The Making of Modern Japan / Edition 1

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Overview

Magisterial in vision, sweeping in scope, this monumental work presents a seamless account of Japanese society during the modern era, from 1600 to the present. A distillation of more than fifty years' engagement with Japan and its history, it is the crowning work of our leading interpreter of the modern Japanese experience.

Since 1600 Japan has undergone three periods of wrenching social and institutional change, following the imposition of hegemonic order on feudal society by the Tokugawa shogun; the opening of Japan's ports by Commodore Perry; and defeat in World War II. The Making of Modern Japan charts these changes: the social engineering begun with the founding of the shogunate in 1600, the emergence of village and castle towns with consumer populations, and the diffusion of samurai values in the culture.

Jansen covers the making of the modern state, the adaptation of Western models, growing international trade, the broadening opportunity in Japanese society with industrialization, and the postwar occupation reforms imposed by General MacArthur. Throughout, the book gives voice to the individuals and views that have shaped the actions and beliefs of the Japanese, with writers, artists, and thinkers, as well as political leaders given their due.

The story this book tells, though marked by profound changes, is also one of remarkable consistency, in which continuities outweigh upheavals in the development of society, and successive waves of outside influence have only served to strengthen a sense of what is unique and native to Japanese experience. The Making of Modern Japan takes us to the core of this experience as it illuminates one of the contemporary world's most compelling transformations.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist

Despite our deep national involvement with the Japanese people since the end of World War II, this still frustratingly insular nation remains a puzzle for Americans and other westerners...[Jansen] strives valiantly to explain the foundations of modern Japanese history and culture in this richly detailed, smooth-flowing narrative of the past four centuries of Japanese development...A greatly rewarding examination of an admirable but enigmatic and ancient land."
— Jay Freeman

Los Angeles Times Book Review

Jansen's view of modern Japanese history has two particular merits. He refuses to see Japan in isolation, as a kind of sealed-off island of uniqueness...Indeed, he argues that political developments in Japan were almost always responses to events outside: Perry's ships, Western colonialism, Russian and later Soviet expansion, the world stock market crash of 1929 and so on. He also goes out of his way to show how liberalism in Japan always had a chance. Authoritarianism and war were never inevitable consequences of some deep Japanese warrior instinct; when given the opportunity, the Japanese, like the rest of us, want to be free and live in peace.
— Ian Buruman

Washington Post Book World

Now in a magisterial book that's also highly readable, Marius Jansen has told the story of Meiji and with it the creation of modern Japan...Jansen takes the reader by the hand to show what happened and why in those intense, formative years. A master of his craft, he allows the Meiji reformers, their opponents and foreign observers of that day to tell the story. He also gives credit to the views of contemporary historians, both Japanese and Westerners, who have handled the subject...The capstone of Jansen's work as America's foremost historian of Japan, this book will long be must reading for students. But the author's relaxed style, his eye for people and the clarity and patience of his explanations should appeal to any thoughtful reader.
— Frank Gibney

Sunday Telegraph

For answers to...questions about modern Japan, there can be few better guides than Marius Jansen's splendid new history. The product of more than 50 years' study, this book combines grand sweep with vivid and telling anecdote. It is also admirably balanced. While Jansen's affection for Japan is clear ('a gifted, resourceful and courageous nation'), he is scathing in his judgement of the arrogance and ruthlessness of some of its leaders.
— Geoffrey Owen

Choice

At the end of a long and distinguished career, Jansen has produced what is sure to become the standard narrative history of modern Japan, a cornucopia of information, explanation, interpretation, and careful reflection about the historical development of Japan...Jansen tells his story gracefully and with remarkable thoroughness, and enlivens it with ample detail and engaging anecdotes; personalities of the leading figures stand forth boldly and memorably. While unmistakably his own, Jansen's account makes room for the views and voices of countless other scholars of Japan (even those with whom he disagrees), giving it the impact of a consensus narrative setting forth the full spectrum of opinion on Japan among scholars both in Japan and elsewhere. In every way this is a remarkable book. Without doubt it will create its own exclusive niche in the literature, and no reference collection on Japan can pretend to be complete without it.
— C. L. Yates

Financial Times

Jansen gives equal weight to consistency and change, and against a background of deep tradition he focuses on three moments of wrenching upheaval: the Tokugawa shogunate, the Meiji restoration, and the American occupation after the second world war...Jansen provides a sense of significant voices—those of writers as well as politicians and industrialists. It's hard to imagine a more wide-sweeping study.
— Jan Dalley

