Popular Japanese History Books

23+ [Hand Picked] Popular Books On Japanese History

Discover the list of some best books written on Japanese History by popular award winning authors. These book on topic Japanese History highly popular among the readers worldwide.

3.9/5

A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present by Andrew Gordon

In The Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present, Andrew Gordon paints a richly nuanced and strikingly original portrait of the last two centuries of Japanese history. He takes students from the days of the shogunate--the feudal overlordship of the Tokugawa family--through the modernizing revolution launched by midlevel samurai in the late nineteenth cent In The Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present, Andrew Gordon paints a richly nuanced and strikingly original portrait of the last two centuries of Japanese history. He takes students from the days of the shogunate--the feudal overlordship of the Tokugawa family--through the modernizing revolution launched by midlevel samurai in the late nineteenth century; the adoption of Western hairstyles, clothing, and military organization; and the nation's first experiments with mass democracy after World War I. Gordon offers the finest synthesis to date of Japan's passage through militarism, World War II, the American occupation, and the subsequent economic rollercoaster. But the true ingenuity and value of Gordon's approach lies in his close attention to the non-elite layers of society. Here students will see the influence of outside ideas, products, and culture on home life, labor unions, political parties, gender relations, and popular entertainment. The book examines Japan's struggles to define the meaning of its modernization, from villages and urban neighborhoods, to factory floors and middle managers' offices, to the imperial court. Most importantly, it illuminates the interconnectedness of Japanese developments with world history, demonstrating how Japan's historical passage represents a variation of a process experienced by many nations and showing how the Japanese narrative forms one part of the interwoven fabric of modern history. With a sustained focus on setting modern Japan in a comparative and global context, The Modern History of Japan is ideal for undergraduate courses in modern Japanese history, Japanese politics, Japanese society, or Japanese culture.

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4/5

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II by John W. Dower

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the 1999 National Book Award for Nonfiction, finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize and the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, Embracing Defeat is John W. Dower's brilliant examination of Japan in the immediate, shattering aftermath of World War II. Drawing on a vast range of Japanese sources and illustrated with dozens of astonishing documentary p Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the 1999 National Book Award for Nonfiction, finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize and the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, Embracing Defeat is John W. Dower's brilliant examination of Japan in the immediate, shattering aftermath of World War II. Drawing on a vast range of Japanese sources and illustrated with dozens of astonishing documentary photographs, Embracing Defeat is the fullest and most important history of the more than six years of American occupation, which affected every level of Japanese society, often in ways neither side could anticipate. Dower, whom Stephen E. Ambrose has called "America's foremost historian of the Second World War in the Pacific," gives us the rich and turbulent interplay between West and East, the victor and the vanquished, in a way never before attempted, from top-level manipulations concerning the fate of Emperor Hirohito to the hopes and fears of men and women in every walk of life. Already regarded as the benchmark in its field, Embracing Defeat is a work of colossal scholarship and history of the very first order.

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3.5/5

The Making of Modern Japan by Marius B. Jansen

Magisterial in vision, sweeping in scope, this monumental work presents a seamless account of Japanese society during the modern era, from 1600 to the present. A distillation of more than fifty years' engagement with Japan and its history, it is the crowning work of our leading interpreter of the modern Japanese experience. Since 1600 Japan has undergone three periods of wr Magisterial in vision, sweeping in scope, this monumental work presents a seamless account of Japanese society during the modern era, from 1600 to the present. A distillation of more than fifty years' engagement with Japan and its history, it is the crowning work of our leading interpreter of the modern Japanese experience. Since 1600 Japan has undergone three periods of wrenching social and institutional change, following the imposition of hegemonic order on feudal society by the Tokugawa shogun; the opening of Japan's ports by Commodore Perry; and defeat in World War II. The Making of Modern Japan charts these changes: the social engineering begun with the founding of the shogunate in 1600, the emergence of village and castle towns with consumer populations, and the diffusion of samurai values in the culture. Marius Jansen covers the making of the modern state, the adaptation of Western models, growing international trade, the broadening opportunity in Japanese society with industrialization, and the postwar occupation reforms imposed by General MacArthur. Throughout, the book gives voice to the individuals and views that have shaped the actions and beliefs of the Japanese, with writers, artists, and thinkers, as well as political leaders given their due. The story this book tells, though marked by profound changes, is also one of remarkable consistency, in which continuities outweigh upheavals in the development of society, and successive waves of outside influence have only served to strengthen a sense of what is unique and native to Japanese experience. The Making of Modern Japan takes us to the core of this experience as it illuminates one of the contemporary world's most compelling transformations.

