A Short History of Japan: From Samurai to Sony (A Short by Curtis Andressen

By Curtis Andressen

A finished background of the land of the emerging sunlight, from its old origins to its attention-grabbing current. Few international locations were the topic of rather a lot scholarly recognition but stay so elusive. An more and more well-known state via shared tourism and company relationships, there's nonetheless very much approximately Japan and its prior that defies categorization or generalization; very much that leaves the customer questioned. Who precisely are the japanese? Are they peace-loving or warlike? Creators of stunningly appealing artwork varieties or destroyers of pristine ordinary environments? Isolationist or expansionist? thoughtful of different cultures or arrogantly dismissive? keen contributors of the overseas neighborhood or shy and petrified of enticing with others? Deeply conventional or hugely Westernised? Wildly winning or perched at the fringe of financial ruin? Japan has lengthy been characterised by way of such deeply divergent interpretations. the following, Curtis Andressen delves into Japan's sizeable historical past to give an explanation for the present demanding situations the rustic faces. From the sunrise of time whilst the 1st settlers arrived within the islands of Japan, via feudalism with its heavy imprint of authoritarianism to 20th-century adventurism, American profession, breakneck monetary development and modern uncertainty, Andressen strains the most important features of jap tradition and the way those have manifested within the country's political procedure, economic system and society to create a special identification. it really is meant for someone with a pragmatic reason behind realizing extra approximately Japan - scholars, academics, travelers, enterprise humans - in addition to these for whom clean insights into Japan's wealthy tradition and certain historical past may make compelling studying.

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Extra info for A Short History of Japan: From Samurai to Sony (A Short History of Asia series)

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The great Buddhist statue in Nara—the Daibutsu of − daiji temple—was completed in 749. It stands about the To 16 metres tall and weighs 560 000 kilograms, an impressive example of religious art that even today attracts visitors from throughout Japan and around the world. 37 A Shor t His tor y of Japan The Nara period may be seen as a bridge between the establishment of the Japanese state, which set in place a number of the fundamental characteristics of Japanese society, and the sophistication of the Heian period (784–1185), a time of flourishing Japanese culture which preceded control of the country by military elites.

This was a time of courtly elegance in which the arts flourished in an aesthetic, cultivated and highly ceremonial atmosphere—some say effeminate and over-refined. It was also a time of decay that saw power slowly slip away from the emperor. A unique system of government evolved, where the emperor became essentially a figurehead while powerful families ruled from behind the scenes (though this had already occurred periodically), a system that was to prevail for most of Japan’s subsequent history.

By the time this first Japanese state ended a number of characteristics were apparent. The status of the imperial family had been set firmly in place, and the mythology written within the next few years accorded it divine status. An attempt to count the Japanese people was undertaken (the population was estimated at about five million), and occupational categories were recorded that would allow them to be more efficiently taxed and controlled. The structured system of religion generally reinforced the status quo.

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