Japan: A Short Cultural History

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Stanford University Press, 1978 - History - 548 pages
1 Review
Its penetrating analysis of institutions, sensitive interpretations of cultural developments, and stylistic charm contrasted with the plodding pedestrian surveys and over-written anecdotal accounts that had hitherto served in the Occident as introductions to Japanese history.
  

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Review: Japan: A Short Cultural History

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Another great book from Sansom Read full review

Contents

PART ONEEARLY HISTORY I The Origins I
1
Early Myths and Chronicles
22
Native Institutions and Foreign Inter course
36
The Indigenous Cult
45
The Introduction of Chinese Learning
63
Cultural Relations with China and the Political Reform of Taikwa
83
PART TWONARA VI Confucianism and Buddhism
108
Art and Letters
138
Religion and the Arts
224
Chinese Learning
232
The Native Literature
237
Late Heian Buddhism
243
Heian Art
248
A Summary of Political Events in the Heian
260
PART FOURKAMAKURA
274
PART FIVEMUROMACHI
351

Art
143
Law and Administration
161
A Summary of Political Events in the Nara Period
178
PART THREETHE HEIAN PERIOD X The New Capital and the Provinces
188
The Development of Chinese Institutions on Japanese Soil
206
PART SIXSENGOKU
404
PART SEVENYEDO
444
CHAPTER PAGE
498
Index
532
Copyright

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About the author (1978)

Born in London in 1883, George B. Sansom went on to serve in the great British diplomatist scholar tradition. As a youngster, he was educated at a lycee in France. Later he attended Giessen and Marburg universities. In the years following 1903, he held various posts in the consular and diplomatic service of Great Britain, from the early 1920s to 1940 serving as a key adviser in the British embassy in Tokyo.During this time, he amassed a great amount of knowledge about Japanese history and culture, and during and after World War II he acted in numerous advisory positions on Pacific affairs. Following the war he became Professor of Japanese studies at Columbia University and from 1949 to 1955 was director of the East Asian Institute. Sansom's dense but attractively written work on the great sweep of Japanese history influenced two generations of readers and students. In particular, his Japan: A Short Cultural History (1931) was the first text of choice for both the generation before and the generation after the war. His grand histories were the first in Western languages to draw heavily on the extensive historical literature in Japanese, and many of the questions he first raised more than a half century ago remain of critical interest today. Sansom's work continues to be of interest for the richness of writing and the quality of insight.

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