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4.2/5

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan by Herbert P. Bix

Winner of the Pulitzer PrizeIn 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 li Winner of the Pulitzer PrizeIn 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.

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4.6/5

Hiroshima by John Hersey

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book, John Hersey's journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic "that stirs the conscience of humanity" (The New York Times). Almost four decades after th On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book, John Hersey's journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic "that stirs the conscience of humanity" (The New York Times). Almost four decades after the original publication of this celebrated book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search of the people whose stories he had told.  His account of what he discovered about them is now the eloquent and moving final chapter of Hiroshima .

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3.8/5

A History of Japan by R.H.P. Mason , J.G. Caiger

This is one of the most classic books of Japanese history and still the preeminent work on the history of Japan. Newly revised and updated, A History of Japan is a fascinating look at the nation of Japan throughout history. Starting in ancient Japan during its early pre-history period A History of Japan covers every important aspect of history and culture through feudal Ja This is one of the most classic books of Japanese history and still the preeminent work on the history of Japan. Newly revised and updated, A History of Japan is a fascinating look at the nation of Japan throughout history. Starting in ancient Japan during its early pre-history period A History of Japan covers every important aspect of history and culture through feudal Japan to the post-cold War period and collapse of the Bubble Economy in the early 1990's. Recent findings shed additional light on the origins of Japanese civilization and the birth of Japanese culture. Also included is an in-depth analysis of the Japanese religion, Japanese arts, Japanese culture and the Japanese People from the 6th century B.C.E. to the present. This contemporary classic, now updated and revised, continues to be an essential text in Japanese studies. Classic illustrations and unique pictures are dispersed throughout the book. A History of Japan, Revised Edition includes: Archaic Japan—including Yamato, the creation of a unified state, the Nana Period, and the Heian period Medieval Japan— including rule by the military houses, the failure of Ashikaga Rule, Buddhism, and the Kamakura and Muroachi Periods periods Ealy Modern Japan—including Japanese feudalism, administration under the Tokugawa, and society and culture in early modern Japan Modern Japan—including The Meiji Era and policies for modernization, from consensus to crisis (1912-1937), and solutions through force This contemporary classic continues to be a central book in Japanese studies and is an vital addition to the collection of any student or enthusiast of Japanese history, Japanese culture, or the Japanese Language.

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4/5

Shinsengumi: The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps by Romulus Hillsborough

Shinsengumi: The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps is the true story of the notorious samurai corps formed in 1863 to arrest or kill the enemies of the Tokugawa Shogun. The only book in English about the Shinsengumi, it focuses on the corps' two charismatic leaders, Kondo Isami and Hijikata Toshizo, both impeccable swordsmen. It is a history–in–brief of the final years of the Bak Shinsengumi: The Shogun's Last Samurai Corps is the true story of the notorious samurai corps formed in 1863 to arrest or kill the enemies of the Tokugawa Shogun. The only book in English about the Shinsengumi, it focuses on the corps' two charismatic leaders, Kondo Isami and Hijikata Toshizo, both impeccable swordsmen. It is a history–in–brief of the final years of the Bakufu, which collapsed in 1867 with the restoration of Imperial rule. In writing Shinsengumi, Hillsborough referred mostly to Japanese–language primary sources, including letters, memoirs, journals, interviews, and eyewitness accounts, as well as definitive biographies and histories of the era. The fall of the shogun's government (Tokugawa Bakufu, or simply Bakufu) in 1868, which had ruled Japan for over two and a half centuries, was the greatest event in modern Japanese history. The revolution, known as the Meiji Restoration, began with the violent reaction of samurai to the Bakufu's decision in 1854 to open the theretofore isolated country to "Western barbarians." Though opening the country was unavoidable, it was seen as a sign of weakness by the samurai who clamored to "expel the barbarians." Those samurai plotted to overthrow the shogun and restore the holy emperor to his ancient seat of power. Screaming "heaven's revenge," they wielded their swords with a vengeance upon those loyal to the shogun. They unleashed a wave of terror at the center of the revolution—the emperor's capital of Kyoto. Murder and assassination were rampant. By the end of 1862, hordes of renegade samurai, called ronin, had transformed the streets of the Imperial Capital into a "sea of blood." The shogun's administrators were desperate to stop the terror. A band of expert swordsmen was formed. It was given the name Shinsengumi ("Newly Selected Corps")—and commissioned to eliminate the ronin and other enemies of the Bakufu. With unrestrained brutality bolstered by an official sanction to kill, the Shinsengumi soon became the shogun's most dreaded security force. In this vivid historical narrative of the Shinsengumi, the only one in the English language, author Romulus Hillsborough paints a provocative and thrilling picture of this fascinating period in Japanese history.

