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CompleteMartialArts.com - A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present

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Manufacturer: Oxford University Press, USA
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 952
EAN: 9780195110616
ISBN: 0195110617
Label: Oxford University Press, USA
Manufacturer: Oxford University Press, USA
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 400
Publication Date: 2003-01-09
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Studio: Oxford University Press, USA

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Editorial Reviews:

In The Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present, Andrew Gordon paints a richly nuanced and strikingly original portrait of the last two centuries of Japanese history. He takes students from the days of the shogunate--the feudal overlordship of the Tokugawa family--through the modernizing revolution launched by midlevel samurai in the late nineteenth century; the adoption of Western hairstyles, clothing, and military organization; and the nation's first experiments with mass democracy after World War I. Gordon offers the finest synthesis to date of Japan's passage through militarism, World War II, the American occupation, and the subsequent economic rollercoaster. But the true ingenuity and value of Gordon's approach lies in his close attention to the non-elite layers of society. Here students will see the influence of outside ideas, products, and culture on home life, labor unions, political parties, gender relations, and popular entertainment. The book examines Japan's struggles to define the meaning of its modernization, from villages and urban neighborhoods, to factory floors and middle managers' offices, to the imperial court. Most importantly, it illuminates the interconnectedness of Japanese developments with world history, demonstrating how Japan's historical passage represents a variation of a process experienced by many nations and showing how the Japanese narrative forms one part of the interwoven fabric of modern history.
With a sustained focus on setting modern Japan in a comparative and global context, The Modern History of Japan is ideal for undergraduate courses in modern Japanese history, Japanese politics, Japanese society, or Japanese culture.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: College Textbook
Comment: I mistakenly didn't realise that this is a college textbook. It also reads like a college textbook on Japanese history. As a matter of fact it feels like I am studying! Anyway, a fine book but be warned, it's like taking Modern Japanese History 101.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Untangling and Navigating 200 Years of History
Comment: In A Modern History of Japan, Andrew Gordon sets to do the ambitious - to give a bottom up approach to writing a historical narrative - without ignoring the big picture. Gordon intertwines several interrelated events in Japan's continuing history pertaining to social markers - from the Tokugawa era to the present. By doing this he brings to presence a myriad of themes.

Gordon's book is a traditional chronological examination of the history of Japan. However, Gordon takes history to a different level by adding complexity. Gordon takes the time to examines, in some detail the issue of women in Japan's fast changing society, the ever changing identity markers of the Japanese youth with reference to their role in society, from the Tokugawa to the post-war era. Lets face it, modernization and democratization in Japan has been turbulent to say the least, and as examined in this sweeping book by Gordon, the causes and effects are many and as discussed previously - complicated. Gordon has a wonderful handle on the complexity despite his position as an outsider to the culture.

Deftly opening with the fall of the shogunate, Gordon deftly untangles and presents the interior and exterior pressures that form the impetus for the civil strife and the eventual Meiji "restoration." The "restorers" according to Gordon were alarmed by and reacted to European colonization. Gordon explains that the rejoinder to change, by all classes is intertwined with nationalism. Gordon navigates us through the postwar Japan were the national polity was more worried with reconstruction than with "history," setting the stage for the so-called Japanese economic miracle up to 1990 - which is really a result of Realpolitik and historical luck.

The book is nothing less than a comprehensive look into two centuries of Japanese history. The eclectic but solid mix of topics/themes includes landlord-tenant dealings since the Tokugawa era to the present, and lastly, the dangers Japan has to navigate through in this challenging yet promising post war era. Gordon ends the book hurriedly with a quick examination of the ever-changing party politics horizon in the present era.

Miguel Llora

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Excellent history book
Comment: This book was easy to read and understand. I enjoyed it so much that I did not even sell it at the end of the class. I reccomend this book to anyone even remotely interested in Japanese history.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Great Overview of Japanese Histor
Comment: Andrew Gordon covers the important aspects of Japanese history through time. He starts off by dealing with the Tokugawa and ends with the current political situation at the turn of the century. The appendixes provide a good account of Japanese government by listing the prime ministers and the country's election results since the end of WWII. Contemporary History of Japan focuses on important aspects of the Tokugawa regime such as its political, social and economic set up of Tokugaw Japan and focuses on its eventual downfall. The book continues with the Samurai revolution and the Meiji revolution that set the path for Japan to become a world power. Gordon then continues Japan in the early 20th centiru and how the countr began to change internallly as a result and how Japan dealt the Depressoin Crises in the 1930s, its wars with China and Russia and its eventual role in WWII and the American influence in the post WWII years. After the end of WWII, Japan becomes a dominant figure on the world stage with rapid economic growth unparalled else where in the world resulting in massive changes in society. Gordon does deal with Japanese economic troubles in the post WWII era such as the oil crises in the 1970s and the how Japanese bubble burst as well as other issues Japan is facing such as low-birth rates and changing gender roles.

Great background to Japan overall.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Outstanding
Comment: This is an outstanding book on the modern history of Japan since the early 19th century. Mr. Gordon writes exceptionally well; unlike most academics, his sentences are mercifully short. You won`t get lost in any run-on sentences that take up half a page. Having said that, however, this is not a book just for children. People who have lived in Japan for years or who have studied Japan extensively as graduate students will find something to learn in this book. The book has many appealing aspects. It devotes considerable time to discussing the lives of ordinary Japanese, and it makes for fascinating reading. The book is relatively short and can be finished in one week. Finally, the author`s emphasis on the similarities between Japan and other nations in the tumultuous modern era is most welcome. The Japanese are not a unique, bizarre people; like all people everywhere, modernity is something they have adjusted to and dealt with, with varying degrees of success and failure. Mr. Gordon`s book is well worth reading.

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