Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Japan: Topic Page
Jap. Nihon or Nippon, country (2005 est. pop. 127,417,000), 145,833 sq mi (377,835 sq km), occupying an archipelago off the coast of E Asia.
Japanese: Topic Page
Language of uncertain origin that is spoken by more than 125 million people, most of whom live in Japan.
Books & Ebooks
Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan by Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan introduces readers to the significant people and events—cultural, social, political, and historical—as well as the everyday experiences and elements of material culture during this time. Spanning the beginning of the Kamakura period in 1185 through the end of the Edo (Tokugawa) period in 1868, this comprehensive reference contains a wide array of information. Reflecting on recent research that has shed new light on everyday life, education, science, and other aspects of feudal Japanese culture, this volume makes specialized, up-to-date information easily accessible to researchers, students, teachers, and general readers.
The contributions of military rulers, celebrated warriors, and cultural innovators to medieval and early modern Japanese culture are well documented. However, life at the village level also had a strong impact on the culture. Covering both levels of society, this comprehensive guide provides insightful information on well-known people as well as peasants, farmers, shopkeepers, and others at the periphery of power.
Publication Date: 2006
Hiroshima Nagasaki by In this harrowing history of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, Paul Ham argues against the use of nuclear weapons, drawing on extensive research and hundreds of interviews to prove that the bombings had little impact on the eventual outcome of the Pacific War.
Call Number: D767.25.H6H36 2014
Publication Date: 2014
Inventing Japan by In a single short book as elegant as it is wise, Ian Buruma makes sense of the most fateful span of Japan's history, the period that saw as dramatic a transformation as any country has ever known. In the course of little more than a hundred years from the day Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in his black ships, this insular, preindustrial realm mutated into an expansive military dictatorship that essentially supplanted the British, French, Dutch, and American empires in Asia before plunging to utter ruin, eventually emerging under American tutelage as a pseudo-Western-style democracy and economic dynamo. What explains the seismic changes that thrust this small island nation so violently onto the world stage? In part, Ian Buruma argues, the story is one of a newly united nation that felt it must play catch-up to the established Western powers, just as Germany and Italy did, a process that involved, in addition to outward colonial expansion, internal cultural consolidation and the manufacturing of a shared heritage. But Japan has always been both particularly open to the importation of good ideas and particularly prickly about keeping their influence quarantined, a bipolar disorder that would have dramatic consequences and that continues to this day. If one book is to be read in order to understand why the Japanese seem so impossibly strange to many Americans, Inventing Japan is surely it.
Call Number: DS881.9.B87 2003
Publication Date: 2003
Japan by Japan: A Modern History provides a comprehensive narrative that integrates the political, social, cultural, and economic history of modern Japan from the investiture of Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603 to the present.
Call Number: DS881.9.M33 2002
Publication Date: 2001
Japan : It's History and Culture by This is a revision of the long successful, short, illustrated cultural history of Japan, from its beginnings about 3000 BC to the present day, first published in 1970 and continuously in use over several editions in colleges and universities nationwide. It is designed as a straightforward, detail-rich portrait of a nation not well understood in the West. The position of Japan on the international scene has changed markedly since the current edition was published in 1994: Japan had been a star of postwar industrial production and methods; over the past few years, it has encountered serious trouble with market forces; its financial practices, particularly the tacit collaboration between powerful factions in government and industry, has come under question and even attack. departure from tradition have begun to have a significant presence. The book is distinctive in its incorporation of cultural elements, at their high point, into the unfolding story of political events. Rather than just following the political and military course of history, treating them separately from the cultural side, Morton presents an integrated view, showing the parallel development of cultural and political events, as well as their influence on each other. For example, the sweeping effect of Chinese culture on Japanese is treated as an organic whole, exploring its results in government, social life, religion and art. The book also casts fascinating sidelights on significant personalities, works of literature and historic events. Balanced treatment is key; each period in the past is given equal treatment, with somewhat more emphasis on contemporary history and recent developments.
Publication Date: 2004
Japan Emerging by Japan Emerging provides a comprehensive survey of Japan from prehistory to the nineteenth century. Incorporating the latest scholarship and methodology, leading authorities writing specifically for this volume outline and explore the main developments in Japanese life through ancient, classical, medieval, and early modern periods. Instead of relying solely on lists of dates and prominent names, the authors focus on why and how Japanese political, social, economic, and intellectual life evolved. Each part begins with a timeline and a set of guiding questions and issues to help orient readers and enhance continuity. Engaging, thorough, and accessible, this is an essential text for all students and scholars of Japanese history.
Publication Date: 2012
The Mikado's Empire by In its day the most popular book on the then-mysterious nation of Japan, this volume covers the history and culture of Japan from the earliest times to the Meiji Restoration of 1868. William Elliot Griffis (1843–1928) was an educator and writer and a respected authority on Japanese culture.
