Japanese History
Featured Items
Nisei Daughter
Nisei Daughter
Paperback      ISBN: 0295956887

With charm, humor, and deep understanding, a Japanese American woman tells how it was to grow up on Seattle's waterfront in the 1930s and to be subjected to "relocation" dring World War II. Along with some 120,000 other persons of Japanese ancestry--77,000 of whom were U.S. citizens--she and her family were uprooted from their home and imprisoned in a camp. In this book, first published in 1952, she provides a unique personal account of these experiences.

Replaced by ISBN 9780295993553

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

Encyclopedia Japanese Pop Culture
Encyclopedia Japanese Pop Culture
Paperback      ISBN: 0834803801

In the West, Japanese culture comes in the form of Power Rangers, Godzilla movies, and Sanrio products, but of course the indigenous pop culture is much richer. Rather than focus on what the rest of the world has already encountered, Mark Schilling provides an encyclopedic compendium of books, movies, music, comedians, and cultural scandals that have had the greatest impact in Japan. Thus, for the outsider, The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture is an insider's guide to post-war Japan. Not content to simply catalog his entries, Schilling provides real depth and analysis in his articles, opening up Japan's rich pop heritage to the world at large.

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.
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.

Sources of Japanese Tradition: 1600 to 2000
Sources of Japanese Tradition
1600 to 2000
Paperback      ISBN: 0231086040

Examines Japanese thought through the traditions of Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism, liberalism, nationalism, and socialism from earliest times to the present.

47 Ronin
47 Ronin
Compact Disc      ISBN: 1622313569

In 1701 young Lord Asano is goaded into attacking a corrupt official at the Japanese Court. Although the wound Asano inflicts is minimal, the Emperor's punishment is harsh: Lord Asano is ordered to commit seppuku, or ritual suicide. His lands are confiscated and his family is dishonored and exiled. His samurai retainers now become ronin, or masterless, and are dispersed. These ronin are not trusted by their enemies, and live under the watchful eyes of spies for months. They appear to adapt to their new circumstances by becoming tradesmen and teachers. But the ronin only seem to accept their fate. They are in fact making careful plans for revenge, biding their time until the moment to strike is right Their deeds became Japan's most celebrated example of bravery, cunning, and loyalty in an age when samurai were heroes, and honor was worth dying for. John Allyn's masterful retelling of the 47 ronin story has long been considered the definitive version of these dramatic historical events.

Yokohama Yankee: My Family's Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan
Yokohama Yankee
My Family's Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan
Paperback      ISBN: 0984457666

"A lovely, unsettling family story and a vivid traversal of modern Japanese history that will impress the jaded Japan scholar and inspire the curious general reader or memoir fan." -- Library Journal

Helm was the Tokyo correspondent for the Los Angeles Times when he realized that the majority of the articles he had written were "critical of Japan in some way." This was surprising considering Helm was born in Japan and is part Japanese himself. In this lovingly researched memoir, he sifts through five generations of Helms living in Japan...history buffs will relish Helm's painstaking detail and impressive command of the material. -- Publishers Weekly

"Yokohama Yankee is a marvelous and eloquent work of family history. What makes it more remarkable is this family's history also sheds light on the political, economic, cultural, and racial interactions and tensions between Japan and the United States for more than a century and a half, right up to the present day. This is a humane and insightful book that will be read many years from now." -- James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic and author of China Airborne

"Like a sword cleaving a bittersweet fruit, Leslie Helm's saga of his mixed-blood family in Japan cuts to the inescapable isolation of being white in a country where blood still means so much. Yokohama Yankee is a painfully intimate story that spans more than a century and brings the wrenching history of modern Japan into a focus that is both razor sharp and deeply human." -- Blaine Harden, author of Escape from Camp 14 and former Tokyo bureau chief of The Washington Post


"Leslie Helm has written a lively and engaging account of his remarkable family history and its intertwining with Japan ... It is a warm and human story that will charm its readers." -- Kenneth B. Pyle, Henry M. Jackson professor of Asian history and Asian studies, University of Washington, and recipient of Japan's Order of the Rising Sun


"One of the finest correspondents to have reported on Japan, Leslie Helm tells the riveting, sometimes painful story of his multinational, biracial merchant family. Living in Yokohama for generations in war and peace, the Helms are at the heart of Japan's long modern history without ever actually becoming 'Japanese.'" -- Sheldon Garon, Nissan professor of Japanese history at Princeton University


"Helm mines the many treasures of his family's past, and the multicultural futures of his adopted, Japanese children, to investigate the mysteries of identity that are locked away inside all of us. The family fortune disappears, and relatives scatter in the winds of war and reconstruction. But this lovely story remains, about an erudite man trying to make sense of the world, of the past, and of himself." -- Alex Beam, Boston Globe columnist


" A] wonderful work full of pathos, insight and humanity." -- Fred G. Notehelfer, emeritus professor of Japanese history at UCLA and author of Japan Through American Eyes: The Journal of Francis Hall, 1859-1866


Leslie Helm's decision to adopt Japanese children launches him on a personal journey through his family's 140 years in Japan, beginning with his great-grandfather, who worked as a military advisor in 1870 and defied custom to marry his Japanese mistress. The family's poignant experiences of love and war help Helm overcome his cynicism and embrace his Japanese and American heritage.


This is the first book to look at Japan across five generations, with perspective that is both from the inside and through foreign eyes. Helm draws on his great-grandfather's unpublished memoir and a wealth of primary source material to bring his family history to life.

Japan's Cultural Code Words
Japan's Cultural Code Words
Trade Paperback      ISBN: 4805311045
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.