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The Quest for Civilization

Encounters with Dutch Jurisprudence, Political Economy, and Statistics at the Dawn of Modern Japan

Takeharu Ōkubo

The Quest for Civilization illuminates the origins of modern Japan through the lens of its cultural contact with the Netherlands providing a rare contribution to the field in English-language literature. Following the “opening” of the country in the 1850s, Japan encountered Western modernity through a quest for knowledge personified by Nishi Amane and Tsuda Mamichi, two young scholars who journeyed to Leiden in 1863 as the first Japanese sent to study in Europe. For two years they were tutored by Simon Vissering – one of the leading Dutch economists of the nineteenth century. Following their return home, their work as government officials and intellectuals played a key role in the introduction of the European social sciences, jurisprudence, and international law to Japan, thereby exerting a decisive influence on the establishment of the modern Japanese state and the redefinition of the international and cultural order in East Asia.

When the Tsunami Came to Shore

Culture and Disaster in Japan

Edited by Roy Starrs

Edited by Roy Starrs, this collection of essays by an international group of leading experts on Japanese religion, anthropology, history, literature and music presents new research and thinking on the long and complex relationship between culture and disaster in Japan, one of the most “disaster-prone” countries in the world. Focusing first on responses to the triple disasters of March 2011, the book then puts the topic in a wider historical context by looking at responses to earlier disasters, both natural and man-made, including the great quakes of 1995 and 1923 and the atomic bombings of 1945. This wide-ranging “double structure” enables an in-depth understanding of the complexities of the issues involved that goes well beyond the clichés and the headlines.

Nogami Yaeko

Nogami Yaeko's novel The Labyrinth deals with the doubts and dilemmas of leftwing intellectuals before and during World War II. Rich in social detail and profound in its psychology, it follows the political and sentimental evolution of the protagonist Kanno Shōzō from a humiliating recantation of his socialist creed to a problematic participation in Japan's war against China. Nogami Yaeko (1885-1985) was Japan's longest-lived woman writer and has an assured place in the history of Japanese fiction. Winner of the prestigious Nomiuri prize, The Labyrinth was immediately recognized as a major critical contribution to the understanding of Japanese political and intellectual history.

National Police Reserve

The Origin of Japan’s Self Defense Forces

Thomas French

Based upon years of research undertaken in the US Occupation archives, this book provides a history of Japan’s National Police Reserve (NPR), the precursor of today’s Ground Self Defense Force (GSDF). It is the first ever comprehensive and exclusively focused history of the force in any language. The book examines the domestic and international origins of the force, the American constabulary model upon which it was based, the NPR's character and operation, and its evolution into the GSDF. This volume provides numerous insights and fresh perspectives on the character of the NPR, the origins of the SDF, the US Occupation of Japan and Cold War era US-Japan relations.

Korea’s Ancient Koguryŏ Kingdom

A Socio-Political History

Taedon Noh

Originating from a series of papers written by Prof. Noh Tae-don over two decades of research, Korea’s Ancient Koguryŏ Kingdom: A Socio-Political History concentrates on the political and social aspects of what was the largest of the Proto-Korean nation-states (37 BCE to 668 CE) that finally succumbed to subversion and invasion thirteen centuries ago. Its legendary origins are dealt with from the standpoint of their long-term political implications, as are its social institutions such as levirate marriage.

Explored in detail are the convoluted diplomatic, military, and commercial relations with various Chinese dynasties as well as Japan, and the shifting powers in Manchuria, Mongolia, and Central Asia. In addition, perhaps for the first time anywhere, the Koguryŏ national and provincial administrative structures are described as they evolved over the seven centuries of the nation’s existence. Exhaustive documentation is provided throughout.

As a landmark study of the Koguryŏ kingdom, this work will be of considerable value to students of Northeast Asian history in general and of Korean history in particular.

Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea

Economy and Society

The Organization of Korean Historians

Edited by Michael D. Shin

Winner of the 2014 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award

Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea shows how the momentous changes of the time transformed the lives of the common people. In twenty-three concise chapters, the book covers topics ranging from agriculture, commerce, and mining to education, marriage, and food culture. It examines how both the spread of Neo-Confucianism in the early Joseon period and its decline from the seventeenth century impacted economic and social life.

