Synopses & Reviews
The task for the historian of Japan is to capture the essence of successive ages while preserving human drama and illuminating the themes and patterns of society's development. In Japan Before Perry, Professor Totman examines the origins of Japanese civilization and explores in detail the classical, medieval, and early-modern epochs. The historical facts are woven into interpretations of the major themes in Japanese history. While studying these epochs he also describes the gradual emergence of increasing numbers of people onto the historic stage, the long-term transformation of the economy and the society, the spread of cultural sophistication, and the ultimate rise of Japanese "nationhood."
By 1853 Japan had been transformed from a sparsely populated land of nonliterate tribal peoples into an elaborately structured commercial society sustaining massive cities and a varied array of sophisticated cultural production. In this authoritative survey, Conrad Totman examines the origins of Japanese civilization and explores in detail the classical, medieval, and early-modern epochs, weaving interpretations of the major themes in Japan's cultural and political development into a rich historical narrative.
About the Author
Conrad Totman is Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University.
Table of Contents
List of Maps
1. The Beginnings
2. Classical Japan: An Age of Aristocratic Bureaucracy
3. Medieval Japan: An Age of Political Fluidity
4. Early Modern Japan: An Age of Integral Bureacracy