By Curtis Andressen

A entire historical past of the land of the emerging solar, from its old origins to its interesting current. Few nations were the topic of quite a bit scholarly consciousness but stay so elusive. An more and more regular kingdom via shared tourism and company relationships, there's nonetheless greatly approximately Japan and its previous that defies categorization or generalization; greatly that leaves the customer wondered. Who precisely are the japanese? Are they peace-loving or warlike? Creators of stunningly appealing artwork varieties or destroyers of pristine common environments? Isolationist or expansionist? thoughtful of different cultures or arrogantly dismissive? keen contributors of the overseas neighborhood or shy and frightened of enticing with others? Deeply conventional or hugely Westernised? Wildly winning or perched at the fringe of financial disaster? Japan has lengthy been characterised by means of such deeply divergent interpretations. the following, Curtis Andressen delves into Japan's massive historical past to provide 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 progress and modern uncertainty, Andressen lines the foremost elements of eastern tradition and the way those have manifested within the country's political procedure, economic system and society to create a special id. it truly is meant for someone with a pragmatic reason behind understanding extra approximately Japan - scholars, academics, travelers, company humans - in addition to these for whom clean insights into Japan's wealthy tradition and exact 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)

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Confucianism is a theme which runs through Japanese society in many different ways, and has had an impact on the social system from early state development to feudal times through to the present. Politically, Japanese leaders accepted the Chinese concept of a centralised state, though the Japanese emperor rarely enjoyed the power accorded his Chinese counterpart. The complex Chinese bureaucratic system was also adopted to reinforce the power of the centre. Borrowed, too, was an intricate system of court ranks.

In its journey across China, Mahayana Buddhism also picked up a range of Chinese characteristics and by the time it arrived in Japan it had a heaven and hell, numerous deities, and alternative interpretations of Buddhist teachings and ways to achieve enlightenment. These differing views led to the emergence of multiple sects, which have had varying historical impacts. Buddhism brought an element of structure to Japanese religion. In spite of early secular frictions, reflecting the power − of rival clans and other groups with vested interests, Shinto and Buddhism fitted together with relative ease, the two belief systems broadly complementing each other as they dealt with essentially different aspects of a person’s life.

Various forms of manipulation included marriage to Fujiwara women, which meant that subsequent emperors had Fujiwara mothers. Eventually the Fujiwara clan came to rule in place of the imperial family, despite ongoing friction with abdicated emperors who tried to control their younger replacements. The height of Fujiwara power came with the rule of Fujiwara no Michinaga (r. 995–1027) who saw several emperors come and go. Many Fujiwara leaders during this period also assumed the title of kanpaku, or ‘civil dictator’.

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