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3.3/5

The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang

In December 1937, the Japanese army invaded the ancient city of Nanking, systematically raping, torturing, and murdering more than 300,000 Chinese civilians. This book tells the story from three perspectives: of the Japanese soldiers who performed it, of the Chinese civilians who endured it, and of a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon the city and were In December 1937, the Japanese army invaded the ancient city of Nanking, systematically raping, torturing, and murdering more than 300,000 Chinese civilians. This book tells the story from three perspectives: of the Japanese soldiers who performed it, of the Chinese civilians who endured it, and of a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon the city and were able to create a safety zone that saved many.

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3.7/5

Japan's Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period by Carol Gluck

Ideology played a momentous role in modern Japanese history. Not only did the elite of imperial Japan (1890-1945) work hard to influence the people to "yield as the grasses before the wind," but historians of modern Japan later identified these efforts as one of the underlying pathologies of World War II. Available for the first time in paperback, this study examines how t Ideology played a momentous role in modern Japanese history. Not only did the elite of imperial Japan (1890-1945) work hard to influence the people to "yield as the grasses before the wind," but historians of modern Japan later identified these efforts as one of the underlying pathologies of World War II. Available for the first time in paperback, this study examines how this ideology evolved. Carol Gluck argues that the process of formulating and communicating new national values was less consistent than is usually supposed. By immersing the reader in the talk and thought of the late Meiji period, Professor Gluck recreates the diversity of ideological discourse experienced by Japanese of the time. The result is a new interpretation of the views of politics and the nation in imperial Japan.

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4.7/5

The Rising Sun: The Decline & Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-45 by John Toland

This Pulitzer Prize–winning history of World War II chronicles the dramatic rise and fall of the Japanese empire, from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Told from the Japanese perspective, The Rising Sun is, in the author’s words, “a factual saga of people caught up in the flood of the most overwhelming war of mankind, tol This Pulitzer Prize–winning history of World War II chronicles the dramatic rise and fall of the Japanese empire, from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Told from the Japanese perspective, The Rising Sun is, in the author’s words, “a factual saga of people caught up in the flood of the most overwhelming war of mankind, told as it happened—muddled, ennobling, disgraceful, frustrating, full of paradox.” In weaving together the historical facts and human drama leading up to and culminating in the war in the Pacific, Toland crafts a riveting and unbiased narrative history. In his Foreword, Toland says that if we are to draw any conclusion from The Rising Sun, it is “that there are no simple lessons in history, that it is human nature that repeats itself, not history.”

