Japanese History
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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

Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima
Persona
A Biography of Yukio Mishima
Hardcover      ISBN: 1611720087

Yukio Mishima (b. 1925) was a brilliant writer and intellectual whose relentless obsession with beauty, purity, and patriotism ended in his astonishing self-disembowelment and decapitation in downtown Tokyo in 1970. Nominated for the Nobel Prize, Mishima was the best-known novelist of his time (works like Confessions of a Mask and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion are still in print in English), and his legacy--his persona--is still honored and puzzled over.

Who was Yukio Mishima really? This, the first full biography to appear in English in almost forty years, traces Mishima's trajectory from a sickly boy named Kimitake Hiraoka to a hard-bodied student of martial arts. In detail it examines his family life, the wartime years, and his emergence, then fame, as a writer and advocate for traditional values. Revealed here are all the personalities and conflicts and sometimes petty backbiting that shaped the culture of postwar literary Japan.

Working entirely from primary sources and material unavailable to other biographers, author Naoki Inose and translator Hiroaki Sato together have produced a monumental work that covers much new ground in unprecedented depth. Using interviews, social and psychological analysis, and close reading of novels and essays, Persona removes the mask that Mishima so artfully created to disguise his true self.

Naoki Inose, currently vice governor of Tokyo, has also written biographies of writers Kikuchi Kan and Osamu Dazai.

New York-based Hiroaki Sato is an award-winning translator of classical and modern Japanese poetry, and also translated Mishima's novel Silk and Insight.


Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei
Turning Japanese
Memoirs of a Sansei
Paperback      ISBN: 0385423446

A memoir of the author's journey to Japan, the country his grandfather left at the turn of the century, chronicles his quest for identity in the face of shame and cultural dislocation

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
Small Man of Nanataki
Small Man of Nanataki
      SKU: 281AKJ1023215
African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan
African Samurai
The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan
Hardcover      ISBN: 1335141022
Warrior. Samurai. Legend.

"A readable, compassionate account of an extraordinary life." --
The Washington Post

The remarkable life of history's first foreign-born samurai, and his astonishing journey from Northeast Africa to the heights of Japanese society.

When Yasuke arrived in Japan in the late 1500s, he had already traveled much of the known world. Kidnapped as a child, he had ended up a servant and bodyguard to the head of the Jesuits in Asia, with whom he traversed India and China learning multiple languages as he went. His arrival in Kyoto, however, literally caused a riot. Most Japanese people had never seen an African man before, and many of them saw him as the embodiment of the black-skinned (in local tradition) Buddha. Among those who were drawn to his presence was Lord Nobunaga, head of the most powerful clan in Japan, who made Yasuke a samurai in his court. Soon, he was learning the traditions of Japan's martial arts and ascending the upper echelons of Japanese society.

In the four hundred years since, Yasuke has been known in Japan largely as a legendary, perhaps mythical figure. Now African Samurai presents the never-before-told biography of this unique figure of the sixteenth century, one whose travels between countries, cultures and classes offers a new perspective on race in world history and a vivid portrait of life in medieval Japan.
Geisha: A Life
Geisha
A Life
Paperback      ISBN: 0743444299

No woman in the three-hundred-year history of the karyukai has ever come forward in public to tell her story--until now.

Many say I was the best geisha of my generation, writes Mineko Iwasaki. And yet, it was a life that I found too constricting to continue. And one that I ultimately had to leave. Trained to become a geisha from the age of five, Iwasaki would live among the other women of art in Kyoto's Gion Kobu district and practice the ancient customs of Japanese entertainment. She was loved by kings, princes, military heroes, and wealthy statesmen alike. But even though she became one of the most prized geishas in Japan's history, Iwasaki wanted more: her own life. And by the time she retired at age twenty-nine, Iwasaki was finally on her way toward a new beginning.

Geisha, a Life is her story -- at times heartbreaking, always awe-inspiring, and totally true.
Secrets of the Samurai: A Survey of the Martial Arts of Feudal Japan
Secrets of the Samurai
A Survey of the Martial Arts of Feudal Japan
Hardcover      ISBN: 0785810730

Explains in detail the weapons, techniques, strategies and principles of combat that made the Japanese warrior a formidable foe. An essential work for anyone with an interest in Japanese battle techniques or military traditions.

Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World
Tsukiji
The Fish Market at the Center of the World
Paperback      ISBN: 0520220242

Located only blocks from Tokyo's glittering Ginza, Tsukiji-the world's largest marketplace for seafood-is a prominent landmark, well known but little understood by most Tokyoites: a supplier for countless fishmongers and sushi chefs, and a popular and fascinating destination for foreign tourists. Early every morning, the worlds of hi-tech and pre-tech trade noisily converge as tens of thousands of tons of seafood from every ocean of the world quickly change hands in Tsukiji's auctions and in the marketplace's hundreds of tiny stalls. In this absorbing firsthand study, Theodore C. Bestor-who has spent a dozen years doing fieldwork at fish markets and fishing ports in Japan, North America, Korea, and Europe-explains the complex social institutions that organize Tsukiji's auctions and the supply lines leading to and from them and illuminates trends of Japan's economic growth, changes in distribution and consumption, and the increasing globalization of the seafood trade. As he brings to life the sights and sounds of the marketplace, he reveals Tsukiji's rich internal culture, its place in Japanese cuisine, and the mercantile traditions that have shaped the marketplace since the early seventeenth century.

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.