Publication Date: 2007
Modern Japan by Japan is an icon of the modern world, and yet it remains an enigma to many, who see it as a confusing montage of the alien and the familiar, the ancient and modern. The aim of this Very Short Introduction is to explode the myths and explore the reality of modern Japan - by taking a concise look at its history, economy, politics, and culture. - ;Japan is arguably today's most successful industrial economy, combining almost unprecedented affluence with social stability and apparent harmony. Japanese goods and cultural products are consumed all over the world, ranging from animated movies and computer games all the way through to cars, semiconductors, and management techniques. In many ways, Japan is an icon of the modern world, and yet it remains something of an enigma to many, who see it as a confusing montage of thealien and the familiar, the ancient and modern. The aim of this Very Short Introduction is to explode the myths and explore the reality of modern Japan - by taking a concise look at its history, economy, politics, and culture. -
Publication Date: 2009
Japan: memoirs of a secret empire by Explores the period between the 16th and 19th centuries in Japan by examining the lives of shoguns, samurais, geishas, and the very few westerners allowed into Japan . Japan was then a world unto itself, closed to outsiders, and ruled by shoguns with absolute control. During this period, Japan transitioned from chaos and violence to a land of ritual refinement and peace.
Call Number: DVD DS871.J37 2004
Publication Date: 2004
The Rape of Nanking by Documents the death and destruction that followed the 1937 Japanese occupation of China. So sickening was the spectacle that one Nazi representative in the city, a Schlindler-like businessman named John Rabe, was moved to save a quarter million Chinese. This presentation draws extensively on Rabe's 1,200 page diary for a unique perspective on this tragedy. Interviews with descendants of the victims and eyewitnesses to the crimes along with gruesome photos help separate fact from fiction, while scholars and historians reflect on the legacy of this shattering event.
Call Number: DVD DS797.56.N365 R37 2008
Publication Date: 2008
Shinto: Topic Page
Ancient native religion of Japan still practiced in a form modified by the influence of Buddhism and Confucianism. In its present form Shinto is characterized less by religious doctrine or belief than by the observance of popular festivals and traditional ceremonies and customs, many involving pilgrimages to shrines.
Buddhism: Topic Page
Religion and philosophy founded in India c.525 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha. The basic doctrines of early Buddhism include the "four noble truths": existence is suffering (dukhka); suffering has a cause, namely craving and attachment (trishna); there is a cessation of suffering, which is nirvana; and there is a path to the cessation of suffering.
Buddha: Topic Page
[Skt.,=the enlightened One], usual title given to the founder of Buddhism. He is also called the Tathagata [he who has come thus], Bhagavat [the Lord], and Sugata [well-gone]. He probably lived from 563 to 483 B.C.
Zen Buddhism: Topic Page
Buddhist sect of China and Japan. The name of the sect (Chin. Ch'an, Jap. Zen) derives from the Sanskrit dhyana [meditation]. In China the school early became known for making its central tenet the practice of meditation, rather than adherence to a particular scripture or doctrine.
Pure Land Buddhism: Topic Page
Or Amidism, devotional sect of Mahayana Buddhism in China and Japan, centering on worship of the Buddha Amitabha.
Atheism: Topic Page
Nonbelief in, or the positive denial of, the existence of a God or gods. A related concept is agnosticism. Like theism, its opposite, atheism cannot be proved or disproved conclusively.
Tokyo: Topic Page
City (1990 pop. 8,163,573), capital of Japan and of Tokyo prefecture, E central Honshu, at the head of Tokyo Bay. The Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area is the world's most populous metropolitan area, with over 28,000,000 people.
Yokohama: Topic Page
City, capital of Kanagawa prefecture, SE Honshu, Japan, on the western shore of Tokyo Bay. Japan's second largest city and one of its leading seaports.
Kyoto: Topic Page
Former capital of Japan 794-1868 (when the capital was changed to Tokyo) on Honshu island, linked by canal with Lake Biwa, 510 km/317 mi west of Tokyo and 40 km/25 mi northeast of Osaka.
Nagasaki: Topic Page
Industrial port (coal, iron, shipbuilding) on Nagasaki Bay, Kyushu Island, Japan, capital of Nagasaki prefecture. On 9 August 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki by the USA.
Hiroshima: Topic Page
Industrial city and port on the south coast of Honshu Island, Japan; population (2005) 1,154,400. On 6 August 1945 it was destroyed by the first wartime use of an atomic bomb. The city has been largely rebuilt since then.
Empire: Topic Page
Collective name for a group of countries under the control of a single country or dynasty.
Democracy: Topic Page
Term originating in ancient Greece to designate a government where the people share in directing the activities of the state, as distinct from governments controlled by a single class, select group, or autocrat.
World War II
World War II: Topic Page
War between Germany, Italy, and Japan (the Axis powers) on one side, and Britain, the Commonwealth, France, the USA, the USSR, and China (the Allies) on the other.
Pearl Harbor: Topic Page
US Pacific naval base on Oahu island, Hawaii, USA, the scene of a Japanese aerial attack on 7 December 1941, which brought the USA into World War II.
Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Topic Page
The United States used an atomic bomb against the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Three days later, on August 9, it dropped a bomb on Nagasaki.
Nationalism: Topic Page
Nationalism is basically a collective state of mind or consciousness in which people believe their primary duty and loyalty is to the nation-state.
Imperialism: Topic Page
Broadly, the extension of rule or influence by one government, nation, or society over another.
Places of Occupation During WWII
China: Topic Page
Mandarin Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo [central glorious people's united country; i.e., people's republic], officially People's Republic of China, country.
Korea: Topic Page
Korean Hanguk or Choson, region and historic country (85,049 sq mi/220,277 sq km), E Asia. A peninsula, 600 mi (966 km) long, Korea separates the Sea of Japan.
Manchuria: Topic Page
Mandarin Dongbei sansheng [three northeastern provinces], region, c.600,000 sq mi (1,554,000 sq km), NE China. It is officially known as the Northeast.