Isami's House: Three Centuries of a Japanese Family / Edition 1

Isami's House: Three Centuries of a Japanese Family / Edition 1

by Gail Lee Bernstein
     
 

ISBN-10: 0520246977

ISBN-13: 9780520246973

Pub. Date: 10/07/2005

Publisher: University of California Press

In this powerful and evocative narrative, Gail Lee Bernstein vividly re-creates the past three centuries of Japanese history by following the fortunes of a prominent Japanese family over fourteen generations. The first of its kind in English, this book focuses on Isami, the eleventh generation patriarch and hereditary village head. Weaving back and forth between

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Overview

In this powerful and evocative narrative, Gail Lee Bernstein vividly re-creates the past three centuries of Japanese history by following the fortunes of a prominent Japanese family over fourteen generations. The first of its kind in English, this book focuses on Isami, the eleventh generation patriarch and hereditary village head. Weaving back and forth between Isami's time in the first half of the twentieth century and his ancestors' lives in the Tokugawa and Meiji eras, Bernstein uses family history to convey a broad panoply of social life in Japan since the late 1600s. As the story unfolds, she provides remarkable details and absorbing anecdotes about food, famines, peasant uprisings, agrarian values, marriage customs, child-rearing practices, divorces, and social networks. Isami's House describes the role of rural elites, the architecture of Japanese homes, the grooming of children for middle-class life in Tokyo, the experiences of the Japanese in Japan's wartime empire and on the homefront, the aftermath of the country's defeat, and, finally, the efforts of family members to rebuild their lives after the Occupation. The author's forty-year friendship with members of the family lends a unique intimacy to her portrayal of their history. Readers come away with an inside view of Japanese family life, a vivid picture of early modern and modern times, and a profound understanding of how villagers were transformed into urbanites and what was gained, and lost, in the process.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520246973
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
10/07/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
314
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Prologue : history revealed
Matsuura genealogy
Introduction : an agrarian childhood1
1The house Isami built21
2Kissing cousins36
3Father of the village48
4Strong wives66
5Urban studies83
6The marriage pipeline97
7Frugality and fancy schemes109
8Outposts of modernity123
9Isami's children in harm's way137
10Hard times on the home front146
11Surviving Hiroshima159
12Missed fortunes169
13Making history181
14Absent husband195
15Couples and uncouplings205
16Mothering217
Epilogue : kin work233

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