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Samurai, geisha, tea ceremony, Japanese festivals, weddings - learn about Japanese history and tradition.

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recommended books

Postby giulianoz » July 12th, 2007 5:10 pm

can you recommend some books (novels possibly) about japan history ? I have read james clavell's trilogy, lian hearn's otori trilogy and takashi matsuoka's cloud of sparrows.



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Postby Outkast » July 17th, 2007 3:17 am

Also try "Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army" by Meirion Harries. The title's pretty self-explanatory, but the book gives great insight into the forces that shaped both the infrastructures of modern Japan and the underlying mental attitudes of the society today. Very insightful for it's presentation of history from Meji through World War II from the Japanese side of things (without Western patriotic bias nor Japanese war-revisionism.)

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Postby giulianoz » July 17th, 2007 5:58 am

thanks, I'll give it a try :)

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Postby Skipper » July 19th, 2007 7:05 pm

Another good two books are Taiko and Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa. The first one is all about Hideoshi, Oda Nobunaga etc. Second one Miyamoto Musashi. Both very good.

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Postby giulianoz » July 19th, 2007 7:08 pm

thanks skipper, I'll check them for sure :)

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Postby Hoboken » August 6th, 2007 3:08 pm

I'd suggest Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II by John Dower.

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Embracing Defeat tells the story of the transformation of Japan under American occupation after World War II. When Japan surrendered unconditionally to the Allied Forces in August 1945, it was exhausted; where America's Pacific combat lasted less than four years, Japan had been fighting for 15. Sixty percent of its urban area lay in ruins. The collapse of the authoritarian state enabled America's six-year occupation to set Japan in entirely new directions.

Because the victors had no linguistic or cultural access to the losers' society, they were obliged to govern indirectly. Gen. Douglas MacArthur decided at the outset to maintain the civil bureaucracy and the institution of the emperor: democracy would be imposed from above in what the author terms "Neocolonial Revolution." His description of the manipulation of public opinion, as a wedge was driven between the discredited militarists and Emperor Hirohito, is especially fascinating. Tojo, on trial for his life, was requested to take responsibility for the war and deflect it from the emperor; he did, and was hanged. Dower's analysis of popular Japanese culture of the period--songs, magazines, advertising, even jokes--is brilliant, and reflected in the book's 80 well-chosen photographs. With the same masterful control of voluminous material and clear writing that he gave us in War Without Mercy, the author paints a vivid picture of a society in extremis and reconstructs the extraordinary period during which America molded a traumatized country into a free-market democracy and bulwark against resurgent world communism.

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Postby Bueller_007 » August 6th, 2007 6:33 pm

Hoboken wrote:I'd suggest Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II by John Dower.

I agree. This is easily the best Japanese history book I've ever read.

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