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Hiroshi66

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Well, I saw Charlie's topic in Literature and Arts and thought that we should have a similar topic except this time on the best book on Japanese History.

I think the greatest book in Japanese History is Japan: Its History and Culture by W. Scott Morton and J. Kenneth Olenik (some sources list a different but similar cover and list Charlton Lewis as the author with Scott Morton on the website but the cover reads Olenik and Morton - trying to get that cleared up - I will post a reply with the correction). It was written in the 1970s but was revised in 2004 with excellent and up-to-date information, even including Koizumi's decision to send troops to Iraq. It covers prehistory to the 2004 LDP elections. A great read.
 

Apollo

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Best book on Japanese history??? Well, I can't possibly say: "THIS is the best one", as it all depends on period, theme of study etc..
However, in the genre of basic textbooks covering the most "important" facts is a highly acclaimed book by Marius B. Jansen, The Making of Modern Japan (2001(?)).

It is definately worth a read!!! :)

The link at amazon:Click here
 

acquiredtarget

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Thanks for the suggestions, I'll have to check 'em both out 👍 I'm currently reading A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present by Andrew Gordon. I think its pretty good. Don't know if its the greatest tho' :)
Amazon.com
Barnes and Noble.com
 

Hiroshi66

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Sorry if I confused some of you by not clarifying what era - so I'll clarify now. This is the best book on general history - from prehistory to the modern era - what covers just general Japanese history the best?
 

Glenn

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Well, then I guess A History of Japan: From Stoneage to Superpower would be one that you'd want to look at.
 

danfaz

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I agree with Miss apollo7. Jansen's book is quite thorough (almost 800 pages) and covers Tokugawa, Meiji, imperialism, etc.
 

Hiroshi66

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Glenn ~ Yeah. This was meant as a poll, btw - not advice for which book I should buy - I already made my decision on what the ultimate J-history book is (its my opinion) :) - but I shall check it out. I think they wrote a new edition for it..

Jensen's book is great - however it doesn't cover pre-Tokugawa times. If he wrote another book on general J-history I would definately purchase it.
 

Apollo

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danfaz said:
I agree with Miss apollo7. Jansen's book is quite thorough (almost 800 pages) and covers Tokugawa, Meiji, imperialism, etc.

I am glad someone agrees with me..
It is definately one of the best (general) history books on Japan...
Jansen got soooooooooooo many positive reviews because of this particular book, and it is basically used many places in the academia when teaching general Japanese history.

Another (general) Japanese history book about the occupation of Japan is a book by J. Dower, who wrote Embracing Defeat.
Dower is a great authority on the Japanese occupation.

If it should cover most of Japanese history, there is the Penguin classic written by Richard Storry, A History of Modern Japan.

Personally, I am not too fond of the general textbooks on history, as the greatest insights come from more specialised books of course.
 

Hiroshi66

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Yes, Jensen's book is the best book concentrating on modern Japan. I really like his information. I recieved the book for Christmas, and it had a nice variety of pictures too.
 

senseiman

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My favorite is the 3 volume "A History of Japan" By George Sansom. It covers all of Japanese history from pre-history until the Meiji Restoration and is a fascinating read. I highly recommend it.
 

Hiroshi66

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Yeah, I have heard a lot of good things about Sansom. I wish he had stayed alive long enough to write a final volume on the rest of Japanese history, but he died. He has written a good general history as well, but its concentration is on mostly social and cultural history.
 

Apollo

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Hiroshi66 said:
Yeah, I have heard a lot of good things about Sansom. I wish he had stayed alive long enough to write a final volume on the rest of Japanese history, but he died. He has written a good general history as well, but its concentration is on mostly social and cultural history.

A relative, K. Sansom has written a good book about George Sansom:
Sir George Sansom and Japan. 🙂
 

Apollo

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Hiroshi66 said:
Thanks. :)

Its a biography of him?

Yes, it is a book about him, his life and time and covers Japanese history during this period of time.
The Briton Sansom was a great Japan-expert, diplomat and his life sure was interesting. Another very interesting "fellow" to read about in the same field is Joseph Grew.
🙂
 

Sensuikan San

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I dunno if it's the best ... there must be so many I haven't read ....

But for the immediate Post-World War II period .. you must read "Embracing Defeat" by John W. Dower.

I learned a lot from that one ! (And it did get a Pulitzer Prize !)

Regards,
 

Apollo

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Sensuikan San said:
I dunno if it's the best ... there must be so many I haven't read ....

But for the immediate Post-World War II period .. you must read "Embracing Defeat" by John W. Dower.

I learned a lot from that one ! (And it did get a Pulitzer Prize !)

Regards,

AGREE!!

John Dower is a great authority on the subject of Japanese history post-1945. (especially the occupation).
Definately one of my best books on the Japanese occupation. Dower has also written a great book called "War withour Mercy," which is worth reading!!!
His articles on propaganda during the Pacific War is also a great read!!!
 

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Ditto! John W. Dower’s books all the way. Read both of his books that are mentioned in the previous posts.
 
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