By Curtis Andressen
A entire background of the land of the emerging sunlight, from its historical origins to its interesting current. Few nations were the topic of loads scholarly realization but stay so elusive. An more and more primary state via shared tourism and enterprise relationships, there's nonetheless very much approximately Japan and its prior 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 attractive paintings types or destroyers of pristine traditional environments? Isolationist or expansionist? thoughtful of different cultures or arrogantly dismissive? prepared contributors of the foreign group or shy and frightened of enticing with others? Deeply conventional or hugely Westernised? Wildly profitable or perched at the fringe of bankruptcy? Japan has lengthy been characterised by way of such deeply divergent interpretations. right here, Curtis Andressen delves into Japan's huge background to give 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 career, breakneck monetary development and modern uncertainty, Andressen strains the foremost features of jap tradition and the way those have manifested within the country's political approach, economic system and society to create a different id. it really is meant for a person with a realistic cause of figuring out extra approximately Japan - scholars, academics, guests, enterprise humans - in addition to these for whom clean insights into Japan's wealthy tradition and distinctive background might make compelling examining.
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Additional info for A Short History of Japan: From Samurai to Sony (A Short History of Asia series)
The rise of the military—the Kamakura bakufu (1185–1333)1 The Kamakura period signals a shift in Japanese society, as anthropologist Ruth Benedict might have put it, from the chrysanthemum to the sword. The rather confused days of court bureaucrats trying to manage a complicated administrative structure while power steadily slipped from their hands was largely over. The more vigorous, focused power of the military took its place. The samurai were also innovators. They were not bound by the old formalities of the Japanese court, but developed their own very practical culture that attempted to restructure Japanese society.
In this way Buddhism became more than just a religious force; rather it was a force with a measure of political and military power—not so different from Christian groups such as the Knights Templar in the West. Various Buddhist sects also evolved with variations in doctrine and leadership (Tendai and Shingon were the largest) and periodically they came to blows as well. In the late Heian period a warrior class also emerged, a response to the abolition of military conscription in 792, with several points of origin.
Nara was the first ‘permanent’ capital, built between 708 and 712 to a design imitating the rectangular grid pattern of the imperial Chinese city of Ch’ang-an (Sian). The beauty of its design and architecture, and especially its temples, reflects the increasing 36 In the beginning Korea and Japan. refinement of the time, dominated by the influence of China, but with other influences coming from as far away as India, and even Greece and Italy. Buddhism in particular was the focus of a wave of artistic expression coming from the Japanese elites expressed in architecture, sculpture, drawing and music.