The Guardian (UK)

This definitive historical companion is clear, simple and thorough, from what was decided at the battle of Sekigahara in 1600—life for the next 253 years, more or less—to the grey demographics and economics of now.
— Vera Rule

Foreign Affairs
This magisterial work has all the details one would want in a reference work, but the mature reflections of a lifelong Japan scholar at Princeton make it a pleasure to read…At every turn, Jansen looks behind the political stage to examine cultural and social developments. He avoids abstract theorizing by recounting the experiences of specific Japanese individuals, giving the story a strong human dimension.
Ronald P. Toby
An elegant, lucid, and magisterial book. A distillation of more than fifty years' engagement with Japan and its history, it presents the sweeping vision of our leading interpreter of the modern Japanese experience over the past half-millennium. Marius Jansen has integrated his own scholarship and that of many others in a lively account that has great potential as a text for survey courses in modern Japanese history; professionals in the field will benefit from its integrity and interpretive breadth. Moreover, Jansen's own enthusiasm and love for his subject come through every bit as clearly as his profound erudition; that sense of excitement carries the reader along smoothly and effortlessly. The book is a pleasure to read.
Booklist - Jay Freeman
Despite our deep national involvement with the Japanese people since the end of World War II, this still frustratingly insular nation remains a puzzle for Americans and other westerners...[Jansen] strives valiantly to explain the foundations of modern Japanese history and culture in this richly detailed, smooth-flowing narrative of the past four centuries of Japanese development...A greatly rewarding examination of an admirable but enigmatic and ancient land."
Los Angeles Times Book Review - Ian Buruman
Jansen's view of modern Japanese history has two particular merits. He refuses to see Japan in isolation, as a kind of sealed-off island of uniqueness...Indeed, he argues that political developments in Japan were almost always responses to events outside: Perry's ships, Western colonialism, Russian and later Soviet expansion, the world stock market crash of 1929 and so on. He also goes out of his way to show how liberalism in Japan always had a chance. Authoritarianism and war were never inevitable consequences of some deep Japanese warrior instinct; when given the opportunity, the Japanese, like the rest of us, want to be free and live in peace.
Washington Post Book World - Frank Gibney
Now in a magisterial book that's also highly readable, Marius Jansen has told the story of Meiji and with it the creation of modern Japan...Jansen takes the reader by the hand to show what happened and why in those intense, formative years. A master of his craft, he allows the Meiji reformers, their opponents and foreign observers of that day to tell the story. He also gives credit to the views of contemporary historians, both Japanese and Westerners, who have handled the subject...The capstone of Jansen's work as America's foremost historian of Japan, this book will long be must reading for students. But the author's relaxed style, his eye for people and the clarity and patience of his explanations should appeal to any thoughtful reader.
Sunday Telegraph - Geoffrey Owen
For answers to...questions about modern Japan, there can be few better guides than Marius Jansen's splendid new history. The product of more than 50 years' study, this book combines grand sweep with vivid and telling anecdote. It is also admirably balanced. While Jansen's affection for Japan is clear ('a gifted, resourceful and courageous nation'), he is scathing in his judgement of the arrogance and ruthlessness of some of its leaders.
Choice - C. L. Yates
At the end of a long and distinguished career, Jansen has produced what is sure to become the standard narrative history of modern Japan, a cornucopia of information, explanation, interpretation, and careful reflection about the historical development of Japan...Jansen tells his story gracefully and with remarkable thoroughness, and enlivens it with ample detail and engaging anecdotes; personalities of the leading figures stand forth boldly and memorably. While unmistakably his own, Jansen's account makes room for the views and voices of countless other scholars of Japan (even those with whom he disagrees), giving it the impact of a consensus narrative setting forth the full spectrum of opinion on Japan among scholars both in Japan and elsewhere. In every way this is a remarkable book. Without doubt it will create its own exclusive niche in the literature, and no reference collection on Japan can pretend to be complete without it.
Financial Times - Jan Dalley
Jansen gives equal weight to consistency and change, and against a background of deep tradition he focuses on three moments of wrenching upheaval: the Tokugawa shogunate, the Meiji restoration, and the American occupation after the second world war...Jansen provides a sense of significant voices--those of writers as well as politicians and industrialists. It's hard to imagine a more wide-sweeping study.
The Guardian (UK) - Vera Rule