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4/5

Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852-1912 by Donald Keene

When Emperor Meiji began his rule, in 1867, Japan was a splintered empire, dominated by the shogun and the daimyos, who ruled over the country's more than 250 decentralized domains and who were, in the main, cut off from the outside world, staunchly antiforeign, and committed to the traditions of the past. Before long, the shogun surrendered to the emperor, a new constitut When Emperor Meiji began his rule, in 1867, Japan was a splintered empire, dominated by the shogun and the daimyos, who ruled over the country's more than 250 decentralized domains and who were, in the main, cut off from the outside world, staunchly antiforeign, and committed to the traditions of the past. Before long, the shogun surrendered to the emperor, a new constitution was adopted, and Japan emerged as a modern, industrialized state. Despite the length of his reign, little has been written about the strangely obscured figure of Meiji himself, the first emperor ever to meet a European. Most historians discuss the period that takes his name while barely mentioning the man, assuming that he had no real involvement in affairs of state. Even Japanese who believe Meiji to have been their nation's greatest ruler may have trouble recalling a single personal accomplishment that might account for such a glorious reputation. Renowned Japan scholar Donald Keene sifts the available evidence to present a rich portrait not only of Meiji but also of rapid and sometimes violent change during this pivotal period in Japan's history. In this vivid and engrossing biography, we move with the emperor through his early, traditional education; join in the formal processions that acquainted the young emperor with his country and its people; observe his behavior in court, his marriage, and his relationships with various consorts; and follow his maturation into a "Confucian" sovereign dedicated to simplicity, frugality, and hard work. Later, during Japan's wars with China and Russia, we witness Meiji's struggle to reconcile his personal commitment to peace and his nation's increasingly militarized experience of modernization. Emperor of Japan conveys in sparkling prose the complexity of the man and offers an unrivaled portrait of Japan in a period of unique interest.

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4.6/5

Early Modern Japan by Conrad D. Totman

This thoughtfully organized survey of Japan's early modern period (1568-1868) is a remarkable blend of political, economic, intellectual, literary, and cultural history. The only truly comprehensive study in English of the Tokugawa period, it also introduces a new ecological perspective, covering natural disasters, resource use, demographics, and river control.

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4.8/5

Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan by Gary P. Leupp

Tokugawa Japan ranks with ancient Athens as a society that not only tolerated, but celebrated, male homosexual behavior. Few scholars have seriously studied the subject, and until now none have satisfactorily explained the origins of the tradition or elucidated how its conventions reflected class structure and gender roles. Gary P. Leupp fills the gap with a dynamic examin Tokugawa Japan ranks with ancient Athens as a society that not only tolerated, but celebrated, male homosexual behavior. Few scholars have seriously studied the subject, and until now none have satisfactorily explained the origins of the tradition or elucidated how its conventions reflected class structure and gender roles. Gary P. Leupp fills the gap with a dynamic examination of the origins and nature of the tradition. Based on a wealth of literary and historical documentation, this study places Tokugawa homosexuality in a global context, exploring its implications for contemporary debates on the historical construction of sexual desire. Combing through popular fiction, law codes, religious works, medical treatises, biographical material, and artistic treatments, Leupp traces the origins of pre-Tokugawa homosexual traditions among monks and samurai, then describes the emergence of homosexual practices among commoners in Tokugawa cities. He argues that it was "nurture" rather than "nature" that accounted for such conspicuous male/male sexuality and that bisexuality was more prevalent than homosexuality. Detailed, thorough, and very readable, this study is the first in English or Japanese to address so comprehensively one of the most complex and intriguing aspects of Japanese history.

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4.1/5

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha. In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most pow A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha. In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction - at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful - and completely unforgettable.

