By Curtis Andressen
A entire heritage of the land of the emerging solar, from its old origins to its interesting current. Few international locations were the topic of a lot scholarly awareness but stay so elusive. An more and more usual state via shared tourism and enterprise 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 attractive artwork varieties or destroyers of pristine common environments? Isolationist or expansionist? thoughtful of alternative cultures or arrogantly dismissive? keen contributors of the foreign group or shy and frightened of enticing with others? Deeply conventional or hugely Westernised? Wildly winning or perched at the fringe of financial ruin? Japan has lengthy been characterised through such deeply divergent interpretations. right here, Curtis Andressen delves into Japan's significant background to give an explanation for the present demanding situations the rustic faces. From the sunrise of time while the 1st settlers arrived within the islands of Japan, via feudalism with its heavy imprint of authoritarianism to 20th-century adventurism, American career, breakneck financial progress and modern uncertainty, Andressen strains the foremost features of eastern tradition and the way those have manifested within the country's political procedure, economic climate and society to create a special id. it really is meant for a person with a pragmatic explanation for understanding extra approximately Japan - scholars, lecturers, visitors, company humans - in addition to these for whom clean insights into Japan's wealthy tradition and special historical past could make compelling studying.
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Extra resources for A Short History of Japan: From Samurai to Sony (A Short History of Asia series)
Before this there was no written language in Japan. Japanese scholars, however, were faced with a formidable task in adopting a writing system which is inherently different from the spoken language, and it took many centuries for it to evolve and to move out from the educated elites. The fundamental problem was that the existing Japanese word for a particular item and the Chinese pronunciation of the Chinese character for that item were different. This eventually led to multiple pronunciations (and sometimes multiple meanings) for many of the Chinese characters used in Japanese.
These books highlight the point that the Heian period has left Japan with a tremendous legacy of artistic creativity, attention to refined detail (such as emphasis on the visual presentation of food or gifts) and a respect for education that is still evident today. The Heian period came to an end, as dynasties often do, for a variety of reasons. One is the old story of the struggle for power between the central government and the periphery, where traditions of local identity and the rough topography of Japan made control of outlying regions difficult, which was reinforced as the power of the central government began to fade.
About this time a clan emerged as the leader in the Nara area through, it appears, mostly negotiation along with occasional warfare with other clans. The result was the Yamato Court, a political union of kingdoms with kofun culture as its base. The head of this court was known as the O‘kimi (‘great king’). The process took some time, however, and it was not until the early part of the sixth century that this clan can be seen as evolving into the imperial family. Japanese society at this time (in central/southern Honshu) appears to have been divided into three major groupings.