It is said that if you wish to understand something about a particular place or culture, then it is important to know every single detail about the same and that is what history helps people out in. Now, Japan is also been that major part of history having so many of those different occurrences which made it become what it is today. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Andrea Giordani. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/081673/bk_acx0_081673_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Human habitation in the Japanese archipelago can be traced back to prehistoric times. The Jōmon period, named after its cord-marked pottery, was followed by the Yayoi in the first millennium BC, when new technologies were introduced from continental Asia. During this period, in the first century AD, the first known written reference to Japan was recorded in the Chinese Book of Han. Between the third century and the eighth century, Japan´s many kingdoms and tribes gradually came to be unified under a centralized government, nominally controlled by the emperor. The imperial dynasty established at this time continues to reign over Japan to this day. In 794, a new imperial capital was established at Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto), marking the beginning of the Heian period, which lasted until 1185. The Heian period is considered a golden age of classical Japanese culture. Japanese religious life from this time and onwards was a mix of Buddhism and native religious practices known as Shinto. Over the following centuries the power of the emperor and the imperial court gradually declined and passed to the military clans and their armies of samurai warriors. The Minamoto clan under Minamoto no Yoritomo emerged victorious from the Genpei War of 1180–85. After seizing power, Yoritomo set up his capital in Kamakura and took the title of shogun. In 1274 and 1281, the Kamakura shogunate withstood two Mongol invasions, but in 1333 it was toppled by a rival claimant to the shogunate, ushering in the Muromachi period. During the Muromachi period regional warlords known as daimyō grew in power at the expense of the shogun. Eventually, Japan descended into a period of civil war. Over the course of the late sixteenth century, Japan was reunified under the leadership of the daimyō Oda Nobunaga and his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi. After Hideyoshi´s death in 1598, Tokugawa Ieyasu came to power and was appointed shogun by the emperor. The Tokugawa shogunate, which go... 1. Language: English. Narrator: Sean Lenhart. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/070573/bk_acx0_070573_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Explains the formation of a new constitution, as well as the democratization and demilitarization processes Includes a bibliography for further reading Includes a table of contents The American occupation of Japan holds a singular and problematic place in the histories both of Japan and of American foreign policy. For the Japanese, the occupation marked the transition from war to peace, from authoritarianism to democracy, and from privation to plenty, making it a passage from one of the darkest chapters in Japanese history to one of the brightest. Nevertheless, the significance of that passage was fraught with ambiguities; after all, Japan did not win its new democracy through revolution from below in the form of a popular indigenous movement pressing for increased rights and a more open, inclusive politics. Instead, Japanese democracy came as a revolution from above, a system imposed wholesale and virtually without consultation by an occupying army whose Supreme Allied Commander General Douglas MacArthur wielded power as absolute and unchecked as any emperor. Many critics at the time and since have worried that the political system established by the occupation was thus somehow hollow, a thin veneer of participatory democracy resting uncomfortably atop a deeply conservative and hierarchical culture, symbolized above all by the continuing presence of an emperor. Others have argued that the contradictions of a radical democratic revolution from above are real but irrelevant. Presented for the first time with open space for genuine political speech and action, ordinary Japanese seized the opportunity to exercise agency over the course of their own lives, pulling Japan in directions that neither the old Japanese political elite nor the new American occupation authorities had foreseen. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Tim Welch. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/034395/bk_acx0_034395_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Japan´s extraordinary culture is like no other in the world, and it remains mysterious to many of us. And that´s unfortunate, because to truly understand Japan´s influence on the world stage, one needs to understand Japan´s culture - on its own terms. In an exciting partnership with the Smithsonian, The Great Courses presents these 24 lectures that offer an unforgettable tour of Japanese life and culture. Professor Ravina, with the expert collaboration of the Smithsonian´s historians, brings you a grand portrait of Japan. From the dawn of Confucianism and the Meiji Restoration to World War II and the economic miracle years of 1955 to 1975, you´ll explore landmark periods of Japanese history and learn how broad events and movements introduced, innovated, and revised everything from spirituality to popular entertainment. Along the way you´ll get revealing insights into Shinto (Japan´s indigenous religion), the art of Katsushika Hokusai, literary works like The Tale of Genji and the haiku of Basho, the everyday lives of samurai, the universal appeal of filmmakers like Akira Kurosawa, foods like yakitori and tempura, and so much more. You´ll come away from Professor Ravina´s final lecture with a stronger sense of the very soul of this one-of-a-kind nation. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Mark J. Ravina. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/tcco/000412/bk_tcco_000412_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
This fascinating history tells the story of the people of Japan, from ancient teenage priest-queens to teeming hordes of salarymen, a nation that once sought to conquer China, yet also shut itself away for two centuries in self-imposed seclusion.