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3.2/5

Japan at War: An Oral History by Haruko Taya Cook , Theodore F. Cook

This "deeply moving book" (Studs Terkel) portrays the Japanese experience of WWII. This oral history is the first book to capture--in either Japanese or English--the experience of ordinary Japanese during the war. In a sweeping panorama, Haruko Taya Cook & Theodore F. Cook go from the Japanese attacks on China in the '30s to the Japanese home front during the inhuman r This "deeply moving book" (Studs Terkel) portrays the Japanese experience of WWII. This oral history is the first book to capture--in either Japanese or English--the experience of ordinary Japanese during the war. In a sweeping panorama, Haruko Taya Cook & Theodore F. Cook go from the Japanese attacks on China in the '30s to the Japanese home front during the inhuman raids on Tokyo, Hiroshima & Nagasaki, offering the first glimpses of how the 20th century's most deadly conflict affected the lives of the population. The book "seeks out the true feelings of the wartime generation [&] illuminates the contradictions between the official views of the war & living testimony" (Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan). Acknowledgments Introduction to a lost war 1 An undeclared war: Battle lines in China: A village boy goes to war/ Nohara Teishin. Pictures of an expedition/ Tanida Isamu. Qualifying as a leader/ Tominaga Shōzō. Gas soldier/ Tanisuga Shizuo; Toward a new order: "War means jobs for machinists"/ Kumagaya Tokuichi. "I wanted to build a greater East Asia"/ Nogi Harumichi. Manchurian days/ Fukushima Yoshie. Dancing into the night/ Hara Kiyoshi. Bringing the liberals to heel/ Hatanaka Shigeo 2 Have "faith in victory": 12/8/41: "My blood boiled at the news"/ Itabashi Kōshū. "I heard it on the radio"/ Yoshia Toshio. On Admiral Yamamoto's flagship/ Noda Mitsuharu. In a fighter cockpit on the Soviet border/ Mogami Sadao. Sailing south/ Masuda Reiji. A failure of diplomacy/ Kase Toshikazu; Greater East Asia: Cartoons for the war/ Yokoyama Ryūichi. Building the Burma-Siam Railroad/ Abe Hiroshi. Keeping order in the Indies/ Nogi Harumichi. "Korean guard"/ Kasayama Yoshikichi; The Emperor's warriors: Maker of soldiers/ Debun Shigenobu. "As long as I don't fight, I'll make it home"/ Suzuki Murio. Zero ace/ Sakai Saburō; "Demons from the East": Army doctor/ Yuasa Ken. Spies & bandits/ Uno Shintarō. Unit 731/ Tamura Yoshio 3 Homeland: Life goes on: The end of a bake shop/ Arakawa Hiroyo. Burdens of a village bride/ Tanaka Toki. Dressmaker/ Koshino Ayako; War work: Making balloon bombs/ Tanaka Tetsuko. Forced labor/ Ahn Juretsu. Poison-gas island/ Nakajima Yoshimi; Wielding pen & camera: Filming the news/ Asai Tatsuzō. War correspondent/ Hata Shōryū. Reporting from Imperial General Headquarters/ Kawachi Uichirō; Against the tide: Thought criminal/ Hatanaka Shigeo. "Isn't my brother one of the 'war dead'?"/ Kiga Sumi; Childhood: Playing at war/ Satō Hideo; Art & entertainment: "I loved American movies"/ Hirosawa Ei. Star at the Moulin Rouge/ Sugai Toshiko. "We wouldn't paint war art"/ Maruki Iri & Maruki Toshi 4 Lost battles: The slaughter of an army: The "green desert" of New Guinea/ Ogawa Masatsugu. Soldiers' deaths/ Ogawa Tamotsu. "Honorable death" on Saipan/ Yamauchi Takeo; Sunken fleet/ Lifeboat/ Matsunaga Ichirō. Transport war/ Masuda Reiji; "Special attack": Volunteer/ Yokota Yutaka. Human torpedo/ Kōzu Naoji. Bride of a kamikaze/ Araki Shigeko. Requiem/ Nishihara Wakana 5 "One hundred million die together": The burning skies/ "Hiroko died because of me"/ Funato Kazuyo. At the telephone exchange/ Tomizawa Kimi & Kobayashi Hiroyasu; The war comes home to Okinawa: Student nurses of the Lily Corps/ Miyagi Kikuko. "Now they call it "group suicide"/ Kinjō Shigeaki. Straggler/ Ōta Masahide; In the enemy's hands: White flag/ Kojima Kiyofumi; "A new terrible weapon": 800 meters from the hypocenter/ Yamaoka Michiko. A Korean in Hiroshima/ Shin Bok Su. 5 photographs of Aug. 6/ Matsushige Yoshito. "Forgetting is a blessing"/ Kimura Yasuko 6 The unresolved war: Reversals of fortune: Flight/ Fukushima Yoshi. From Bandung to Starvation Island/ Iitoyo Shōgo. "The army's been a good life"/ Tanida Isamu; Crimes & punishments: death row at Changi Prison/ Abe Hiroshi. "The didn't tell me"/ Fujii Shizue; The long shadow of death: The Emperor's retreat/ Yamane Masako. "My boy never came home"/ Imai Shike; Reflections: Teaching war/ Ienaga Saburō. Meeting at Yasukuni Shrine/ Kiyama Terumichi. Lessons/ Mogami Sadao. A quest for meaning/ Ōta Masahide; Endings: Homecoming/ Tominaga Shōzo. The face of the enemy/ Sasaki Naokata. Imperial gifts for the war dead/ Kawashima Eiko. Royalties/ Yokoyama Ryūichi. "I learned about the war from Grandma"/ Miyagi Harumi. The occupiers/ Kawachi Uichirō. Back to the beginning/ Hayashi Shigeo

