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Japan (Country Topics) Library Binding – August 1, 2005

9 customer reviews

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Library Binding, August 1, 2005
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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Tames ( Encounters with Japan , LJ 6/1/92, among others) has written an interesting and informative introduction to Japan. The first two-thirds of the book comprise a mad dash through Japanese history, from prehistoric times to the 1990s. This section of the book has as much detail and scope as the brief space allows. The final third consists of topical information: "Food and Drink," "Prime Ministers," and so forth. Blunders include a bizarrely rose-tinted view of the Yakuza crime syndicate and the lack of any real treatment of Shinto. Although hampered by brevity, Tames does manage to hold the history together, and the book is fairly engaging. Recommended for most travel collections.
- Chuck Malenfant, Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 4^-6. The strength of this user-friendly guide, part of the Country Topics for Craft Projects series, is that it provides the kind of cultural particulars that are hard to find in comparable books. Unfortunately, both textual and visual information is sometimes sketchy or unclear. For instance, the section "Around Japan" states that Tokyo's tall skyscrapers are near Shinjuku, "the city's busiest station." Is that a bus, train, or subway station? In addition, a map that claims to show Japan's most important cities doesn't. And while a "sharp knife" is required to make radish flowers, safety precautions are not mentioned. Despite these shortcomings, this overview has a bustling, accessible format that combines brightly colored cartoons with formal photographs. The wealth of information about sports, food, language, holidays, the arts, poetry, and history leads right in to craft projects that should satisfy both teachers and students. Julie Corsaro --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Series: Country Topics
  • Library Binding: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Sea to Sea Publications (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932889973
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932889970
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,935,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mike Clarken on May 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
By title, this book, indeed this series, may put fear into the reader of being a too-general and non-scholarly vast account of a subject matter too complex for any quality to come from the short format. Tames proves these fears wrong almost from the beginning in this indeed scholarly, engaging, and very well-balanced account of the history of one of the most misunderstood nations among today's world leaders. Tames does write a very general account, but "general" can be better understood as "broad" and "far-reaching" in this narritive. Regardless of the period discussed, his approach is rarely too single-tracked. This is a developmental history, and as such, properly includes development of Japanese government, culture, arts and literature, and the cumulative effects of this development onto the subsequent generations of Japanese. Tames does an excellent though suggestive job of relating the development of the Japanese nation to that of its people, and vice-versa. Throughout, except for the beginning, where it is often difficult to make any pre- and early histories come to life, the narritive flows freely with a purpose, and Tames' clear interest in his subject shines through the pages to take the reader with him on the easy, air-conditioned, and quick monorail tour through the safari of Japanese history, which is exactly what it is meant to be. In addition to the narritive is an excellent bibliography with commentary, as well as an entire reference section on everything Japanese from language to food and drink to holidays and their meanings. Especially for ex-pats living in Japan who don't want to be bogged down with anything dry or without connection to their experience, this is a quick, excellent read. It does a great job of subtly explaining the oft-seemingly unexplainables of Japan today.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "hanada_tattsu" on February 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Contrary to the popular opinion here, I enjoyed this book. For some one who does not really know much about Japan, or Japanese history, for that matter, the book is great. It starts off with a short prehistory, followed by the first Yamato state in Japan, followed by the Heian era, and the different shogunal dynasties, such as the Tokugawa and the Kamakura Shogunates. Then, it gives information about the Meiji Period, Japan's time as a power, and its defeat in World War II. It ends with a description of Modern Japan politically, socially, and economically.
One person said that Buddhism gets no treatment. Actually, it does. All of the important Buddhist sects (Tendai, Shingon, Nichiren, Pure Land, and Zen) are mentioned and information given about them. I do have to say, however, that Shintoism gets hardly any treatment.
And I do wisht hat the book gave more pictures and more information about the imperial family. But apart from that, I would get it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Collins on November 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is certainly an ambitious book. It attempts to cover thousands of years of Japanese history, as well as explain various aspects of Japanese culture and religion. It is highly readable however the cast of historic characters can become overwhelming.

I will first list the strengths of the book. The book does a very good job of explaining the centralization of Japan under a single Emperor and then the process by which the royal family was relegated (and overwhelmed) to court formality and ritual. A very curious tradition began whereby the Emperor would abdicate to a son or grandson who would then take on the all the responsibilities of court rituals and ceremonies. The abdicating emperor would then become a monk and live in a reclusive palace beside the main ceremonial palace. However, the former emperor would actually control the government while the 'official' emperor would be stuck with hours upon hours of court formality and ritual. A very wise system was thus developed that divided governing from the rituals of governing. The slow movement of power from Kyoto to Tokyo is also well documented. This period is marked by the rise of military dictators, Shoguns, who shared power with the royal family and frequently intermarried with the royal family so that eventually Shogun families had claims to the throne.

The book does a very good job of explaining the differences and similarities between Shinto and Buddhist religions and their combined influence on Japanese culture and spirituality.

The book has a weakness however that should be mentioned. The book does not discriminate well between landmarks and shrines that no longer exists and landmarks and shrines that are open to the public.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dick Johnson VINE VOICE on May 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This one volume overview of Japan's history is great for my use. I read a lot of books by Japanese authors. I wanted a source to go to for an overview of events referred to in the books I was reading. The inclusion of a timeline, gazetteer, lists of rulers and index make this a very handy book.

Every history book has its critics. There are always items wished for that weren't included and items that we have no interest in. For instance, I've never read a history book that I thought had enough maps. But that keeps the publishers of maps and atlases in business.

This is balanced for its intended audience. I have three in this series and I use them often.
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