Japan Encountered: A Brief (and Highly-Selective) Survey of Famous Westerners in the Land of the Rising Sun / Edition 1

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Japan Encountered is a series of sixteen essays on famous Westerners in Japan from the mid-sixteenth century to the present. Here, Japan is seen through the eyes of various outsiders at widely divergent points in Japanese history. The individuals included are: St. Francis Xavier, Will Adams, Dr. Engelbert Kaempfer, Commodore Matthew C. Perry, Townsend Harris, Lafcadio Hearn, Isabella Bird, William Smith Clark, Frank Lloyd Wright, Arthur Waley, Joseph Grew, General Douglas MacArthur, Ruth Benedict, James Michener, and Edwin Reischauer. Also included is a chapter which examines the experiences of American baseball players and sumo wrestlers attempting to pursue their sports in Japan, one of whom is Jesse Kuhaulua, the first American to successfully compete in the Japanese sport of sumo.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Both of these books strive to promote a better understanding of Japan among Western readers. Littlewood English, Sussex Univ., England does so by examining popular Western impressions of Japan from 16th-century Jesuits through 19th-century visitors to present-day views using journals, books, and movies. These impressions formed stereotypes of Japan in Western minds. On the one hand, there is the aesthetic Japan of politely civilized, bowing people; on the other is the aggressive, violent Japan. Littlewood believes that relying on these and other simplistic views of Japan leads to misunderstandings and that "the only prospect of real change lies in the gradual humanistic effect of individual contact." In Japan Encountered, Wright history, Univ. of St. Thomas, Minnesota has put together 16 essays dealing with Westerners in Japan. The individuals selected represent missionaries, diplomats, soldiers, architects, writers, and travelers, for example, St. Francis Xavier, Will Adams Anjin-san of Clavell's Shogun, Commodore Perry, Frank Lloyd Wright who designed Tokyo's Imperial Hotel, Douglas MacArthur, Ruth Benedict, and James Michener. Planned as a supplemental text for a college course, the work includes study and discussion questions. Academic libraries that support Asian studies programs will benefit from acquiring Japan Encountered, while The Idea of Japan is recommended for academic libraries and larger public libraries.William L. Wuerch, Univ. of Guam
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761804284
  • Publisher: University Press of America
  • Publication date: 7/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.66 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Wright is Associate Professor of History at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Saint Francis Xavier: Architect of Japan's Christian Century 1
Ch. 2 Will Adams: Renaissance Adventurer in Japan 9
Ch. 3 Dr. Engelbert Kaempfer: Early Observer and Commentator 15
Ch. 4 Commodore Matthew C. Perry: Re-Opening Japan to the West 21
Ch. 5 Townsend Harris: Romance and Reality in Early U.S. - Japan Diplomatic Relations 29
Ch. 6 Lafcadio Hearn: Homeless Wanderer and Interpreter of Japanese Culture 37
Ch. 7 Isabella Bird: 19th Century Traveler and Author 47
Ch. 8 William Smith Clark: Teacher and Role of Model from the West 55
Ch. 9 Frank Lloyd Wright: A Case Study in Cross-cultural Influence 59
Ch. 10 Arthur Waley: Translator of The Tale of Genji 71
Historical Interlude: Parallels and Conflicts: Backgrounds of the War Between the U.S. and Japan 79
Ch. 11 Joseph Grew: Struggling Against the Flow of History 83
Ch. 12 General Douglas MacArthur: The Post War Occupation 93
Ch. 13 Ruth Benedict: An Academic's Wartime Service: The Writing of The Chrysanthemum and the Sword 101
Ch. 14 James Michener: Changing Postwar Attitudes Regarding Japan 113
Ch. 15 Edwin Reischauer: Scholar and Diplomat 123
Ch. 16 Baseball and Sumo: American Athletes in Japan - and especially Jesse Kuhaulua ("Takamiyama"), First American Sumo Wrestler 129
Appendix I The Decision to Attack Pearl Harbor: A Long-term View 141
Appendix II Chronology of Events from the Arrival of Commodore Perry to the Japanese Attack of Commodore Perry to the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. Entry into the Pacific War 163
Appendix III Anti-Japanese Sentiments in Recent American Popular Fiction 167
List of Works Consulted 181
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