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4.7/5

Showa 1953-1989: A History of Japan by Shigeru Mizuki , Zack Davisson (Translation)

The final volume in the Eisner-nominated history of Japan; one of NPR's Best Books of 2014! Showa 1953–1989: A History of Japan concludes Shigeru Mizuki's dazzling autobiographical and historical account of Showa-period Japan, a portrait both intimate and ranging of a defining epoch. The final volume picks up in the wake of Japan's utter defeat in World War II, as a country The final volume in the Eisner-nominated history of Japan; one of NPR's Best Books of 2014! Showa 1953–1989: A History of Japan concludes Shigeru Mizuki's dazzling autobiographical and historical account of Showa-period Japan, a portrait both intimate and ranging of a defining epoch. The final volume picks up in the wake of Japan's utter defeat in World War II, as a country reduced to rubble struggles to rise again. The Korean War brings new opportunities to a nation searching for an identity. A former enemy becomes their greatest ally as the United States funnels money, jobs, and opportunity into Japan, hoping to establish the country as a bulwark against Soviet Communist expansion. Japan reinvents itself, emerging as an economic powerhouse. Events like the Tokyo Olympiad and the World's Fair introduce a friendlier Japan to the world, but this period of peace and plenty conceals a populace still struggling to come to terms with the devastation of World War II. During this period of recovery and reconciliation, Mizuki's struggles mirror those of the nation. He fights his way back from poverty, becoming a celebrity who is beloved by millions of manga-reading children. However, prosperity cannot bring the happiness Mizuki craves, as he struggles to find meaning in the sacrifices made during the war. The original Japanese edition of the Showa: A History of Japan series won Mizuki the prestigious Kodansha Manga Award; the English translation has been nominated for an Eisner Award.

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4.8/5

Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard

A powerful and unflinching account of the enduring impact of nuclear war, told through the stories of those who survived. On August 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, a small port city on Japan’s southernmost island. An estimated 74,000 people died within the first five months, and another 7 A powerful and unflinching account of the enduring impact of nuclear war, told through the stories of those who survived. On August 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, a small port city on Japan’s southernmost island. An estimated 74,000 people died within the first five months, and another 75,000 were injured. Published on the seventieth anniversary of the bombing, Nagasaki takes readers from the morning of the bombing to the city today, telling the first-hand experiences of five survivors, all of whom were teenagers at the time of the devastation. Susan Southard has spent years interviewing hibakusha (“bomb-affected people”) and researching the physical, emotional, and social challenges of post-atomic life. She weaves together dramatic eyewitness accounts with searing analysis of the policies of censorship and denial that colored much of what was reported about the bombing both in the United States and Japan. A gripping narrative of human resilience, Nagasaki will help shape public discussion and debate over one of the most controversial wartime acts in history.

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4.8/5

Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival by David Pilling

In Bending Adversity, Financial Times Asia editor David Pilling presents a fresh vision of Japan, drawing on his own deep experience, as well as observations from a cross section of Japanese citizenry, including novelist Haruki Murakami, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, industrialists and bankers, activists and artists, teenagers and octogenarians. Through their vo In Bending Adversity, Financial Times Asia editor David Pilling presents a fresh vision of Japan, drawing on his own deep experience, as well as observations from a cross section of Japanese citizenry, including novelist Haruki Murakami, former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, industrialists and bankers, activists and artists, teenagers and octogenarians. Through their voices, Pilling captures the dynamism and diversity of contemporary Japan. Pilling's exploration begins with the 2011 triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. His deep reporting reveals both Japan's vulnerabilities and its resilience and pushes him to understand the country's past through cycles of crisis and reconstruction. Japan's survivalist mentality has carried it through tremendous hardship, but is also the source of great destruction: It was the nineteenth-century struggle to ward off colonial intent that resulted in Japan's own imperial endeavor, culminating in the devastation of World War II. Even the postwar economic miracle-the manufacturing and commerce explosion that brought unprecedented economic growth and earned Japan international clout might have been a less pure victory than it seemed. In Bending Adversity, Pilling questions what was lost in the country's blind, aborted climb to #1. With the same rigor, he revisits 1990-the year the economic bubble burst, and the beginning of Japan's "lost decades"-to ask if the turning point might be viewed differently. While financial struggle and national debt are a reality, post-growth Japan has also successfully maintained a stable standard of living and social cohesion. And while life has become less certain, opportunities-in particular for the young and for women-have diversified. Still, Japan is in many ways a country in recovery, working to find a way forward after the events of 2011 and decades of slow growth. Bending Adversity closes with a reflection on what the 2012 reelection of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and his radical antideflation policy, might mean for Japan and its future. Informed throughout by the insights shared by Pilling's many interview subjects, Bending Adversity rigorously engages with the social, spiritual, financial, and political life of Japan to create a more nuanced representation of the oft-misunderstood island nation and its people.

