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The Heritage of Japanese Civilization



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  • The Heritage of Japanese Civilization
    The Heritage of Japanese Civilization


This brief survey of the long and rich history of Japan, written by one of the world's leading scholars in the field, provides an overall framework for understanding this great nation from its origins to the present day.The book explores the arts and literature, political change, economic advancement, and developments in society, commerce, and culture.For survey courses in the History of Asia and the History of Japan.

Author Biography

Albert M. Craig is the Harvard-Yenching Research Professor of History Emeritus at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1959. A graduate of Northwestern University, he received his Ph.D. at Harvard University. He has studied at Strasbourg University and at Kyoto, Keio, and Tokyo universities in Japan. He is the author of Choshu in the Meiji Restoration  (1961), The Heritage of Japanese Civilization (2011), and, with others, of East Asia , Tradition and Transformation (1989). He is the editor of Japan , A Comparative View (1973) and co-editor of Personality in Japanese History (1970), Civilization and

Enlightnment: the Early Thought of Fukuzawa Yukichi  (2009). He was the director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. He has also been a visiting professor at Kyoto and Tokyo universities. He has received Guggenheim, Fulbright, and Japan Foundation Fellowships. In 1988 he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government.

Table of Contents





Chapter 1        Japanese History: Origins to the Twelfth Century 


            Jomon Culture

The Yayoi Revolution

            The Spread of Yayoi Culture

            Tomb Culture, the Yamato State, and Korea

            Religion in Early Japan

Nara and Heian Japan

            Seventh Century Developments

            Nara and Early Heian Government

A Japanese Pattern of Government

            People, Land and Taxes

            Rise of the Samurai

Aristocratic Culture and Buddhism

            Chinese Tradition in Japan

            Birth of Japanese Literature

            Nara and Heian Buddhism

Early Japanese History in Historical Perspective


Chapter 2        Medieval Japan: The Twelfth to Sixteenth Centuries

Military Rule by the Taira, Minamoto, and Ashikaga

            The Taira at the Kyoto Court

            Rise of Minamoto Yoritomo

            The Question of Feudalism in Twelfth Century Japan

            Kamakura Rule After Yoritomo

            Women in Warrior Society

            The Ashikaga Era

            Agriculture, Commerce, and Medieval Guilds

Warring States Era

            War of All Against All

            Foot Soldier Revolution

            Piracy, Trade, and Foreign Relations

Buddhism and Medieval Culture

            Japanese Pietism: Pure Land and Nichiren Buddhism

            Zen Buddhism

            No Plays

Medieval Japan in Historical Perspective


Chapter 3        The Era of Tokugawa Rule (1600—1868)

Early Unifiers: Nobunaga and Hideyoshi

The Seventeenth Century

            Political Engineering by Tokugawa Ieyasu

            Economic and Social Change

The Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries

            The Forty-Seven Ronin

            Cycles of Reform


            The Later Tokugawa Economy

Tokugawa Culture

            Literature and Drama

            Confucian Thought

            Other Developments in Thought

Late Traditional Japan in Historical Perspective


Chapter 4        Modern Japan, 1853-1945

Overthrow of the Tokugawa Bakufu (1853—1868)

            The Setting

            The Politics of Restoration

Building the Meiji State (1868—1890)

            Centralization and Reforms

            New Ideas

            Birth of the Political Parties

            The Meiji Constitution

Growth of a Modern Economy

            First Phase: Model Industries, the 1870s

Second Phase: Private Entrepreneurs, the1880s and 1890s

            Third Phase: Sustained Growth, 1905-1929

            Fourth Phase: Depression and Recovery

Meiji Imperialism and the International Order

Education, Urbanization, and Modern Ideas

The Politics of Imperial Japan (1890—1927)

            The First Decade of Diet Politics (1890—1900)

            The Taisho Political Crisis, 1912-1913

The Hara Cabinet, 1918-1921

The Kato Cabinet 1924-1926

Militarism and War (1927—1945)

            A Crisis in Manchuria

            The Great Depression

            The Radical Right and the Military

            The Pacific War

            Japanese Militarism and German Naziism

Modern Japan in Historical Perspective


Chapter 5        Japan, the Recent Decades 

The Postwar Occupation and Yoshida, 1945-1954

            The American Occupation

            Yoshida Shigeru and Japan’s Postwar Policy

The Cold War and the Japanese Transformation, 1955-1989

            Double Digit Economic Growth

            Society and Culture

            Politics: The One and a Half Party System

The History of the Present: After 1990

            The Economy

Society and Culture: Problems and Prospects

            A New Age of Politics

            International Relations

Japan’s Future in Historical Perspective




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