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What are the best comprehensive books about the history of Japan?
Topic Started: Feb 14 2018, 09:08 AM (233 Views)
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Hello folks,

Recently, I decided that in my next vacation I'm (finally) fulfilling my life-long dream of traveling to Japan. As you may well imagine, I'm very, very, very excited about it! So I'm looking for some information about Japanese history to better enjoy my experience there.

I'm not a professional historian. Still, I have no problems reading academic works. That said, I'm not looking for a collection of essays such as the Cambridge History of Japan or Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1850. I want a comprehensive history of Japan from its early age to (at least) the Meiji Restoration.

I came across some titles that could be interesting, but I am unsure which to choose:

A History of Japan, by George Sansom - although exactly what I'm looking for, I read a lot of criticism of it being supposedly dated. Do you agree with it? To what extent this book doesn't represent the most recent scholarship about Japanese history?

A History of Japan: From Stone Age to Superpower, by Kenneth G. Henshall - looks interesting enough and up to date. But as a 250-page book about the history of an entire country, is it way too shallow?

A Concise History of Japan, by Brett Walker - found surprisingly little about this book online. Does it mean it's not the best there is about the theme? Or is it a hidden jewel?

Could you help me, please? And, of course, feel free to suggest other works I may have missed.

Thank you!
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Tsushima no kami
My own favorite is the section on Japan in Reischaur, et al., East Asia: The Great Tradition; I refer to it often . Reischaur also wrote Japan : The Story of a Nation, but I read it so long ago I don't remember much about it.
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