This definitive historical companion is clear, simple and thorough, from what was decided at the battle of Sekigahara in 1600--life for the next 253 years, more or less--to the grey demographics and economics of now.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jensen conducts his readers through the labyrinthine path taken by Japan over the last 400 years, from centralized feudalism under the shoguns of Edo (now Tokyo) to Japan's postwar emergence as one of the world's most developed and peaceful--nations. For Westerners the most fascinating aspect of this monumental work will be Japan's always uneasy, sometimes violent relationship with the outside world. Jensen pays careful attention to Japan's struggle to differentiate itself culturally from China and to subjugate Korea. With the West, Japan's first hesitant acceptance of Portuguese and Dutch traders gave way to contemptuous rejection of Western values, religion and culture. The debate thus framed has resounded throughout the last two centuries, and Jensen patiently explains how xenophobia and openness to the outside world have alternated as dominant impulses in Japanese life. Jensen does his utmost to make intelligible the complexities of Japanese politics since 1600. Besides politics, he ventures into economics, military affairs, literature, education, social organization and both high and popular culture. He observes that postwar Japanese managed "to achieve in business suits what they had failed to bring about in uniform," and he shows how this extraordinary result came about, in the context of Japan's long and conflict-ridden emergence into the modern world. Japan has been a subject of intense interest in the West in recent years, though only serious students will want to read this lengthy history. Still, it should receive major review coverage, and sales may increase if it's promoted with Herbert P. Bix's Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (Forecasts, July 31). (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Jansen first encountered Japan when he was trained in Japanese by the U.S. Army during World War II. He subsequently served in occupied Japan and thereafter worked for four decades as a scholar and student of the country, authoring dozens of books and articles and mentoring many, many students. Words that spring to mind are magisterial, elegant, absorbing, and essential. Roughly a third of the book deals with Tokugawa politics, culture, and society before the "opening to the world" in the mid-19th century; fewer than 100 pages cover the period since 1945; and the balance treats the crucial 1868-1945 period of modernization and war. Political and military narrative is complemented by sketches of personalities, the arts, and society, with judicious assessments of controversies in historical interpretation and generous references to further reading. All in all, it would be hard to find a better general volume.--Charles W. Hayford, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A tremendous history of the upheavals that transformed Japan into the world's most successful of non-Western countries. Jansen (Japanese History/Princeton) shows how the country at first reluctantly, and then enthusiastically, benefited from the changes of the modern era. The past 400 years of Japanese history are marked by centralization, the decline of isolationism, and the rise of the military: in 1600, after years of civil war, Japan hunkered down to two-and-a-half centuries of peace under the Tokugawa shogunate, which created an orderly economy that bound the nation together. With the rise of the Western powers, however, Japan realized it had to exploit the technology of the Industrial Revolution or become a semi-colony of the Europeans and Americans—like China, its traditional big brother in Asia. The Meiji restoration ended the shogunate, placed the Emperor back at the center of government, and pushed Japan into the European-dominated Great Powers system. Jansen weaves social and political history together while narrating this course of events, devoting more time to peasant life (he likens a Tokugawa village to a"well-regulated concentration camp") than to battles. Much time is also given to court intrigue, giving the reader a sense of the enormous pressure that bore down on Japanese ministers (many of whom were assassinated by revanchists) in the 19th and 20th centuries. The author argues that the military was constitutionally outside politics, giving it a free hand to influence politics with arguments that its demands for more resources were objective and for the good of the nation. His analysis of the educational system is also fresh. Theprestigiousimperial universities that sprang up under Meiji rule were, like the military, more important in running the country than official channels of power might suggest. These forces contributed to the sense that Japan ought to flex its muscles and conquer Manchuria, a decision that led it on a collision course with the West that ended with WWII and the dazzling changes in society afterward. A master work that will prove to be the definitive history of a dynamic society.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674009912
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Edition description: First University Press Paperback Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 936
  • Sales rank: 602,587
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 1.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Marius B. Jansen was Professor of Japanese History at Princeton University. He was the author of Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration.
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Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

