- Series: Belknap Press
- Hardcover: 936 pages
- Publisher: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (December 8, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674003349
- ISBN-13: 978-0674003347
- Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 2.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Making of Modern Japan (Belknap Press)
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
Jensen conducts his readers through the labyrinthine path taken by Japan over the last 400 years, from centralized feudalism under the shoguns of Edo (now Tokyo) to Japan's postwar emergence as one of the world's most developed and peacefulAnations. For Westerners the most fascinating aspect of this monumental work will be Japan's always uneasy, sometimes violent relationship with the outside world. Jensen pays careful attention to Japan's struggle to differentiate itself culturally from China and to subjugate Korea. With the West, Japan's first hesitant acceptance of Portuguese and Dutch traders gave way to contemptuous rejection of Western values, religion and culture. The debate thus framed has resounded throughout the last two centuries, and Jensen patiently explains how xenophobia and openness to the outside world have alternated as dominant impulses in Japanese life. Jensen does his utmost to make intelligible the complexities of Japanese politics since 1600. Besides politics, he ventures into economics, military affairs, literature, education, social organization and both high and popular culture. He observes that postwar Japanese managed "to achieve in business suits what they had failed to bring about in uniform," and he shows how this extraordinary result came about, in the context of Japan's long and conflict-ridden emergence into the modern world. Japan has been a subject of intense interest in the West in recent years, though only serious students will want to read this lengthy history. Still, it should receive major review coverage, and sales may increase if it's promoted with Herbert P. Bix's Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (Forecasts, July 31). (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Despite our deep national involvement with the Japanese people since the end of World War II, this still frustratingly insular nation remains a puzzle for Americans and other westerners. Perhaps, as some have suggested, genuine understanding will remain elusive. Still, Jansen, professor emeritus of Japanese history at Princeton, strives valiantly to explain the foundations of modern Japanese history and culture in this richly detailed, smooth-flowing narrative of the past four centuries of Japanese development. While acknowledging the sweeping changes that occasionally buffeted Japan since the Meiji Restoration, Jansen emphasizes the remarkable strands of continuity in Japanese history that have helped maintain unique social cohesion in an internally dynamic culture. Although well written and not bogged down with useless detail, general readers are advised to devour this massive work in small doses; if they do, they will find it a greatly rewarding examination of an admirable but enigmatic and ancient land. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
It also features a good amount of new vocabulary, that I enjoy (consider riparian and atainder).
This is a long book, but worth the read if you are curoius about Japanese history. I initially thought it'd be a 4-star book because of its academic tone, but Jansen's style really wins you over, and the Post-Tokugawa section is extremely well-written and interesting.
While this book is considered long, it is well worth the read. With little foreknowledge of Japanese history it allows for a quick assimilation of information with many external references to look further into the desired time period of focus. Jansen does not just only cover historical incidents but remarks upon the making of society itself, introductions to literature, Noh, kabuki, printing, politics, education (and its reform), women's rights, post and prewar advances, capitalism, and so much more. It not only gives a chronological explanation of the modernization of Japan and its coming into modernity but allows the reader to further their own studies within the subsets of the book. Likewise, Jansen has made the readability accessible to those not familiar with academic writing. It does not read (entirely) as a history book, but rather closer to a lecture and at some points a page turner novel.
Overall, the book gives a good "overview" of Japanese history and its coming into modernity. It demonstrates and elucidates how the West has had its influences over the Orient and more so how it effected Japan's growth, especially in early Meiji and postwar with the creation of the constitution and later its amendment.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in getting started in Japanese studies, anyone with a general interest in modernity in Japanese culture. Personally, I would declare it a must read as an introduction to Japanese culture, history, and its modernization.