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3.8/5

Showa 1944-1953: A History of Japan by Shigeru Mizuki , Zack Davisson (Translation)

A sweeping yet intimate portrait of the legacy of World War II in Japan Showa 1944–1953: A History of Japan continues the award-winning author Shigeru Mizuki’s autobiographical and historical account of the Showa period in Japan. This volume recounts the events of the final years of the Pacific War, and the consequences of the war's devastation for Mizuki and the Japanese p A sweeping yet intimate portrait of the legacy of World War II in Japan Showa 1944–1953: A History of Japan continues the award-winning author Shigeru Mizuki’s autobiographical and historical account of the Showa period in Japan. This volume recounts the events of the final years of the Pacific War, and the consequences of the war's devastation for Mizuki and the Japanese populace at large.      After the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, Japan and the United States are officially at war. The two rival navies engage in a deadly game of feint and thrust, waging a series of microwars across the tiny Pacific islands. From Guadalcanal to Okinawa, Japan slowly loses ground. Finally, the United States unleashes the deathblow with a new and terrible weapon—the atomic bomb. The fallout from the bombs is beyond imagining.      On another front, Showa 1944–1953 traces Mizuki’s own life story across history’s sweeping changes during this period, charting the impact of the war’s end on his life choices. After losing his arm during the brutal fighting, Mizuki struggles to decide where to go: whether to remain on the island as an honored friend of the local Tolai people or return to the rubble of Japan and take up his dream of becoming a cartoonist. Showa 1944–1953 is a searing condemnation of the personal toll of war from one of Japan’s most famous cartoonists.

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4.2/5

Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back by Janice P. Nimura

In 1871, five young girls were sent by the Japanese government to the United States. Their mission: learn Western ways and return to help nurture a new generation of enlightened men to lead Japan. Raised in traditional samurai households during the turmoil of civil war, three of these unusual ambassadors—Sutematsu Yamakawa, Shige Nagai, and Ume Tsuda—grew up as typical Amer In 1871, five young girls were sent by the Japanese government to the United States. Their mission: learn Western ways and return to help nurture a new generation of enlightened men to lead Japan. Raised in traditional samurai households during the turmoil of civil war, three of these unusual ambassadors—Sutematsu Yamakawa, Shige Nagai, and Ume Tsuda—grew up as typical American schoolgirls. Upon their arrival in San Francisco they became celebrities, their travels and traditional clothing exclaimed over by newspapers across the nation. As they learned English and Western customs, their American friends grew to love them for their high spirits and intellectual brilliance. The passionate relationships they formed reveal an intimate world of cross-cultural fascination and connection. Ten years later, they returned to Japan—a land grown foreign to them—determined to revolutionize women’s education. Based on in-depth archival research in Japan and in the United States, including decades of letters from between the three women and their American host families, Daughters of the Samurai is beautifully, cinematically written, a fascinating lens through which to view an extraordinary historical moment.

