultural power.

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan
Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan
Paperback      ISBN: 4805310251
Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan is a bewitching look into a world that few Westerners saw in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—a world that still endures in many ways in spite of the changes that have taken place during the modernization of Japan.
Japan: Reports from an Enigmatic Land
Japan
Reports from an Enigmatic Land
Paperback      ISBN: 3765816248
Small Man of Nanataki
Small Man of Nanataki
      SKU: 281AKJ1023215
The Pillow Book of SEI Shonagon: The Diary of a Courtesan in Tenth Century Japan
The Pillow Book of SEI Shonagon
The Diary of a Courtesan in Tenth Century Japan
Paperback      ISBN: 4805314621
Take a firsthand journey into a time, society and world full of intrigue.

In the tenth century, Japan stood physically and culturally isolated from the rest of the world. Sei Shonagon--a young courtesan of the Heian period--kept a diary, which provides a highly personal account of the intrigues, dalliances, quirks, and habits of Japan's late tenth-century elite.

She was a contemporary and acquaintance of the well-known courtesan Murasaki Shikibu, author of the Japanese masterpiece The Tale of Genji. A perfect companion to that work, The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon brings an added dimension to Murasaki's timeless and seminal novel and further illuminates Japanese court life in all its ritualistic glory.

Through his elegant and readable abridged translation, Arthur Waley perfectly conveys Sei Shonagon's girlish temperament and quirky personality. In a place and time where poetry was as important as knowledge and beauty was highly revered, Sei Shonagon's private writings offer a charming, intimate glimpse into a world of innocence and pale beauty.

A new introduction by respected Japanese literary scholar Dennis Washburn provides historical insight into Japanese culture, Sei Shonagon's world, and Waley's translation.
The Man Who Saved Kabuki: Faubion Bowers and Theatre Censorship in Occupied Japan
The Man Who Saved Kabuki
Faubion Bowers and Theatre Censorship in Occupied Japan
Paperback      ISBN: 0824824415

As part of its program to promote democracy in Japan after World War II, the American Occupation, headed by General Douglas MacArthur, undertook to enforce rigid censorship policies aimed at eliminating all traces of feudal thought in media and entertainment, including kabuki. Faubion Bowers (1917-1999), who served as personal aide and interpreter to MacArthur during the Occupation, was appalled by the censorship policies and anticipated the extinction of a great theatrical art. He used his position in the Occupation administration and his knowledge of Japanese theatre in his tireless campaign to save kabuki. Largely through Bowers's efforts, censorship of kabuki had for the most part been eliminated by the time he left Japan in 1948.

Although Bowers is at the center of the story, this lively and skillfully adapted translation from the original Japanese treats a critical period in the long history of kabuki as it was affected by a single individual who had a commanding influence over it. It offers fascinating and little-known details about Occupation censorship politics and kabuki performance while providing yet another perspective on the history of an enduring Japanese art form.

Read Bowers' impressions of Gen. MacArthur on the Japanese-American Veterans' Association website.
Early Japanese Railways, 1853-1914: Engineering Triumphs That Transformed Meiji-Era Japan
Early Japanese Railways, 1853-1914
Engineering Triumphs That Transformed Meiji-Era Japan
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 4805310065
Early Japanese Railways 1853-1914 is a cultural and engineering history of railway building in Japan during the Meiji era. The 19th century was the first age of sustained, comprehensive contact between Asia and the West. This book describes the history of Japanese social adaptation to railway development, with many details never-before-published in English. In addition, Early Japanese Railways 1853-1914 details the often overlooked American efforts to build the first railways in Japan. This richly illustrated account also takes a look at long disused corporate logos, locomotive data and headlamp marker codes. Many of the photos and illustrations, all pulled from the author's private collection, are quite rare and are not widely known, even in Japan.

Appealing to more than just railroad fans, this fascinating account of early Japanese efforts to build railways also paints a clear picture of the Meiji era and the historical, cultural and social ramifications of the railway in Japan.
Tokyo: A Biography: Disasters, Destruction and Renewal: The Story of an Indomitable City
Tokyo: A Biography: Disasters, Destruction and Renewal
The Story of an Indomitable City
Paperback      ISBN: 4805313293
The history of Tokyo is as eventful as it is long. A concise yet detailed overview of this fascinating, centuries-old city, Tokyo: A Biography is a perfect companion volume for history buffs or Tokyo-bound travelers looking to learn more about their destination.

In a whirlwind journey through Tokyo's past from its earliest beginnings up to the present day, this Japanese history book demonstrates how the city's response to everything from natural disasters to regime change has been to reinvent itself time and again. A calamitous fire results in a massive expansion of the city's territory. A debate over the Samurai code creates far-reaching social change. A malleable boy becomes the figurehead for powerful forces which change an ancient feudal society into a modern industrialized power within a generation. Utter destruction wipes the slate clean again so Tokyoites may start all over. And so it goes.

Tokyo's story is riveting, and by the end of Tokyo: A Biography, readers see a city almost unrivaled in its uniqueness, a place that--despite its often tragic history--still shimmers as it prepares to face the future.