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The Silk Road: Key Papers (2 Vols)

Part I: The Pre-Islamic Period


Edited by Valerie Hansen

This is the first of two collections by top scholars working on the history of the Silk Road. This collection’s main focus is the first millennium CE when the Silk Road trade was at its height. Most of the entries are organized chronologically and geographically, concentrating on the sites (like Niya and Loulan) which flourished in the third and fourth centuries, then Turfan and Samarkand (500-800), and closes with the period after 800, when Tang China withdrew its troops from the region and the local peoples reverted to a largely barter economy. Coverage ends in 1000, when the first cities on the western edge of the Taklamakan converted to Islam. Introductory texts provide general overviews of the trade (including classic pre- and post-war studies), followed by a brief survey of the ancient trade routes. Of particular interest in this collection are the Silk Road’s most famous group of travellers, the Sogdians, a people from the region of Samarkand (in today's Uzbekistan) thanks to Chinese archaeologists who have recently uncovered several tombs that allow us to see how the Sogdians gradually adjusted to Chinese culture, decorating their tombs with detailed scenes of everyday life.

Kenji Matsuo

This first major study in English on Japanese Buddhism by one of Japan’s most distinguished scholars in the field of Religious Studies is to be widely welcomed.The main focus of the work is on the tradition of the monk ( o-bo-san) as the main agent of Buddhism, together with the historical processes by which monks have developed Japanese Buddhism as it appears in the present day.

Francis Mullany

With more than 200 colour plates, and for the first time available as a study in English, this volume explores the vast heritage of Korean ink brush painting, providing a rich panorama of information that stretches across the entire spectrum of Korean art – including painting, pottery, calligraphy and literature, which will have wide appeal, not least to art lovers and students of Korean Studies. Part I presents the material in essay form; Part II, which uses a dictionary format, summarizes the information in Part I and highlights the hidden messages and symbolism inherent in literati ink brush painting in Korea. When China and Japan opened up to outside influence in the nineteenth century, Korea maintained a closed-door policy, becoming known as the ‘hermit kingdom’, only to be swallowed up in the struggle for hegemony between the Great Powers. Annexation by Japan in 1910 threatened Korea’s language and culture with extinction. Liberation in 1945 was followed by the tragedy of the Korean War in 1950. In the period of reconstruction after the Korean War, artists and scholars faced the task of retrieving Korea’s endangered cultural tradition. Ink brush painting is a unique part of this tradition; its history stretches back through the Choson dynasty when Chinese influences were assimilated and absorbed and made into Korea’s distinctive tradition.

The Opening of Japan, 1853–1855

A Comparative Study of the American, British, Dutch and Russian Naval Expedition to Compel the Tokugawa Shogunate to Conclude Treaties and Open Ports to Their Ships in the Years 1853-55

William McOmie

Sub-titled A comparative study of the American, British, Dutch and Russian naval expeditions to compel the Tokugawa shogunate to conclude treaties and open ports to their ships, this highly informed and widely researched study provides for the first time a more complete picture of the competition and cooperation, distrust and open hostility of the four protagonists involved in this joint Western enterprise. In 1852, the news of the US government's plan to send a large naval expedition to Japan to demand the opening of its ports to American ships excited public interest and elicited differing responses among the European powers. For Russia, Japan was a neighbouring empire to whose ports it had itself long sought access; now, its jealousy aroused, and its own strategic interests seemingly under threat, Russia could not permit the United States to possibly exclude it from Japanese ports. In the wake of the Opium war, the Dutch king had urged the shogun to peacefully open its ports to the other Western powers; now the king and his ministers feared that the US expedition would take an overly aggressive approach that might involve the Netherlands in a war with Japan. Having previously opened Chinese ports to the West, Britain was occupied there, and willing to take 'a wait and see' attitude, temporarily conceding a leading role to the United States in Japan. (France had also previously made approaches to Japan, and in case of a successful outcome, would not lag far behind in sending its own warships to make arrangements with Japan.) Thus, the stage was set for the race between America and Russia to open 'Closed Japan' and the surrounding seas, while the Netherlands worked quietly behind the scenes, and Britain and France waited in the wings. This volume documents in detail the plans and outcomes of each of the four powers’ negotiations with Japan, lists the clauses of the resulting treaties and offers a comparative analysis of their merits and demerits; at the same time it provides a fascinating commentary on the way business was done by the Japanese with each country and its representatives.

