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Book recommendations (history, culture) 2010/11/17 02:35
Hello, Japan-Guide

I am looking for some book recommendations about various topics regarding Japan. There isn't a specific reason behind any of my requests. I am just looking for some more information about Japan because I like to learn and I like Japan.

History -
I am looking for either a book for each of the major periods of Japanese history, or one book that covers each period moderately well. I am really just looking to become more knowledgeable about Japan's past (pre-modern 20th century).

Culture -
I am mostly looking for information on how Japan tends to think or view problems or trends in society. I think it is important to learn how a culture (majority of it at least) views the world.

Religion -
I only have very vague understandings of Buddhism and Shintoism. I would like something akin to a 'Dummies Guide,' but more Japan focused and maybe with some information on how these separate religions impact today's Japanese culture.

Textbooks suggestions are welcome in addition to other non-fiction works. I really appreciate the help!
by Alex (guest)  

history 2010/11/17 13:45
History books about late Tokugawa-Early Modern Japan are:

The Making of Modern Japan by Kenneth B. Pyle
- a good book giving you an idea of Japanese late feudalistic society, revolution, and embracing of western thought and technology.

Embracing Defeat by John Dower
- a good read that gives you an idea of what it was like in Japan during/after WWII.

Other than that, if you want a dummies guide to Japanese society, culture, religion, just put "Japan" into Wikipedia... You'll probably learn just about as much a Japan Studies major at uni does.
by jmarkley rate this post as useful

suggestion 2010/11/21 01:55
I would suggest that you get a hold of a copy of Japanese Inn by Oliver Statler. This is not a scholarly work, but rather a popular history built around an actual (but former) ryokan in Okitsu, Shizuoka-Ken. The great thing about it is that it is very readable, and incorporates a lot of history in a reasonable volume. I found it rather absorbing. It was a best seller back in the 60's.
by koniero rate this post as useful

... 2010/11/22 09:07
by geogeek1 rate this post as useful

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