One of the most fascinating aspects of World War II was Japan´s use of suicide pilots known around the globe as kamikazes, though the Japanese referred to them as Tokubetsu kōgekitai (´´Special Attack Units´´). Translated as ´´God Wind´´, ´´Divine Wind´´, and ´´God Spirit´´, kamikazes would sink 47 Allied vessels and damage over 300 by the end of the war, but the rise in the use of kamikaze attacks was evidence of the loss of Japan´s air superiority and its waning industrial might. This method of fighting would become more common by the time Iwo Jima was fought over in early 1945, and it was especially prevalent during the invasion of Okinawa in April 1945. The ´´privilege´´ of being selected as a kamikaze pilot played directly into the deep-seated Japanese mindset of ´´death before defeat´´. The pilot training manual assured each kamikaze candidate that when they eliminated all thoughts of life and death, fear of losing the earthly life can be easily overcome. Still, not all cases of those chosen to be kamikazes were equally noble. Recruits were trained with torturous regimens or corporal punishment, and stories of mental impairment caused by drugs or saki abound. Some were described as ´´tottering´´ and dazed, being carried to their planes by maintenance officers, and forcibly pushed in if they backed down. Pilots who could not find their targets were told to turn around and spare their own lives for another day, but if a pilot returned nine times, he was to be shot. At the moment of collision, he was instructed to keep his eyes open at all times, and to shout ´´Hissatsu´´ (´´clear kill´´). The Kamikazes chronicles the history of Japan´s famous suicide pilots and explains when, why, and how Japan resorted to their use near the end of war. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Stan Chandler. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/034713/bk_acx0_034713_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Fought over bitterly cold flecks of rock and tundra scattered across the remote waters marking the boundary between the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the Aleutian Islands campaign represented one of the strangest encounters of World War II. Curving southwestward from the southwest coast of Alaska like the tail of a stingray, the rugged, volcanic Aleutians belong to both the United States and Russia. The westernmost island, Attu, lies much closer to Russia´s Kamchatka Peninsula than to Alaska; the distance to Anchorage, Alaska measures approximately 2,000 miles. The moral impact of the Doolittle Raid in response to Pearl Harbor far outweighed the relatively minor material damage it inflicted; Japan lost face and the faith of its people in ultimate victory declined sharply. Americans responded with delight and a fresh upsurge of hope. Despite interrogating the eight American aircrew they captured (and butchering tens of thousands of Chinese civilians in reprisal for assisting the rest in their escape), the Japanese leadership remained divided in their opinions about the bombers´ origin. Many believed that the Americans had indeed devised a method of launching such large aircraft from an ordinary aircraft carrier. Many others, however, insisted the B-25s came from a land base, and only the Aleutians lay within a medium bomber´s operational range. In any case, Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku planned a move against Midway. Attacking the Aleutians provided an excellent diversion, in his opinion, permitting him time to take Midway and organize land-based strike aircraft there. He could then take his carriers to annihilate America´s Pacific Fleet, caught between the Aleutian Islands and Midway. Due to the belief that the Aleutian Islands might support the airfields from which the Doolittle bombers launched, Navy Order Eighteen from Imperial general HQ included a section decreeing ´´the invasion and occupation of the western Aleutians... in order... 1. Language: English. Narrator: David Zarbock. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/073086/bk_acx0_073086_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The samurai are among the most iconic warriors in history. The fighting elite of feudal Japan, they have played a dominant role in the country´s life for over 1,000 years. Even today, a century and a half after the rule of the samurai has formally ended, they remain a powerful symbol of martial might, and the embodiment of the stoic warrior. Like the knights who fought in Europe during the same era, the samurai were a feudal aristocracy. Militarily, politically, socially, and economically, they were the most powerful, the most influential, and the most privileged members of society. Though not all samurai were equal in power and status, they were almost always better off than the rest of Japanese society. The word samurai, meaning ´´those who serve´´, indicates the foundation upon which their power was built. As a feudal society, medieval Japan was shaped by a hierarchy of land ownership and its associated obligations. Most samurai held their land for a more senior overlord, to whom they owed military service. That overlord owed service to his overlord, and so on up the hierarchy, which allowed the most powerful lords to raise great armies. A proud and dominant force, the collective dominance of the samurai arose from a dedication to service. Such service also created the opportunity for revolt, as a lord with enough loyal followers might try to usurp his master, and battles for land and power between competing samurai factions dominated Japanese history for centuries as a result. The wealth of the samurai not only led to their role as leaders but as a hard-hitting military elite as well, mostly because they could afford the armor, weapons, and horses that gave them an edge in battle. Supported by the labor of the people who lived on their lands, they were also able to spare the time to train for war, something for which young men of the samurai class were prepared from an early age. The Samurai: The History and Legacy of Japan... 1. Language: English. Narrator: Jim D. Johnston. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/106791/bk_acx0_106791_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Transnational Japan as History:Empire, Migration, and Social Movements Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series. 1st ed. 2015