Note on Names and Romanization

1. SEKIGAHARA

1. The Sengoku Background

2. The New Sengoku Daimyo

3. The Unifiers: Oda Nobunaga

4. Toyotomi Hideyoshi

5. Azuchi-Momoyama Culture

6. The Spoils of Sekigahara: Tokugawa Ieyasu

2. THE TOKUGAWA STATE

1. Taking Control

2. Ranking the Daimyo

3. The Structure of the Tokugawa Bakufu

4. The Domains (han)

5. Center and Periphery: Bakufu-Han Relations

6. The Tokugawa "State"

3. FOREIGN RELATIONS

1. The Setting

2. Relations with Korea

3. The Countries of the West

4. To the Seclusion Decrees

5. The Dutch at Nagasaki

6. Relations with China

7. The Question of the "Closed Country"

4. STATUS GROUPS

1. The Imperial Court

2. The Ruling Samurai Class

3. Village Life

4. Townsmen (chonin)

5. Subcaste Japanese

6. Status and Function

5. URBANIZATION AND COMMUNICATIONS

1. The sankin-kotai System

2. Communication Networks

3. Domain Castle Towns

4. Edo: The Central Magnet

6. THE DEVELOPMENT OF A MASS CULTURE

1. Civilizing the Ruling Class

2. Books and Literacy

3. Osaka and Kyoto

4. Genroku Culture

7. EDUCATION, THOUGHT, AND RELIGION

1. Education

2. The Diffusion of Confucianism

3. Scholars and Scholarship

4. The Problem of China

5. Ethnic Nativism

6. Dutch, or Western, Learning (rangaku)

7. Religion

8. Popular Preaching

8. CHANGE, PROTEST, AND REFORM

1. Population

2. Rulers and Ruled

3. Popular Protest

4. Bakufu Responses

9. THE OPENING TO THE WORLD

1. Russia

2. Western Europe

3. News from China

4. The Perry Mission

5. The War Within

6. Defense Intellectuals

10. THE TOKUGAWA FALL

1. The Narrative

2. The Open Ports

3. Experiencing the West

4. The Other Japanese

5. The Restoration Remembered

6. Why Did the Tokugawa Fall?

11. THE MEIJI REVOLUTION

1. Background

2. Steps toward Consensus

3. Toward Centralization

4. Failed Cultural Revolution

5. Wisdom throughout the World

6. The Breakup of the Restoration Coalition

7. Winners and Losers

12. BUILDING THE MEIJI STATE

1. Matsukata Economics

2. The Struggle for Political Participation

3. Ito Hirobumi and the Meiji Constitution

4. Yamagata Aritomo and the Imperial Army

5. Mori Arinori and Meiji Education

6. Summary: The Meiji Leaders

13. IMPERIAL JAPAN

1. The Election

2. Politics under the Meiji Constitution

3. Foreign Policy and Treaty Reform

4. War with China

5. The Diplomacy of Imperialism

6. The Annexation of Korea

7. State and Society

14. MEIJI CULTURE

1. Restore Antiquity!

2. Civilization and Enlightenment! Be a Success!

3. Christianity

4. Politics and Culture

5. The State and Culture

15. JAPAN BETWEEN THE WARS

1. Steps toward Party Government

2. Japan in World Affairs

3. Economic Change

16. TAISHO CULTURE AND SOCIETY

1. Education and Change

2. The Law Faculty of Tokyo Imperial University

3. Taisho Youth: From "Civilization" to "Culture"

4. Women

5. Labor

6. Changes in the Village

7. Urban Culture

8. The Interwar Years

17. THE CHINA WAR

1. Manchurian Beginnings: The Incident

2. Manchukuo: Eastward the Course of Empire

3. Soldiers and Politics

4. The Sacralization of Kokutai and the Return to Japan

5. The Economy: Recovery and Resources

6. Tenko: The Conversion of the Left

7. Planning for a Managed Economy

8. War with China and Konoe's "New Order in Asia"

18. THE PACIFIC WAR

1. Reading World Politics from Tokyo

2. Attempts to Reconfigure the Meiji Landscape

3. The Washington Talks

4. The Japanese People and the War

5. The Road to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

6. The Pacific War in the History of the Twentieth Century

7. Dismantling the Meiji State

19. THE YOSHIDA YEARS

1. The Social Context of Postsurrender Japan

2. Reform and Reconstruction

3. Planning for Recovery

4. Politics and the Road to San Francisco

5. The San Francisco System

6. Intellectuals and the Yoshida Structure

7. Postwar Culture

20. JAPAN SINCE INDEPENDENCE

1. Politics and the 1955 System

2. The Rise to Economic Superpower

3. Social Change

4. The Examined Life

5. Japan in World Affairs

6. Japan at Millennium's End

Further Reading

Notes

Credits

Index

Illustrations follow pages 140, 364, and 588

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