A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present / Edition 3

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A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present, Third Edition, paints a richly nuanced and strikingly original portrait of the last two centuries of Japanese history. It 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. Author Andrew Gordon offers the finest synthesis to date of Japan's passage through militarism, World War II, the American occupation, and the subsequent economic rollercoaster.

New to the Third Edition

* The previous edition's final chapter has been extensively revised for the third edition. Retitled "Japan's 'Lost Decades", it now covers the timespan from 1989 through 2008.
* An entirely new final chapter examines Japan's tumultuous recent history in a global context. Beginning with the financial crisis of 2008, it takes readers up to the traumatic events of 3/11/11, and through the aftermath of this disaster. The chapter includes a color insert with maps and photographs that document the cataclysm.
* More "voices" of ordinary people integrated into the narrative
* Increased coverage of cultural history topics, such as anime and manga

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gordon is able to tell a story of modern Japan without reducing the history to stereotypes or platitudes, and leaving enough room for other tellings of Japan's history. It is not dogmatic or locked down. This is the best survey on Modern Japanese history available."—Lori Watt, Washington University in St. Louis

"A Modern History of Japan is the best textbook available for courses on Modern Japan and Imperial Japan. As a leading scholar on Japanese labor history, Gordon provides insightful details from the perspective of ordinary Japanese, particularly the hardships, opportunities and resistance from workers and other non-elites during Japan's industrial revolution and beyond."—George Kallander, Syracuse University

"Beautifully written and argued by one of the eminent minds and stylists in the field. Gordon convincingly situates Japan on the stage of international history as a nation whose past must be understood to comprehend the history of the modern world."—Noell Wilson, University of Mississippi

"A Modern History of Japan remains the best text for an introductory course on modern Japanese history. It has the perfect combination of top-rate scholarship, readability, and length. The new final chapter is just as well-written and engaging as the rest of the book. And it greatly adds to the strength of the book to bring the history as closely up to the present as possible, as well as to point to what may lie ahead in the future."—Sean Kim, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Library Journal
A Chinese saying has it that "each step changes the mountain." Likewise, each major turn in history changes how we understand what went before: as Japan now continues in an economic funk that followed but did not wipe out the "economic miracle" of the postwar period, we need to rethink our histories once again to explain the origins of prosperity, the evolution of what it means to be Japanese, and the roots of obstinacy. Gordon's clearheaded, readable, and inquisitive narrative, aimed at students and serious general readers, accomplishes this task molto con brio. Head of Harvard's Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Gordon tells a sweeping and provocative story of Japan's political, economic, social, and cultural inventions of its modernity in evolving international contexts, incorporating inside viewpoints and debates. Beyond identifying the national stages (feudalism, militarism, democracy), the author innovatively emphasizes how labor unions, cultural figures, and groups in society (especially women) have been affected over time and have responded. Recommended both for general libraries and for specialist collections.-Charles W. Hayford, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A concise history with a textbook tone, covering Japanese civilization from about 1600. Gordon (History/Harvard) chronicles Japanese social evolution during two dynasties, the Tokugawa and the Meiji. Superficially, he argues, the former bore little resemblance to the latter. But in terms of how they controlled Japanese society, the later regime was a logical extension of the earlier one. And both depended on the emperor for legitimacy. But while Tokugawa officials used the emperor as a mere sideshow to validate their real power, Meiji leaders placed the emperor at the center of Japanese culture, a move that helped the country grow authoritarian and militaristic. Unlike their isolationist predecessors, the Meiji decided the emperor was necessary because they felt something had to unify a Japan that was rapidly changing with the introduction of Western technology and manner of life. Women, for example, were becoming waitresses, and simple common folk (widely seen as literally stupid during the Tokugawa era) were questioning policies of the government, which for the first time had to react to worldwide economic trends. Like the Tokugawa, the Meiji dynasty didn't trust the people, so in the Japanese constitution they placed the emperor as supreme commander of the army and navy. Because the emperor was a figurehead, however, nobody controlled the generals and admirals who believed Japan had to secure foreign resources in order to stay on par with the Western powers. The Pacific war followed. Gordon uses a textbook organization, dividing his subject into the political and social realms. (War buffs will be disappointed-there's more here about intellectuals than about Pearl Harbor.) Hisdiscussion of contemporary Japan continues logically from his earlier observations, and the centered quality of Japanese society, he suggests-now in the thrall of business interests-has brought the country two steps forward and sent it one step back. Asian History majors will find this one on their reading lists.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199930159
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/26/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 275,608
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Gordon is the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History and Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University.

