Inventing Japan

Author: Ian Buruma
Publisher: Modern Library
ISBN: 9781588362827
Release Date: 2003-02-04
Genre: History

In a single short book as elegant as it is wise, Ian Buruma makes sense of the most fateful span of Japan’s history, the period that saw as dramatic a transformation as any country has ever known. In the course of little more than a hundred years from the day Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in his black ships, this insular, preindustrial realm mutated into an expansive military dictatorship that essentially supplanted the British, French, Dutch, and American empires in Asia before plunging to utter ruin, eventually emerging under American tutelage as a pseudo-Western-style democracy and economic dynamo. What explains the seismic changes that thrust this small island nation so violently onto the world stage? In part, Ian Buruma argues, the story is one of a newly united nation that felt it must play catch-up to the established Western powers, just as Germany and Italy did, a process that involved, in addition to outward colonial expansion, internal cultural consolidation and the manufacturing of a shared heritage. But Japan has always been both particularly open to the importation of good ideas and particularly prickly about keeping their influence quarantined, a bipolar disorder that would have dramatic consequences and that continues to this day. If one book is to be read in order to understand why the Japanese seem so impossibly strange to many Americans, Inventing Japan is surely it.

Re Inventing Japan

Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki
Publisher: M.E. Sharpe
ISBN: 0765633418
Release Date: 1997-12-24
Genre: History

An intellectual tour de force, Re-Inventing Japan is a major effort to rethink the contours of Japanese history, culture, and nationality. Challenging the mythology of a historically unitary, even monolithic Japan, this important book offers a unique perspective on culture and identity in modern Japan. During the past two decades, Japan, with her distinctive culture, has been considered a model for others to emulate. At the same time, critics have questioned this emphasis on Japanese uniqueness, seeking to reveal the darker elements -- the conformity and social pressures -- inherent in Japan's economic success. This book takes the debate a step further by examining the concepts that are used to understand modern Japan, focusing on such key issues as nature, culture, race, globalization, information, and democracy, to reveal how each concept has been applied and interpreted in modern Japan. The result points to a new approach to understanding Japan's place in today's world.

Inventing Japan

Author: William Chapman
Publisher: Prentice Hall
ISBN: UOM:39015024972658
Release Date: 1991-12
Genre: History

Debunks the myth that the success of modern Japan is a derivative of ancient samurai tradition and emperor worship, and states that the crucial first years after World War II shaped Japan's current economy and social structure

Re inventing Japan Nation Culture Identity

Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781317461159
Release Date: 2015-03-04
Genre: Literary Criticism

This text rethinks the contours of Japanese history, culture and nationality. Challenging the mythology of a historically unitary, even monolithic Japan, it offers a different perspective on culture and identity in modern Japan.

Mirror of Modernity

Author: Stephen Vlastos
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520206371
Release Date: 1998-05
Genre: History

This collection of essays challenges the notion that Japan's present cultural identity is the simple legacy of its pre-modern and insular past. Scholars examine "age-old" Japanese cultural practices and show these to be largely creations of the modern era.

The China Problem in Postwar Japan

Author: Robert Hoppens
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 9781472575470
Release Date: 2015-01-29
Genre: History

The 1970s were a period of dramatic change in relations between Japan and the People's Republic of China (PRC). The two countries established diplomatic relations for the first time, forged close economic ties and reached political agreements that still guide and constrain relations today. This book delivers a history of this foundational period in Sino-Japanese relations. It presents an up-to-date diplomatic history of the relationship but also goes beyond this to argue that Japan's relations with China must be understood in the context of a larger “China problem” that was inseparable from a domestic contest to define Japanese national identity. The China Problem in Postwar Japan challenges some common assertions or assumptions about the role of Japanese national identity in postwar Sino-Japanese relations, showing how the history of Japanese relations with China in the 1970s is shaped by the strength of Japanese national identity, not its weakness.

Product Safety and Liability Law in Japan

Author: Luke Nottage
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781134433896
Release Date: 2004-07-31
Genre: Business & Economics

Developing insights from a number of disciplines and with a details analysis of legislation, case law and academic theory, Product Safety and Liability Law in Japan contributes significantly to the understanding of contemporary Japan, its consumers and its law. It is also of practical use to all professionals exposed to product liability regimes evolving in Japan and other major economies.

Dominant Narratives of Colonial Hokkaido and Imperial Japan

Author: M. Mason
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9781137330888
Release Date: 2012-12-23
Genre: Literary Criticism

Recasts the commonly dismissed colonial project pursued in Hokkaido during the Meiji era (1868-1912) as a major force in the production of modern Japan's national identity, imperial ideology, and empire.

The Invention of Religion in Japan

Author: Jason Ananda Josephson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226412351
Release Date: 2012-10-03
Genre: Religion

Throughout its long history, Japan had no concept of what we call “religion.” There was no corresponding Japanese word, nor anything close to its meaning. But when American warships appeared off the coast of Japan in 1853 and forced the Japanese government to sign treaties demanding, among other things, freedom of religion, the country had to contend with this Western idea. In this book, Jason Ananda Josephson reveals how Japanese officials invented religion in Japan and traces the sweeping intellectual, legal, and cultural changes that followed. More than a tale of oppression or hegemony, Josephson’s account demonstrates that the process of articulating religion offered the Japanese state a valuable opportunity. In addition to carving out space for belief in Christianity and certain forms of Buddhism, Japanese officials excluded Shinto from the category. Instead, they enshrined it as a national ideology while relegating the popular practices of indigenous shamans and female mediums to the category of “superstitions”—and thus beyond the sphere of tolerance. Josephson argues that the invention of religion in Japan was a politically charged, boundary-drawing exercise that not only extensively reclassified the inherited materials of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto to lasting effect, but also reshaped, in subtle but significant ways, our own formulation of the concept of religion today. This ambitious and wide-ranging book contributes an important perspective to broader debates on the nature of religion, the secular, science, and superstition.

