Japan as we know today is like a tech hub of the world. But little did we know japan celebrated 150 years in 2018 of old Tokugawa Shogunate being overthrown and replaced by the teenage emperor in the city of Tokyo.
What does it take you to persuade a regional mindset population to have a modern way of living life?
Telling them stories can be one.
Japan has the best human capital in comparison to other developed nations in the world right now. But has it been this way always?
Were the Japanese always the most advanced of all?
Let’s give a look at a few books which take us to the journey of Japanese history.
Japan: A Modern History
- Author: James L. McClain
- Publisher: W. Norton & Company
This book covers every aspect of Japanese of their history be it social, political, cultural and economic events. This book details us about the most important events that took place in Japanese history from the 1600’s till present times.
Not only just the famous but also the important events which were overlooked by others are also mentioned in this book. In addition to the events and facts, this book also gives critical analyses of how political and economic decisions have also affected other sectors of japan in terms of development.
The author in this book not only explains the decisions and actions taken in japan but also explains the motive behind it. The author avoids adding any adjectives to not motivate the stereotypes.
Legends of Tono
- Author : Kunio Yanagita
- Publisher: Kunio Yanagita
Legends of tono were inscribed by the first Japanese folklorist in the early 20th century. This book is different from others as it records the anecdotes of people of tono.it consist of supernatural and traditional tales of the northern village of tono.
When the modernization struck Kunio was scared of these villages were also taken over by the corruptions of modern cities so he wanted to record all this before it completely vanished out.
This book is an account of how these rural people lived and worked before these modern cities took over. Kunio had no idea that his work than would be renowned as a classic 100 years later. This book serves as a guide to the village of tono.
A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present
- Author: Andrew Gordon
- Publisher: Oxford University Press
Starting from events that occurred during the days of the Tokugawa feudalism to the 19th-century revolution this book covers the last two centuries of japan in detail.
It details us about the revolution by Samurai which ended up in modernizing the city, the people adopting western culture from their hairstyles to their clothing culture.
The unique part of this book is that it tells you the story of modern-day japan free of stereotypes and half judgments.
The negative side to this book is it does not gives you a detailed account of incidents that took place in modern japan. It is good for a general and an overview of modern japan but not if you want to have a deep study of particular incidents.
But this still remains one of the best books penned by one of the finest Japanese scholars.
A Concise History of Japan
- Author: Brett L. Walker
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Written in a crisp yet clear language this book gives you a brief yet detailed account of Japanese history.
This book starts with the chapter about hunters and gathers which were called the Jomon people who were known for their till date appreciated pottery skills. The book subsequently goes on with the important events that took place in the history of japan be it the outbreak of smallpox in japan. This book also takes a particular interest in the environmental challenges faced by the Japanese over the years and how the challenges were surmounted. The author also tackles key themes regarding Japan’s relationships with its minorities, state and economic development, and the uses of science and medicine
This book follows the japan’s journey from the world war 2 to till date’s modernization. This also tells us about Japanese history through researching Japan’s old archaeological remains.
A Diplomat In japan
- Author: Sir Ernest Satow
- Publisher: Cambridge university press
Spending 21 years as a diplomat in japan, japan had its best 2 decades arguably with Satow in that rank. He was one of the key witnesses of starting of the modern era of Japan.
His book is enclosed with anecdotes, tales of disruptable behavior. Being a diplomat himself his book also talks about his diplomat encounters and political aspects.
Not only a diplomat and writer, but Satow was also a man of great humor which can also be seen in his writings.
Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan
- Author: Herbert P. Bix
- Publisher: Harper Perennial
This book basically explains to you how japan transformed into a modern world under the rule of emperor of Hirohito and also about pre and post world war 2.
This book is different from others as it does not have a great number of pages getting into the skin of Japanese history but only talking about the transition period.
This book talks about the contribution of Hirohito in making japan what it is today and also his contribution during WW2.
Though the author tells us about the missing pieces of information this book unravels the mysteries of emperor Hirohito
This book is one of the best to be read on this subject
The Tale of Genji
- Author: Murasaki Shikibu
- Publisher: Penguin Classics
Considered as the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji is written in the observational style of writing. This novel consists of around 800 courtly poems known as waka. This novel is like an introduction to the rich culture of early japan, be it there art form, entertainment, daily life, etc.
The novel centers around the life story of a handsome prince Genji and how his life was centered around different women in his life.
A History of Japan
- Author: R. H. P. Mason, J. C. Caiger
- Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
This book is a complete package on the history of japan. Starting from the ancient japan to the start of its modern times. This book like other details about the most important events of Japanese history, tells us about the pre and post-war conditions of japan and the events that took place.
The current edition focuses on the origins of Japanese civilization including their dance and art forms of people from 600BC to present day.
The current edition has been divided into 4 parts for a detailed and better explanation for people.
Yamato, the Nana and Heian periods, and the creation of a unified state.
Buddhism, Kamakura and Muroachi periods, rule by military houses, and the failure of the Askikaga rule.
Early Modern Japan
society and culture in early modern Japan, and the Japanese feudalism under the Tokugawa administration.
Modernization policies, the Meiji era, from consensus to the crisis (1912-1937) and eventual solutions through force.
Though this is a widely accepted book it was criticized by many people for its style of writing and the point of view.
Due to being too much in detail the author is also blamed for giving unnecessary information making it lengthy.