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Showing 1-10 of 16 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 24 reviews
on April 21, 2016
The book Japan It’s History and Culture was a very informative, and dense read. The pros of the book is that it will tell you about all of what has happened in Japan, all of it ranging from how it was formed to it’s current economy. Because, of that if you are doing a report on Japan it would be a perfect read. Just be warned that it is very dense, dry read that will make it feel more like a textbook than a book, I would recommend that it was read in small sections rather than all at once. Along with it doesn't talk much about the anime, otaku culture of Japan only the history of the country. But overall it is a good read for learning about Japan’s history and culture, and would recommend it to people who are doing a report on Japan, or people who want to learn about Japan.

For my need I wanted a book that will inform me about just both the historical culture, and modern day Anime and Gaming culture of Japan. But for me the book only did half of what I wanted it to do, it almost only talked about the history of Japan. It mentioned Japan's film a little bit but not to the extent that I wanted it to. As well as the book was terribly dry, and for me the book dragged on. But the positives of the book would be that after I read the book I felt accomplished, and I felt as if I had a firm understanding of Japan’s culture. The book is a good read and enjoyable if you do it in small sections. I would not recommend it if you want a book on the anime, or gaming culture, because it will not tell you anything about it. But would if you need a book on the history of Japan.
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on August 5, 2009
There's no way you can expect a book of this length (about 300 pages) to fully cover the history of a civilization as ancient, rich, and varied as Japan, but this book does a good job of providing a fairly comprehensive introduction into the main trends in Japanese culture from prehistory to the modern day. As might be expected, the events of the 19th and 20th centuries occupy a considerable amount of the book, and a substantial percentage of the end of the book, which covers post-World War II Japan, was written by Olenik, who Morton specifically brought on to cover parts of modern Japanese culture which Morton is not an expert in. (The change in style is noticeable.)

Because this book is covering so much history in such a small number of pages, very few events are written about in detail. There is considerable discussion about the historical evolution of the cultural aspects of Japanese civilization (as opposed to the political or military), and the authors do a good job of emphasizing the particular nature of the shogunate and why the military used to hold so much power in Japan. By the end of the book, the authors also discuss the economic and pop culture aspects of Japan, which is appropriate in light of their status in the modern world.

If you're already reasonably well-versed in Japanese history, then this book isn't for you. The intended audience is probably students in an introduction to Japanese or East Asian history class, or perhaps the reasonably educated layperson who is ignorant about the main trends of Japanese history but is interested in learning more. As other reviewers have mentioned, this book provides a good foundation from which to start learning more about Japan.
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on December 12, 2016
I needed this book for my Early Japanese history class and I am so happy that my professor chose it as our textbook. Its a great size and not heavy in the slightly. The writers did a great job with each chapter, gives us facts while also making a great entertaining read. The text and visuals are wonderful and not at all hard to follow in the slightest.
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on September 26, 2015
Don't expect more than a bland textbook-style read. There's plenty of listing of facts but it reads with less flavor than an entry on Wikipedia, which at least covers the same amount of ground with more style. Personally speaking, I was disappointed, but I was looking for a broad overview of Japan's history and culture, how they developed together, with more of a narrative style...I was looking for the Edward Gibbon of Japanese history. What I found was the driest Japan 101 college history course conceivable.
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on October 6, 2016
I purchased this book as a textbook for a course on Eastern cultures. I enjoyed this book immensely, along with the China counterpart, and I feel like I learn something new every time I open the book. You can learn and enjoy this book whether reading cover to cover or jumping around different chapters. This book is an excellent addition to my library.
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on November 3, 2012
This is the text book utilized in the course on Chinese and Japanese History that was taught in CSUF during the autumn months of 1988, from the leading authority on the subject W. Scott Morton, that traces the migration of the Japanese people from the People's Republic of China to the land of the Rising Sun, aptly named as an allusion to the worship of the Sun God, namely encompassed in the religion of Shintoism, as they migrated from the harsh cold weather of China to the warmer clime of Japan. Traces the development of Japanese culture and tradition from the days of imperial Japan to present.

Also discusses eminent Japanese literary books from the earliest periods of history to present as well as art forms, the religion of Shintoism - its traditions, practices and rituals; while incorporating elements of Japanese philosophy and the influence of Buddhism on the Japanese people, in particular the Samurai.
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on January 19, 2017
Interesting, I guess, but really dry and hard to follow. Japanese culture is so much more interesting than how this book presents it.
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on February 10, 2014
The book provides good information on the Japanese history and culture. It is easy to read and well written. The book also includes some pictures that help in understanding and demonstrating some topics covered in the text. Purchased this book for one of my classes and found it to be very helpful.
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Good basic outline of the history of Japan. Tauhgt me things I didn't know. An enjoyable read.
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on June 14, 2010
This was an interesting and broad overview of Japanese history and culture. It was very informative to the casual reader, but to readers who know a lot about the culture and history it was a fairly basic review. It covered a lot of information in such a short amount of space. I would recommend this book to the extreme anime fans who know nothing about Japanese culture outside of its anime.
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