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3.6/5

A Concise History of Japan by Brett L. Walker

To this day, Japan's modern ascendancy challenges many assumptions about world history, particularly theories regarding the rise of the west and why the modern world looks the way it does. In this engaging new history, Brett L. Walker tackles key themes regarding Japan's relationships with its minorities, state and economic development, and the uses of science and medicine To this day, Japan's modern ascendancy challenges many assumptions about world history, particularly theories regarding the rise of the west and why the modern world looks the way it does. In this engaging new history, Brett L. Walker tackles key themes regarding Japan's relationships with its minorities, state and economic development, and the uses of science and medicine. The book begins by tracing the country's early history through archaeological remains, before proceeding to explore life in the imperial court, the rise of the samurai, civil conflict, encounters with Europe, and the advent of modernity and empire. Integrating the pageantry of a unique nation's history with today's environmental concerns, Walker's vibrant and accessible new narrative then follows Japan's ascension from the ashes of World War II into the thriving nation of today. It is a history for our times, posing important questions regarding how we should situate a nation's history in an age of environmental and climatological uncertainties.

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4.4/5

Japan and the Shackles of the Past by R. Taggart Murphy

Japan is one of the world's wealthiest and most technologically advanced nations, and its rapid ascent to global power status after 1853 remains one of the most remarkable stories in modern world history. Yet it has not been an easy path; military catastrophe, political atrophy, and economic upheavals have made regular appearances from the feudal era to the present. Today, Japan is one of the world's wealthiest and most technologically advanced nations, and its rapid ascent to global power status after 1853 remains one of the most remarkable stories in modern world history. Yet it has not been an easy path; military catastrophe, political atrophy, and economic upheavals have made regular appearances from the feudal era to the present. Today, Japan is seen as a has-been with a sluggish economy, an aging population, dysfunctional politics, and a business landscape dominated by yesterday's champions. Though it is supposed to be America's strongest ally in the Asia-Pacific region, it has almost entirely disappeared from the American radar screen. In Japan and the Shackles of the Past, R. Taggart Murphy places the current troubles of Japan in a sweeping historical context, moving deftly from early feudal times to the modern age that began with the Meiji Restoration. Combining fascinating analyses of Japanese culture and society over the centuries with hard-headed accounts of Japan's numerous political regimes, Murphy not only reshapes our understanding of Japanese history, but of Japan's place in the contemporary world. He concedes that Japan has indeed been out of sight and out of mind in recent decades, but contends that this is already changing. Political and economic developments in Japan today risk upheaval in the pivotal arena of Northeast Asia, inviting comparisons with Europe on the eve of the First World War. America's half-completed effort to remake Japan in the late 1940s is unraveling, and the American foreign policy and defense establishment is directly culpable for what has happened. The one apparent exception to Japan's malaise is the vitality of its pop culture, but it's actually no exception at all; rather, it provides critical clues to what is going on now. With insights into everything from Japan's politics and economics to the texture of daily life, gender relations, the changing busines

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3.1/5

Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy Who Commanded Her Own Army by Phyllis Birnbaum

Aisin Gioro Xianyu (1907--1948) was the fourteenth daughter of a Manchu prince and a legendary figure in China's bloody struggle with Japan. After the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1912, Xianyu's father gave his daughter to a Japanese friend who was sympathetic to his efforts to reclaim power. This man raised Xianyu, now known as Kawashima Yoshiko, to restore the Manchus t Aisin Gioro Xianyu (1907--1948) was the fourteenth daughter of a Manchu prince and a legendary figure in China's bloody struggle with Japan. After the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1912, Xianyu's father gave his daughter to a Japanese friend who was sympathetic to his efforts to reclaim power. This man raised Xianyu, now known as Kawashima Yoshiko, to restore the Manchus to their former glory. Her fearsome dedication to this cause ultimately got her killed. Yoshiko had a fiery personality and loved the limelight. She shocked Japanese society by dressing in men's clothes and rose to prominence as Commander Jin, touted in Japan's media as a new Joan of Arc. Boasting a short, handsome haircut and a genuine military uniform, Commander Jin was credited with various daring exploits, among them riding horseback as leader of her own army during the Japanese occupation of China. While trying to promote the Manchus, Yoshiko supported the puppet Manchu state established by the Japanese in 1932, which became one of the reasons she was executed for treason after Japan's 1945 defeat. The truth of Yoshiko's life is still a source of contention between China and Japan -- some believe she was exploited by powerful men, others claim she relished her role as political provocateur. China holds her responsible for unspeakable crimes, while Japan has forgiven her transgressions. This biography presents the most accurate and colorful portrait to date of the controversial princess spy, recognizing her truly novel role in conflicts that transformed East Asia.

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