Modern Japan: A Historical Survey

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Westview Press, 2001 - History - 554 pages
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In this newly revised edition of his readable and thoughtful survey, Mikiso Hane presents the essential facts of modern Japanese history. He integrates political events with the cultural, economic, and intellectual activities of each period, and he is sensitive to the conditions of life in all strata of the population. The new edition covers a variety of important developments through the 1990s, giving special consideration to how traditional Japanese modes of thought and behavior have affected these recent developments.As background for his study of the modern era, Hane summarizes the early history of Japan, with attention to institutions that have molded the nature of Japanese society—including Shinto, the Emperor system, Buddhism, and feudalism. Hane then sets the stage for modern Japan with a detailed and analytical discussion of the Tokugawa period.The survey takes on immediacy as it chronicles the growth of Westernization in the nineteenth century and the ascendancy of militarism in the twentieth. The chapters on Meiji Japan balance politics and economics with a close look at social conditions, education, and religion. The story of Japan’s role in World War II, its defeat in 1945, and the occupation is told dispassionately, but from a Japanese vantagepoint. Hane’s portrait of life in postwar Japan is enriched by material on contemporary literature, Japanese youth culture, and other intellectual developments.The last two chapters, which have been updated and reorganized, focuses on the dramatic economic surge since the end of World War II and the accompanying social changes in life-style and attitudes, particularly for women and the working class. Reiterating themes that permeate the book, a final section reviews Japan’s relations with the outside world, especially with the United States, and the ongoing tension between the old and the new, the traditional and the recent social, intellectual, and cultural developments. A useful, updated bibliography and well-chosen illustrations enhance the text.

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User Review  - ccjolliffe - LibraryThing

Deft general text; more ample than Richard Storry's book, and obviously more up-to-date than WG Beasley's famous "Modern History of Japan" from 1963. Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Mikiso Hane is professor emeritus of history at Knox College and has written extensively on Japan for over twenty-five years.

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