The History and Future of Hangeul

Korea's Indigenous Script

Zong-Su Kim

The author traces the history and evolution of Hangeul, considers its scientific principles, practicality and features, addresses the question of the so-called ‘culture block’ in the international arena, and anticipates the direction in which it could evolve and thereby attract wider usage and credibility. First proclaimed in 1446 as the ‘correct sounds for the instruction of the people’ ( Hunminjeongeum), the Korean indigenous script is considered to be one of the most practical and logical languages in the world, yet as a unique minority language it is regarded by many as being under threat from the Roman alphabet and dominant languages of the East Asian region.

Kyung Ja Lee, Na Young Hong and Sook Hwan Chang

The first of its kind to appear in English, this spectacular, detailed volume in full colour celebrating the richness and variety of traditional Korean garments, ornaments and footwear dating back to the Joseon Dynasty will be widely welcomed. It contains over 600 drawings and 200 plates, with detailed commentaries and specific measurements, as well as method of production.

Understanding Amae

The Japanese Concept of Need-love


Takeo Doi

This volume brings together twenty-six of Professor Doi’s principal papers on the subject of the Japanese psyche and the subject of dependency ( amae) published in English over the last fifty years, beginning with his paper on Japanese Psychiatry (1955) and concluding with ‘Are Psychological Concepts of Japanese Origin Relevent?’ (2002), some of which are published here for the first time, Pre-eminent among Japanese psychiatrists, Professor Doi gained international fame with the publication of The Anatomy of Dependence in 1973.

David Bell

A great many volumes already exist on the subject of ukiyo-e – mostly single-focus works intended to appeal to connoisseurs or art historians. Ukiyo-e Explained, however, is the first integrated study with wider scholarly appeal to show how ukiyo-e is art but also social history, culture and craft. Indeed, ukiyo-e, or ‘floating world pictures’, form one of the most popular and widely known forms of Japanese art. Their history has been well documented in the past, and their distinctively decorative, often sensual, pictorial character is familiar to audiences around the world. This study illuminates new pathways to a greater appreciation of ukiyo-e by addressing the environments and conditions under which the artists worked, together with the factors that determined or conditioned the peculiar stylistic character of ukiyo-e. It also examines the particular forces that governed this distinctive type of picture-making, and the corresponding development of popular tastes with the audiences of the day, focusing especially on contemporary aesthetic sensibilities, the ways artists learned their craft, and the conditioning qualities of their medium.

Rediscovering Budo

From a Swordsman's Perspective


Roald Knutsen

In an environment where Budo has lost much of its original spirit in the inevitable process of changing attitudes towards sport, Roald Knutsen reappraises and reaffirms the profound and intrinsic importance of the underlying warrior culture and its real legacy. Technical knowledge rests entirely in the dojo; this book is intended to show those interested something of the roots that underpin the true Bujutsu and Budo, and to throw some light on the other complex influences from the past that have enriched so many of the surviving traditions. A number of these roots are purely warrior-based in nature, others are intellectual or even esoteric. If a student is only searching for technique, then this book will be of limited value. But for those inclined to look below the surface, there is much to commend it. Indeed, it will be widely welcomed by more serious Budo practitioners, as well as interested observers, who are looking for a return to 'first principles', concerned more about substance than style, and thereby gain valuable insight into the mind-set of Japan's unique warrior culture.

(Bat-Erdene Batbayar) Baabar

Edited by C. Kaplonski

This is the first history of Mongolia available in English which benefits from access to historic data that only became available following the collapse of the socialist regime in 1990. Accordingly, it highlights the role of international politics, especially the former Soviet Union, Russia, China and Japan, in the shaping of modern Mongolia’s history. The volume actually comprises three ‘books’. Book One, entitled 'The Steppe Warriors', offers a history of Mongolia up to the 1911 revolution; Book Two, entitled ‘Incarnations and Revolutionaries’ addresses political developments in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (1920s); Book Three, entitled ‘A Puppet Republic’ provides an in-depth analysis of the 1920s and 30s, concluding with the 1939 Haslhyn Gol Incident, The Second World War, the Post-war Map of Asia and the Fate of Mongolia’s Independence.