Catalogue


The Japanese experience : a short history of Japan /
W.G. Beasley.
imprint
Berkeley ; Los Angeles : University of California Press, c1999.
description
xviii, 299 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520220501
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
geographic term
More Details
imprint
Berkeley ; Los Angeles : University of California Press, c1999.
isbn
0520220501
catalogue key
3318453
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 275-281) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1999-09:
Beasley (School of Oriental and African Studies, London Univ.) has long been a central figure in Japanese studies in the West. Recipient of numerous awards and member of both the British and Japanese Academies, his literary career spans more than four decades. In this study he presents a well-crafted, highly readable account of Japanese history from remote antiquity to the present. Unlike the majority of Beasley's previous works, which deal primarily with modern Japan, this book's major periods of emphasis extend from the first era of intense contact with mainland Asia in the sixth century CE to the end of the Tokugawa period (1603-1867). As a one-volume history, it makes a useful contrast to Edwin O. Reischauer and Albert M. Craig's Japan: Tradition and Transformation(1978), where more than half the text is concerned with the post-Tokugawa era. Beasley is particularly strong on the complexities of Kamakura and Ashikaga politics, and perhaps even more so on the fascinating period of early European contact from 1550 to 1635. Especially useful as a challenging introduction to Japanese history for general readers and undergraduates. C. A. Desnoyers; LaSalle University
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This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 1999
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Summaries
Long Description
The Japanese Experienceis an authoritative history of Japan from the sixth century to the present day. Only a writer of W.G. Beasley's stature could render Japan's complicated past so concisely and elegantly. This is the history of a society and a culture with a distinct sense of itself, one of the few nations never conquered by a foreign power in historic times (until the twentieth century) and the home of the longest-reigning imperial dynasty that still survives. The Japanese have always occupied part or all of the same territory, its borders defined by the sea. They have spoken and written a common language, (once it had taken firm shape in about the tenth century) and their population has been largely homogeneous, little touched by immigration except in very early periods. Yet Japanese society and culture have changed more through time than these statements seem to imply. Developments within Japan have been greatly influenced by ideas and institutions, art and literature, imported from elsewhere. In this work Beasley, a leading authority on Japan and the author of a number of acclaimed works on Japanese history, examines the changing society and culture of Japan and considers what, apart from the land and the people, is specifically Japanese about the history of Japan. The arrival of Buddhism in the sixth century brought a substantially Chinese-style society to Japan, not only in religion but in political institutions, writing system, and the lifestyle of the ruling class. By the eleventh century the Chinese element was waning and the country was entering a long and essentially "Japanese" feudal period--with two rulers, an emperor and a Shogun--which was to last until the nineteenth century. Under the Togukawa shogunate (1600-1868), Chinese culture enjoyed something of a renaissance, though popular culture owed more to Japanese urban taste and urban wealth. In 1868 the Meiji Restoration brought to power rulers dedicated to the pursuit of national wealth and strength, and Japan became a world power. Although a bid for empire ended in disaster, the years after 1945 saw an economic miracle that brought spectacular wealth to Japan and the Japanese people, as well as the westernization of much of Japanese life.
Long Description
The Japanese Experience is an authoritative history of Japan from the sixth century to the present day. Only a writer of W.G. Beasley's stature could render Japan's complicated past so concisely and elegantly. This is the history of a society and a culture with a distinct sense of itself, one of the few nations never conquered by a foreign power in historic times (until the twentieth century) and the home of the longest-reigning imperial dynasty that still survives. The Japanese have always occupied part or all of the same territory, its borders defined by the sea. They have spoken and written a common language, (once it had taken firm shape in about the tenth century) and their population has been largely homogeneous, little touched by immigration except in very early periods. Yet Japanese society and culture have changed more through time than these statements seem to imply. Developments within Japan have been greatly influenced by ideas and institutions, art and literature, imported from elsewhere. In this work Beasley, a leading authority on Japan and the author of a number of acclaimed works on Japanese history, examines the changing society and culture of Japan and considers what, apart from the land and the people, is specifically Japanese about the history of Japan. The arrival of Buddhism in the sixth century brought a substantially Chinese-style society to Japan, not only in religion but in political institutions, writing system, and the lifestyle of the ruling class. By the eleventh century the Chinese element was waning and the country was entering a long and essentially "Japanese" feudal period--with two rulers, an emperor and a Shogun--which was to last until the nineteenth century. Under the Togukawa shogunate (1600-1868), Chinese culture enjoyed something of a renaissance, though popular culture owed more to Japanese urban taste and urban wealth. In 1868 the Meiji Restoration brought to power rulers dedicated to the pursuit of national wealth and strength, and Japan became a world power. Although a bid for empire ended in disaster, the years after 1945 saw an economic miracle that brought spectacular wealth to Japan and the Japanese people, as well as the westernization of much of Japanese life.
Publisher Fact Sheet
An authoritative history of Japan from the sixth century to the present day.
Unpaid Annotation
An authoritative history of Japan from the sixth century to the present day and of a society and culture with a distinct sense of itself, one of the few nations never conquered by a foreign power in historic times until the 12th century. 35 illustrations.
Table of Contents
List of maps
List of illustrations
Japanese words, names and dates
Introduction: Patterns and Periods
Originsp. 1
Mythsp. 2
Archaeologyp. 7
The Yamato statep. 11
Primitive religionp. 16
The Making of a Monarchyp. 19
Chinese-style governmentp. 20
Capital citiesp. 30
The Fujiwara regentsp. 34
Buddhism and Chinese Culturep. 41
Buddhism and Shintop. 42
Tribute missions and Chinese learningp. 48
Literature, art and musicp. 54
The Ebbing of the Chinese Tidep. 61
Public land, private landp. 62
The rise of a warrior class after 800p. 66
Heian culturep. 69
Japanese Feudalismp. 78
The Kamakura Bakufu (1185-1333)p. 80
Feudalism in the Muromachi period (1336-1460)p. 89
Medieval Culture 1200-1450p. 98
Buddhismp. 100
Prose literature and dramap. 104
Chinese influence on the artsp. 110
The Unifiersp. 116
Warfare and warlords (1460-1560)p. 117
Nobunaga and Hideyoshi (1560-1598)p. 122
The Tokugawa settlement (1600-1650)p. 128
Relations with Asia and Europe 1500-1700p. 134
The China tradep. 135
Korea and Ryukyup. 141
Christianity and seclusionp. 147
Edo Societyp. 152
The ruling classp. 153
The village and the townp. 161
Edo Culturep. 171
Chinese thought, Japanese thoughtp. 172
Literature and the artsp. 178
The Coming of the West 1840-1873p. 188
Unequal treatiesp. 189
Nationalism and politicsp. 196
Study of the Westp. 203
The Modern Statep. 210
Political institutionsp. 211
Social changep. 219
Tradition and modernityp. 225
Fifty Years of Foreign Wars 1894-1945p. 230
Industry and empirep. 231
The struggle for Greater East Asiap. 241
Postwar Japanp. 251
Glossaryp. 269
Bibliographyp. 275
Indexp. 287
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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