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Books on Japanese History

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  • Books on Japanese History

    Has anyone ever encountered any accessible, yet scholarly books on Japanese history? By this I mean books that are written by legitimate historians or at least include historical citations (sorry, I was a history major).

    I am particularly interested in the Edo period of Japan, or the history of the Tokugawa Shogunate. And yes, this is largely due to the influence of anime, but I love history anyway and would like to learn more about Japanese history in general.
    "I suddenly realized we were all crazy and had nothing to work for except the next meal and the next good sleep"

  • #2
    How about

    "Japan: A Short History"

    by Mikiso Hane? I've never read it, but it sounds like a decent intro to the history of Japan, and you could branch out by exploring the references.

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    • #3
      Khas, you might want to check out Romulus Hillsborough - there are several books published and available via Amazon that focus on the late Tokugawa/Meiji Ishin period. I've heard his name mentioned in some scholarly circles but I have not personally read any of his books, despite some of his works being right up my alley.

      The only book in my collection that might fit exactly what you're looking for is called Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryu and Samurai Martial Culture by Dr. Karl Friday. Dr. Friday is (coincidentally) a professor of history at the University of Georgia and member of the Kashima-Shinryu. The publisher (a University house) left it in tact as far as footnotes on pages, separating the actual body of text (which I found annoying before I learned how to read scholarly journals).
      Now if you'll excuse me, I need to evict some juvenile delinquents from my yard.

      MyAnimeList
      KT Kore: [TA12] called Suiko Eiji a jackass [...]
      Suiko Eiji: In TA12's defense, I am a jackass.
      KT Kore: You're an awesome jackass though.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Suiko Eiji View Post
        Khas, you might want to check out Romulus Hillsborough - there are several books published and available via Amazon that focus on the late Tokugawa/Meiji Ishin period. I've heard his name mentioned in some scholarly circles but I have not personally read any of his books, despite some of his works being right up my alley.

        The only book in my collection that might fit exactly what you're looking for is called Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryu and Samurai Martial Culture by Dr. Karl Friday. Dr. Friday is (coincidentally) a professor of history at the University of Georgia and member of the Kashima-Shinryu. The publisher (a University house) left it in tact as far as footnotes on pages, separating the actual body of text (which I found annoying before I learned how to read scholarly journals).
        Sorry I'm late, but thank you for the suggestion! I'll be sure to investigate.
        "I suddenly realized we were all crazy and had nothing to work for except the next meal and the next good sleep"

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        • #5
          ^ I wound up buying a copy myself of Hillsborough's Shinsengumi book after the holidays. If anyone one else ends up with a copy, I would love to discuss, once I am done reading it.
          Now if you'll excuse me, I need to evict some juvenile delinquents from my yard.

          MyAnimeList
          KT Kore: [TA12] called Suiko Eiji a jackass [...]
          Suiko Eiji: In TA12's defense, I am a jackass.
          KT Kore: You're an awesome jackass though.

          Comment


          • #6
            John Man's Ninja: 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior is a pretty good no BS historical account of what the ninja in Koga and Iga actually were if you're into that kind of thing.

            Think less men in black pajamas and more low caste mountain ascetics who were paid to collect clandestine information and assassinate rivals while dressed as civilians.
            Si Ego Certiorem Faciam Mihi Tu Delendus Eris

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            • #7
              I'm reading The Making of Modern Japan, by Marius B. Jensen right now and enjoying it. I read a chapter about the rivalry between Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Ieyasu Tokugawa and then I popped in a ninja movie, CASTLE OF OWLS (1963), that I knew little about and what was the subject? The rivalry between Hideyoshi and Tokugawa, with the Iga and Koga Clans involved. I love when that happens. It's an 800-page book, so I'm reading it at home and not on the subway.

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