The book also demonstrates that much of what is thought of as ancient Korean tradition actually developed in the Joseon period. Chapters in this book discuss how customs such as ancestor worship, the use of genealogies, and foods such as kimchi all originated or became widespread in this era.

Contributors: Kim Kuentae, Yeom Jeong Sup, Kim Sung Woo, Lee Hun-Chang, Lee Uk, Yoo Pil Jo, Kim Kyung-ran, Kim Eui-Hwan, Oh Soo-chang, Ko Dong-Hwan, Kwon Nae-Hyun, Lee Hae Jun, Jung Jin Young, Kwon Ki-jung, Han Sang Kwon, Kwon Soon-Hyung, Jang Dong-Pyo, Seo-Tae-Won, Sim Jae-woo, Chung Yeon-sik, O Jong-rok, Hong Soon Min. This volume was co-translated by Edward Park and Michael D. Shin.

The Buddhist Goddess Marishiten

A Study of the Evolution and Impact of her Cult on the Japanese Warrior

David A. Hall

In The Buddhist Goddess Marishiten, David A. Hall provides an in-depth exploration of the Buddhist cult of the warrior goddess Mārīcī; its evolution in India, China, and Japan; its texts and their audience; its rituals; and, finally, its efficacy as experienced by the Japanese warrior class—the bushi or samurai.

In examining the psychological effects of these rituals on the Japanese warrior this volume moves beyond a narrowly focused examination of a religious cult. David A. Hall convincingly explains how these rituals aimed at preparing the warrior for combat and acted as an antidote for the toxicity of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when the warrior returned from the battlefield.

'Tibetanness' Under Threat?

Neo-Integrationism, Minority Education and Career Strategies in Qinghai, P.R. China

Series:

Adrian Zenz

In 'Tibetanness' Under Threat?, Adrian Zenz pioneers an analysis of significant recent developments in Qinghai's Tibetan education system. Presently, Tibetan students can receive native language education from primary to tertiary levels, while university minority departments offer Tibetan-medium majors from computer science to secretarial studies.

However, positive developments are threatened by the dire career prospects of Tibetan-medium graduates. Tibetans view marketisation as the greatest threat to ethnocultural survival, with their young generation being lured into a Chinese education by superior employment prospects. But Zenz questions the easy equation of Tibetan education as 'unselfish' ethnic preservation versus the Chinese route as egocentric careerism, arguing that the creative educational strategies of Tibetans in the Chinese education system are important for exploring and expressing new forms of 'Tibetanness' in modern China.

Christopher Roberts

In The British Courts and Extra-territoriality in Japan, 1859-1899, Christopher Roberts reviews the Courts' day-to-day workings and examines the nature of, and fluctuations in, their case-load. By examining the Courts’ case-load, it shows that, whilst some complaints that earlier commentators have made about the system’s structure and the Consuls’ lack of legal training and poor judgments may have been justified initially, the British authorities responded to them so that, over time, the Courts—and the practitioners within the system—came to reflect an increasing professionalism and sophistication. Using both a quantitative and a qualitative analysis of the reported cases, the author concludes that accusations of an anti-Japanese, pro-British bias on the part of the Courts are overstated.

The Journal of Olof Eriksson Willman

From His Voyage to the Dutch East Indies and Japan, 1648-1654

Olof Eriksson Willman

Edited by Catharina Blomberg

The travel journal of Olof Eriksson Willman, a Swedish employee of the VOC, provides a highly personal account of his sea voyages to and from Asia. His observations during a year in Japan include glimpses of daily life at Deshima and a detailed description of the Hofreis to Edo, and his encounters with Tokugawa Bakufu officials there. Willman, who had served in the Swedish army, seems to have found favour with the notorious Inoue Masashige, who summoned him on more than one occasion to demonstrate and discuss European firearms. Willman observed religious celebrations, saw yamabushi and pilgrims along the Tokaido and visited several temples, including the Hokoji. He also witnessed a family of Christians being taken to the execution ground.