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Publisher's Summary

A classic of Japanese history, this audiobook is the preeminent work on the history of Japan. Newly revised and updated, A History of Japan is a single-volume complete history of the nation of Japan. Starting in ancient Japan during its early pre-history period, A History of Japan covers every important aspect of history and culture through feudal Japan to the post-Cold War period and collapse of the bubble economy in the early 1990s. Recent findings shed additional light on the origins of Japanese civilization and the birth of Japanese culture.   

Also included is an in-depth analysis of the Japanese religion, Japanese arts, Japanese culture, and the Japanese people from the sixth century BC to the present. This contemporary classic, now updated and revised, continues to be an essential work in Japanese studies.  

A History of Japan, Revised Edition includes:  

  • Archaic Japan - including Yamato, the creation of a unified state, the Nana Period, and the Heian period.  
  • Medieval Japan - including rule by the military houses, the failure of Ashikaga rule, Buddhism, and the Kamakura and Muroachi periods.  
  • Early modern Japan - including Japanese feudalism, administration under the Tokugawa, and society and culture in early modern Japan.  
  • Modern Japan - including the Meiji era and policies for modernization, from consensus to crisis (1912-1937), and solutions through force.  

This contemporary classic continues to be a central work in Japanese studies and is a vital addition to the collection of any student or enthusiast of Japanese history, Japanese culture, or the Japanese language.

©1997 R. H. P. Mason and J. G. Caiger (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about A History of Japan

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good but Dry

I enjoyed listening to this but it's pretty much a text book in terms of writing style. Great if you like short bursts of learning/study. Too dry if you prefer a compelling narrative or exciting descriptions of events.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Bland, does not cover controversial points at all

The book covers facts where it wants while skimming lightly over other big things like the conflict with Russia in 1905. The first big conflict and victory over a European power. The massacres, comfort women in Korea and other places, rampant racism and cruel treatment of other Asian peoples during and after Meiji Restoration. Why and how this evolved in Japan is not address hardly at all. A very incomplete and whitewashed history.

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  • John
  • 2019-06-04

Great re pre 19th century, but

Great re pre 19th century, but weak after that. strong on art, religion, literature etc

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dr. Tola
  • 2020-01-07

Toe-koo-guh-wuh

I like how it’s constructed but it took me multiple repeated rewinds to understand he was mispronouncing Tokugawa so painfully it made my teeth ache

5 people found this helpful

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  • Alina
  • 2019-09-18

Underwhelming?

A trove of interesting facts, but it feels incomplete. The narrator has a good cadence, but his Japanese seems severely lacking. I listened to the Great Courses series of lectures on Japan before this, and I feel I was much better able to pay attention to that.

5 people found this helpful

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  • A. Weber
  • 2019-03-08

Content great - pronunciation not so much

The narrator’s erratic japanese word pronunciation - and complete lack of a director or production guidance on the matter - didn’t destroy the book for me. It definitely detracted.
Words like Tokugawa were read as “To-KUU-ga-wa”.
Ka-bu-KEEEY. There are countless other examples.
It led me to distrust his pronunciation of words I didn’t know and question words I did know when his pronunciation actually matched.
Good in depth writing. Perspectives I hadn’t considered. Loved the writing. Narration was great EXCEPT for erratic Japanese word/place name/etc pronunciation. And it’s such an easy fix.
It’s as irksome as listening to a book on George Washington and hearing it said over and over and over as “Wa-SHEENG-tun.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen Astin
  • 2020-11-30

Dull and uninformative

The problem with this book is the author clearly cares more about japanese art and poetry than he
does about Japanese history. Japanese civil wars, nobunaga who seemed to be their version of Julius Ceasar, their wars with korea? He will spend less time on any of these subjects than he will on explaining Japanese kabuki theater. You won't learn anymore about Japanesee history than if you go read about it on Wikipedia and it will be done in a tenth of the time.

The narrator was fine, but couldn't do much as the content itself read like a textbook going by the numbers with little actual interest or passion. Which based of the introduction that is exactly what it is

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jesse Street
  • 2019-12-13

Good Synopsis on Japan’s History.

I have been studying the history and culture of Japan quite extensively for about two years now, and this book is a great start for anyone curious about the history of Japan. This audiobook hits all of the key points in Japanese history from the Jomon era, to the modern era. Anyone interested in garnering a greater understanding of the history of this unique and wonderful nation should add this audiobook to their library.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Arizona Kelley
  • 2021-10-07

A biased, narrative of Japanese history

I feel the authors of this work would be avowed Marxists if it weren't for their snobbish elitism. A good read if you want to hear an obnoxious western "intellectual"'s opinion on Japanese art and culture

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mitzi skinner
  • 2021-05-22

'A Cultural History of Japan' is more accurate

Voice actor was amazing, and if you wanted to know about the culture in...alot of detail I highly recommend it. But that's already half the problem.
If he/she had been honest and just called it 'A Cultural History' I wouldn't be writing this. Because that would've been perfectly accurate.
It constantly fell into 'you know'-isms for everything historical after the 1400s. And if you wanted to really learn about that, I wouldn't recommend it.
Honestly I'm less disappointed they didn't talk about the Onin war and that really interesting history, much more that no one seems to want to.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Phillip Alan Spencer
  • 2022-02-14

Doesn't paint a picture.

A constant stream of names, without descriptions of the items in question. Some history books really nail it, but not this one.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-05-10

great book

Derek Perkins is an awesome reader. The story stays interesting. This is a great book.