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Table of Contents

Maps, Tables, and Figures
Introduction: Enduring Imprints on the Longer Past

Part 1: Crisis of the Tokugawa Regime

1. The Tokugawa Polity
The Tokugawa Political Settlements
The Daimy?
The Imperial Institution
The Samurai
Villagers and City-Dwellers
The Margins of the Japanese and Japan

2. Social and Economic Transformations
The Seventeenth-Century Boom
Riddles of Stagnation and Vitality

3. The Intellectual World of Late Tokugawa
Ideological Foundations of the Tokugawa Regime
Cultural Diversity and Contradictions
Reform, Critiques, and Insurgent Ideas

4. The Overthrow of the Tokugawa
The Western Powers and the Unequal Treaties
The Crumbling of Tokugawa Rule
Politics of Terror and Accomodation
Bakufu Revival, the Satsuma-Choshu Insurgency, and Domestic Unrest

Part 2: Modern Revolution, 1868-1905

5. The Samurai Revolution
Programs of Nationalist Revolution
Political Unification and Central Bureaucracy
Eliminating the Status System
The Conscript Army
Compulsory Education
The Monarch at the Center
Building a Rich Country
Stances toward the World

6. Participation and Protest
Political Discourse and Contention
Movement for Freedom and People's Rights
Samurai Rebellions, Peasant Uprisings, and New Religions
Participation for Women
Treaty Revision and Domestic Politics
The Meiji Constitution

7. Social, Economic, and Cultural Transformations
Landlords and Tenants
Industrial Revolution
The Work Force and Labor Conditions
Spread of Mass and Higher Education
Culture and Religion
Affirming Japanese Identity and Destiny

8. Empire and Domestic Order
The Trajectory to Empire
Contexts of Empire, Capitalism, and Nation-Building
The Turbulent World of Diet Politics
The Era of Popular Protest
Engineering Nationalism

Part 3: Imperial Japan From Ascendance to Ashes

9. Economy and Society
Wartime Boom and Postwar Bust
Landlords, Tenants, and Rural Life
City Life: Middle and Working Classes
Cultural Responses to Social Change

10. Democracy and Empire between the World Wars
The Emergence of Party Cabinets
The Structure of Parliamentary Government
Ideological Challenges
Strategies of Imperial Democratic Rule
Japan, Asia, and the Western Powers

11. The Depression Crisis and Responses
Economic and Social Crisis
Breaking the Impasse: New Departures Abroad
Toward a New Social Economic Order
Toward a New Political Order

12. Japan in Wartime
Wider War in China
Toward Pearl Harbor
The Pacific War
Mobilizing for Total War
Living in the Shadow of War
Ending the War
Burdens and Legacies of War

13. Occupied Japan: New Departures and Durable Structures
Bearing the Unbearable
The American Agenda: Demilitarize and Democratize
Japanese Responses
The Reverse Course
Toward Recovery and Independence: Another Unequal Treaty?

Part 4: Postwar and Contemporary Japan, 1952-2000

14. Economic and Social Transformations
The Postwar "Economic Miracle"
Transwar Patterns of Community, Family, School, and Work
Shared Experiences and Standardized Lifeways of the Postwar Era
Differences Enduring and Realigned
Managing Social Stability and Change
Images and Ideologies of Social Stability and Change

15. Political Struggles and Settlements of the High-Growth Era
Political Struggles
The Politics of Accommodation
Global Connections: Oil Crisis and the End of High Growth

16. Global Power in a Polarized World: Japan in the 1980s
New Roles in the World and New Tensions
Economy: Thriving Through the Oil Crises
Politics: The Conservative Heyday
Society and Culture in the Exuberant Eighties

17. Japan's "Lost Decades": 1989-2008
The End of Showa
The Specter of a Divided Society
Economy of the "Lost Decade"
The Fall and Rise of the Liberal Democratic Party
Assessing Reforms, Explaining Recovery
Between Asia and the West
Ongoing Presence of the Past

18. Shock, Disaster and Aftermath: Japan since 2008
The Lehman Shock
Politics of Hope and Disillusionment
Making Sense of the Perception of Decline
The Disasters of 3.11 and Aftermath

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    Very well done. I took a course with the author and he assigned

    Very well done. I took a course with the author and he assigned his book. Wonderful. Well-researched and written.

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