Inventing the Way of the Samurai

Author: Oleg Benesch
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191016738
Release Date: 2014-09-12
Genre: History

Inventing the Way of the Samurai examines the development of the 'way of the samurai' - bushidō - which is popularly viewed as a defining element of the Japanese national character and even the 'soul of Japan'. Rather than a continuation of ancient traditions, however, bushidō developed from a search for identity during Japan's modernization in the late nineteenth century. The former samurai class were widely viewed as a relic of a bygone age in the 1880s, and the first significant discussions of bushidō at the end of the decade were strongly influenced by contemporary European ideals of gentlemen and chivalry. At the same time, Japanese thinkers increasingly looked to their own traditions in search of sources of national identity, and this process accelerated as national confidence grew with military victories over China and Russia. Inventing the Way of the Samurai considers the people, events, and writings that drove the rapid growth of bushidō, which came to emphasize martial virtues and absolute loyalty to the emperor. In the early twentieth century, bushidō became a core subject in civilian and military education, and was a key ideological pillar supporting the imperial state until its collapse in 1945. The close identification of bushidō with Japanese militarism meant that it was rejected immediately after the war, but different interpretations of bushidō were soon revived by both Japanese and foreign commentators seeking to explain Japan's past, present, and future. This volume further explores the factors behind the resurgence of bushidō, which has proven resilient through 130 years of dramatic social, political, and cultural change.

The Dawn That Never Comes

Author: Michael Bourdaghs
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231503419
Release Date: 2003-10-18
Genre: Literary Criticism

A critical rethinking of theories of national imagination, The Dawn That Never Comes offers the most detailed reading to date in English of one of modern Japan's most influential poets and novelists, Shimazaki Toson (1872–1943). It also reveals how Toson's works influenced the production of a fluid, shifting form of national imagination that has characterized twentieth-century Japan. Analyzing Toson's major works, Michael K. Bourdaghs demonstrates that the construction of national imagination requires a complex interweaving of varied—and sometimes contradictory—figures for imagining the national community. Many scholars have shown, for example, that modern hygiene has functioned in nationalist thought as a method of excluding foreign others as diseased. This study explores the multiple images of illness appearing in Toson's fiction to demonstrate that hygiene employs more than one model of pathology, and it reveals how this multiplicity functioned to produce the combinations of exclusion and assimilation required to sustain a sense of national community. Others have argued that nationalism is inherently ambivalent and self-contradictory; Bourdaghs shows more concretely both how this is so and why it is necessary and provides, in the process, a new way of thinking about national imagination. Individual chapters take up such issues as modern medicine and the discourses of national health; ideologies of the family and its representation in modern literary works; the gendering of the canon of national literature; and the multiple forms of space and time that narratives of national history require.

Japanese Capitals in Historical Perspective

Author: Nicolas Fieve
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781136624827
Release Date: 2013-11-05
Genre: History

Japan's ability to develop its own brand of modernity has often been attributed in part to the sophistication of its cities. Concentrating on Kyoto, Edo and Tokyo, the contributors to this volume weave together the links between past and future, memory and vision, symbol and structure, between marginality and power, and between Japan's two great capital cities.

The Human Tradition in Modern Japan

Author: Anne Walthall
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
ISBN: 9781461665519
Release Date: 2002-01-01
Genre: History

The Human Tradition in Modern Japan is a collection of short biographies of ordinary Japanese men and women, most of them unknown outside their family and locality, whose lives collectively span the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Their stories present a counterweight to the prevailing stereotypes, providing students with depictions of real people through the records they have left-records that detail experiences and aspirations. The Human Tradition in Modern Japan offers a human-scale perspective that focuses on individuals, reconstitutes the meaning of people's experiences as they lived through them, and puts a human face on history. It skillfully bridges the divides between the sexes, between the local and the national, and between rural and urban, as well as spanning crucial moments in the history of modern Japan. The Human Tradition in Modern Japan is an excellent resource for courses on Japanese history, East Asian history, and peoples and cultures of Japan.

Technology of Empire

Author: Daqing Yang
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674010914
Release Date: 2010
Genre: History

Nearly half a century ago, the economic historian Harold Innis pointed out that the geographical limits of empires were determined by communications and that, historically, advances in the technologies of transport and communications have enabled empires to grow. This power of communications was demonstrated when Japanese Emperor Hirohitoâe(tm)s radio speech announcing Japanâe(tm)s surrender and the dissolution of its empire was broadcast simultaneously throughout not only the Japanese home islands but also all the territories under its control over the telecommunications system that had, in part, made that empire possible. In the extension of the Japanese empire in the 1930s and 1940s, technology, geo-strategy, and institutions were closely intertwined in empire building. The central argument of this study of the development of a communications network linking the far-flung parts of the Japanese imperium is that modern telecommunications not only served to connect these territories but, more important, made it possible for the Japanese to envision an integrated empire in Asia. Even as the imperial communications network served to foster integration and strengthened Japanese leadership and control, its creation and operation exacerbated long-standing tensions and created new conflicts within the government, the military, and society in general.