The Japanese Experience: A Short History of Japan / Edition 1

The Japanese Experience: A Short History of Japan / Edition 1

by W. G. Beasley
     
 

The Japanese Experience is an authoritative history of Japan from the sixth century to the present day. Only a writer of W.G. Beasley's stature could render Japan's complicated past so concisely and elegantly. This is the history of a society and a culture with a distinct sense of itself, one of the few nations never conquered by a foreign power in historic

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Overview

The Japanese Experience is an authoritative history of Japan from the sixth century to the present day. Only a writer of W.G. Beasley's stature could render Japan's complicated past so concisely and elegantly. This is the history of a society and a culture with a distinct sense of itself, one of the few nations never conquered by a foreign power in historic times (until the twentieth century) and the home of the longest-reigning imperial dynasty that still survives. The Japanese have always occupied part or all of the same territory, its borders defined by the sea. They have spoken and written a common language, (once it had taken firm shape in about the tenth century) and their population has been largely homogeneous, little touched by immigration except in very early periods. Yet Japanese society and culture have changed more through time than these statements seem to imply. Developments within Japan have been greatly influenced by ideas and institutions, art and literature, imported from elsewhere. In this work Beasley, a leading authority on Japan and the author of a number of acclaimed works on Japanese history, examines the changing society and culture of Japan and considers what, apart from the land and the people, is specifically Japanese about the history of Japan.
The arrival of Buddhism in the sixth century brought a substantially Chinese-style society to Japan, not only in religion but in political institutions, writing system, and the lifestyle of the ruling class. By the eleventh century the Chinese element was waning and the country was entering a long and essentially "Japanese" feudal period—with two rulers, an emperor and a Shogun—which was to last until the nineteenth century. Under the Togukawa shogunate (1600-1868), Chinese culture enjoyed something of a renaissance, though popular culture owed more to Japanese urban taste and urban wealth.
In 1868 the Meiji Restoration brought to power rulers dedicated to the pursuit of national wealth and strength, and Japan became a world power. Although a bid for empire ended in disaster, the years after 1945 saw an economic miracle that brought spectacular wealth to Japan and the Japanese people, as well as the westernization of much of Japanese life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520225602
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
08/31/2000
Series:
History of Civilization Series
Pages:
317
Sales rank:
876,331
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.13(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of maps
List of illustrations
Japanese words, names and dates
Introduction: Patterns and Periods
1Origins1
Myths2
Archaeology7
The Yamato state11
Primitive religion16
2The Making of a Monarchy19
Chinese-style government20
Capital cities30
The Fujiwara regents34
3Buddhism and Chinese Culture41
Buddhism and Shinto42
Tribute missions and Chinese learning48
Literature, art and music54
4The Ebbing of the Chinese Tide61
Public land, private land62
The rise of a warrior class after 80066
Heian culture69
5Japanese Feudalism78
The Kamakura Bakufu (1185-1333)80
Feudalism in the Muromachi period (1336-1460)89
6Medieval Culture 1200-145098
Buddhism100
Prose literature and drama104
Chinese influence on the arts110
7The Unifiers116
Warfare and warlords (1460-1560)117
Nobunaga and Hideyoshi (1560-1598)122
The Tokugawa settlement (1600-1650)128
8Relations with Asia and Europe 1500-1700134
The China trade135
Korea and Ryukyu141
Christianity and seclusion147
9Edo Society152
The ruling class153
The village and the town161
10Edo Culture171
Chinese thought, Japanese thought172
Literature and the arts178
11The Coming of the West 1840-1873188
Unequal treaties189
Nationalism and politics196
Study of the West203
12The Modern State210
Political institutions211
Social change219
Tradition and modernity225
13Fifty Years of Foreign Wars 1894-1945230
Industry and empire231
The struggle for Greater East Asia241
14Postwar Japan251
Glossary269
Bibliography275
Index287

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