Modern Japan: A History in Documents / Edition 1

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Overview

The civilization of Japan is an ancient one, and by the time the first Western visitors arrived in 1542, the Japanese people were as highly educated as any in the world and enjoyed a sophisticated culture. From the sixteenth century on, the country's history was shaped by a tension between its people's thirst to understand foreign institutions and customs and their determination to assert and preserve its native traditions. In Modern Japan, James Huffman tells the rich and dynamic story of this history through a fascinating range of primary source documents.

A picture essay is dedicated to the tumultuous decade and a half following the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry and the U.S. Navy in 1853, which led to an unprecedented opening of Japan to the West and accompanying turmoil. While many Japanese welcomed the strangers, "men of zeal" signed blood oaths to drive out the barbarians. The picture essay explores this cultural clash, with American and Japanese portraits of Perry pointing up the differences in attitude toward this divisive figure, and a photograph of a Japanese diplomatic mission to Washington dramatically underlining the cultural differences between the Japanese and the Westerners. The essay also demonstrates the new mixture of cultures, as traditional Japanese art forms depict the lively foreign business district in Yokohama. This cultural clash led to peasant uprisings and a coup, illustrated in ink and paint, that brought an end to the stable, introverted Tokugawa rule and signaled the beginning of a new era for Japan.

Other primary sources in this collection include memoirs, school textbooks, the prison diary of a woman involved in a plot to assassinate the emperor, political speeches, a chilling eyewitness account of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and a comic book description of Adam Smith's economic theories. Taken with the author's illuminating commentary, these diverse voices trace Japan's history from its first uneasy interactions with the Western world to the point where Japanese culture, goods, and people-from sushi, ramen noodles, karaoke, videos, anime, and automobiles to major-league baseball players-have come to pervade the world as a part of the common international heritage.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195147421
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Series: Pages from History Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

James L. Huffman is the H. Orth Hirt Professor of History at Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio. He is the author of several books including Creating a Public: People and Press in Meiji Japan (U. Hawai'i Press, 1987) and Politics of the Meiji Press: The Life of Fukuchi Gen'ichiro (U. Hawai'i Press, 1980).

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Table of Contents

What is a Document?

How to Read a Document

Introduction 1

Note on Sources and Interpretation 4

1 The Land of Shogun and Daimyo 9

A New Order 12

Fresh Understandings of the World 19

Life Under the Tokugawa 26

The Shogunate Under Challenge 33

2 Picture Essay: The Old Order Topples: 1853-68 39

Japan's Sense of the World 41

Perry's Arrival 42

A Land in Transition 43

Symbols of Change 44

A Lord's Demise 46

The Era's End 47

3 Confronting the Modern World: 1868-89 49

Envisioning a New Age 51

Creating a New System 58

An Energetic Society 65

4 Turning Outward: 1890-1912 73

Rising Nationalism 75

An Expansionist Turn 79

A Modern, Urban Society 88

5 Imperial Democracy: 1912-30 97

Modern Times 99

Reining in Diversity 112

6 The Dark Era: 1930-45 121

The Militarist Turn 123

War 135

7 The Reemergence: 1945-70 149

An Occupied Land 151

The Return to Normal Life 160

Affluence 165

8 Japan as a World Power: After 1970 175

Surmounting Crises 177

Awash in Capital 184

Toward a New Century 190

Timeline 200

Further Reading 202

Websites 205

Text Credits 206

Picture Credits 209

Index 211

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