Premodern Japan: A Historical Survey / Edition 1

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Japanese historian Louis Perez brings Mikiso Hane’s rich and beloved account of early Japanese history up-to-date in this thoroughly revised Second Edition of Premodern Japan. The text traces the key developments of Japanese history in the premodern period, including the establishment of the imperial dynasty, early influences from China and Korea, the rise of the samurai class and the establishment of feudalism, the culture and society of the long Tokugawa period, the rise of Confucianism and Shinto nationalism, and finally, the end of Tokugawa rule. While the text provides many political developments through the early modern period, it also integrates the social, cultural, and intellectual aspects of Japanese history as well. Perez’s updates to the text provide a comprehensive overview of the major social, political, and religious trends in premodern Japan as well as offering the most current scholarship.
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Editorial Reviews

A revision of the first half of Hane's Japan, a historical survey (1972) traces the political developments in Japan up to contact with the West. For general readers and college students. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher

"Perez has brought up to date what was already a standard textbook for premodern Japanese history, and in the process has not only done a great service to those of us who teach the subject, but has kept the legacy of Mikiso Hane’s alive. Simply put, the book is short enough to keep introductory student’s attention, yet detailed enough to be used as a text in advanced courses."
Michael Laver, Rochester Institute of Technology

"Perez has provided a welcome update to a concise introduction to premodern Japanese history. Clearly written, the revised version better situates Japan in the context of East Asia and adds new information on women, gender, and relations between the sexes critical for developing a fuller picture of Japan before 1868."
Eric C. Rath, University of Kansas

"The revised edition of Premodern Japan offers a detailed yet concise introduction to Japan’s history from its mythical origins to the overthrow of feudal rule in the mid-19th century. In prose that is highly accessible to college students and non-Japan specialists, the authors not only tell the story of how Japan developed politically, economically, and socially, but also introduce readers to the cultural, religious, and intellectual traditions that continue to shape Japanese life today."
Elizabeth Dorn Lublin, Wayne State University

"An excellent concise introduction to premodern Japanese history."
Martha Chaiklin, American Institute of Indian Studies Fellow

"This textbook provides a solid overview of all the major issues and events of premodern Japanese history in a readable and accessible manner."
Jeffrey Dym, California State University, Sacramento

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813380650
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1990
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 258
  • Sales rank: 1,060,718
  • Lexile: 1300L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

The late Mikiso Hane was Szold Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Knox College.

Louis G. Perez is Distinguished University Professor of History, and Women’s and Gender Studies, at Illinois State University.

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Table of Contents


1 The Early Years
Geographic Setting
The Mythological Origins of Japan
Japanese Prehistory
Japan’s Neighbor: Korea
Early Yamato Society: Fourth and Fifth Centuries
The Indigenous Cults
Social Practices and Conditions

2 The Advent and Assimilation of Chinese Civilization
The Introduction of Chinese Civilization
Prince Shotoku
The Taika Reforms
Culture of the Seventh and Eighth Centuries
Social and Economic Conditions
Marriage and Gender Relations
Internal and External Foes

3 The Heian Period
The Age of Court Aristocracy
The Central Government
Nara-Heian Buddhism
Rise of Shoen
The Emergence of the Warrior Class (Samurai)
The Triumph of the Samurai
The Rivalry of the Taira and Minamoto Clans

4 The Kamakura Period
The Kamakura Shogunate (1185-1333)
The Hojo Regency
Foreign Relations: The Asian Continent
The Mongol Invasions and the Decline of the Kamakura Bakufu
The Ethos of the Samurai
Women and Inheritance
Kamakura Buddhism

5 The Ashikaga Period and the Emergence of the Daimyo
Political Developments
Ashikaga Rule
The Decline of the Shoen
The Onset of the Time of Troubles
The Rise of the Daimyo and the Warring States
The Peasantry
Economic Growth
The Influence of Zen Buddhism Upon Culture
Other Cultural Developments

6 The Restoration of Order
Oda Nobunaga
Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Hideyoshi’s Domestic Policies
The Ninja
Azuchi-Momoyama Culture
Gender and Sexuality
Contact with the West
Christianity in Japan
The Introduction of Western Things

7 The Early Tokugawa Period
The Triumph of Tokugawa Ieyasu
The Power Structure
Administrative Structure
The Administration of Justice
Social Structure
The Samurai
The Peasants
The Townspeople
Other Classes
Family Hierarchy and Women

8 Intellectual and Cultural Developments in Tokugawa Japan
The Zhu Xi School in Japan
The Wang Yang-Ming School
Ancient Learning
National Learning
Agrarian Egalitarianism
The Culture of the Townspeople
Prose Fiction
Woodblock Printing and Painting
The State of Buddhism

9 The Late Tokugawa Period
Political Developments
Economic Problems
The Pleasure Quarters
The Lot of the Peasants
Population Control
Peasant Uprisings
Agricultural Improvements
Intellectual Currents: Reformers and Critics

10 The Fall of the Tokugawa Bakufu
The Immediate Consequences
The Mentality of Sonno Joi
The Rise of the Anti-Bakufu Forces
The Meji Restoration

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted March 11, 2010

    Perfect Text for Begining-Intermediate Japanese Historians

    As a Japanese historian, author, and an individual that used to live/work in Japan, I found the Mikiso Hane text to be extremely well-written, easy to understand, and thorough. Despite its length, it cover the major events in pre-modern Japanese history, and does so without the lofty academic wording that makes other texts of this genre slow/tedious. For any student of Japanese history, this would make an excellent main text or supplemental source for a college class on pre-modern Japan.

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