Japan is an island-based country which is situated in East Asia. And it is one of the leading countries in technological development. This is a country that has a lot of active and dormant volcanoes and has a fascinating culture.

This country has an interesting past and fascinates a number of people who get to know about it. There are some particular facts about Japan like, Japan didn’t sign a peace treaty with Russia in order to end their World War II issues. Also, in the early modern period, Japanese women used to apply black dye to their teeth and this process was called “ohaguro”.

A lot of people relocate to Japan in search of technological jobs. And since the culture of the country is really interesting, they don’t just wish to learn their local language but they also wish to know about their traditions and culture and how the country turned out to be the way it is currently through its history. And there are some books that may help them in the process.

8 Popular Japanese History Books

Here are some books that may help the reader in learning about Japanese history and a lot more about their culture.

A history of Japan

A history of Japan

This book is written by George Sansom. It accommodates the ultimate history of Japan in a three-volume series. It starts with the formation of this island country and continues to discuss every part of Japanese history until the Meiji restoration of1868.

This book contains easy to read language and it helps its reader in learning about Japanese history in the best way possible. It provides an easy resolution of any knowledge gaps related to the definitive history of Japan.

Japan From Tokugawa Times to the Present

Japan From Tokugawa Times to the Present

This book is written by Andrew Gordon and accommodates modern Japanese history. And it pairs up perfectly with Sansom’s work on Japanese History. This book starts exactly from the time period Sansom’s work ends. It accommodates Japanese history from the Tokugawa shogunate to present-day Japan.

This book is a recommended read because it accommodates a lot of Japanese history that other books don’t. It discusses Japan and its role in World War II. The best parts of the book are the author’s work in the Taisho era, left-wing radicalism, progressive cultural trends, and democracy movements.

The book’s latest edition accommodates Japanese history from 1989 to 2008 and even has a section recognizing and analyzing the latest financial and natural problems.

Embracing Defeat

Embracing Defeat

This book is written by John W. Dower. And it discusses the condition of Japan in the wake of World War II and discusses all aspects of the outcomes presented by the war on the country.

It talks about how defeat affected political life, business, cultural activities, religion, etc. to help us have a deeper insight into Japan’s circumstances after the defeat in World War II. This completely discusses how the country had to deal with defeat and work on the reconstruction of its resources.

This is also a recommended read for anyone who wishes to learn about the Japanese side of World War II. It is a really great book and is a powerful read.

Hirohito and The Making of Modern Japan

Hirohito and The Making of Modern Japan

This book is written by Herbert P. Bix. This book may not cover a huge portion of Japanese history but it still provides sufficient information about the part it specializes in. It discusses the change of Japan into a modern society and accommodates Emperor Hirohito’s reign along with the condition of Japan before and after the World War.

It also talks about the war against China and the Asia-pacific war along with the complete life story of Emperor Hirohito and his controversial reign. The author also discusses the impact of this king’s rule on Japan and its culture. He elaborates on the controversies of this Japanese Emperor’s reign.

It’s a quite powerful literary piece to go through and though it doesn’t contain a huge part of Japanese history it still covers the discussed parts in detail.

Bending Adversity

Bending Adversity

This book is written by David Pilling. The author stayed in Tokyo for a long time from 2001 to 2008 and he corresponded with some of the best politicians of the country which is why he was able to discuss Japanese diplomacy in such excruciating details.

This book isn’t much about Japanese history and rather just gives an overview of the topic but it discusses the current status of Japan and the transformations that occurred in the country. It also speaks about the future of the country in a pretty deep and curious way and awakens the readers’ curiosity over the current issues and circumstances of the country.

A History of Japan

A History of Japan

This book is written by J. G. Caiger and R. H. P. Mason. This is a book that discusses a lot of Japan’s history including ancient Japan, cold war, the crash of the bubble economy, etc. It also discusses the origin of the civilization and culture of the Japanese and analyzes their arts, religion, and citizens from a period of 600 BC to the current circumstances.

It also breaks down Japanese history into 4 parts: Archaic, medieval, early modern and modern Japan.

Archaic Japan basically discusses the unification of the Japanese lands while the medieval period basically consists of the failure of Askikaga rule and the introduction of religions and religious practices like Buddhism. The early modern period signifies the Tokugawa administration and the modern period is the time of the introduction of modernization policies, the Meiji era and the current condition of Japan.

This is a must-read for the people who are interested in knowing the complete history of Japan.

Japan Rising

Japan Rising

This book is written by Kume Kunitake. This book consists of a five-volume diary which helps us in discussing the key features of Japanese Modernization. This book is the complete logbook of all the things that happened on the Japanese mission that was sent by the Japanese government for diplomatic fact-finding. This mission was 2 years long.

This mission was circulated from America, through Britain and then Europe and finally came back through Russia and China. It was basically to visit all the factories, government, schools, etc. to report back and help in taking the proper steps for the modernization of Japan.

This book turned really interesting due to the author’s views expressed in words over here.

Japan’s Longest Day

Japan’s Longest Day

This book was put forward by the Pacific War Research Society. This book discusses the most crucial 24 hours of Japanese history that accommodates Japan’s surrender in August 1945.

You can also read this Best Books on Chinese History That Explains Ancient China

It is a great literary source when we look closely at the literary angle and it narrates the series of unfortunate events in a quite fascinating manner to help in engaging the reader.

I hope I was able to help you with finding the right Japanese history book for learning and interest purposes. This was a list of books that is pretty helpful in covering the complete Japanese history according to me. If the content was helpful, leave a comment below or you may even like our post.

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